If you’ve never explored El Dorado County in the fall, you’ll want to make sure you do this year. Autumn is the season for great weather, kaleidoscope foliage, apples, and a slew of one-of-a-kind events that appeal to all ages. Whether you come for the food, the scenery, the entertainment, or all the above, you’ll see why it’s easy to fall in love with fall here. Check out some of our favorite fall activities.

Weiner races at Placerville Oktoberfest, El Dorado County | Photo: Mountain Democrat

Watch a wiener dog race

You haven’t lived until you’ve witnessed wiener dogs racing (in costume!).  That’s one of many activities that make the Placerville Oktoberfest so darned fun. You’ll find craft breweries, local wine, live Bavarian music and dance demos, German food, beer contests, and more. Plus, costumes are encouraged, so it’s a perfect excuse to break out your Lederhosen and dirndls!

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Apple Hill and Larsen Barn in fall, El Dorado County | Photo: Steve Martinez

Enjoy the views of orchards and vineyards on the Apple Hill Harvest Run. Photo: Steve Martinez

Run through apple orchards

You may have been to Apple Hill℠, but have you run through it? The Apple Hill Harvest Run starts at Lava Cap Winery and takes you through apple orchards and the surrounding neighborhoods. All proceeds directly benefit local students, which really makes this a win-win event. It’s a proven fact that apple donuts taste better after you run.

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Couple in 1850s period dress in Coloma, CA for Coloma Gold Rush Live

Horse-drawn carriages and period dress are just a few of the things you can experience at Coloma Gold Rush Live.

Watch Gold Rush history come alive

The Gold Rush wasn’t just about gold seekers. Merchants, saloon keepers, and doctors were just some of the folks who helped establish communities like Coloma. Experience a real-live throwback to 1850 at the Marshall Gold Discovery State Park as it recreates the town as it once was. Coloma Gold Rush Live features everything from a carpentry shop to a laundry, along with live music, gold panning, and children’s games.

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Fall colors in El Dorado County have to be seen to be believed. Photo: Jill Nauman | Fall activities guide

Fall colors in El Dorado County have to be seen to be believed. Photo: Jill Nauman

Go leaf-peeping

Did you know you can see fall colors in California? Mother Nature puts on a glorious display of autumnal fireworks throughout El Dorado County during the fall months. For the most vibrant displays head to Hope Valley, Coloma, Placerville, and Apple Hill℠. Even the vineyards get into the mood, as their vines change color in the fall, too.

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Tasting El Dorado County's local spirits at Sample the Sierra, El Dorado County | Fall Activities Guide

Enjoy food and wine (or in some cases, locally distilled spirits) at Sample the Sierra.

Sample the Sierra

El Dorado County is home to a delicious bounty of local and authentic food and drink, and you can taste your way through all of it at the county’s signature farm-to-fork event, Sample the Sierra. Enjoy food from local chefs paired with wine, beer, or other locally produced beverages, along with a festival marketplace with art, jewelry, and crafts, and a Sierra Chefs Challenge, the hometown version of Top Chef.

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Night time concert | El Dorado County | Fall Activities Guide

Hangtown Music Festival’s lineup, location, and activities make it fun for the whole family.

Go camping and listen to live music

The 7th annual Hangtown Music Festival is a family-friendly weekend that’s much more than a music festival. Sure, you can spend three days listening to live bands like Railroad Earth, Afrolicious, Dark Star Orchestra, and more, but there’s also parades, yoga, pumpkin carving, games, arts & crafts, and special performances for the younger set. Bring your tent or RV (or whatever you call your home away from home) and your dancing shoes!

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Homemade apple donuts at Rainbow Orchards, El Dorado County | Fall Activities Guide

There’s nothing quite like a fresh, warm apple donut. Photo: Rainbow Orchards

Eat an apple donut

Apple Hill™ is an annual tradition for many, but if you still haven’t tasted an apple donut, fritter, or pie from here, well, you should make sure that changes this fall! Baked goods pair well with the fresh air and bucolic atmosphere of the ranches and farms, many of which include kids’ activities. Avoid the crowds by planning a trip in September or November, or mid-week in October.

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