I'm at a bit of a loss on this one. There are some alternatives, although they all involve about a day's travel each way from Fresno and back.
Since you're going to be here during fall color season, my first thought is to drive to the Owens Valley (eastern Sierra) and stay in Bishop, Mammoth or Lone Pine (in my order of preference). From Bishop in particular you can access, by road, areas like the June Lake loop, Rock Creek, Lundy Canyon, and (possibly) highway 168 up to South Lake, Lake Sabrina and North Lake.
I am sure others will mention other fall color locations in this area.
This website has good fall color info and may spark other ideas:http://www.californiafallcolor.com