Bishop, Calif. shows us how artists, climbers and riders are seeing fall color this week in their backyard, Bishop Creek Canyon.
Color spotter Vince Piercey visited the Hope Valley yesterday and returned with these photos of Near Peak color springing out.
It would take an essay to fully describe this lovely valley on the east side of Carson Pass (CA-88), but this editor is no Alexander Pope.
Instead, just a lover of Hope.
Hope Valley (7,300′) – Near Peak (50-75%) GO NOW!
West of Bishop, Calif., Bishop Creek Canyon rises above treeline. Autumn color is peaking there now above 9,000′.
Here’s a short video from our friends in Bishop that provides a taste of what they’re now seeing up Bishop Creek Canyon.
“Fall colors are exploding in the higher elevations,” reports Mono County color spotter Jeff Simpson.
He calls Virginia Lakes, Dunderberg Meadow Road, Lobdell Lake, and Rock Creek as being at full peak and urges, “Go Now!”
Other locations worthy of viewing this week include Sonora Pass, Green Green, and the higher elevations of Tioga Pass.
Hikers should focus their energy on the Parker Lake (Hike of the Week), Walker Lake, Laurel Canyon, Green Lake, and Rock Creek trailheads. For fabulous fly fishing, head to Little Walker Lake.
Areas like Lundy Canyon, Convict Lake, and the June Lake Loop are just starting to show color and will be ready soon.
If you have not begun planning a fall color trip, do so now, as the Eastern Sierra will have rolling peaks for at least the coming three weeks, at varying elevations. CLICK HERE to read Mono County’s detailed report.
Lobdell Lake (9,200′) – Peak (75-100%) GO NOW! – Colors are absolutely stunning along the road to Lobdell Lake off Burcham Flat Road.
Virginia Lakes (9,770′) – Peak (75-100%) GO NOW! – Colors are at full peak along Virginia Lakes Road and around Virginia Lakes. Take the Dunderberg Meadow Road towards Green Creek for wonderful red groves in Cinnamon Meadow. Swing by the Virginia Lakes Resort for breakfast or lunch before they close on October 11th.
Upper Rock Creek (10,300′) – Peak (75-100%) GO NOW! – These high elevation areas are exploding with brilliant yellows and a few oranges. Swing by Rock Creek Lake Resort for breakfast or lunch after you enjoy the colorful drive.
Sonora Pass (9,623′) – Near Peak (50-75%) GO NOW! – A mix of colors depending on elevation and location. A full peak near the top of Sonora Pass while still very patchy around Leavitt Meadows.
Green Creek (7,500′) – Near Peak (50-75%) GO NOW! – The hike to Green Lake is at full peak while colors around the campground and along Green Creek Road are patchy.
Tioga Pass (9,943′) – Near Peak (50-75%) GO NOW! – The upper elevations around Tioga Lake, Ellery Lake and Saddlebag Lake are in prime viewing condition.
Parker Lake (8,313′) – Near Peak (50-75%) GO NOW! – HIKE OF THE WEEK – The next 10 days are going to be brilliant at Parker Lake. Take the Parker Bench Trail (7,772′) from Silver Lake Resort for a more difficult but worthy fall color experience. The lake is overshadowed by 12,000′ peaks of the Sierra Crest.
Little Walker Lake – Near Peak (50-75%) GO NOW! – Just starting to turn yellow with patchy lime greens around the lake. Carry a fly rod, barbless flies and a license for catch-and-release ecstasy fishing for bows, brookies, kamloops and browns.
Laurel Canyon (8,500′) -Near Peak (50-75%) GO NOW! – If you’re looking for fall color that’s off-the-beaten-path, Josh Wray of Mammoth Lakes recommends nearby Laurel Canyon. Unlike many of the Eastern Sierra’s color hotspots, Laurel Canyon’s aspen grove cannot be driven to on a paved road. Instead, the only ways to get there are by a hardy, high-clearance 4WD vehicle, by horse or by hiking. To get to the best views, you’ll take an at-times steep, narrow, winding road of gravel, dirt and small rocks. As seen in the following video, Josh chose to get to the groves by walking Laurel Canyon’s beautiful, winding road. Midway up the trail is where the most-vibrant fall colors can be seen. Only patchy color is found in the upper and lower areas. Laurel Canyon should show bright color for another two weeks. Now, sit back and enjoy Josh’s video stroll through Laurel Creek’s aspen.
Patchy (10 – 50%) – Conway Summit, Green Creek Rd., Lundy Lake and Canyon, Summer’s Meadow, Mammoth Lakes Basin, Mammoth Creek Rd., Convict Lake and Canyon, McGee Creek
Just Starting (0-10%) – Walker Canyon, Towns of Walker/Coleville, Twin Lakes, June Lake Loop, Convict Lake Resort/Campground, Crowley Lake, Lower Rock Creek.
- September 30 – October 4, Fall Color Ride with Hunewill Ranch – Bridgeport
- October 1, June Lake Autumn Beer Festival – June Lake
- October 1, Deer Hunter BBQ – Walker/Coleville
- October 1-2, Annual Pumpkin Patch @ Chalfant Big Trees Farm – Chalfant
- October 14-16, Inspired by Nature: A Writer’s Retreat – June Lake
Dogtrekker.com is the CaliforniaFallColor.com of traveling with dogs in California.
So, it was a satisfying bone to chew, reading this week’s number about autumn treks to wine country with man’s best friend.
The issue describes what to expect on visits to Mendocino County, the Suisun Valley and Vacaville, the Napa Valley and Sonoma County, setting readers up for great trips to California’s best wines and fall color in the vineyards.
CLICK HERE to read Dogtrekker’s report on spending autumn days in the vineyards with Fido.
Lassen Volcanic National Park color spotter Shanda Ochs recommends visiting Hat Creek meadow, where grasses and willows carpet it with “beautiful rusty orange, gold and yellow foliage.”
Meadow grasses provide an early show that doesn’t last long. Shanda believes the display at Hat Creek will wane, as leaves turn with approaching colder temperatures.
At Manzanita Lake, near the northwest entrance to Lassen Volcanic, lime-colored willow, alder and cottonwood ring the lake.
Hat Creek Meadow, Lassen Volcanic National Park (6,500′) – Peak (75-100%) GO NOW!
Manzanita Lake, Lassen Volcanic National Park (5,900′) – Just Starting (0-10%)
John Natelli visited Sonoma Valley Regional Park and found valley and black oaks, bigleaf maple and white ash about 40% there.
Oak woodlands are often difficult to categorize, because oak leaves turn and fall over so lengthy a period.
Sonoma Valley Regional Park (253′) – Patchy (10-50%)
Now, this is our kinda festival… one dedicated to autumn aspen, and it happens in Alpine County.
Alpine is California’s smallest county by both land area and population. Not even 1,200 people live there.
Located South of Lake Tahoe, it is surrounded by El Dorado, Amador, Calaveras, Tuolumne and Mono Counties. Alpine was created in 1864, during a silver rush, from bits and parts of each of those counties.
The county was named Alpine because it resembles Switzerland, though Switzerland is 21 times bigger and has over 4,000 times more inhabitants.
Autumn is a special time in tiny, remote, Alpine County. Quaking aspen, black cottonwood and willows decorate its meadows and streams with yellow, gold and orange. And, all this autumn splendor is canopied by the bluest of blue skies.
The most famous of Alpine County’s fall color viewing areas is the Hope Valley (intersected by CA-88, Carson Pass). There, large stands of aspen line streams, a long, scenic meadow and high mountain rangeland.
On Oct. 8 and 9, the Hope Valley will host the Alpine Aspen Festival along Blue Lakes Road with: guided nature walks, horseback rides, fly-fishing and outdoor yoga, demonstrations of Dutch oven cooking, photography and watercolor workshops, native-American cultural demonstrations, tent talks on local history and alpine folk music.
CLICK HERE to reserve your place at the Alpine Aspen Festival (recommended).
Hope Valley, Alpine County (7,300′) – Patchy (10-50%)
Sharon Roberts of the St. Bernard Lodge (10 mi. west of Chester/Lake Almanor) reports that the Indian Rhubarb (Darmera peltata) – also known as the umbrella plant – have begun their showy fall display of firey orange beside Deer Creek in the Shasta Cascade.
Deer Creek runs beside portions of CA-32, approximately 50 miles east of Chico. Enter the “Alder Creek Campground” in your nav device to find it. At elevation 3,900′, Deer Creek is 20 miles west of Chester.
Along its banks the fan-leaved plant turns bright orange-red at peak in early October. Presently the color is at the low end of Patchy, though examples of brilliant color can be found.
They provide dramatic contrast to nearby yellow bigleaf maple and orange black oak. Indian rhubarb is one of California’s most colorful and distinctive autumn plants and its most beautiful populations are found in Tehama and Plumas Counties.
Continuing northeast on CA-32, the road intersects CA-36. Turn left and you’re about ten miles from Lassen Volcanic National Park with its crimson knot weed, gold-orange Lemmon’s willow, yellow alder and golden cottonwood.
Turn right and you travel toward Chester. If you pass through Chester and continue east, you reach Susanville where colorful foliage grows beside the Susan River.
Turn south along the west shore of Lake Almanor (before reaching Chester) and you head toward the Indian Valley and Quincy, prime color viewing areas in the northern Sierra Nevada.
Alder Creek Campground, CA-32 (3,900′) – Patchy (10-50%)
Robert Provin knows his geography. He ought to. As, he works in the Department of Geography at Cal State Northridge.
This weekend, Robert knew just where to go to find fall color… the Eastern Sierra.
He found it to be Near Peak along South Lake Road and at Lake Sabrina in Bishop Creek Canyon (west of Bishop). Robert has promised to return in a couple of weeks, “to see how things have progressed.”