Redding to Weaverville, Subtle Beauty
CA-299 between Redding and Fortuna is subtly washed with shades of orange and gold.
75-100% — Whiskeytown NRA to Weaverville (2,500’). There are some truly lovely areas of color on SR 299 between Whiskeytown National Recreation Area to Weaverville. Orange oaks predominate. Bigleaf maple add bright yellow. An occasional poison oak flashes orange-red. For most of the year, California’s ridiculed digger pines are the gangly eyesores of the forest, but at this time of year, their green-grey needles contrast beautifully with the oranges and yellows of their deciduous neighbors and the forest’s deeper green conifers, making the diggers stand out beautifully.
75-100% — Trinity River Canyon. Morning fog provides Halloween drama as it mixes with the starkly empty branches of trees that have dropped their leaves along the banks of the Trinity River. The foliage glows pink-orange in the morning making forest colors come alive. Morning mist adds a soft greyness to the air, that is missed later in the day, as wisps of fog hang among the canyons. Large, heart-shaped wild cucumber spot the forest floor with yellow, orange and auburn at 1,300’ along the river canyon. Use a long lens to get shots from the highway side of the river.
15-30% — Junction City. A road canopied with tall trees winds through this country town past old wooden buildings. The trees’ color still has a week or two before peak, as which time it will make a memorable photograph.
Past Peak — Hay Fork. Sorry, you had to be there. A few flashes of yellow and red are all that remain.
75-100% — Mt Shasta (3,500’). Though the oaks are now showing gold and maples and dogwood flame red, get there quickly as they say the color turns quickly in the town of Mt Shasta. Best viewing places are the Everett Memorial Highway and Old Stage Rd.
30-50-% –Willow Creek. A boulevard of sycamores that line CA-299 in Willow Creek are turning yellow with a tinge of orange. To the west of Willow Creek, bigleaf maple are turning orange with tinges of lime green and yellow along the banks of the Trinity River in Six Rivers National Forest.
75-100% — Paradise Ridge (1,500’). Not many native trees provide seasonal change of color, though exotic liquidambar, dogwood and maples are at peak.
30-50% — Trinity County (2,188’). Native oaks and lotuses are just turning, though you’ll see bright yellow and red throughout the county.
75-100% to Past Peak — Lassen Volcanic National Park (5,600’). Lassen VNP is at peak to past peak, depending upon elevation. The Devastated Area, Hat Creek and areas of aspen between 5,000 and 6500’ are where it’s best.
75-100% — Lassen County (4,255’). The color is at peak throughout Lassen County, which includes Lassen Volcanic National Park. Look for bright yellow, orange and red, particularly in riparian areas.
10-15% — McArthur-Burney Falls State Park (3,000’). Mostly orange and yellow with a sprinking of red among the predominant evergreen forest.
0-15% — Shasta Lake Ranger District (900’). Colors are just beginning to change with yellow dominating. Exotic liquidambar and chinese pistache at the USFS offices should turn orange and red in the next two weeks.
30-50% — Weaverville (2,000’). It’s still early for the large elms in historic Weaverville. Give it a week or two and this distinctive gold rush era town will come alive with golden color. Beyond Oregon Mountain there is little color until you return to the river canyon.
15-30% — Weaverville Ranger District (2,500’). Native oaks are changing in the forest with different shades of yellow, orange and brown, but not much red.
0-15% — Lower Trinity Ranger District (Willow Creek – 4,000’). The leaves are turning at 4,000’, visible from the lookout. You$B!G(Jll see oranges from the oaks, bits of yellow from bigleaf maple and bright red from the poison oak.
75-100% — Fall River (3,000’). The oaks are ablaze with color, showing shades of orange, red and yellow, especially along roads.
50-75% — Surprise Field (5,000’). Over the past three weeks, this area has shown off and on, exhibiting colors ranging from light yellow to deep red, which can be seen just about anywhere in the area. The Surprise Field area is expected to peak within a week to a week and a half.
75-100% — Eagle Lake BLM Field Office (5,000’). There is a beautiful array of orange, yellow and red just about anywhere you look, as the forests appear to have reached peak. Aspen and bigleaf maple are at peak.
30-50% — Oroville (1,000’). Just beginning to see color change in the Sierra foothills near Oroville.
0-15% — Red Bluff (300’). Still early. Look to the river bank foliage along the Sacramento River for the best color and photographs.