Listen to CFC on KGO

CLICK HERE to listen to a podcast of KGO radio’s John Hamilton’s discussion with John Poimiroo of California Fall Color.

Fall Color Update – Eastern Sierra

We spent the weekend visiting the SF and Monterey Bay areas, so saw little color change there, but received the following fall color update from California’s Eastern Sierra this morning.

The Parcher’s Resort at South Lake (west of Bishop) reports that autumn color is developing quickly in the High Sierra as yellows and reds are starting to take over bright green aspen throughout the Bishop Canyon drainage. Peak is still a week to two away as can be seen from these photos taken by Parchers Resort staffer, Krisdina Karady.

South Lake – Elevation 9768 ft

15-30% – Yellow is starting to appear at the rock slide and towards the back of the lake there is quite a bit of color showing. It certainly isn’t at it’s peak yet, but things are moving pretty quick.

Weir Pond – Elevation 9592 ft

15-30% – The Weir is looking very pretty right now and the grove to the west of the pond is starting to light up. The aspens around the shore of the pond still have a ways to go but things are picking up at this location.

Parchers Camp – Elevation 9260 ft

0-15% – The hillsides surrounding Parchers Camp, especially to the west, are starting to pop big time. There is still quite a bit of color yet to develop to our east and to the north though. The best views are to the north so I am rating the current color on the lower end of the rating scale.

North Lake – Elevation 9255ft

15-30% – What a remarkable change in the last 4 days! Some vibrant yellow has taken over some of the trees, especially by the old road and near the parking area by the outlet of the lake.

Lake Sabrina – Elevation 9150 ft

15-30% – Lake Sabrina’s color is also coming on very fast with some beautiful orange and yellow foliage being displayed. I especially enjoy the view from the  middle of the dam at Sabrina as the bright turquoise water really adds to the beauty of the scene.

Sabrina Camp Grove (9/24/10)

Sabrina Camp Groves – Elevation 9000 ft

50-75% – The grove below Sabrina Camp is stunning right now as all of the aspen along the road are on fire with color. There is still a lot of green above the first few rows of aspen so hopefully we’ll the color here for a while to come.

Lake Sabrina Approach – Elevation 9100 ft..

0-15% – Not too much going on here yet but one of my favorite views in the canyon will be spectacular before too long.

Bridge above Sabrina Camp – 9050ft

15-30% – The view east from the bridge just above Sabrina Campground is stunning – and the beautiful colors are really starting to pop. Another week and this view will be exceptional if the weather stays good.

Table Mountain (9/25/10)

Table Mountain Camp Grove – Elevation 8845 ft

30-50% – The groves on either side of the canyon just below Table Mountain Group Campground are progressing nicely with some beautiful orange and even a touch of red joining the yellow and bright green.

The Famous Mist Falls on South Fork Bishop Creek

0-15% – One of the locations known to peak late, is living up to it’s reputation – pretty much nothing going on there yet.

Four Jeffrey Camp Groves

0-15% – A little better than last week, especially the amount of yellow developing in the willows, but there is a ways to go yet at this location.

Mountain Glen Campground

30-50% – Jared Smith says he really likes the way this grove is changing, this fall – beautiful patches of full-on yellow aspen amidst the bright green grove. Still have some time before this grove is at its best but even right now the view is beautiful.

Willow Camp – Elevation 9065 ft

0-15% –  Its amazing how much yellow has started to appear at Willow Camp over the last few days. Jared expects it to get much better by the end of the week. You can see in the distance the hills above Parchers which are turning quite fast.

Surveyor’s Meadow

15-30% – This beautiful location is located in between Table Mountain group Campground and Willow Campground. During the peak – this is one of the most amazing view in the canyon. It’s still a little early there, but things are making a fast transformation. The view up towards the Tyee Lakes from there is one of the better places to see the bright orange and red aspens in addition to the yellow.

Aspendell – 8500ft

15-30% – The view south from the small community of Aspendell is already awesome, but there is a lot more color yet to come here if the weather holds out.

Photo Credit: © 2010, Jared Smith


A gallimaufry is a collection of unrelated writings.  Such is this post.

I was asked this morning by John Hamilton whether this would be a long fall color season, considering that the grape harvest was late this year.  Well, it seems all foliage are showing a bit later than last year, as we’re about a week to a half week behind what was occurring last year at this time, though it’s impossible to predict with confidence whether the season will be longer or better than in the past.  That’s because fall color is so affected by weather.

Great fall color occurs when the days are warm and the nights cold.  Rain or storms ruin the color by cooling the days and warming the nights and by blowing leaves from the trees.  So, the only way to predict whether the fall season will be longer is to watch long-range weather forecasts.  KGO’s John Hamilton said this a.m. that an average weather pattern is predicted for this autumn.  If so, the fall color should be as good as it ever is… and California has the longest, most varied and I’d say the most spectacular fall color anywhere in the USA… you just have to know where to look to see it.

Spot reports:

Sabrina Camp – 50-75’% – Jared Smith says Sabrina Camp (in the Eastern Sierra (US395) east of Bishop)  is nearing peak and should be spectacular  in the coming week.  Look back at previous entries on this blog to see when it was showing last year… right now, it appears the color is showing  a half week to a week later than it did last year at this time (of course, continue to check back here or other links on this site to see if things remain so delayed).

Antelope Valley – 0-15% – Tim Fesko at Meadowcliff Resort says the cottonwoods are just beginning to show yellow near Coleville (US 395).  That means it’s still green to lime-green among the aspen on nearby Monitor Pass (CA-89).

Drainages – Low lying drainages are showing color, as they always do at the beginning of autumn.  Look for color among the brush and grasses anywhere small streams run out.

Redwood National and State Parks – The Elk Rut is happening now through early October in Orick at Elk Meadow.  Visit to see a video of the rut.  Elk Rut rates are available at the Elk Meadow Cabins. 

U.S. 101 – 0-15% – As you drive north on US 101, there are spots of color (mostly yellow to orange tinged bigleaf maple and pink to red poison oak in the forests north of Willits (Mendocino County) and south of Scotia (Humboldt County).  That’s not a reason to head north along the route, unless you’re traveling to see the elk rut.

Yosemite National Park – 0-30% – The range of change on this report varies by elevation.  Along tjhe Tioga Road, some aspen are coloring lime-green to yellow, while no significant change is occurring in Yosemite Valley.  It could be said, because of the range of elevations in the national park, that Yosemite has a two month fall color season.  Plan on being in Yosemite Valley in the second week of Oct. to see the sugar maple turn red near the Yosemite Chapel.  Look for bigleaf maple and dogwood to color from late Oct through November in Yosemite Valley.

Shasta Cascade – 0-15% – Lassen Volcanic National Park will be among the first places in the Shasta Cascade  to show color, but give it two weeks before heading there.  A great drive is the Volcanic Legacy Scenic Byway.  Base your trip in Redding (nice fall color- mostly oaks and riparian brush/grasses – surrounds Sundial Bridge).

Tune In to KGOAM810

Listen to KGO-AM810 at 7:05 a.m. today and on Oct. 2 for live fall color reports.  Travel broadcaster John Hamilton will have California Fall Color report blogger John Poimiroo and other color spotters as his guests to report about the fall color season in California.

Full Moon Makes Rare Autumnal Equinox Appearance

As reported by the National Geographic Society today, “For the first time since 1991, the full moon will shed light on the beginning of fall — the Northern Hemisphere’s autumnal equinox,” which begins officially at 8:09 p.m. PDT tonight.  CLICK HERE to read the full story.

Bishop Creek Canyon

Jared Smith reports that through last week, most of the aspens remained deep green, though there were lots of trees that have turned bright lime green and few select spots that have really popped with yellow and orange.  Keep in mind that the Bishop Creek Canyon road varies from 9768ft down to 4000 ft. Things change fast up there,so if you want to see this show, plan to travel to Inyo County in the next two weeks for color in the high canyons.

15-30% – Most of these areas are now showing lime-green to yellow with some pockets of orange and red among the aspen.

  • South Lake – Elevation 9768 ft
  • Weir Pond – Elevation 9592 ft
  • Parchers Camp – Elevation 9260 ft
  • North Lake – Elevation 9255ft
  • Lake Sabrina – Elevation 9150 ft
  • Lake Sabrina Approach – Elevation 9100 ft..
  • Table Mountain Camp Grove – Elevation 8845 ft
  • The Famous Mist Falls on South Fork Bishop Creek
  • Four Jeffrey Camp Groves
  • Mountain Glen Campground
  • Willow Camp – Elevation 9065 ft

Sabrina Camp (9/16/10)

Sabrina Camp Groves – Elevation 9000 ft

50-75% – The most dependable “early bird” in the canyon, the grove of aspen along Hwy 168 just before Sabrina Camp is already bursting with beauty – greens, yellows, oranges and reds – it’s all there already at that grove. This grove is certainly on the lower end of the scale 50 – 75% scale, but its gorgeous nonetheless.

Photo Credit: © 2010, Jared Smith

Bigleaf Maple and Poison Oak in the Redwoods

Bigleaf Maple are beginning to tinge yellow to auburn south of Scotia along US 101 in southern Humboldt County.  Head into the woods and you’ll see bright orange-pink to red poison oak leaves.  They’re pretty, but don’t touch!

0-15% – Along US 101 in Southern Humboldt County – Bigleaf Maple

Clearlake Oaks – Golden Wildflower Field

An expansive pasture of golden wildflowers is seen east of Clearlake Oaks on CA-20.  The brilliant yellow flowers color a field dotted with majestic valley oaks.  Some of the oaks are showing yellow to orange tints.

Pockets of Red, Orange and Gold

Pockets of red, orange and gold are showing in the upper reaches of the Eastern Sierra, according to color spotter Jared Smith of the Parcher’s Resort at South Lake.  Sabrina Camp was showing beautifully in areas last week with mostly green to lime in the draws leading up from Lake Sabrina.  Look for the color change to descend rapidly this week from higher elevations (above 9,000 ft).

30-50% – Sabrina Camp – Showing beautiful mixed color.
15-30% – Sabrina Lake – Coloring up rapidly.  Still lots of green to lime-green in the aspen.