California Fall Color
Dude, autumn happens here, too.

Archive for September, 2011

Win Free Hiking Boots & Other Autumn Deals

Thu ,29/09/2011

Jeanette Kozlowski of HikingBoots.com writes that they’ve partnered with Timberland to give away a free pair of hiking boots. For a chance to win, just CLICK HERE and share your favorite fall hike.

Here are some autumn deals from the Lake Front Cabins in June Lake (877) 648-7527:

“Fall Colors Special” – Stay at least 3 nights and get $10/off/cabin/night.  Valid on new reservations October 7-31, 2011.  All cabins.   Based on availability and regular rates.  Great for fall colors and end of the fishing season.

Here are some autumn deals from the Convict Lake Resort, 760-934-3800:

  • Sept. 5 – Oct. 22 – Starting at $359+ tax – 2-night Stay for two, Standard Cabin, Full Day Boat & Motor, $100 Restaurant Credit
  • Oct. 23-Oct. 31 – Starting at $289+tax – 2-night Stay for two, Standard Cabin, Full Day Boat & Motor, $100 Restaurant Credit
  • Oct. 23-Nov. 15 – Starting at $169+tax – 2-night Stay for two, Standard Cabin, Half Day Boat & Motor

Back to Brilliance in the Eastern Sierra – First Peak!

Wed ,28/09/2011

What a difference a week makes… Fall Color Spotter Jared Smith of the Parcher’s Resort reports that “It’s officially fall color time in the Bishop Creek Canyon with brilliant color in many areas of the canyon. There are still several areas in the canyon which have yet to peak but there is a lot of color to be found anywhere over the 8500ft elevation mark.”

Wier Pond (9/28/2011) © 2011 Jared Smith

50-75% – Weir Pond (9,592 ft) – While not peaking yet, the g

Cardinal Mine Grove (9/28/2011) © 2011 Jared Smith

ve above the pond is showing brilliant yellow which contrasts beautifully with the remaining lime green aspen. The aspen at the shore of the pond are starting to turn but aren’t quite peaking yet. Still, the view from the dam side of the pond is stunning.

 

Parcher's Camp (9/28/2011) © 2011 Jared Smith

50-75% – Parchers Camp (9,260 ft) – The hills to the south, west and east are beginning showing a lot of color, especially to the west where lots of yellow, orange and a little red are visible. Still a bit longer before we see peak color but it’s getting really good

North Lake Road (9/28/2011) © 2011 Jared Smith

30-50% – North Lake (9,255 ft) - This is a difficult area to put a rating on right now because some areas are still completely green while others are actually at peak color. The grove on the west shore and the famous dirt road are both still pretty green but the approach to the lake by the first parking lot is absolutely on fire with bright yellow, orange and some red. Great photo ops available here right now and that will continue if the weather holds out.

Lake Sabrina (9/28/2011) © 2011 Jared Smith

30-50% – Lake Sabrina (9,150 ft) - Lake Sabrina is changing fast but is still a ways away from full blown fall color. The east shore has a lot of gorgeous foliage at present. Look for things to really pop in the next week.

Sabina Camp Groves (9/28/2011) © 2011 Jared Smith

75-100% – Sabrina Camp Groves (9,000 ft) - The grove adjacent to Sabrina Campground is incredibly beautiful right now and I would characterize it as peak color. Bright yellows, oranges and reds can be captured right along the roadside.

Surveyor's Meadow (9/28/2011) © 2011 Jared Smith

75-100% – Surveyor’s Meadow – Gorgeous contrast between the bright yellows, oranges and lime greens at this spot right now. It isn’t quite peaking yet but the view is stunning.

Surveyor's Meadow (9/28/2011) © 2011 Jared Smith

0-15% – Aspendell (8,500 ft) - No color developing here, yet.

50-75% – Cardinal Mine Grove (8,700 ft) – Lots of yellows and oranges to go along with some bright lime green. This vista is hard to beat with the peaks behind Sabrina in the background.

Table Mountain (9/28/2011) © 2011 Jared Smith

75-100% – Table Mountain Campground (8,900 ft) - This area went from nothing to near peak in seemingly no time. Tons of bright yellow and orange are visible from the road and the contrast with the redish rock and deep green pine is spectacular.

30-50% – Mountain Glen Campground - Bright yellow is steadily creeping down the mountain and along the creek. Some great photo ops to be had but the lower reaches of this area is still pretty green.

MONO COUNTY

Alicia Vennos of Mono County reports that the high canyons (Virginia Lakes, Lundy and Rock Creek) are showing signs of color with about a fifth of the forest now transitioning from lime-green to yellow and orange aspen.  All across northern California, as here, the display is about a week behind normal schedule.

15-30% – Color spotter Carolyn Webb of the Virginia Lakes Resort reports the aspen around the Virginia Lakes are changing from lime green to yellow.

0-15% – Conway Summit – Still no sign of significant change.

0-15% – Convict Lake – Jen Heintzelman reports some coloring in the willows and ground cover around the lake a few aspen and cottonwood are now beginning to show, she’s predicting more action next week.

 

Rock Creek Canyon (9/29/2011) - © 2011 Amy King

15 – 30% – Rock Creek – Color spotter Alicia Vennos reports the aspen are coloring quickly with yellow and some orange starting even as low as Tom’s Place, though peak is still a week to two away.

Mule Ears Never Looked So Good

Wed ,28/09/2011

Mountain Mule Ear and Arrowleaf balsamroot, Mills Creek Trail (9/24/2011) - Amanda Sweeny, © 2011 NPS

While visiting Lassen Volcanic National Park this past Friday and Saturday, I was struck by the beauty of the iridescent chartreuse Mule Ears growing in the park.  Today, color spotter Amanda Sweeny, a media specialist working for the National Park Service at Lassen Volcanic reported pretty much what I’d seen during my visit…

0-15% – Lassen Volcanic National Park - Overall, fall colors are really just beginning in the national park. The Mule Ear however, one distinctive park plant, the Mule Ear, is at peak which is actually later than normal, making the southwest area of the park particularly beautifully painted with yellow. Other subtle colors are also visible throughout the park, all while rabbitbush and lupine are still blooming!  This was a 20-year wildflower year, with various wildflowers all blooming at the same time. This also makes for some incredible contrasts of wildflowers mixing with fall colors.

California Corn Lily, Lassen VNP (9/24/2011) - Amanda Sweeny, © 2011 NPS

75%-100% - Mountain Mule Ear, Arrowleaf Balsamroot,  California

75 – 100% - Corn Lily are turning golden throughout the park.

0-15% - Quaking aspen and ferns are starting to turn near the Devastated Area.

Rubber rabbitbush, Lassen Peak (9/24/2011) - Amanda Sweeny, © 2011NPS

75%-100% - Late-blooming rubber rabbitbush is glowing roadside near Little Hot Springs Valley.

Douglas' knotweed and lupine at Lassen Peak (9/24/2011) - Amanda Sweeny, © 2011NPS

75%-100% – Douglas’ knotweed is turning red in Lassen Peak and Kings Creek areas.

California Fall Color Tip of the Day – New camping cabins at Manzanita Lake in the national park provide inexpensive, comfortable camping-styled lodging.  CLICK HERE for more details.

 

Warm temps put Fall on hold in the Shasta Cascade

Tue ,27/09/2011

Color spotter Katie Shaw reports from the Shasta Cascade:

Butte County:

0-15%- Butte County- Colors in Butte County are not expected to change much until the end of the month, due to our unseasonably warm weather this fall.

Shasta County:

0-15% – Whiskeytown National Recreation Area- The Park is just now starting to experience fall color changes throughout the park, but Park officials say the colors should be more prominent towards the end of the month.

0-15%- Burney Falls State Park- No noticeable fall color changes in the Park until mid October.

Tehama County:

0-15%- Lassen Volcanic National Park- The Park is not experiencing any distinct color changes yet, but towards the end of the month the aspens should start showing off their yellowish/golden tones.

Lassen County:

0-15%- Bizz Johnson Trail-   Colors along The Bizz Johnson Trail are not expected to change until the middle of October.

0-15%- Lassen National Forest- Lassen National Forest will most likely not experience noticeable fall color changes until the first of October, but there are a few aspens that are showing color.

Modoc County:

0-15%- Modoc National Forest- No color changes yet but the nights are starting to turn pretty cold, so the beginning of color changes is expected in the next couple weeks or so.

Siskiyou County:

0-15%- Mt. Shasta- The Mt Shasta area is not experiencing any fall color changes yet, due to the warm weather.

Trinity County:

0-15%- Weaverville- It’s still a little too early to look for fall color changes in Trinity County.  Toward the middle of October the area really starts to swirl with color.

Plumas County:

0-15%- Plumas County- Plumas County remains to be one of the most spectacular places to witness the signs of the changing seasons! Leaf peepers have already started recording their sightings, which can be viewed on the Plumas County Visitors Bureau’s webpage.

Katie suggests stopping by the Chester/Lake Almanor Chamber of Commerce to pick up a new brochure with details of great scenic drives.

The Beauty Begins

Tue ,27/09/2011

Canoe on Convict Lake (9/24/2011) © 2011 Alicia Vennos

0-15% – Convict Lake – Color spotter Alicia Vennos took this photo of Convict Lake on Saturday.  She reports that yellow is beginning to color “the underbrush and willows, grasses and meadows” and the aspen are beginning to show lime green, though most along the boardwalk are still “a fairly rich green.”

Dog-friendly Fall Color

Mon ,26/09/2011

DogTrekker.com – the website for advice on where to travel with your dog in Northern California – lists U.S. 395 “right up there” with Highway 1 as one of California’s most scenic highways, and in autumn, there’s no competition.  U.S. 395 is the color champion.  In recent editions, DogTrekker has reported on where to travel with Fido.  CLICK HERE for a link to those tips.

Additional tips come from color spotter Rachel Anderson of the Owens Valley who says that Bishop Creek Canyon offers many colorful dog-friendly trails.  She recommends heading first to South Lake, Sabrina Lake, the Tyee Lakes and Intake 2 up the canyon.  In a few weeks, look to the Bishop Canal System for walkable dirt roads beside canals and among colorful cottonwood in Bishop, Calif.

When taking your dog into the Inyo National Forest, be mindful to: leave disruptive dogs at home,  keep dogs leashed (not more than six feet in length) when on trails, bed dogs inside enclosed vehicles or tents at night and bring not more than two dogs camping.  Maps of hiking trails and walks in the forest are available at USFS Visitor Centers.  A dog rest area is located at Bishop City Park.

We’re Off and Running!

Thu ,22/09/2011

We’ve got lots of reports today, so with the first day of Autumn tomorrow, we’re officially off and running.

Jared Smith reports first from Inyo County that, “Things are really progressing quickly in the canyon with nearly all of the aspens and willows above 8500ft beginning to show at least some lime green or some yellow. Very little happening below that elevation.We still have a ways to go before most of the canyon is in full color but its remarkable how fast things are changing. Even if you were here today there would be some great shots availailable and it’s just going to get better from here on out.”  Here’s his report:

Wier Pond (9/21/11) © 2011 Jared Smith

15-30% – Weir Pond (9,592 ft) – Still have another week or so before the Weir really goes off but the groves above the pond are already showing some bright yellows and the grass and willows are a beautiful golden hue.

15-30% – Parchers Camp (9,260 ft) – The hills to the south, west and east are beginning to show some color, especially near the spring to the east. Not at peak but beginning to look pretty good.

0-15% – North Lake (9,255 ft) - I was surprised to see such little change between last week and this week with the big grove on the far side of the lake showing pretty much zero color. There is some bright yellow trees along the paved section of road before the lake but that is about it. The dirt road along the lake continues to lighten to a beautiful lime green but little to no yellow yet.

15-30% – Lake Sabrina (9,150 ft) - Unlike North Lake, Lake Sabrina has seen some substantial color change over the past week with groves on the east shore especially showing hints of yellow and even a few aspens turning orange. We’re still a ways away from peak here but it’s nice to see some color starting at one of the most beautiful lakes in the Sierra.

Sabrina Camp Grove (9/21/11) © 2011 Jared Smith

30-50% – Sabrina Camp Groves (9,000 ft) - As usual, the groves below Sabrina campground are way ahead of most of the trees in the canyon with lots of yellow, red and orange happening already.

15-30% – Surveyor’s Meadow – Lots of lime green and yellow developing but this area will get a whole lot better in the coming week or two if the weather holds out.

0-15% – Aspendell (8,500 ft) - No color developing here, yet.

Cardinal Mine Grove (9/21/11) © 2011 Jared Smith

15-30% – Cardinal Mine Grove (8,700 ft) -Lots of  lime green with some yellow making an appearance this week.

0 – 15% – Table Mountain Campground (8,900 ft) - Not much color but the aspens have lightened up a lot. Look for this area to light up within the next week.

15 – 30% – Mountain Glen Campground - Yellow is beginning to show in many of the aspen in this area – should be a great spot to photograph within the next week, if not sooner.

 0 – 15% – The Famous Mist Falls on South Fork Bishop Creek - Still a week or two off from much color at this location.

 0 – 15% – Four Jeffrey Camp Groves - Fall color in this area is always a late arrival – its going to be a few weeks at least before we see this area light up.

15-30% – Willow Camp (9,065 ft) – The willows are turning gold and the aspens have joined the party. It really is amazing how fast things are changing between Willow campground and the Tyee Bridge. Some of the trees that were dark green a week ago are now bright yellow.

15-30% – South Lake (9,768 ft) - Many of the trees on the back side of the lake are displaying gorgeous color and it’s getting better by the day. The rock slide area and boiler cove aren’t really showing much color but as fast as things

changed in the back of the lake I would expect that to be different in a few more days.

Convict Lake (9/22/11) © 2011 Jennifer Heintzelman

0-15% – Rock Creek - Mono County color spotter Alicia Vennos reports it’s been “bloody hot here!”  That’s great for fall color and for fall color watching, as warm days and cool nights are what’s needed for colors to intensify.  Certain species in Mono County have turned entirely… with elm trees near Walker being reported having turned.  We’ve noticed individual trees can change earlier than others, even species may change sooner, so this isn’t out of the ordinary.  Mostly, Mono County is following the normal pattern, with the higher elevations in the Eastern Sierra showing first.

Convict Lake Resort - Just the Slightest Color (9/22/11) © 2011 Jennifer Heintzelman

0-15% – Convict Lake -Jennifer Heintzelman of the Convict Lake Resort reports willows are beginning to show signs of color, though their color is barely apparent in the great photos she sent, today.  Jen promises to send news of specials they’re providing to leaf peepers and photographers, which we’ll publish here.

Convict Lake - Early Color (9/22/11) © 2011 Jennifer Heintzelman

Goose Berries, Plumas County (9/21/11) © 2011 Richard McCutcheon

0-15% – Plumas County – Color spotter Richard McCutcheon send us this gorgeous photo of goose berries and reminds us to look not only up to the branches, but down  to the brush.  Richard says the only thing that’s turned so far in Plumas County are vines and berries… non-native Virginia Creeper, he notes, are always the first to turn.  They can be found on garden fences in Quincy.  Though Richard also reports, “As you are looking for fall colors, you run into some great mushrooms.”  The one shown here was 10 inches in diameter.

One Big Mushroom, Plumas County (9/21/11) © 2011 Richard McCutcheon

0-15% – Shasta Cascade - Continue reading below for yesterday’s report from the Shasta Cascade.

 

 

As Autumn Approaches, Shasta Cascade Reports

Wed ,21/09/2011

With the first day of autumn approaching (Friday, Sept. 23), few reports received yet include significant measurements of fall color anywhere in California.  Yesterday, Leilani, a color spotter from the Shasta Cascade region (northeast California) reported:

0-15% – Butte County - The colors in Butte County are not expected to change much until closer to the end of the month.  The area has been experiencing unseasonably warm weather.

Sundial Bridge (11/4/2009) © 2009 John Poimiroo

0-15% – Redding - Nothing yet to report, but plan to visit in early October to see the riparian vegetation and oaks along the banks of the Sacramento River framing Sundial Bridge with shades of yellow, orange and burnt sienna.

0-15% – Whiskeytown National Recreation Area- The national park is not experiencing any fall color changes, as yet.

0-15% – MacArthur-Burney Falls Memorial State Park- The Vine Maples at the bottom of the falls at Burney Creek are just beginning to turn.

0-15% – Lassen Volcanic National Park-  Neither upper elevations at the park or Manzanita Lake are experiencing any foliage change yet.

0-15% – Bizz Johnson National Recreation Trail-   Colors along The Bizz Johnson Trail in Lassen County are not expected to change until the middle of October.

0-15% – Lassen National Forest – The national forest will most likely not experience fall color changes until early October.

0-15% – Modoc National Forest - No color changes yet in Modoc County, but conditions are perfect for spectacular fall color, as the nights are starting to turn pretty cold, with warm days meaning that as the days shorten, the beginning of color change is expected in the next week or so.

0-15% – Mt. Shasta - California’s beautiful northern volcano, Mt Shasta, is not yet surrounded by fall color.

0-15% – Weaverville - Trinity County surrounding this fascinating gold rush era town along CA-299 has not yet seen any fall color.  Last year, we reported very lovely color along 299 and in the area.  Look to the middle of October for the color to truly swirl here.

0 – 15% – Plumas County - One of California’s premiere places to see fall color, Plumas County always delivers wonderful fall color and 2011 should be no change.  Area botanists are saying the colors are expected to be spectacular this season thanks to all the rain Plumas County has had throughout the year. Our dear friends at the Plumas County Chamber of Commerce will be posting to their fall webpage starting on Friday (Sept. 23).  Their reports feature local and visitor testimonies and pictures from all parts of this colorful destination.  Keep checking here for their reports, as well.  The Chester/Lake Almanor Chamber of Commerce in Chester stocks copies of a guide to regional fall color drives, many of which are on state and national scenic byways.

Latest Prediction… “another week for things to start popping”

Fri ,16/09/2011

Color spotter Jared Smith of the Parcher’s Resort in Inyo County reports today that the full glory of Bishop Creek Canyon is still a ways off, though each day he’s seeing more and more Aspen turning lime green with a few branches displaying some bright yellow.  Jared predicts it will take another week for things to really start popping.

Wier Pond (9/16/11) © 2011 Jared Smith

15-30% – Weir Pond (9,592 ft) – The grass surrounding the pond has turned amber and the aspens on the west hill above the pond are just now starting to turn lime green with a touch of yellow beginning to show. Things are progressing quickly here as there was zero color 1 week ago.

0-15% – Parchers Camp (9,260 ft) -A little yellow on the east hills but not much going on just yet.

Parcher's Camp (9/16/11) © 2011 Jared Smith

North Lake Road (9/16/11) © 2011 Jared Smith

0-15% – North Lake (9,255 ft) - The grove on the west side of North Lake is still dark green but the aspens along the shoreline of the lake and along the road have started to lighten up considerably and are showing a nice lime green hue at present.

0-15% – Lake Sabrina (9,150 ft) - Not much going on at Sabrina just yet.

15 – 30% – Sabrina Camp Groves (9,000 ft) - One of the first areas in the canyon to show color is definitely on it’s way with some yellow and even some orange mixed in with the lime green aspens. I’m hoping this grove will be lit up within the next week. This grove is also one of the best areas to see bring red and orange when it peaks.

15 – 30% – Surveyor’s Meadow -Lots of lime green developing but only a few tiny patches of yellow showing.

Surveyor's Meadow (9/16/11) © 2011 Jared Smith

0-15% – Aspendell (8,500 ft) - Still mostly deep dark green aspens here.

0 – 15% – Cardinal Mine Grove (8,700 ft) -Lots of bright lime green showing but no yellow yet.

Cardinal Mine Grove (9/16/11) © 2011 Jared Smith

0 – 15% – Table Mountain Campground (8,900 ft) - Not much color but the aspens have lightened up a lot. Look for this area to light up within the next week.

15 – 30% – Mountain Glen Campground - A few tiny branches have turned yellow but the vast majority of the aspens are still green, albeit a bright lime green.

 0 – 15% – The Famous Mist Falls on South Fork Bishop Creek - Still a week or two off from much color at this location.

 0 – 15% – Four Jeffrey Camp Groves - Fall color in this area is always a late arrival – its going to be a few weeks at least before we see this area light up.

 0 – 15% – Willow Camp (9,065 ft) -The willows are turning gold but the aspens are still holding on to their lime green coloration. This area is notorious for developing color very fast and judging by past years I would expect some good stuff in the next week to 10 days.

Willow Camp (9/16/11) © 2011 Jared Smith

0 – 15% – South Lake(9,768 ft) - A few trees in the back of the lake are ahead of the game but 90% of the aspens are still green.

“What a year!”

Thu ,15/09/2011

“What a year,” color spotter Tim Fesko of the Meadowcliff Resort in Coleville reports today.  Tim has been out and about exploring in his ATV from 5,000 ft. all the way up to 12,000 ft. in elevation and says little in the way of fall color is yet showing .  Though, “at 9500′ in the Sweetwater’s, the yellows and oranges of flowers are fantastic. It’s mid September and the wildflowers are still blooming!”

0-15% – Eastern Sierra.  Some yellow showing among the Aspen at the highest elevations, though still a week to two away.  Wildflowers are still blooming.