California Fall Color
Dude, autumn happens here, too.

Upper Bishop Creek – You Missed It

It is still spectacular up the Bishop Creek Canyon, though all areas above 8,500′ in elevation are now past peak with leaves dropping every day.  Here’s the latest from Jared Smith of the Parchers Resort up the Bishop Creek Canyon, east of Bishop (US 395)

PAST PEAK – Overall Conditions above 8,500′ - Still many pockets of color around but overall conditions have progressed well past peak with many trees have lost their leaves or turned brown/black from the cold front that came through this week. Still, judging by the number of photographers still photographing the color up high, especially with the snow-capped peaks after the snowfall, it’s still worth a look.

GO NOW! – Overall Conditions below 8,500′ - Lots of color below 8500ft still with many popular areas at or nearing peak. The cold snap did burn a some of yellow the aspen resulting in a reddish brown hue in some of the aspen but most of the color persists, again looking quite stunning with the snowfall from the last few days.

Location Specific Reports

Past Peak – South Lake Rd above Mt. Glen Camp (8,600′) - Still a bit of color, especially along the road, but the best is behind us.

GO NOW! - 75 – 100% – Mountain Glen Campground (8,400′) - The groves directly above the campground have already gone barren of color but the aspen along the creek and the huge groves from here down canyon are spectacular right now.

Mist Falls (10/10/13) Krisdina  Karady

Mist Falls (10/10/13) Krisdina Karady

GO NOW! - 75 – 100% – Mist Falls and the groves above Bishop Creek Lodge (8,350′) - It doesn’t get much better than it is right now. Time will tell if the cold and snow has any effect on these aspen but for the time being, we’re looking at peak color here.

Cardinal Mine Groves (10/10/13) Krisdina Karady

Cardinal Mine Groves (10/10/13) Krisdina Karady

GO NOW! - 75 – 100% – Cardinal Village & Aspendell (8,550′) - The groves above Cardinal Village near the mine are past peak but the aspen along the creek and on the canyon floor are stunning right now. The Aspens in and around the community of Aspendell, CA are really starting to go off as well.

Intake II (10/10/13) Krisdina Karady

Intake II (10/10/13) Krisdina Karady

GO NOW! - 75 – 100% – Intake II (8,100′) - One of the better concentrations of color in the canyon right now is around Intake II and above the lake in the upper campground. The color along the inlet creek is spectacular right now. Again, these campgrounds are closed to campers but photographers would be well served to make the walk into the campground to see the color.

Sabrina Campground (10/10/13) Krisdina Karady

Sabrina Campground (10/10/13) Krisdina Karady

Past Peak – Sabrina Campground (9,000′) - Not much left here – what a difference a week makes.

GO NOW! - 75 -100 % – Forks, Four

Bishop Park Campground (10/10/13) Krisdina Karady

Bishop Park Campground (10/10/13) Krisdina Karady

Jeffries, Big Trees & Bishop Park Camgrounds (8,000′ – 8,300′) - These areas aren’t quite as famous as some of the other locations in the canyon but they are absolutely worth a look right now as most of the color along the creek at these campgrounds are in peak color. While the campgrounds are closed to campers, photographers are welcome to wander the stream looking for the right photo opportunity.

Past Peak – Table Mountain Camp (8,900′) - Mostly brown leaves left here as the cold snap really hit this area hard turning brilliant peak color into dead colorless leaves.

Past Peak – Surveyors Meadow (8,975′) - There is a bit of color left here but the color from last week is all but gone, even along the road and stream at the canyon floor.

Past Peak  – Willow Campground (9,100′) - The best color here is above the campground in between the campground and Parchers Resort but even then, there are only a few bunches of really good color.

Willow Camp on road to Parchers Camp (10/10/13) Krisdina Karady

Willow Camp on road to Parchers Camp (10/10/13) Krisdina Karady

Past Peak – Parchers Camp - The orange and red vein of aspen above the resort still survives but the vast majority of the color is either gone or turned brown with the storm.

Past Peak – Weir Pond (9,700′) - Still beautiful in the snow, but not much from a color standpoint as the color is mostly gone up this high.

Past Peak – Lake Sabrina (9,150′) - Just about all of the color is gone here, including the groves below the dam which were so good last week.

Below Sabrina Dam (10/10/13) Krisdina Karady

Below Sabrina Dam (10/10/13) Krisdina Karady


North Lake (10/10/13) Krisdina Karady

North Lake (10/10/13) Krisdina Karady

Past Peak – North Lake (9,255′) - There is one nice stretch of color along the road at North Lake that still looks great but the rest of it is gone.

Location: Bishop, Calif.
Temperature: 50 °F
Humidity: 56%
Dew point: 35.6 °F
Wind speed: n/a
Wind direction: n/a
Cloud cover: n/a

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2 Responses to “Upper Bishop Creek – You Missed It” »

  1. Rachel Says:

    If I’m in this area on Monday, will I have missed all of the color? I don’t know how fast it fades…

  2. John Poimiroo Says:


    The peak at Upper Bishop Creek was last week. Color fades mostly because the leaves are blown from branches or the color is spotted or blackened by frozen moisture. There is and will continue to be beautiful color in lower areas of Bishop Creek Canyon, though the upper reaches are half down to past peak.

    If you have a web-enabled smart phone, go to this site while in Bishop, then note which locations to visit. That will save you time and frustration. If you have the time to drive north, it’s peaking on the June Lake Loop right now and should be gorgeous through the coming week. June Lake is about an hour’s drive north of Bishop.

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