Full Peak Above 9,000′ – GO NOW!

Sabrina Approach (9/30/16) Kevin Lennox

Sabrina Approach (9/30/16) Kevin Lennox

It’s peaking at the highest elevations in Bishop Creek Canyon (Inyo County) and that has color spotters wondering if autumn is arriving early. Actually, it’s right on time.

It always seems early when areas above 9,000′ in the Eastern Sierra peak in September, but that’s actually quite normal. Lake Sabrina, South Lake and North Lake often peak before October.

Kevin Lennox, a color spotter from Pasadena, was there today and assessed North Lake as Past Peak. Here’s what you’re likely to see this weekend:

Overall Conditions Above 8,500’ – Peak (75-100%) – It’s time to head to Bishop Creek Canyon to see high areas of the canyon at peak. All the highest areas are peaking, some are being reported as approaching Past Peak.

Overall Conditions Between 7,500’ and 8,500’ – Just Starting (0%-10%) to Patchy (10-50%) – Most of the lower canyon is still just starting, though areas between 8,000 and 8,500 are still patchy or just starting at the lowest elevations.

Weir Pond (9,650’) – Peak ( 75-100%) GO NOW! – The canyon wall above the pond are peaking with yellow and some orange. Aspen around the pond’s shoreline are now more yellow than lime.

Parchers Resort (9,260’) – Peak ( 75-100%) GO NOW! – The canyon walls to the east and west of the resort are brightly painted with yellow, orange and rose, as are many of the aspen on the resort grounds.

Willow Campground (9,000’) – Peak ( 75-100%) GO NOW! – This area has really developed in the past week with yellow filling in. Views up canyon from the campground are beautiful but the campground and the aspen lining the road and the beaver pond are a mix of lime and fresh yellow.

Table Mountain Camp (8,900’) – Peak ( 75-100%) GO NOW! – The mountainside just down canyon from the campground is covered with brilliant yellow and a touch of orange. The aspen along the creek are now filling in with lime and yellow.

Surveyors Meadow (8,975’) – Peak ( 75-100%) GO NOW! – Surveyor’s meadow is gorgeous, though there are still many more stands to turn. This area should remain at peak for two weeks (conditions permitting).

Lake Sabrina (9,150’) – Peak ( 75-100%) GO NOW! – Lots of orange color can be seen at the lake along the back slopes that descend to the lake and along the eastern shoreline. The highest color will likely not last another week.

Sabrina Approach (9,100’) – Peak (75-100%) – The approach to Sabrina and the small ponds below the dam are full of bright orange and yellow aspen.

Sabrina Campground Area (9,000’) – Peak ( 75-100%) GO NOW! – The aspen along Hwy 168 are going off in a big way right now and are at peak.

North Lake (9,255’) – Peak ( 75-100%) GO NOW! – The approach to the lake and the groves on the mountainside above the lake are now at low peak color. More yellow is appearing along the road, though it will be another week to full peak on North Lake Road.

Mist Falls and the groves above Bishop Creek Lodge (8,350’) – Patchy (10-50%) – Yellow is filling in.

Aspendell (8,400’) – Just Starting (0 – 10%) Cold nights have pushed the color, with a lot more yellow appearing in this neighborhood.

Groves above Cardinal Village (8,550’) – Peak ( 75-100%) GO NOW! – The canyon slope from above Cardinal Village up to Cardinal Pinnacle is at peak. More lime and yellow are now showing near the middle fork of Bishop Creek and surrounding Cardinal Village; give it another week for peak color there.

Four Jeffries (8,000’) – Just Starting (0 – 10%) – Still scattered yellow branches.

Intake II (8,000’) – Patchy – (10 – 50%) – Lime and yellow, scrub aspen on the hillside have turned.

Big Trees Campground (7,800’) – Just Starting – (0 – 10%) – Still green

When Should I Go?

Laurel Canyon, Mono County (9/28/16) Josh Wray

Laurel Canyon, Mono County (9/28/16) Josh Wray

“When should I go?” is the most common question we receive.

“Go Now!” is our response. Don’t put off visiting an area if it is Near Peak or, certainly, at Peak. As, when a location is peaking it only has two weeks – at most – of peak color to be seen at that elevation.

Each photo posted on this site, identifies when and where it was taken. We try to post photos not older than a week. What you see in a photo will be different by the time you get there.

Above, Josh Wray captured yellow and lime aspen leaves on his hike up Laurel Canyon, near Mammoth, this week.  Today, many of those green leaves have turned to lime, the lime leaves to yellow, and some of the yellow leaves have fallen.

If you want to see a specific area at peak, go to “Categories” on the left side of this site and click on the region you plan to visit.  Then, scroll back in time to see where it was peaking and when in the past.

If you can only travel on a given date, click on “Archives” on the left side of this site and scroll back in time to see what was peaking.  Then, go there.

If you want to see reports for specific locations (e.g., Laurel Canyon), enter the location in the Search bar above the map.

But mostly, GO NOW!

, , ,

Bishop Creek on Video

Bishop, Calif. shows us how artists, climbers and riders are seeing fall color this week in their backyard, Bishop Creek Canyon.

[embedplusvideo height=”367″ width=”600″ editlink=”http://bit.ly/2dI4PNU” standard=”http://www.youtube.com/v/SjSss4BVkHU?fs=1&vq=hd720″ vars=”ytid=SjSss4BVkHU&width=600&height=367&start=&stop=&rs=w&hd=1&autoplay=0&react=1&chapters=&notes=” id=”ep1912″ /]

[embedplusvideo height=”367″ width=”600″ editlink=”http://bit.ly/2dI5RcB” standard=”http://www.youtube.com/v/vzopi-bz4MM?fs=1&vq=hd720″ vars=”ytid=vzopi-bz4MM&width=600&height=367&start=&stop=&rs=w&hd=1&autoplay=0&react=1&chapters=&notes=” id=”ep7000″ /]

[embedplusvideo height=”367″ width=”600″ editlink=”http://bit.ly/2dI4BWT” standard=”http://www.youtube.com/v/-wQHmYzCUPY?fs=1&vq=hd720″ vars=”ytid=-wQHmYzCUPY&width=600&height=367&start=&stop=&rs=w&hd=1&autoplay=0&react=1&chapters=&notes=” id=”ep3205″ /]

,

Hope Springs Eternal Fall Color

[embedplusvideo height=”367″ width=”600″ editlink=”http://bit.ly/2dqrR7G” standard=”http://www.youtube.com/v/0TSia_Xmhzw?fs=1&vq=hd720″ vars=”ytid=0TSia_Xmhzw&width=600&height=367&start=&stop=&rs=w&hd=1&autoplay=0&react=1&chapters=&notes=” id=”ep3522″ /]

Hope Valley (9/27/16) Vince Piercy

Hope Valley (9/27/16) Vince Piercy

Hope Valley (9/27/16) Vince Piercy

Hope Valley (9/27/16) Vince Piercy

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!

, , ,

Bishop’s Canyon Glows

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.

[embedplusvideo height=”367″ width=”600″ editlink=”http://bit.ly/2dF0rPC” standard=”http://www.youtube.com/v/S7DQvKYu8h0?fs=1&vq=hd720″ vars=”ytid=S7DQvKYu8h0&width=600&height=367&start=&stop=&rs=w&hd=1&autoplay=0&react=1&chapters=&notes=” id=”ep2532″ /]

, ,

Peaking High in Mono County – Go Now!

Lobdell Lake (9/26/16) Mono County Tourism

Lobdell Lake (9/26/16) Mono County Tourism

“Fall colors are exploding in the higher elevations,” reports Mono County color spotter Jeff Simpson.

Parker Lake Rd. (9/27/16) Mono County Tourism

Parker Lake Rd. (9/27/16) Mono County Tourism

Virginia Lakes Rd. (9/26/16) Mono County Tourism

Virginia Lakes Rd. (9/26/16) Mono County Tourism

Sonora Pass (9/23/16) Mono County Tourism

Sonora Pass (9/23/16) Mono County Tourism

Rock Creek Rd. (9/26/16) Mono County Tourism

Rock Creek Rd. (9/26/16) Mono County Tourism

Monitor Pass (9/22/16) Mono County Tourism

Monitor Pass (9/22/16) Mono County Tourism

McGee Creek (9/26/16) Mono County Tourism

McGee Creek (9/26/16) Mono County Tourism

Lundy Canyon (9/27/16) Mono County Tourism

Lundy Canyon (9/27/16) Mono County Tourism

Lobdell Lake (9/26/16) Mono County Tourism

Lobdell Lake (9/26/16) Mono County Tourism

Green Creek (9/26/16) Mono County Tourism

Green Creek (9/26/16) Mono County Tourism

Dunderberg Meadow (9/26/16) Mono County Tourism

Dunderberg Meadow (9/26/16) Mono County Tourism

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.

[embedplusvideo height=”337″ width=”600″ editlink=”http://bit.ly/2dESXfr” standard=”http://www.youtube.com/v/6WK25qE5sTU?fs=1&vq=hd720″ vars=”ytid=6WK25qE5sTU&width=600&height=337&start=&stop=&rs=w&hd=1&autoplay=0&react=1&chapters=&notes=” id=”ep7989″ /]

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.

Upcoming events:

DogTrekking in the Vineyards

Dogtrekker.com

Dogtrekker.com

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.

,

First Report: Hat Creek Meadow Peaks

Hat Creek Meadow, Lassen Volcanic National Park (9/25/16) Shanda Ochs

Hat Creek Meadow, Lassen Volcanic National Park (9/25/16) Shanda Ochs

Hat Creek Meadow, Lassen Volcanic National Park (9/25/16) Shanda Ochs

Hat Creek Meadow, Lassen Volcanic National Park (9/25/16) Shanda Ochs

Manzanita Lake, Lassen Volcanic National Park (9/24/16) Shanda Ochs

Manzanita Lake, Lassen Volcanic National Park (9/24/16) Shanda Ochs

Mountain Alder, Lassen Volcanic National Park (9/24/16) Shanda Ochs

Mountain Alder, Lassen Volcanic National Park (9/24/16) Shanda Ochs

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%)

,

First Report: Sonoma Valley Oak Woodlands Brighten

Sonoma Valley Regional Park, Glen Ellen (9/25/16) John Natelli

Sonoma Valley Regional Park, Glen Ellen (9/25/16) John Natelli

Sonoma Valley Regional Park, Glen Ellen (9/25/16) John Natelli

Sonoma Valley Regional Park, Glen Ellen (9/25/16) John Natelli

Sonoma Valley Regional Park, Glen Ellen (9/25/16) John Natelli

Sonoma Valley Regional Park, Glen Ellen (9/25/16) John Natelli

Sonoma Valley Regional Park, Glen Ellen (9/25/16) John Natelli

Sonoma Valley Regional Park, Glen Ellen (9/25/16) John Natelli

Sonoma Valley Regional Park, Glen Ellen (9/25/16) John Natelli

Sonoma Valley Regional Park, Glen Ellen (9/25/16) John Natelli

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%)