California Fall Color
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Archive for the ‘Fall Color Report’ Category

Northeast California Moves From Patchy to Near Peak

Wed ,22/10/2014
Susanville (10/14/14) Joel Rathje

Susanville (10/14/14) Joel Rathje

Quite a bit of color developed in the Shasta Cascade this past week, with three of its eight counties now almost Near Peak.  The Shasta Cascade straddles the Southern Cascade and Northern Sierra mountains, which have shared foliage, though different wildlife.

The gorgeous photograph taken by Joel Rathje (above) shows the diversity of color now developing in the forests of northeastern California.  The Shasta Cascade’s show is more subtle and painterly with brushes of yellow bigleaf maple, rosey dogwood, burnt umber California buckeye, orange-yellow black oak, golden cottonwood, chartreuse wild cucumber, orange-red Indian rhubarb and burgundy Oregon grape.

Bizz Johnson Trail (10/19/14) Stan Bales

Bizz Johnson Trail (10/19/14) Stan Bales

Lassen County (Near Peak 50%-75%) Lassen County has begun to show vibrant yellows bigleaf maple and red dogwood. The Bizz Johnson trail is flanked with fall colors. GO NOW!

Greenville (10/14/14) Jeff Titcomb

Greenville (10/14/14) Jeff Titcomb

Plumas County (Near Peak 50%-75%) If you plan to see Plumas County at peak, don’t wait much longer. Plumas is near peak with vibrant red and yellow scattered throughout the county.  Quincy is at peak. See “Comments” for a guide to touring Plumas County. GO NOW!

Siskiyou County (Near Peak 50%-75%) With cooler weather descending into Northern California, Siskiyou County should also be at peak by Halloween.  The color is particularly impressive when set against the backdrop of snow-covered Mt. Shasta which received a few inches within the past week. GO NOW!

Anderson (10/19/14) Brittany Pozek

Anderson (10/19/14) Brittany Pozek

Shasta County (Patchy 10%-50%) Shasta County is seeing patches of red and orange throughout the county. Most trees are starting to change and, with cooler weather making its way in, they are expected to peak at the end of October. Most trees in the Anderson area are still green with patches of red and yellow.  Big changes are predicted in the next two weeks.

Aspen, Lassen County (10/14/14) Joel Rathje

Aspen, Lassen County (10/14/14) Joel Rathje

Trinity County (Patchy 10%-50%) Trinity County is almost at near peak and predicted to show in early November. The historic town of Weaverville on Hwy 299 is a favorite fall color destination, with yellow bigleaf maple and chartreuse wild cucumber along the Trinity River.

Tehama County (Patchy 10%-50%) Tehama should be at near peak by the end of the month.  River towns such as Cottonwood and Red Bluff are now having their riparian parks populated with reds and yellow oaks and willows.

Bidwell Park, Chico (10/19/14) Amanda Secrest

Bidwell Park, Chico (10/19/14) Amanda Secrest

Butte County (Patchy 10%-50%) The urban forests of Chico are almost near peak. Chico’s Bidwell Park, the Abbey of New Clairvaux in Vina, walnut orchards along Hwy 99 and the foothill community of Paradise are prime locations to see peak around Halloween.

Modoc County (Patchy 10%-50%) Modoc County approaching near peak.  Locals are predicting it will peak in early November. Cooling temperatures have intensified early shows of vibrant yellow and red.

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June Lake is Jumping – Go Now!

Tue ,21/10/2014
Despite the warning, Greg Newbry shot this at June Lake, anyway (10/19/14) Greg Newbry

Despite the warning, Greg Newbry shot this near June Lake anyway (10/19/14) Greg Newbry

June Lake Loop (10/19/14) Alicia Vennos

June Lake Loop (10/19/14) Alicia Vennos

June Lake Loop (10/21/14) Steve Wolfe

June Lake Loop (10/21/14) Steve Wolfe

June Lake Loop (10/21/14) Steve Wolfe

June Lake Loop (10/21/14) Steve Wolfe

Lee Vining Canyon (10/21/14) Steve Wolfe

Lee Vining Canyon (10/21/14) Steve Wolfe

Mono County color spotter Alicia Vennos reports that fall color continues to explode in Mono County and predicts it should hold for at least another weekend, barring storms or high winds.

Today, Eastern Sierra color spotter Steve Wolfe left Bishop Creek Canyon to drive north along U.S. 395.  He confirmed what Alicia’s been saying, that aspen up Lundy Canyon, along the June Lake Loop and in Lee Vining Canyon are, surprisingly, still full in many places, with at- or past-peak, “Go Now!” colors.

Steve predicted that “with weather due to warm up about 10 degrees for the next few days, the color should continue to hold at least until the end of the week.  The color north of Bridgeport and south of Walker River is at- or past-peak, too, with yellow, orange and the occasional red.”

He wrote that “Lundy Canyon, while not as spectacular as June Lake Loop in its variety and intensity of color, is still uniformly yellow, with some green hanging in there. Lee Vining also has brilliant, full aspen stands.”

Lower Rock Creek Road (Near Peak – 50 – 75%) The lower trail is finally turning and should be close to peak this weekend.

Convict Lake (Peak to Past Peak) - “Ambush at the Lake” the Convict Lake Resort’s annual fall fishing derby is running now through Nov. 15, with cash and resort prizes.  Morrison’s Bonus Derby Weekend is Oct. 31 – Nov. 2, 2014.  For more about these events, contact Convict Lake Resort at 800-992-2260 or www.ConvictLake.comGO NOW!

Mammoth Lakes (Peak to Past Peak) – GO NOW!

June Lake Loop (10/19/14) Greg Newbry

June Lake Loop (10/19/14) Greg Newbry

June Lake Loop (Peak – 75 – 100%) - The June Lake Loop/Hwy. 158 is particularly beautiful from Gull Lake, “down canyon” to Grant Lake.  GO NOW!

Little Walker Lake (10/19/14) Alicia Vennos

Little Walker Lake (10/19/14) Alicia Vennos

Walker Lake (Peak – 75 – 100%) From the north end of the June Lake Loop/Hwy. 158, Little Walker Lake (Walker Lake on the Google Map) is peaking at lake level, and should hold through the weekend. Alicia Vennos provides this advice on how to get there: the trailhead is the only public access (you cannot drive to the lake on Walker Lake Rd. as that end of the lake is private).  Find the trailhead at the end of Sawmill Canyon Rd.  On the Fall Color Map, it doesn’t look that close to the lake but you just walk up a short incline from the parking lot, and you can look right down on the lake. GO NOW!

Lower Tioga Road (10/19/14) Alicia Vennos

Lower Tioga Road (10/19/14) Alicia Vennos

Lee Vining Canyon (Peak – 75 – 100%) - Groves at the base of Tioga Pass Rd./Hwy. 120 just north of the US 395 junction in Lee Vining Canyon are just turning now while along Poole Plant Road, the color is peaking and again should be amazing this weekend, as well. GO NOW!

Lower Lundy Lake Road (Peak – 75 – 100%) Lower Lundy Lake Rd. is rich in color — definitely peaking. GO NOW!

Sonora Pass (Peak to Past Peak) Sonora Pass and Leavitt Meadows are also glowing, with some areas and stands past peak.  Autumn rides through the trees are still available at the Leavitt Meadows Pack Station: text (preferred) or leave a message at (775) 450-0014GO NOW!

Walker River (Patchy – 10 – 50%) – The drive along the West Walker River in north county is becoming golden as the trees and willows along the shore get increasingly brighter.

Walker, Coleville, Topaz  (Patchy – 10 – 50%) – Spots of bright yellow and lime are seen among the Antelope Valley’s stands of black cottonwood.

Monitor Pass (Past Peak) – YOU MISSED IT!

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Yosemite Stages for Coming Beauty

Tue ,21/10/2014
Tenaya Canyon (10/21/14) Darryl Chew

Tenaya Canyon (10/20/14) Darryl Chew

Yosemite National Park public information staffer Ashley Mayer reports that the famed exotic sugar maple beside the Yosemite Chapel has shed most of its ruby leaves and sections of the Tioga Road are now past peak.  Isolated stands of yellow aspen can be seen from the Tioga Road down Tenaya Canyon.

Tenaya Lake (10/21/14) Darryl Chew

Tenaya Lake (10/20/14) Darryl Chew

Tioga Road (10/21/14) Sharon Chew

Tioga Road (10/20/14) Sharon Chew

The color is descending toward Yosemite Valley.  There, black oak, dogwood and bigleaf maple have not yet begun to show much color, though the area surrounding Fern Spring at the west entrance to the valley is the first to brighten. Fern spring is a popular location for still life photography of mottled yellow, orange and burnt umber bigleaf maple leaves sprinkled across the black clear water of the spring.

In the heart of Yosemite Valley, the black oak are still green, though they approach peak at Halloween and their black branches are typically dressed in bold orange leaves by the first of November.

Color spotters Sharon Tan, and Darryl and Sharon Chew sent photos of their visit to Yosemite, yesterday.

Tioga Road, Yosemite National Park (Peak to Past Peak) - Aspen at the highest elevations have lost color, though those near 7.000′ still show yellow.  Willows and shrubs are showing gold and crimson.

Bigleaf Maple  (10/20/14) Sharon Chew

Bigleaf Maple (10/20/14) Sharon Chew

Yosemite Valley, Yosemite National Park (Patchy – 10 – 50%) - Orange black oak, rose-colored dogwood, golden black cottonwoods and cadmium yellow bigleaf maple are only beginning to show their coming beauty.  Look for Yosemite Valley to be lovely the last week of October and first two weeks of November (weather permitting).  The sugar maple near the Yosemite Chapel peaks in early October, and like its New England brethren bursts forth in a very short color display.  It peaks so quickly that even residents of Yosemite Valley will miss seeing the color, if they don’t pass the chapel within a few days of peak.  Our recommendation: plan a trip to Yosemite the first week of October.

Aspendell: Color Survivor

Mon ,20/10/2014
Aspendell (10/20/14) Steve Wolfe

Aspendell (10/20/14) Steve Wolfe

Color spotter Steve Wolfe reports that aspen in the small Bishop Creek Canyon (Eastern Sierra) town of Aspendell and its surrounding area  “survived this past week’s wind and are still pretty full, at peak and a bit beyond.”

A plus is that green is still showing here and there, indicating that the color will last another few days.  We suggest readers compare these shots to those Steve provided last week, to see how much it has changed.

East of Aspendell (10/20/14) Steve Wolfe

East of Aspendell (10/20/14) Steve Wolfe

Steve concludes that “Aspendell is definitely the place to go for what remains of spectacular fall colors” up Bishop Creek Canyon.

Redwoods Ablaze With Color

Mon ,20/10/2014
Eel River (10/17/14) mlhradio, Flickr Creative Commons

Eel River (unknown date) mlhradio, Flickr Creative Commons

The Save The Redwoods League reported on its Facebook page this past Friday that “the redwood forest is ablaze with color.”

So, we called color spotter Grant Roden at Elk Meadow Cabins.  Grant is a naturalist/guide located at Orick near Redwood National and State Parks.  He said the color has peaked at Elk Meadow, though he’s heard that spots along The Redwood Highway (U.S. 101) are peaking, as this photo from the Save The Redwoods League website shows.

Because the elevations in the North Coast are consistent, the color descends much as it does in New England, by latitude along the coast starting at Del Norte County, then descending to Humboldt and eventually Mendocino County. North Coast vineyards, of course, go off on their own schedule by grape variety, and many are peaking, now.

Elk Rut, Elk Meadow Cabins (File Photo) Rick E Martin

Elk Rut, Elk Meadow Cabins (File Photo) Rick E Martin

Grant said the elk rut, this past September, was one of the most spectacular in recent memory.  He said he could hardly get out the Elk Meadow Cabins front office door for the battles occurring between bull elk on the lawn surrounding the lodge. The rut is one of the most colorful, fascinating and exciting wildlife events to occur annually in California.  It’s certainly worth planning a trip to see, next September.

Also of note is that the return of moist weather to the North Coast has become an unexpected attraction, with drought-parched Californians reveling in the rain.

The Redwood Highway (Peak – 75 – 100%) - We’re asking North Coast spotters to confirm this report by sending photos.

Redwood National and State Parks (Past Peak) – YOU MISSED IT!

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Lake Gregory Cleans Up Good

Mon ,20/10/2014
Lake Gregory Water Slides (10/19/14) Michelle Fox

Lake Gregory Water Slides (10/19/14) Michelle Fox

Lake Gregory (10/19/14) Michelle Fox

Lake Gregory (10/19/14) Michelle Fox

Lake Gregory (10/19/14) Michelle Fox

Lake Gregory (10/19/14) Michelle Fox

Volunteers cleaned up Lake Gregory's shoreline this past weekend (10/19/14) Michelle Fox

Volunteers cleaned up Lake Gregory’s shoreline this past weekend (10/19/14) Michelle Fox

We received a comment from Cindy, a color spotter, that she was disappointed with the color to be seen at Lake Gregory this past weekend, reporting that it didn’t match the rest of the San  Bernardino Mountain’s peak billing.

So, we investigated, communicating with Michelle Fox at Lake Gregory who provides these photos.  A group of local volunteers were at the lake doing a volunteer, end-of-summer,  shore cleanup when Michelle photographed the scene.  Bravo to all those who volunteered their Sunday to keep Lake Gregory pristine.

Michelle agrees that the color will continue to develop (weather permitting), whereas other areas of the San Bernardino mountains have been shown as peaking, perhaps because Lake Gregory is one of the lower elevations in the mountains.  Still, it’s a beautiful place with delicate color.

Lake Gregory (Patchy – 10 – 50%) - Oaks and other deciduous trees surrounding the lake have been slowly developing their color since first reported on Oct. 5.  Unlike higher elevations in the San Bernardino Mountains, Lake Gregory has not neared peak and will continue to develop color in coming weeks.

Lake Hemet (Just Starting – 0 – 10%) - A report from Lake Hemet states that little color has yet developed in the San Jacinto Mountains.  On the basis of that report, we’ve downgraded the San Jacintos and ranges to the south, to Just Starting. Reports and photos from the San Jacintos, Mt. Laguna, Julian and Mt. Palomar are appreciated.

Good Advice, Great Sunsets!

Sun ,19/10/2014
Autumn Sunset, San Bernardino Mountains (10/19/14) Nick Barnhart

Autumn Sunset, San Bernardino Mountains (10/19/14) Nick Barnhart

The Los Angeles Times, took our advice and recommended trips this past weekend to the San Bernardino Mountains.  Turns out, it was good advice, as evidenced by the spectacular shot of Rim of the World (between Lake Gregory and Lake Arrowhead) that Nick Barnhart captured on Sunday.

CLICK HERE for a link to the LA Times’ article.

UPDATE: 10/22/14

Here’s another lovely sunset of the San Bernardino Mountains taken by Nick Barnhart last evening.  I have to ask after seeing Nick’s great photographs (and I’ve photographed sunsets in So. Calif.), “Why go to the beach?”

Running Springs (10/21/14) Nick Barnhart

Running Springs (10/21/14) Nick Barnhart

Her Hardest Hue to Hold

Sun ,19/10/2014
Aspendell (10/19/14) Steve Wolfe

Aspendell (10/19/14) Steve Wolfe

Color spotter Steve Wolfe reports from the Eastern Sierra that this weekend was glorious, though he worries that wind predicted for tomorrow will strip what little is left in Bishop Creek Canyon.

A mix of color is seen in and around Aspendell and S. Bishop Creek (10/19/14) Steve Wolfe

A mix of color is seen in and around Aspendell and S. Bishop Creek (10/19/14) Steve Wolfe

Steve was at Aspendell today and caught these lovely images.  He notes, as Jared Smith did last week, that the area around Aspendell is both at peak and past peak, though on the main road through Aspendell there’s still green among the aspen, meaning that color change will continue to develop for a week or two.

It’s a mix of patchy color with yellow, orange and leafless stands.  The color is lasting a week longer than usual.  “Even around the tiny burg of South Fork Bishop Creek there are pockets of bright yellow aspen with this photo taken about a mile up the road.” If you’re in the area, GO NOW!  As, Monday’s wind will likely strip what color remains.

Tahoe Glittering Gold

Sun ,19/10/2014
Lake Tahoe (10/18/14) Kimberly Kofala

Lake Tahoe (10/18/14) Kimberly Kofala

Lake Tahoe (Peak – 75 – 100%) – Color spotter Kimberly Kofala reports Lake Tahoe is glittering with gold. GO NOW!

June Lakes Hangin’ in There, Mammoth Lakes Spotty

Thu ,16/10/2014
Lee Vining (10/16/14) Arya Degenhardt

Lee Vining (10/16/14) Arya Degenhardt

UPDATED 10/17 - This week’s wind has stripped some fully changed stands of trees of their leaves at elevations below 7,500′ in the Eastern Sierra, though if your plans were to head to June Lake this weekend, you should still see lots of bright color at those elevations.

Mono County color spotter Alicia Vennos writes, “many of the groves and trees survived the wind. Higher elevations (8500’+) were hardest hit and are pretty much past peak now.  However, many areas below 8500’ are still glowing and beautiful and ready for the paparazzi!

“Lower Lundy Lake Road, Lower Rock Creek Road and multi-use trail, the lower section of Rock Creek Road above Tom’s Place, lower Tioga Pass Road/Hwy. 120,  Little Walker Lake (north of June Lake Loop/Hwy. 158) will all be great spots this weekend.  The June Lake Loop/Hwy. 158 is “patchy” overall with vibrant color in spots, areas that are still green, and areas that are past peak – it’s a real mixed bag, but fall color reporters in the June Lake area say come NOW as there is plenty of color!

“‘Patchy’ is a good way to describe Conway Summit and places near Bridgeport like Summers Meadow off Green Creek Road, as well, while the West Walker River banks in Walker and Coleville is really just starting!   All in all, despite the windy hours of yesterday, it will be a lovely weekend for foliage followers.”

Mammoth Lakes Basin (10/6/14) Lara Kaylor

Mammoth Lakes Basin (10/16/14) Lara Kaylor

Mammoth Lakes (10/16/14) Lara Kaylor

Mammoth Lakes (10/16/14) Lara Kaylor

Mammoth Lakes (10/16/14) Lara Kaylor

Mammoth Lakes (10/16/14) Lara Kaylor

Lara Kaylor (Mammoth Lakes) adds that bright color can be found along the Old Mammoth Road and Old Mammoth neighborhood.  Green and lime trees in town mean color will continue to develop in spots for the next two weeks.

Steve Wolfe adds, “There’s some at-peak color below the town of South Fork Bishop Creek, also at the lake below Aspendell — and when I checked, Lundy Canyon was at-peak — and trying valiantly to hold on to its leaves. There are still sections on the June Lake Loop that are at- and after peak, particularly the section of Rush Creek between Silver and Grant Lakes. Remnants remain at the “aspen meadow” at Conway Summit, but more wind is forecast for the eastern Sierra — so GO NOW!

Mammoth Lakes and June Lakes (Peak – 75 – 100%) – Bright yellow is still to be seen at Mammoth Lakes and June Lakes in stands that were not stripped of leaves. GO NOW!

Aspendell (10/16/14) Steve Wolfe.

Aspendell (10/16/14) Steve Wolfe.

Bishop Creek Canyon (Peak 75 – 100% and Past Peak) - Spots of brilliant color can still be found at Aspendell.  GO NOW!