California Fall Color
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This Is It – Bishop Creek Canyon – Go Now!!!

Wed ,01/10/2014
North Lake Road (10/1/14) Jared Smith

North Lake Road (10/1/14) Jared Smith

The beauty continues up Bishop Creek Canyon with most of the color surviving wind and a short-lived dusting of snow on Saturday.  Now, California is experiencing a heat wave, with parts of the San Francisco Bay Area predicted to reach near 90 degrees F.  That’s very unusual, even in summer. Hot days and cold nights mean intense color and this will likely be the last week where full peak can be seen at the highest elevations. As, Bishop Creek Canyon color spotter Jared Smith has reported two successive weeks of peak color and now a third.  Here’s his latest report:

Overall Conditions Above 8,500′ Elevation – Peak (75 – 100%) GO NOW! While Bishop Creek lost some of its fall color this past week, cooler temps over the weekend, which included a dusting of snow and nighttime lows in the 20s.  Those prime conditions set off much of the color that was just starting to turn. Peak color still dominates most of the higher elevation locations in the canyon with Parchers Camp, South Lake Road below Weir Pond, the North Lake Road and the approach to Lake Sabrina just below the dam glorious. It is still very much go-time in the Bishop Creek Cayon, evidenced by the legions of tripod-equipped photographers set up near many of the best canyon views. Jared Smith predicts peak color will persist well into next week, weather permitting. Drive carefully when visiting, as lots of photographers throw caution to the wind by setting up their cameras on blind corners on the mountain roads.

Overall Conditions Below 8,500′ Elevation – Patchy (10 – 50%) It was difficult to grade the lower part of Bishop Creek Canyon this week as some areas are starting to pop with touches of yellow, red and orange while other areas are barely showing anything other than lime green. Still, the areas below Aspendell and Bishop Creek Lodge are going to produce some great color over the next couple weeks if the weather holds out, and the forecast as of today looks very favorable with mild temps and light winds.

Weir Pond (10/1/14) Jared Smith

Weir Pond (10/1/14) Jared Smith

GO NOW! Peak (75 – 100%) – Weir Pond (9,650′) Aspen on the mountainside above Weir Pond were pretty well stripped of color during the wind storm late last week but thankfully aspen around the pond itself and lining the road are still spectacular. This will probably be the last week of ideal peak color at Weir, but the views are still worth the visit, especially mid-morning when the color reflects off of the surface of the pond the the Sierra Crest looming in the background.

Parchers Camp (10/1/14) Jared Smith

Parchers Camp (10/1/14) Jared Smith

GO NOW! Peak (75 – 100%) – Parchers Camp (9,260′) The color has really arrived in and around Parchers camp, especially on the canyon walls above the cabins. Also looking gorgeous are the trees along Bishop Creek in between Willow Campground and the resort. It’s hard to know how long the color is going to stick around here but I’d have to guess we’ve got a week of color continuing to develop before it’s all said and done.

Willow Camp (10/1/14) Jared Smith

Willow Camp (10/1/14) Jared Smith

GO NOW! Peak (75 – 100%) – Willow Campground  (9,000′) Although somewhat of a wind-tunnel late last week, the color within the campground and on the canyon walls above the campground and along the beaver pond just past the campground are still looking beautiful. Not much in the way of red here but beautiful yellow and some orange are showing.

Sabrina Camp (10/1/14) Jared Smith

Sabrina Camp (10/1/14) Jared Smith

GO NOW! Peak (75 – 100%) – Sabrina Campground (9,000′) The brilliant red & orange aspen at the entrance of the campground have now started to fade. However, the view up Hwy 168 is still exceptional and the aspen above and within the campground are near at or very near peak color. The middle fork of Bishop Creek that runs through the campground is a nice slow crystal clear stretch of stream making for excellent reflections and gorgeous views.

Table Mountain (10/1/14) Jared Smith

Table Mountain (10/1/14) Jared Smith

GO NOW! Peak (75 – 100%) – Table Mountain Camp (8,900′) Aspen lining the creek within the campground are taking center stage with brilliant yellow and orange surrounding a grassy meadow that is coursed by a meandering and slow, trout-filled stream. The hillside just below the campground is still photo-worthy but less spectacular than last week. Just below the campground is Steiny Loop, a cool dirt road that winds away from South Lake Road along the western bank of Bishop Creek, So. Fork. The color is really popping even though there is still a touch of green left to change.

Sirveyors Meadow (10/1/14) Jared Smith

Sirveyors Meadow (10/1/14) Jared Smith

GO NOW! Peak (75 – 100%) – Surveyors Meadow (8975ft) The green is just about gone now with the exception of evergreens along the stream and mixed in with larger aspens, providing spectacular views. Jared doesn’t recall ever seeing so much orange and red here but says it’s certainly welcome while it lasts. This was another area that was thought would be damaged by last week’s wind though Jared says he was pleasantly surprised by the vitality and vibrancy of the color between the meadow and the Tyee Lakes Trailhead bridge, especially on the right hand side of South

Lake Sabrina (10/1/14) Jared Smith

Lake Sabrina (10/1/14) Jared Smith

GO NOW! Near Peak – (50 – 75%) – Lake Sabrina (9,150′) This is an unusal report, as last week Lake Sabrina was at full peak… this week nearing peak.  That’s because the color was stripped by wind this past week, though Lake Sabrina still has lots of color left to see, especially towards the inlet side of the lake. What color was lost was replaced by spectacular color which developed just below the dam and all along the road down to Sabrina Camp. Especially noteworthy are the small ponds just as you approach the dam. This is probably the last week of good color around the reservoir but the color just below will to continue to get better for the next week or so.

North Lake (10/1/14) Jared Smith

North Lake (10/1/14) Jared Smith

GO NOW! Peak (75 – 100%) – North Lake (9,255′) Aspen along the shoreline near the outlet are as brilliant as Jared has ever seen them and are now extremely impressive. Also of note is the gorgeous view of the dirt road that goes along the east shore of the lake. Some really attractive pockets of red are to be seen, though some of the color up on the mountain was stripped over the weekend. Nonetheless, the North Lake area is probably the hottest color spot in the canyon as of now. Not to be missed are the aspen within the campground itself or on the canyon wall near the grass lake inlet. Watch out for photographers driving in this area as they seemed to be set up in the middle of the road or stopping their vehicle in the middle of the road all over the place up here. Can’t blame them, the views are insane right now.

Steiny Loop (10/1/14) Jared Smith

Steiny Loop (10/1/14) Jared Smith

Patchy (10 – 50%) – Steiny Loop above Mt. Glen Camp (8,600′) Jared mentioned the Steiny loop in the Table Mountain report and does so again, here. The campground at Mt. Glen is still patchy but it is really starting to exhibit some brilliant pure yellow in areas. Still enough green here to go with a patchy rating however just above the campground, the aspen are really starting to pop. This area should be near peak or peak by this time, next week.

Mist Falls (10/1/14) Jared Smith

Mist Falls (10/1/14) Jared Smith

Patchy (10 – 50%) – Mist Falls and the groves above Bishop Creek Lodge (8,350′) Still patchy at Mist Falls, but the deep dark green is turning lime green and yellow increasingly, each day. The best views of this area are probably a week or so out, possibly more, but photographers are already setting up along South Lake Road to get a view of the famous waterfall. Just Starting (0 – 10%) – Aspendell (8,400′) Lime green dominates the aspen at Aspendell but it has lightened considerably since last week. Aspen high up on the mountain near Cardinal Pinnacle are starting to fade a bit, but larger old-growth aspen are going to look pretty impressive.

Groves Above Cardinal Village (10/1/14) Jared Smith

Groves Above Cardinal Village (10/1/14) Jared Smith

GO NOW! Near Peak – (50 – 75%) – Groves above Cardinal Village (8,550) Like Sabrina Lake, this area also lost some color, particularly below Cardinal Pinnacle, but the lower aspen surrounding Cardinal Village and up towards Cardinal Mine are still looking amazing. This is another area that Jared downgraded as the loss of turned leaves means it is now again moving toward another peak, probably in a week, once the rest of the aspen at Cardinal Village finish turning. It’s hard to beat the view of the peaks above Sabrina with this gorgeous grove of aspen below and along the creek cascading down from Sabrina Camp above.

Four Jeffries (10/1/14) Jared Smith

Four Jeffries (10/1/14) Jared Smith

Patchy (10 – 50%) – Four Jeffries Some really nice patches of color are now showing in and around this campground just a mile down from Bishop Creek Lodge. Some orange, yellow and even a bit of red has developed this week but we’ve got a lot more color to come here.

Intake II (10/1/14) Jared Smith

Intake II (10/1/14) Jared Smith

Patchy (10 – 50%) – Intake II This small lake is somewhat of an enigma as most of the aspen all around the lake are still green as green can be but near the bubble hole on the right hand side of the dam there is a big patch of bright orange & red. Also some nice red showing on the west side of the lake. Just Starting – (0 – 10%) – Big Trees Campground Very little color is visible at this lower elevation campground. The aspens are huge here and can be quite spectacular during peak color. I’m guessing we’re at least a couple weeks from seeing much here.

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Rabbitbrush, Grasses and Willows Color Up

Wed ,01/10/2014
Dunderberg Lake (9/27/14) Kimberly Kofala

Dunderberg Lake (9/27/14) Kimberly Kofala

AN - June Lake Deer 9-27

Deer, Eastern Sierra (9/27/14) Alena Nichols

Just because an area is reporting patchy color doesn’t mean it’s not yet beautiful, as these photos attest.

We’ve often recommended looking to the ground for some of the best fall color. Color spotter Kimberly Kofala found this beautiful shot of grasses along the edge of Dunderberg Lake in Mono County, Joe Pollini, from Bishop provides his town’s first report, stating that the rabbitbrush are “fully blooming with brilliant yellow,” Alena Nichols and Nick Barnhart found beauty in the woods and along the hillsides, and John Brissenden of Sorenson’s Resort shot golden-orange willows rising above a short-lived snowfall.

Patchy (10 – 50%) – Bishop – Rabbitbrush are brilliant yellow. Cottonwood are beginning to flush with yellow and lime.  Isolated trees are turning faster.

Patchy (10 – 50%) – June Lake - Color spotters Alena Nichols and Nicholas Barnhart reinforce the theme of looking to the ground, with Alena’s photo of an Eastern Sierra deer camouflaged amidst the fall foliage and Nick’s shot of June Lake, with color seen painting the hillsides.

A dusting of snow on Saturday just made meadow grasses stand out more near Sorenson's in the Hope Valley (9/27/14) John Brissenden

A dusting of snow on Saturday just made willows and meadow grasses stand out more near Sorenson’s in the Hope Valley (9/27/14) John Brissenden

Patchy (10 – 50%) – Hope Valley - John Brissenden reports that the willows at the Sorenson’s Resort are coloring orange-golden, though aspen are a mix of green, lime and yellow.

June Lake (9/28/14) Nicholas Barnhart

June Lake (9/28/14) Nicholas Barnhart

Mammoth Lakes Basin Near Peak

Tue ,30/09/2014
Twin Lakes, Mammoth Lakes (9/27/14) Susan Morning

Twin Lakes, Mammoth Lakes Basin (9/27/14) Susan Morning

Color spotters Susan Morning and Kevin Lennox sends these shots in and around Mammoth Lakes.  Twin Lakes in the Mammoth Lakes Basin is glowing with color right now with brilliant red, orange, yellow and lime.  Lara Kaylor of Mammoth Lakes Tourism says the color is showing nicely at the highest elevations and still developing below 8,000′.  Warm days and cold nights are sugaring up the trees and creating intense color conditions.

Mammoth Lakes Basin (9-/27/14) Kevin Lennox

GO NOW! Near Peak (50 – 75%) Twin Lakes, Mammoth Lakes Basin- Kevin Lennox got this picture of spectacular orange, red, yellow and lime aspen near peak on Saturday.

Twin Lakes, Mammoth Lakes (9/27/14) Susan Morning

Twin Lakes, Mammoth Lakes (9/27/14) Susan Morning

Patchy (10 – 50%) – Laurel Canyon – Very little color showing at base, though about a fourth of trees have turned at the top of the canyon.

Convict Lake (9/24/14) Kevin Lennox

Convict Lake (9/24/14) Kevin Lennox

Patchy (10 – 50%) – Convict Lake - Convict has lots of yellow just appearing around the lake; Convict Canyon has a way to go.

GO NOW! Near Peak (50 – 75%) - McGee Creek Canyon – Gorgeous color above 8,500′

Patchy (10 – 50%) – Crowley Lake - Very little color is showing, as yet.

Patchy (10 – 50%) Tioga Pass – Give it another week to two.

Patchy (10 – 50%) Lundy Lake – On the lower end of the scale.

GO NOW! Near Peak (50 – 75%) – Lundy Canyon Trail - Beautiful yellow, orange and red aspen can be seen at higher elevations. Follow these links to finding the color at and surrounding Mammoth Lakes:

MAMMOTH’S TOP FIVE LAKES FOR FALL COLORS
MAMMOTH’S GUIDE TO FALL COLOR HOTSPOTS
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Aspen Progressing Faster, Cottonwoods On Schedule

Fri ,26/09/2014
S Fork Bishop Creek (9/26/14) Steve Wolfe

S Fork Bishop Creek (9/26/14) Steve Wolfe

Color spotter Steve Wolfe is back chasing fall colors in the Eastern Sierra.  Steve’s photography appeared last autumn on this blog and he’s back in the eastern Sierra scouting foliage from Big Pine to just below Bridgeport to the north.

Steve reports what we believe is happening, that the quaking aspen are further along than last year and turning faster.  We noticed that the appearance of color was about what it was last year, but that the progression of color has been much faster.  That is, areas are appearing to change about as they did this time last year, but once they get to Patchy, the progression through Near Peak to Peak is rapid.

North Lake (9/26/14) Steve Wolfe

North Lake (9/26/14) Steve Wolfe

That means, you have to be ready to go when we’re reporting Patchy color and certainly, once we report Near Peak, as our reports can be received a day or two after the photograph was taken.  California Fall Color always shows date-marked photographs, so you know what’s happening now.  We rarely will publish a photo older than a week and then only when it is clearly marked as to the date it was taken.

Steve notes, he believes the color “isn’t as uniform as 2013; there are still patches of green above 9000 feet mixed in with the russets and golds.” He notes that cottonwoods and willows seem to be progressing the same rate as last autumn.  Here are a couple of photos taken today above 9,000 feet.  To see all his photos, click on the link at left of his Facebook Gallery.

Full Peak Above 8,500′

Wed ,24/09/2014
JS - North Lake - 9-23 (2)

North Lake (9/23/14) Jared Smith

If you have longed to see full peak up Bishop Creek Canyon in the Eastern Sierra, but have missed it in the past, this is the week.  GO NOW! Color Spotter Jared Smith of Parchers Resort reports “It is absolutely go-time for fall color chasers in the upper reaches of the Bishop Creek Canyon,” with some areas slightly past peak and many areas at peak.

Scenes like the following, taken at North Lake this past weekend by photographer Kimberly Kofala, will not last long in areas where color has changed, should strong winds arrive as predicted.

North Lake (9/22/14) Kimberly Kofala

North Lake (9/22/14) Kimberly Kofala

Overall Conditions Above 8,500′ Elevation – Peak (75 – 100%) GO NOW! Jared is rating all of the upper reaches of Bishop Creek Canyon at peak, due to a rapidly accellerating show of color.  Roadside aspen are just now yellowing, while red, orange and yellow hues are dominating the canyon walls to the east and west of South Lake Road and along Hwy 168 at higher elevations.  A concern is that the forecast calls for three straight days of wind with a chance of rain and snow showers, so urgency is recommended.  Of course, Jared notes that cooler temperatures will intensify color down the canyon, which could make next week “a real treat if the higher aspen can withstand the short cold snap in the forecast.”  Our recommendation is not to wait, but to GO NOW! Overall Conditions Below 8,500′ Elevation – Patchy (10 – 50%) The good news is that if you can’t go now, lower elevations are still mostly patchy with small yellow patches and bright lime green hues being prevalent.  With cooler weather ahead, Jared says he wouldn’t be surprised if the better views below 8,500′ start to really pop and develop brilliant color.

Wier Pond (9/24/14) Jared Smith

Wier Pond (9/24/14) Jared Smith

Peak (75 – 100% – Go Now!) – Weir Pond (9,650′) The hillside to the west of the pond is fully turned now with a few aspens giving up for the season. The aspen on the west side of the pond have really progressed quickly making for some exceptional reflection shots with green grass contrasted with gorgeous yellow, orange and touches of red. The view from the outlet is stunning with a great view of the Sierra Crest and the grass-lined pond below with color on either side of the small lake. There is still some green yet to turn, especially along the road, though Jared supposes that the next week will be the best of the best for this location, weather permitting.

South Fork Bishop Creek, Parchers Camp (9/24/14) Jared Smith

South Fork Bishop Creek, Parchers Camp (9/24/14) Jared Smith

Near Peak (75 – 100% – Go Now!) – Parchers Camp (9,260′) Parchers Camp is probably closer to the 75% mark with some lower-lying aspen yet to turn, but the hillsides surrounding the resort are on fire to both the east & west. The color here at the resort tends to stick around a while so he’s hoping to get at least another week of good color at Parchers Resort if Mother Nature can behave herself, a tall order in late September and early October. Fingers crossed.

Willow Campground (9/24/14) Jared Smith

Willow Campground (9/24/14) Jared Smith

Near Peak (50 – 75%) – Willow Campground  (9,000′) There is still enough green along the road and in the campground to keep this location at the near peak level but things are moving quickly with select trees showing nothing but green last week  now showing peak color. Especially brilliant are the trees on the right hand side of South Lake Road just past the campground with a nice dark granite backdrop behind them.

Sabrina Campground (9/23/14) Jared Smith

Sabrina Campground (9/23/14) Jared Smith

Near Peak (50 – 75% – Go Now!) – Sabrina Campground (9,000′) The aspen along Hwy 168 are at peak color with lots of red and orange to go along with yellow and some green from the pine. Inside the campground however things are not quite there yet. There is a lot of yellow near the entrance to the campground and some red/orange hues on the hwy side of the campground but there is still quite a bit of green yet to turn along the middle fork of Bishop Creek. Let’s hope the wind, which can be especially strong here, doesn’t strip the friendly aspens of their foliage too early.

Tabel Mountain Camp (9/24/14) Jared Smith

Tabel Mountain Camp (9/24/14) Jared Smith

Peak (75 – 100% – Go Now!) – Table Mountain Camp (8,900′) Jared’s favorite views from this area are on the canyon walls above and around the campground, both of which are as brilliant as they’re likely to get this season. Still quite a bit of greenery within the campground but it’s changing incredibly fast. This is certainly a “GO NOW!” spot.

Surveyors Meadow (9/24/14) Jared Smith

Surveyors Meadow (9/24/14) Jared Smith

Peak (75 – 100% – Go Now!) – Surveyors Meadow (8975ft) Some green is still hanging tough along the road but most of the aspen in this area have turned. One of the better areas in the canyon to spot some orange and red, the mountain to the west of South Lake Road and the trees along the creek are especially brilliant.

Lake Sabrina (9/24/14) Jared Smith

Lake Sabrina (9/24/14) Jared Smith

Peak (75 – 100% – Go Now!) – Lake Sabrina (9,150′) Color towards the back of the lake near the main inlet is going off in a big way right now with lots of orange to go along with yellow, some patchy red and a bit of green. The east shore, especially the aspen lining the high mark of the reservoir are also showing some orange and red. Jared hopes the color sticks around a bit here but this location is the most susceptible to wind so he’ll have to wait and see. Thankfully, just below the dam there is plenty of color yet to change and the slow moving stream and pond below the lake can be nearly as spectacular as the reservoir when the color pops.

North Lake (9/23/14) Jared Smith

North Lake (9/23/14) Jared Smith

Peak (75 – 100% – Go Now!) – North Lake (9,255′) Jared reports the North Lake area was a difficult area to grade with some significant green lining the famed road just past the lake and along the shoreline of the lake, but the vast majority of the fall color is here now with the hillside directly above the lake, the road approaching the lake, and the campground really looking spectacular. Some red, orange and yellow all found here. The outlet creek is a great place to view North Lake. GO NOW!

Mt. Glen Camp (9/23/14) Jared Smith

Mt. Glen Camp (9/23/14) Jared Smith

Patchy (10 – 50%) – Steiny Loop above Mt. Glen Camp (8,600′) It’s safe to say that about half of the color has started to go between Mt. Glen campground and the end of the Steiny Loop below Table Mt. Camp, possibly a touch more, but with the amount of green dominating the hillside at and below the campground, I’m still calling this patchy. The roadside aspen are really starting to turn making for a most scenic drive up canyon. More to come from this area.

Mist Falls and Groves above Bishop Creek Lodge (9/23/14) Jared Smith

Mist Falls and Groves above Bishop Creek Lodge (9/23/14) Jared Smith

Patchy (10 – 50%) – Mist Falls and the groves above Bishop Creek Lodge (8,350′) The color at the falls is a bit of the ordinary this year as just a few trees turned and are now losing their leaves while the vast majority of the color isn’t showing at all yet, just some lime green. This is a really good thing as regardless of what weather we see this weekend, this area should maintain its leaves allowing for the transformation to continue in the coming weeks.

Aspendell (9/24/14) Jared Smith

Aspendell (9/24/14) Jared Smith

Just Starting (0 – 10%) – Aspendell (8,400′) Pretty much the same report as last week although the lime green hue is lightening somewhat. Very few yellow branches within this small community as of now.

Groves Above Cardinal Village (9/24/14) Jared Smith

Groves Above Cardinal Village (9/24/14) Jared Smith

Peak – (75 – 100% – Go now!) – Groves above Cardinal Village (8,550) The color above Cardinal Village is in full effect with yellow painting the mountain from Cardinal Peak down to the mine. There is still quite a bit of green at Cardinal Village and below to Aspendell so I would expect more good stuff to come from this beautiful area.

Four Jeffries (9/24/14) Jared Smith

Four Jeffries (9/24/14) Jared Smith

Just Starting – (0 – 10%) – Four Jeffries Not much change this week, which again is probably a good thing with the weather coming. The more green we have, the safer we are in expecting good fall color well into October.

Intake II (9/24/14) Jared Smith

Intake II (9/24/14) Jared Smith

Just Starting – (10 – 50%) – Intake II Some nice color developing below the spillway at the Intake and some decent yellow on the mountain east of the lake, but the aspen surrounding the lake itself remain primarily green, although lightening somewhat over the past week. Just Starting – (0 – 10%) – Big Trees Campground A few early-bird trees are starting to go but barely any color here yet. This is another late blooming color location which hopefully will pop come October.

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Plumas County Reports First From Shasta Cascade

Wed ,24/09/2014

Plumas County is typically a mid October peak, though we’re already seeing early reports of orange-red Indian Rhubarb along Rock Creek, off Bucks Lake Rd; gold and orange Black Oak leaves showing at Oakland Camp; bright yellow bigleaf maple on La Porte Road, rosy dogwood in Round Valley and brilliant red sugar maple leaves in Quincy.  We don’t have photos to share, but have asked the folks in Plumas County to send them.  From what we’ve seen on a Facebook site, we’re raising the northern Sierra color rating to Patchy.

First Peak Color High Above Mammoth Lakes

Tue ,23/09/2014
Sherwin Creek (9/20/14) Alicia Vennos

Peak Color seen high above Sherwin Creek (9/20/14) Alicia Vennos

Mono County gets credit for the first full peak report.  Areas above 8,500′ in this Eastern Sierra county are now flush with orange and red.

Rock Creek Lake (9/18/14) Alicia Vennos

Rock Creek Lake (9/18/14) Alicia Vennos

Rock Creek Lake (9/18/14) Alicia Vennos

Rock Creek Lake (9/18/14) Alicia Vennos

GO NOW! – Peak (75 – 100%) – Rock Creek – Rock Creek Lake and the Rock Creek Trail are now at full peak.  Lower areas of Rock Creek Canyon at are approaching  peak and could go any day, now.

GO NOW! – Peak (75 – 100&) – Hilton Lakes Trail – Same as Rock Creek.

Sherwin Creek (9/20/14) Alicia Vennos

Sherwin Creek (9/20/14) Alicia Vennos

GO NOW! – Peak (75 – 100%) – Sherwin Lakes – You’ll have to do some hiking to get to where it’s at full peak. Take the Sherwin Creek Trail up to the Sherwin Lakes to get close to these peak color areas. Patchy (10 – 50%) – Sherwin Creek - Sherwin Creek in Mammoth Lakes is just above 10% with lots of lime and a little yellow.

Green Creek (9/21/14) Alicia Vennos

Green Creek (9/21/14) Alicia Vennos

Green Lake (9/21/14) Alicia Vennos

Green Lake (9/21/14) Alicia Vennos

Green Creek (9/21/14) Alicia Vennos

Green Creek (9/21/14) Alicia Vennos

Green Creek (9/21/14) Alicia Vennos

Green Creek (9/21/14) Alicia Vennos

Green Creek (9/21/14) Alicia Vennos

Green Creek (9/21/14) Alicia Vennos

GO NOW! – Near Peak (50 – 75%) – Green Creek – The color at Green Creek varies from patchy to near peak, so we’re alerting to Go Now!

Rainbow Falls (9/20/14) Alicia Vennos

Rainbow Fall (9/20/14) Alicia Vennos

Devil's Postpile NM (9/20/14) Alicia Vennos

Devil’s Postpile NM (9/20/14) Alicia Vennos

Rainbow Falls Trail (9/20/14) Alicia Vennos

Rainbow Fall Trail (9/20/14) Alicia Vennos

Rainbow Falls Trail (9/20/14) Alicia Vennos

Rainbow Fall Trail (9/20/14) Alicia Vennos

Patchy (10 – 50-%) – Rainbow Fall and Devil’s Postpile NM – The road into Devil’s Postpile remains open until the first storms, providing viewing of the fall color in the upper San Joaquin River drainage.

Conway Summit (9/21/14) Alicia Vennos

Conway Summit (9/21/14) Alicia Vennos

Patchy (10 – 50%) Conway Summit - It’s still early, but showing signs.

Finally, It’s Fall

Tue ,23/09/2014
Google

Google

We’re feeling lucky today.  Even though fall color has been visible in locations throughout California since August, Google’s search masthead today makes it official.  Finally, it’s fall. In the past week, I traveled to attend a travel writer’s conference in Iceland.  Though that Nordic country has much to its credit, Iceland’s fall color doesn’t hold a candle (or more appropriately, a lava flow) to California’s. Here are some of the great photos that have appeared on our Facebook site, since I took off towards the artic circle.

Santa Bernardino Mountains (9/6/14) Alena Nichols

Santa Bernardino Mountains (9/6/14) Alena Nichols

Santa Bernardino Mountains (9/6/14) Alena Nichols

Santa Bernardino Mountains (9/6/14) Alena Nichols

Santa Bernardino Mountains (9/6/14) Alena Nichols

Santa Bernardino Mountains (9/6/14) Alena Nichols

Santa Bernardino Mountains (9/6/14) Alena Nichols

Santa Bernardino Mountains (9/6/14) Alena Nichols

Santa Bernardino Mountains (9/6/14) Alena Nichols

Santa Bernardino Mountains (9/6/14) Alena Nichols

Alena Nichols posts these shots taken in the San Bernardino Mountains

Rock Creek (9/6/14) Steve Wolfe

Rock Creek (9/6/14) Steve Wolfe

Virginia Lakes (9/12/14) Steve Wolfe

Virginia Lakes (9/12/14) Steve Wolfe

Virginia Lakes Rd (9/12/14) Steve Wolfe

Virginia Lakes Rd (9/12/14) Steve Wolfe

Bishop Creek (9/14/14) Steve Wolfe

Bishop Creek (9/14/14) Steve Wolfe

Dunderberg Meadow (9/21/14) Steve Wolfe

Dunderberg Meadow (9/21/14) Steve Wolfe

Steve Wolfe sends these shots from the Eastern Sierra.

Rock Creek (9/20/14) Susan Taylor

Rock Creek (9/20/14) Susan Taylor

Napa Valley (9/20/14) Susan Taylor

Napa Valley (9/20/14) Susan Taylor

Susan Taylor visited the Napa Valley and Eastern Sierra for these great images.

Sabrina Lake (9/21/14) Kimberly Kofala

Sabrina Lake (9/21/14) Kimberly Kofala

Monitor Pass (9/1/14) Kimberly Kofala

Monitor Pass (9/1/14) Kimberly Kofala

Hope Valley (9/20/14) Kimberly Kofala

Hope Valley (9/20/14) Kimberly Kofala

North Lake (9/22/14) Kimberly Kofala

North Lake (9/22/14) Kimberly Kofala

Kimberly Kofala always has great shots, and these did not disappoint.

Mosquito Flat Trail (9/17/14) Candace Gregory

Mosquito Flat Trail (9/17/14) Candace Gregory

Mosquito Flat Trail (9/17/14) Candace Gregory

Mosquito Flat Trail (9/17/14) Candace Gregory

Mosquito Flat Trail (9/17/14) Candace Gregory

Mosquito Flat Trail (9/17/14) Candace Gregory

Candace Gregory sent these warm aspen leaves from the Mosquito Flat Trail near Rock Creek Lake.

Hwy 89, north of Truckee (9/21/14) Laura Thompson

Hwy 89, north of Truckee (9/21/14) Laura Thompson

Laura Thompson reports the color is beginning to develop on Hwy 89 north of Truckee.

Indian Corn (9/21/14) Katrina Lounsbury

Indian Corn (9/21/14) Katrina Lounsbury

And closing this gallery of recent shots is Katrina Lounsbury’s kernel of fall color.

Warm Temps, Warm Colors

Thu ,18/09/2014
Conway Summit (9/16/14) Robin Roberts

Conway Summit (9/16/14) Alicia Vennos/Mono County Tourism

Mono County’s Color Spotter, Alicia Vennos reports warm temperatures in the Eastern Sierra, both at day and at night, are extending both the summer camping season and the show of fall colors.

She recommends to those who travel to Mono County this weekend, that prime fall color viewing areas are: Rock Creek (US 395 at Tom’s Place), the Mammoth Rock Trail (Mammoth Lakes), Virginia Lakes (between Lee Vining and Bridgeport) and Sonora Pass (Hwy 108).

Rock Creek Road (9/6/14) Robin Roberts

Rock Creek Road (9/6/14) Robin Roberts

Patchy (10-50%) Rock Creek Road - Yellow and lime lead up into the High Sierra.

Convict Lake (9/17/14) Alicia Vennos/Mono County Tourism

Convict Lake (9/17/14) Alicia Vennos/Mono County Tourism

Just Starting (0-10%) Convict Lake - A hint of yellow along the edge of the lake.

Mammoth Rock Trail (9/13/14) Alicia Vennos/Mono County Tourism

Mammoth Rock Trail (9/13/14) Alicia Vennos/Mono County Tourism

Just Starting (0 – 10%) Mammoth Rock Trail - Still lots of lime.

Sonora Pass (9/16/14) Robin Roberts

Sonora Pass (9/16/14) Alicia Vennos/Mono County Tourism

Patchy (10-50%) Sonora Pass/Hwy 108 - Showing at about 15% of color.

Patchy (10-50%) Conway Summit - Color has progressed to 20%.

Parker Lake (9/14/14) Alicia Vennos/Mono County Tourism

Parker Lake (9/14/14) Alicia Vennos/Mono County Tourism

Patchy (10-50%) Parker Lake/June Lake Loop - Color is painting the upper slopes yellow, still too early for the big show. Access to fire June Lake is again fully open, following a fire at June Mountain that closed Hwy the Southern entrance to the June Lake Loop temporarily.  For the latest updates,  CLICK HERE.

Parker Lake Trail (9/14/14) Alicia Vennos/Mono County Tourism

Parker Lake Trail (9/14/14) Alicia Vennos/Mono County Tourism

Upcoming Events:

  • Fly Fishing Faire – Sept. 19-21, Mammoth Lakes
  • Hiking the Valley – Sept. 26-28, Walker/Coleville
  • Deer Hunter BBQ – Oct. 4, Walker/Coleville
  • June Lake Autumn Beer Festival – Oct. 11, Gull Lake Park, June Lake
  • “Ambush at the Lake” fishing derby – now through Nov. 15, 2014,  Convict Lake Resort
  • Bodie Photographer Days – Sept. 20 and Oct. 18, Bodie State Historic Park

For more information on these event as well as lodging and camping, air service, fishing reports, hiking trails, CLICK HERE or call 800-845-7922.

California’s First “Go Now!” Alert

Wed ,17/09/2014

Right on schedule, Bishop Creek is reporting the first color in California to near peak. Color spotter Jared Smith of Parchers Resort sends this report with color nearing peak a week later than reported last year.  We consider that to be right on schedule.

Groves Above Cardinal Village 9/16/14 Jared Smith

Groves Above Cardinal Village 9/16/14 Jared Smith

Bishop Creek Canyon Overall Conditions 
Above 8,500′ – Near Peak – GO NOW!

There’s been an explosion of color over the past week above 8,500′ in elevation, with many of the best views in Bishop Creek Canyon (along U.S. 395, west of Bishop) rapidly progressing from patchy color to near peak. The higher groves on the mountainsides are showing the most yellow and orange with the lower lying aspen along the road a mix of brilliant yellow and lime green. It’s impossible to know how long the color will stick around but Jared Smith reports he’s hopeful that we have a few more weeks of spectacular color to enjoy.

7,000′ to 8,500′ – Patchy (10 – 50%)

The lower reaches of Bishop Creek Canyon are showing a bit of color, patchy at best, but deep or lime green still dominates the landscape. Jared reports, “It will be interesting to see if the lower lying aspen turn as quickly as the trees higher in the canyon. Either way, there is still a lot of color to come over the next few weeks if the weather holds out.”

Wier Pond 9/17/14 Jared Smith

Wier Pond 9/17/14 Jared Smith

GO NOW! – Near Peak ( 50 – 75%) Wier Pond (9,650′) Still some green along the road and stream but the hillside above the pond and many of the aspen along the far side of the pond are turning very fast. I’d wager that peak color will happen here sometime in the next week.

Parchers Camp 9/17/14 Jared Smith

Parchers Camp 9/17/14 Jared Smith

GO NOW! – Near Peak (50 – 75%) Parchers Camp (9,260′)
The color has really come on strong the past week with about half of the aspen and willow around the camp turned or turning.

Willow Campground  9/17/14 Jared Smith

Willow Campground 9/17/14 Jared Smith

Patchy (10 – 50%) – Willow Campground  (9,000′)
Although the campground is now closed, the color is just now starting to pop in this area. The aspen on the hillside are turning fast while the aspen along the beaver pond, road, by the Tyee bridge and in the campground are just now starting.

Sabina Campground  9/17/14 Jared Smith

Sabina Campground 9/17/14 Jared Smith

GO NOW! – Near Peak (50 – 75%) Sabrina Campground (9,000′) The aspen within the campground are just starting to turn but the aspen along Hwy 168 are near peak color with some gorgeous red and orange showing. The groves just around the corner from the North Lake turnoff, which are just on the other side of the campground, don’t typically exhibit any orange or red but the yellow is pure and bright and is showing big time.

Table Mountain Camp  9/17/14 Jared Smith

Table Mountain Camp 9/17/14 Jared Smith

Comparison, Table Mountain Camp a week ago

Comparison, Table Mountain Camp a week ago

GO NOW! – Near Peak (50 – 75%) Table Mountain Camp (8,900′) Still some green mixed in but the aspen are really popping here with the groves turning or already turned all the way down to the stream. The view from South Lake Road is exceptional just below the campground. Within the campground itself there isn’t a ton of color yet but the best views are of the mountain above it which is really looking nice.

Surveyors Meadow 9/17/14 Jared Smith

Surveyors Meadow 9/17/14 Jared Smith

GO NOW! – Near Peak (50 – 75%)

Comparison, Surveyors Meadow a week ago

Comparison, Surveyors Meadow a week ago

Surveyor’s Meadow (8,975′) There is still some green along the road here but the peak color on the mountain to the west of South Lake Road is flat out stunning already and likely to peak within the next week to 10 days.

Lake Sabrina  9/17/14 Jared Smith

Lake Sabrina 9/17/14 Jared Smith

Lake Sabrina 9/17/14 Jared Smith

Lake Sabrina 9/17/14 Jared Smith

GO NOW! – Near Peak (50 – 75%) Lake Sabrina (9,150′) As expected the color at Lake Sabrina went off this week with many of the groves at or near peak. Despite some of the lake showing peak color, I rated the color here as near peak as there is still enough green yet to change to allow for more color over the next week or so. Weather, most importantly wind, is the enemy here so if conditions stay calm the color should remain spectacular for some time yet.

North Lake  9/17/14 Jared Smith

North Lake 9/17/14 Jared Smith

North Lake  9/17/14 Jared Smith

North Lake 9/17/14 Jared Smith

Comparison, North Lake a week ago

Comparison, North Lake a week ago

GO NOW! – Near Peak (50 – 75%) North Lake (9,255′) While aspen-lined dirt road on the east side of the lake is still mostly green, the aspen covering the mountain directly above the lake, the trees around the first parking area and the aspen all along the west shore have started to turn or already turned and the views are amazing.

Patchy (10 – 50%) Steiny Loop &  Mt. Glen Camp (8,600′) Quite a bit of color has started to develop along the old road referred to as the Steiny Loop. Lime green is most prevalent but some beautiful yellow patches are showing.

Mist Falls  9/17/14 Jared Smith

Mist Falls 9/17/14 Jared Smith

Patchy (10 – 50%) Mist Falls and the groves above Bishop Creek Lodge (8,350′) A few touches of yellow just to the right of the waterfall is about all that is going on at this location, by far one of the most popular stops on any fall color tour of the Bishop Creek area.

Aspendell  9/17/14 Jared Smith

Aspendell 9/17/14 Jared Smith

Just Starting – 0 – 10% – Aspendell (8,400′) Lime green is all that we’re seeing in Aspendell despite brilliant color just a half mile above the small community.

Comparison, Groves Above Cardinal Village last week

Comparison, Groves Above Cardinal Village last week

GO NOW! – Near Peak (50 – 75%) Groves Above Cardinal Village (8,550′) One of the best views in the canyon right now is from Hwy 168 looking up canyon where gorgeous color has turned from Cardinal mine all the way down to Cardinal Village Resort.

Four Jeffries  9/17/14 Jared Smith

Four Jeffries 9/17/14 Jared Smith

Just Starting – (0 – 10%) – Four Jeffries A few branches have turned but for the most part the aspen here are just now starting to lighten from a deep dark summer green to a lime green.

Intake II  9/17/14 Jared Smith

Intake II 9/17/14 Jared Smith

Just Starting – (10 – 50%) – Intake II There is some color on the mountain above the lake but most of the aspen around the lake are just now a lime green.

Big Trees Campground  9/17/14 Jared Smith

Big Trees Campground 9/17/14 Jared Smith

Just Starting – (0 – 10%) – Big Trees Campground Very little color is visible at this lower elevation campground. The aspens are huge here and can be quite spectacular during peak color. I’m guessing we’re at least a couple weeks from seeing much here.

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