California Fall Color
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Archive for the ‘General’ Category

Driving Tour of Plumas County

Fri ,24/10/2014
Frenchman Canyon (10/23/14) Chuck Viebrock

Frenchman Canyon (10/23/14) Chuck Viebrock

If you don’t check back to read comments, earlier this week Sharon wrote that she was planning a trip this weekend to Plumas County and asked what advice we might offer.  Here’s the touring guide to Plumas County that we recommended:

  1. Drive to Truckee on I-80, then north on CA-89/CA-70 to Quincy. There will be spots of color along the road. Greenhorn Creek parallels the road. As you approach East Quincy, the La Porte Road is often cited as a location where good color is found. Follow the La Porte Road south to Nelson Creek where good color has been reported in past years. The Quincy-La Porte Road is also good, heading toward the town of La Porte. Color spotters report the best color in Plumas County is found off highway. That would require an SUV in some cases, an ATV in extreme cases (USFS service roads), but a normal car in most cases. Plumas County is laced with old roads that follow streams. That’s where you’ll find some of the county’s best color. Indian Creek, is one. Though, you’d need time to explore the backroads and if you don’t have it, continue on to Quincy. In the town of Quincy are many exotics: the famed Judge Thieler sugar maple (now past peak) and lovely trees around the Murray home. This is more like shooting in New England, where architecture and foliage combine, though the architecture here isn’t as old or as classic. Plumas County used to have an excellent visitor center whose proprietor, Suzi Brakken, would come out and wash the windshields of leaf peepers. The county defunded support to that organization, so try the Quincy Chamber of Commerce for local advice. Karen Moritz of Plumas County also recommended taking “the short trip (17) miles up to Bucks Lake – west of Quincy. Lots of aspen, dogwood and bigleaf maple just off the highway.” Beyond Quincy is Indian Valley and Greenville. There’s often lovely color along the streams leading into the valley. The trick is to know the streams at which there’ll be color (the Indian Valley Chamber in Greenville may have advice). Look for brilliant orange Indian Rhubarb along the edges of creeks. I haven’t found the area beyond Greenville and Indian Valley to be that productive, though there are black oak and bigleaf maple on the west shore of Lake Almanor. So, once you reach Greenville, you might want to turn back and head down CA-70 toward Paradise and Oroville. There is Indian Rhubarb at the top of Hwy 70 (Feather River Canyon) and some bigleaf maple, though the farther down you go, the color will diminish. Paradise and Oroville further down Hwy 70 are just starting. So, the lower you go down the canyon, the less you will see as most of the Shasta Cascade is patchy for the moment.
  2. The second approach is basically the reverse of what we just described. Get to Hwy 70, then follow it up to Greenville, then backtrack along Hwy 89 through Quincy toward Truckee.  You’ll find the best color on side trips to La Porte, Bucks Lake and other spots away from the main road.
  3. For another trip or a longer stay, eastern Plumas County can have great color in late October at Antelope Lake, along Babcock Creek and in Squaw Valley (not the ski area).

Fall Hikes With Your Dog

Wed ,22/10/2014
Dogtrekker.com

Dogtrekker.com

DogTrekker.com is devoted to dogs, their owners and finding companion-filled fun in the great outdoors and on the road.

This week, editor Janet Fullwood described hikes to take in Mendocino, San Francisco, Lake Tahoe, Santa Barbara and Redding, several of which are along fall-colorful trails. Thanks DogTrekker for also giving a nod to CaliforniaFallColor for our fall color reporting.

As reported here previously, CaliforniaFallColor is a proponent of putting “pieds” to path and what better way to do that, than with your pet? Of course, finding trails that are open to dogs, that allow off-leash hiking and that include an uplifting view or destination can require a bloodhound’s nose.

So, before I grab their leash and say to Murray and Ditto, “Let’s go for a walk!”, I turn to  DogTrekker.com or ModernHiker.com for good advice on dog-friendly trails.

Great Weather, Great Color

Sun ,12/10/2014
Spooner Lake (10/12/14) Jonathan Jahr

Spooner Lake (10/12/14) Jonathan Jahr

This autumn has had ideal conditions for development of spectacular color: warm, sunny days, cold nights and very little wind, rain or snow. That’s resulted in lush color throughout California.

Comparing 2014 to 2013, the color is peaking a half week to a week earlier.  If drought has had any influence on color development, it may be the reason why areas that were holding as patchy went to full peak within a day or two.  However, without wind, the color has held nicely.

Even areas that peaked are dropping leaves slowly, leaving developing color to provide a beautiful show, longer than we’ve seen peaks last, in past years, as seen in this photo posted by  Jonathan Jahr of a trail near Spooner Lake (Nevada side of Lake Tahoe) on California Fall Color’s page, today.

Best bets for the coming week include: June Lake, Lower Bishop Creek Canyon, Hope Valley, Lake Tahoe and the San Bernardino and San Jacinto Mountains.  Wind is, of course, always a concern and strong breezes on Sunday afternoon may spell trouble for peaked trees. Look for Plumas county to approach peak in the next two weeks.

Colorful Week in California

Sat ,27/09/2014
S Fork Bishop Creek (9/27/14) Steve Wolfe

S Fork Bishop Creek (9/27/14) Steve Wolfe

Steve Wolfe spent his Saturday in Bishop Creek Canyon where he took these photos of the color.

Surveyor's Meadow (9/27/14) Steve Wolfe

Surveyor’s Meadow (9/27/14) Steve Wolfe

Oak Lake, Granite Bay (9/27/14) John Poimiroo

Oak Lake, Granite Bay (9/27/14) John Poimiroo

Sabrina Lake (9/27/14) Steve Wolfe

Sabrina Lake (9/27/14) Steve Wolfe

Heavenly Mountain Resort at Lake Tahoe is reporting three inches of new snow, but the snows appear to have missed the Eastern Sierra, as evidenced by Steve Wolfe’s shots of Surveyor’s Meadow and Sabrina Lake.

At Oak Lake in Granite Bay this liquidambar was indicating the color it usually presents in November.

This past week, Valerie Nellor sent this lovely shot of Indian Rhubarb, which had us reflecting on the great color yet to appear in Plumas County.

North Lake Anglers (9/21/14) Kimberly Kofala

North Lake Anglers (9/21/14) Kimberly Kofala

Red Aspen, Bishop Creek (9/21/14) Kimberly Kofala

Red Aspen, Bishop Creek (9/21/14) Kimberly Kofala

And, we had to share two lovely moments that Kimberly Kofala captured a week ago in Bishop Creek Canyon.

Indian Rhubarb (9/25/14) Valerie Nellor

Indian Rhubarb (9/25/14) Valerie Nellor

California Fall Color Looks Back at Autumn, 2013

Fri ,20/12/2013

On the last day of autumn, we look back at some of our favorite photographs of 2013, while expressing thanks to all who contributed photos and reports.

Special thanks are expressed to Inyo County, Mono County, Mammoth Lakes Tourism, Redding Convention & Visitors Bureau, Shasta Cascade Wonderland Association, Humboldt County C&VB, and The California Parks Company for making California Fall Color possible. A special nod to Ron Tyler for helping to create this Animoto video.

How Federal Shutdown Affects Color Viewing

Wed ,02/10/2013

This week’s shutdown of federal facilities has not limited fall color viewing on most federal lands.  Only areas with gated admission, such as national parks, have been closed.  U.S. Forests and BLM lands remain largely open, though services are – for the interim – not available.  Since federal offices are closed, it’s not possible to get answers to whether a land area remains open or not.  This site and our Facebook page will carry reports of closures, as received.

Magnificent Magnolias – A Winter Show

Fri ,30/11/2012

Magnolias, Golden Gate Park (file photo) David Kruse-Pickler

Magnolia denudata (file photo) David Kruse-Pickler

Magnolia campbellii, Darjeeling (file photo) David Kruse-Pickler

Magnolia cambellii (file photo) James Gaither

With a succession of three winter storms lashing Northern California today, it seems appropriate to blog about winter color, though as soon as the storms pass, there’ll still be a few weeks more of fall color to report.

Each winter, one of California’s most distinctive and colorful shows of foliage is seen at the San Francisco Botanical Garden where nearly 100 rare and historic magnolias erupt in a fragrant riot of vibrant pink and white flowers.

This floral spectacle is worth planning a trip to San Francisco to see.  Some of the ancient trees reach 80 feet in height and peak from mid-January through March.  Visitors to the Garden can take advantage of free Magnolia Walk maps, docent-led tours, special signage and more to celebrate and learn about these magnificent trees.

San Francisco Botanical Garden is home to the most significant magnolia collection for conservation purposes outside China, where the majority of species originated. Its current collection includes 51 species and 33 cultivars, including many prized examples from Asia.

This unique and long-standing collection began in 1939 with Eric Walther, who planted the very first magnolia in the Garden and continued to introduce species and cultivars throughout his tenure as the first Garden Director. One of the most famous species he planted was the cup and saucer magnolia or Magnolia campbellii, the first of its kind to bloom in the United States in 1940, attracting huge crowds of excited and curious visitors who stood in long lines to see the magnificent large pink blossoms of this lovely magnolia that still stands in the Garden today.

The show is best, mid-January to March.  The garden is open daily from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. in Jan., 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. in Feb. and early March, and from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. from the second Sunday in March through Apr.  Admission is free to San Francisco residents with proof of residence and $7 general, $5 seniors and students (12 – 17) with ID, $2 children (5-11) and free to kids 4 and under.  Family passes (2 adults and one or more kids) get in for a flat rate of $15.

More is found at www.sfbotanicalgarden.org or call (415) 661-1316.

One Last Flash

Fri ,16/11/2012

Eastern California Museum, Independence (11/16/12) Jon Klusmire

Jon Klusmire sends this snapshot of a tree whose orange and red leaves have survived recent storms and winds that stripped other nearby trees.

It stands beside the Eastern California Museum in Independence.  Splashes of color like this remain to be seen across the Eastern Sierra during one of the most beautiful and long-lasting autumns we’ve recorded.

California Fall Color ends its daily reporting on Thanksgiving Day, though postings will continue as color is reported across California.

A Storm of Discoveries

Fri ,09/11/2012

Mushrooms emerge from a duff of falled Blue Oak leaves (11/9/12) John Poimiroo

With rain and snow lashing Northern California and ski areas opening, one might conclude autumn has given way to winter in California.  Not so.  Storms pass quickly, leaving behind lots of discoveries, like these images captured today in the Sierra foothills.

Exotic Strawberry Tree (11/9/12) John Poimiroo

Pacific Dogwood (11/9/12) John Poimiroo

Exotic Chinese pistache (11/9/12) John Poimiroo

Blog it, Tweet it, FB it, Pin it

Mon ,24/09/2012

There are now four ways to use California Fall color: comment on this WordPress blog, follow us on Twitter (@CalifFallColor), post to Facebook (California Fall Color) or pin on Pinterest (California Fall Color).