California Fall Color
Dude, autumn happens here, too.

Archive for the ‘What They’re Saying’ Category

DogTrekking in the Vineyards

Wed ,28/09/2016 is the 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.

Camping in the Eastern Sierra

Fri ,23/09/2016
Convict Lake Campground (Date Unknown) I Love The Eastern Sierra

Convict Lake Campground (Date Unknown) I Love The Eastern Sierra

Blogger Kimberly Wilkes of I Love The Eastern Sierra recommends 15 campgrounds near or surrounded by fall color.

We’ve reported about color to be seen at these campgrounds and know the recommendations to be sound.

CLICK HERE to read Kimberly’s recommendations.

Autumn Arrives

Thu ,22/09/2016


The autumnal equinox marks the official change of seasons today, though fall color has been reported since August.

That does not mean an earlier autumn. The change of seasons is fairly consistent in California.

Last year, peak was first reported on Sept. 24, this year on Sept. 21. OK, we reported peak three days earlier, but that may have been more a result of who reported what, than that peak was actually earlier. It could have peaked earlier last year, we just didn’t get a report documenting it.

What is consistent is that peak usually occurs within a week of what occurred historically. That means, though you may see one area being reported as peaking, other nearby areas will peak soon thereafter.

We’ve received anxious questions about a given trail or area (news of the color at Lundy Lake has been hotly anticipated of late). If we’re not reporting an area that you want to visit, that’s because no one has sent a report about it, but it does not mean the area has or has not peaked.

We depend on reports submitted by volunteer color spotters and local tourism offices; they don’t always get to every location.

One way to estimate peak in a non-reported area is to follow reports from areas in the same region at similar elevations. The area you want to visit will likely be peaking about the same time as a reported area in the same region and at the same elevation.

#FirstDayofFall is trending on Twitter with over 152,000 tweets as of the posting of this blog. So, there’s high interest in the season and more reports are sure to follow.

If you’d like to be part of the trend, send photos and descriptions to

Fall Color Podcast Reveals New Spots

Fri ,16/09/2016
Eileen Javora and Mark Finan (9/15/16) Live Facebook Podcast Screen Capture

Eileen Javora and Mark Finan (9/15/16) Live Facebook Podcast Screen Capture

Meteorologists Eileen Javora and Mark Finan of KCRA-TV3 (NBC) invited me to join them on a live Facebook podcast last evening.

We discussed fall color and where to find it, revealing a couple of (new to me) places to explore (late October) in the Sacramento area: Empire Mine and pistachio orchards. Road trip!

CLICK HERE to hear and see the discussion.

Weather To Go or Not

Mon ,12/09/2016
Mark Finan and Eileen Javora, KCRA-TV3

Mark Finan and Eileen Javora, KCRA-TV3

Two of my favorite meteorologists to watch are Mark Finan and Eileen Javora of KCRA-TV3 (NBC) in Sacramento. They aren’t just spot-on accurate meteorologists, they’re fans of fall color, too.

I suppose that comes with the job. As, how would you otherwise immerse yourself in analyzing the weather and predicting it, without also becoming fascinated by the turn of seasons?

Mark moved from meteorologist to color spotter this past weekend, driving a long loop in search of inspiration (and there is much of it along this drive), east from Sacramento over Carson and Monitor passes, then south along the Eastern Sierra Scenic Byway over Conway Summit and past Mono Lake, June Lake and Mammoth Lakes, to Convict Lake and back… all to see what’s developing.

Like others who have visited the area, he notes that most of the well-known fall color locations along the route remain mostly green or lime (Caples Lake, CA-88; Monitor Pass, CA-89; June Lake and Convict Lake), though promising yellow is emerging at the highest elevations: (above Mono Lake and on individual trees at June Lake).

For those judging whether to head to the east side or not, it is still a bit early, though emerging color can be seen and it will continue to improve through the last two weeks of September, particularly at the highest elevations.

How’s that for a forecast?

NBC Bay Area Ready for Foliage

Tue ,23/08/2016
NBC Bay Area

NBC Bay Area

Always an encouraging sign is when other media notice our reports.  NBC Bay Area is one of them.

Posted this week on their blog (which is consistently on top of trends) was the declaration from blogger Alysia Gray Painter that though “the autumn equinox is still a month off… a popular leaf-peeping blog (hey, that’s us!) is up and running for 2016.”

OK, so we’re “popular” but not yet trending. Nonetheless, that’s still about as early a nod as California Fall Color has ever gotten.

Could it be that more than we are anxious to see autumn arrive?

Sierra Nevada Tree Identifier

Tue ,23/08/2016
Sierra Nevada Tree Identifier, Jim Paruk

Sierra Nevada Tree Identifier, Jim Paruk

Jim Paruk’s Sierra Nevada Tree Identifier is an indispensable tool for fall color photographers and viewers.

The 126-page book includes black and white illustrations by Elizabeth Morales (needles, leaves, fruit, nuts, flowers/bracts, cones and pods) and detailed descriptions of 44 native trees found in the Sierra Nevada.

Paruk points out that “By knowing your approximate altitude, field identification of certain trees can be greatly simplified,” noting that “similarly-appearing sugar and western white pines grow at different elevations (the sugar pine is lower).”

The book is particularly helpful in identifying cone-bearing trees (pine, nutmeg, yew, fir, hemlock, cedar, sequoia and juniper), though for the fall color viewer, it is helpful in separating broad-leaved trees, as well. Of particular help is the section on willows, whose leaves are identical to the untrained eye.

An important omission, however, is any description of fall color to be seen in the leaves. Paruk fails to specify colors commonly displayed by Sierra Nevada trees (e.g., California black oak leaves turn orange in autumn).

Published by the Yosemite Conservancy, the book is available at and is sold at the California Welcome Center in Mammoth Lakes for $9.95.

Best Outdoor Site in California

Sun ,22/05/2016 was named California’s Best Outdoor Internet Site tonight by the Outdoor Writers Association of California.

Last year, OWAC named the state’s Best Outdoor Medium.

We express our thanks to our readers and contributors who have helped make what it is.

How Will Climate Change Affect Fall Color?

Tue ,17/11/2015

DNews offers its view of what’s happening to fall color, because of climate change.  Will it mean that pumpkin spice lattes will be a summer drink, in the future?

DNews reports that as a result of global warming, hardwood forests are moving north at a pace of 6.25 feet a year.  That means that in only 1.4 million years, there’ll be no fall color maples and birch left to see in the contiguous 48 U.S. states!

Learn all of DNews’ horrifying predictions by viewing this video:


Seeing From A New Perspective

Mon ,02/11/2015
Little Walker Lake (10/19/14) Alicia Vennos

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

“This could be the best fall ever. Why not?,” Los Angeles Times columnist Chris Erskine poses, while musing over whether a splash of leftover coffee in his onions made them better.

His random tome challenges us to see life from a new perspective, and that autumn is the season that forces introspection.  CLICK HERE to read his column.