California Fall Color
Dude, autumn happens here, too.

California Fall Color Glows High Above US395

     Posted on October 26, 2014 by John Poimiroo
South Fork Bishop Creek (10/25/14) Janek U

South Fork Bishop Creek (10/25/14) Janek U

Aspendell (10/25/14) Janek U

Aspendell (10/25/14) Janek U

Aspendell (10-25/14) Janek U

Aspendell (10/25/14) Janek U

Color spotter Janek U wrote that he traveled to the Eastern Sierra from Orange County, yesterday, stopping twice along the way along US 395.  We receive many reports from Bishop Creek Canyon and points north, but were most interested on his report of what he saw south of Bishop, as few spotters have reported about those areas (tip: the fastest way to get a photo or report posted is for it to be about an area from which we don’t receive many reports).

Janek reported that at Lone Pine, he drove up to Whitney Portal.  “There is some color on the peaks on the way up but they are too remote.  There are also some groves of aspens near the road but there aren’t too many trees.  He continued north to Bishop Creek Canyon finding the last of the color at Aspendell, noting that “The tops of some trees are beginning to turn red.”

It’s truly remarkable that the color there continues to show, even though winds over 20 mph were blowing.
Lone Pine (US 395) – (Peak to Past Peak) - Stands of color are seen high up in the Eastern Sierra.
Aspendell, Bishop Creek Canyon (Peak to Past Peak) - Brilliant color continues to survive, despite winds above 20 mph.  For the past couple of weeks, we’ve been reporting the color would last only a few days.  Reports of its death are beginning to sound “Twainian.”

Aspen Flicker, As Autumn Wanes at Aspendell

     Posted on October 25, 2014 by John Poimiroo
Aspendell (10/24/14) Yin You

Aspendell (10/24/14) Yin You

Aspendell (10/24/14) Yin You

Aspendell (10/24/14) Yin You

Aspendell (10/14/14) Yin You

Aspendell (10/14/14) Yin You

As the last of the aspen drop leaves up Bishop Creek Canyon, we received these images today from Yin You and Jim Hemming’s video of his recent visits to the Eastern Sierra. CLICK HERE.

Driving Tour of Plumas County

     Posted on October 24, 2014 by John Poimiroo
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).

Travel Writer Lee Foster Describes US 395 Fall Color

     Posted on October 24, 2014 by John Poimiroo
Lake Sabrina (10/4/14) Lee Foster

Lake Sabrina (10/4/14) Lee Foster

Travel writer and photographer Lee Foster provides his perspectives on fall color viewing in the Eastern Sierra in his blog, FosterTravel.com.  To read Lee’s article, CLICK HERE.

Hike of the Week: Gull Lake Trail

     Posted on October 23, 2014 by John Poimiroo
Gull Lake (10/22/14) Elizabeth Erdelyi

Gull Lake (10/22/14) Elizabeth Erdelyi

Located a few blocks north of June Lake Village (Hwy. 158) in Mono County, this lovely, scenic trail begins at Gull Lake Park (across from the June Lake Library) and loops around the shoreline of Gull Lake for an easy 2-mile jaunt. The trail meanders through glowing aspen groves at the west end of the lake, up a rocky bluff, and through the peaking aspens of Gull Lake campground.  Peaking now with some sections past peak and some still lime green!   CLICK HERE for more information.

Aerial Eastern Sierra

     Posted on October 23, 2014 by John Poimiroo

Keith Lake flies over the Eastern Sierra in these videos of Mammoth Lakes and Bishop Creek Canyon, posted last week.

Northeast California Moves From Patchy to Near Peak

     Posted on October 22, 2014 by John Poimiroo
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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Fall Hikes With Your Dog

     Posted on October 22, 2014 by John Poimiroo
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.

June Lake is Jumping – Go Now!

     Posted on October 21, 2014 by John Poimiroo
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!

June Lake (United States)
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Yosemite Stages for Coming Beauty

     Posted on October 21, 2014 by John Poimiroo
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 November.