California Fall Color
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Posts Tagged ‘Bishop Creek Canyon’

Weekend Geography Assignment: Bishop Creek

Sun ,25/09/2016
Surveyor's Meadow, Bishop Creek Canyon (9/23/16) Robert Provin

Surveyor’s Meadow, Bishop Creek Canyon (9/23/16) Robert Provin

Robert Provin knows his geography. He ought to.  As, he works in the Department of Geography at Cal State Northridge.

This weekend, Robert knew just where to go to find fall color… the Eastern Sierra.

He found it to be Near Peak along South Lake Road and at Lake Sabrina in Bishop Creek Canyon (west of Bishop). Robert has promised to return in a couple of weeks, “to see how things have progressed.”

Quaking Aspen, Sabrina Approach (9/23/16) Robert Provin

Quaking Aspen, Sabrina Approach (9/23/16) Robert Provin

Quaking Aspen, South Fork, Bishop Creek Canyon (9/23/16) Robert Provin

Quaking Aspen, South Fork, Bishop Creek Canyon (9/23/16) Robert Provin

Quaking Aspen, South Fork, Bishop Creek Canyon (9/23/16) Robert Provin

Quaking Aspen, South Fork, Bishop Creek Canyon (9/23/16) Robert Provin

Bishop Creek: Close, But No Cigar

Sat ,17/09/2016
Lake Sabrina, Bishop Creek Canyon (9/17/16) Gary Young

Lake Sabrina, Bishop Creek Canyon (9/17/16) Gary Young

Weir Pond, Bishop Creek Canyon (9/17/16) Gary Young

Weir Pond, Bishop Creek Canyon (9/17/16) Gary Young

Groves Above Cardinal Village, Bishop Creek (9/17/16) Gary Young

Groves Above Cardinal Village, Bishop Creek (9/17/16) Gary Young

Road to North Lake, Bishop Creek Canyon (9/17/16) Gary Young

Road to North Lake, Bishop Creek Canyon (9/17/16) Gary Young

Bishop Creek Lodge (9/17/16) Gary Young

Bishop Creek Lodge (9/17/16) Gary Young

The American idiom, “Close, but no cigar,” came from the mid-20th-century practice of fairground stalls awarding cigars to carnival game winners.  If you just missed – which often happened – the barker would tell you, “Close, but no cigar.”

Well, that’s sorta happening up Bishop Creek in Inyo County. Quaking aspen are close to peaking, but not yet enough to win a cigar.

Color spotter Gary Young was there today and reported Lake Sabrina was closest to smoking a stogie, of any location in the Eastern Sierra.  The photos he sent confirm that, though we agree that it has just smoldered into the lower end of a Near Peak rating.

Aspen stands across from Bishop Creek Lodge are mostly wearing kelly green, though splashes of yellow are painting high areas of the canyon.

Of course, that can change rapidly.  Last year, areas of Bishop Creek Canyon went from Just Starting to Peak in a week, and it peaked prior to the first day of autumn (this coming Thursday).

So, anything can happen this week.  If you go, you might just win that cigar.

GO NOW! – Near Peak (50 – 75%) – Lake Sabrina and areas above 9,500′.

Patchy (10 – 50%) – Bishop Creek Canyon (Below 9,500′)

Bishop Creek Canyon: More Yellow Every Day

Wed ,14/09/2016
Weir Pond, South Fork, Bishop Creek (9/14/16) Jared Smith

Weir Pond, South Fork, Bishop Creek (9/14/16) Jared Smith

Jared Smith from Parcher’s Resort near South Lake up Bishop Creek Canyon rates Bishop Creek as “Patchy” with “a lot of color starting to show in the higher reaches of the canyon with more yellow popping up every day.”

This week, Bishop Creek experienced its “first true cold snap since May… with a few snow flurries and evening temps dipping into the high 20s. It definitely feels like Fall, all of a sudden.”

Jared’s first report each autumn is highly anticipated by CaliforniaFallColor.com readers. He’s holding his breath writing, “It will be interesting to see how this cooler weather affects the color over the next week.”

Overall Conditions Between 7500ft & 8500ft Elevation

Just Starting (0% – 10%)

Noticeable lightening of the aspens is occurring in many of the lower reaches of the canyon, but very little color is showing.

Sabrina Camp, Bishop Creek Canyon (9/14/16) Jared Smith

Sabrina Camp, Bishop Creek Canyon (9/14/16) Jared Smith

Above Parcher's Resort, South Fork Bishop Creek (9/14/16) Jared Smith

Above Parcher’s Resort, South Fork Bishop Creek (9/14/16) Jared Smith

Table Mountain, Bishop Creek Canyon (9/14/16) Jared Smith

Table Mountain, Bishop Creek Canyon (9/14/16) Jared Smith

Lake Sabrina, Bishop Creek Canyon (9/14/16) Jared Smith

Lake Sabrina, Bishop Creek Canyon (9/14/16) Jared Smith

Mist Falls, Bishop Creek Canyon (9/14/16) Jared Smith

Mist Falls, Bishop Creek Canyon (9/14/16) Jared Smith

Middle Fork Bishop Creek (9/14/16) Jared Smith

Middle Fork Bishop Creek (9/14/16) Jared Smith

Patchy (10 – 50%) – Weir Pond (9650ft)

The hillside above the Weir is showing quite a bit of yellow but the foliage surrounding the pond itself is still a week or more off from showing anything too impressive.

Patchy (10 – 50%) – Sabrina Campground (9000ft)

There was little surprise here as the first solid patches of brilliant orange hues popped up along Hwy 168 just below Sabrina Campground. This is almost always the earliest place to truly develop, but thankfully within the campground itself the aspen are still very green with just a few yellow leaves here and there.

Patchy (10 – 50%) – Parchers Resort (9260ft)

Brilliant yellows are developing on the canyon walls all around the resort, and even a few of the aspen on the resort grounds are beginning to turn or have turned.

Patchy (10 – 50%)  – Willow Campground (9000ft)

This barely deserved this  rating but there is just enough yellow to consider this area patchy.

Patchy (10 – 50%) – Table Mountain Camp (8900ft)

There is a bit of color showing within the campground but the best of it, which is pretty impressive for this early on, is just below the campground on the eastern canyon wall just above the So. Fork of Bishop Creek.

Patchy (10 – 50%) – Surveyors Meadow (8975ft)

There is a lot of color showing here, but there’s plenty of green too. Still, there are some photo-worthy views right now. Look for this to really go off in the next week to 10 days.

Patchy (10 – 50%) – Lake Sabrina (9150ft)

Patchy color on the eastern shore and near the back of the lake but we’ve got a ways to go before the lake shows it’s best fall  color display.

Patchy (10 – 50%) – North Lake (9255ft)

Most of the color at North Lake is on the approach to the lake with the road and western slope still mostly green. This area tends to change quick so we’re anxious to see how things look a week from now.

Just Starting (0 – 10%) – Mist Falls and the groves above Bishop Creek Lodge (8350ft)

Just a couple early bloomers around this famous waterfall. I don’t expect much out of this area until near the end of September depending on how the weather ends up.

Just Starting (0 – 10%) – Aspendell (8400ft)

Very few signs of color here right now.

Patchy (10 – 50%)  – Groves above Cardinal Village (8550ft)

The canyon slope from above Cardinal Village up to Cardinal Pinnacle has tons of yellow showing already, it was actually quite surprising. Still, the color is pretty localized and will no doubt get much better in the coming weeks.

Just Starting (0 – 10%) – Four Jeffries (8000ft)

Nothing but a few yellow branches showing right now.

Patchy – (10 – 50%) – Intake II (8000ft)

The aspen surrounding the lake are still hosting their summer shade of green although the scrub aspen growing up the mountainside are showing a little yellow.

Just Starting – (0 – 10%) – Big Trees Campground (7800ft)

Nothing but green here right now.

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.

Bishop Creek – Gone With The Wind

Wed ,15/10/2014
Remembering Lake Sabrina at Peak (10/1/14) Jared Smith

Remembering Lake Sabrina at Peak Two Weeks Ago (10/1/14) Jared Smith

“Two days of wind was all it took to strip the vast majority of aspen in the higher reaches of Bishop Creek Canyon,” color spotter Jared Smith writes on his last report of autumn.  Parchers Resort closes for the season on Sunday (Oct. 19) and with its shuttering, Jared’s reports come to a close.  He’s always the most diligent of the contributors to this blog, with accurate and thorough reports that have guided photographers, leaf peepers and travelers to the Eastern Sierra.  It has become a tradition here to thank him for his beautiful photographs and helpful commentary.  Here’s what he had to write, today:

Overall Conditions – Above 8,500′ Elevation – (Past Peak) YOU MISSED IT!
Overall, the weather this past month has been exceptional, so Jared wrote he wouldn’t complain for the sudden end of the show up Bishop Creek Canyon.  This year, there was ample time for folks to see the color and get some beautiful shots.  With Sabrina, North Lake, Sabrina Camp, Parchers Resort and Willow Camp almost completely stripped of leaves, there’s not much left to be seen in the higher reaches of the canyon.

Overall Conditions – Between 7,500 and 8,500′ Elevation – (Past Peak) YOU MISSED IT!
While a few areas still have some beautiful color, most notably Intake II, Aspendell and the Four Jeffries area, much of the color on either side of the canyon is past peak and/or stripped because of the last two days of wind.

Parcher’s Resort (9,260′) – (Past Peak) YOU MISSED IT!
Just a few small pockets of color persist in and around the resort.

Stiny Loop (10/15/14) Jared Smith

Stiny Loop (10/15/14) Jared Smith

Stiny Loop above Mt. Glen Camp (8,600′) – (Past Peak) YOU MISSED IT!
Still some decent color in this area but we’re definitely past the peak color.

Mist Falls (10/15/14) Jared Smith

Mist Falls (10/15/14) Jared Smith

Mist Falls and the Groves above Bishop Creek Lodge (8,350′) – (Past Peak) YOU MISSED IT!
The wind was especially harsh in this area and what was at peak color over the weekend is now mostly gone.  Only a fraction of the grove is showing brilliant color but it’s still worth a look.

Aspendell (10/15/14) Jared Smith

Aspendell (10/15/14) Jared Smith

Aspendell (10/15/14) Jared Smith

Aspendell (10/15/14) Jared Smith

Aspendell (8,400′) – Peak Color (75 – 100%) GO NOW!
The trees in this neighborhood seem to have withstood the wind storm quite well and there is a ton of color along Hwy 168 both before and after the small community. The area leading up to Cardinal Village is also looking brilliant.

Groves Above Cardinal Village (10/15/14) Jared Smith

Groves Above Cardinal Village (10/15/14) Jared Smith

Groves above Cardinal Village (8,550′) – (Past Peak) YOU MISSED IT!
Just a few pockets of color is left above Cardinal.

Four Jeffries (10/15/14) Jared Smith

Four Jeffries (10/15/14) Jared Smith

Four Jeffries (8,000) – Peak Color (75 – 100%) GO NOW!
Some of the smaller scrub aspen have already peaked and dropped but the larger trees are just now showing peak color. There is actually a fair amount of green still holding strong so it’s feasible that we may get another full week of color out of this area if the weather cooperates.

Intake II (10/15/14) Jared Smith

Intake II (10/15/14) Jared Smith

Intake II (8,000) – Peak Color (75 – 100%) GO NOW!
This area is just on the verge of passing the peak color mark but there is certainly enough beautiful orange and yellow to garner a peak color rating. Especially beautiful is the grove above the lake in the campground.

Willow Campground (10/15/14) Jared Smith

Willow Campground (10/15/14) Jared Smith

Willow Campground (9,000′) – (Past Peak) YOU MISSED IT!
Very little color survived the wind.

Big Trees Campground (7,800′) – Patchy – (10 – 50%) 
We’re really not seeing much color develop here, just some lime green. The trees here don’t look particularly healthy with some of the foliage turning from light green to brown without any yellow – perhaps the drought was just too much for the trees down there.

Table Mountain Camp (8,900′) – (Past Peak) YOU MISSED IT!
Some patchy color is still hanging around near the back of the campground but most of the color along the road is gone.

Surveyors Meadow (10/15/14) Jared Smith

Surveyors Meadow (10/15/14) Jared Smith

Surveyors Meadow (8,975′) – (Past Peak) YOU MISSED IT!
Just a few tiny patches of yellow are left.

Lake Sabrina (10/15/14) Jared Smith

Lake Sabrina (10/15/14) Jared Smith

Lake Sabrina (9,150′) – (Past Peak) YOU MISSED IT!
The fall color show is over up at Lake Sabrina with just a few select trees here and there showing any color.

North Lake (9,255′) – (Past Peak) YOU MISSED IT!
The wind didn’t leave much color unfortunately.

Weir Pond (9,650) – (Past Peak) YOU MISSED IT!
No color is left at Weir.

Sabrina Campground (9,000′) – (Past Peak) YOU MISSED IT!
All of the color was stripped by the wind unfortunately.

With Jared’s final report, conditions up Bishop Creek Canyon will no longer be reported.  They, too, are now gone with the wind.  However, reports move up to June Lake and the Shasta Cascade and down Southern California.

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.

S Fork Bishop Creek (10/2/14) Steve Wolfe

S Fork Bishop Creek (10/2/14) Steve Wolfe

GO NOW! Peak (75 – 100%) S. Fork, Bishop Creek – Color spotter Steve Wolfe says the South Fork of Bishop Creek “is great, at 75-100% from South Lake down to about a mile above Bishop Creek village, then it’s patchy. Seems we’ll have a glorious fall here in the eastern Sierra after all!”  Steve is of the opinion that the color will last another week in the Bishop Creek Canyon, with temps in the 60s to 70s during the day and overnight lows in the 30s, ideal conditions for intense color.

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.

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.

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.

Getting Close Above 8,500′

Wed ,10/09/2014

Bishop Creek Canyon Overall Conditions
Patchy (10 – 50%)

“Although color in the higher reaches of the Bishop Creek Canyon has arrived a bit earlier than we’re used to seeing,” Color Spotter Jared Smith of the Parchers Resort reports, the difference between last week and this week was only obvious in a few areas with many areas still holding strong to the green of summer. Once you rise above the 8000ft elevation, lime green with some touches of yellow start to appear and once you get over 8500ft, the color is really starting to show in significant patches of aspen. Beyond 9000ft there is quite a bit of color but not much in the way of peak color.

Wier Pond (9/10/14) Jared Smith

Wier Pond (9/10/14) Jared Smith

Patchy – 10 – 50% – Wier Pond (9,650′) The foliage along the road and stream is mostly green but some select braches and trees are a brilliant yellow. The hillside above and to the west of the pond is showing significantly more yellow than last week but still a ways off from what we typically see at peak.

Sabrina Campground (9/10/14) Jared Smith

Sabrina Campground (9/10/14) Jared Smith

Sabrina Campground (9/10/14) Jared Smith

Sabrina Campground (9/10/14) Jared Smith

Patchy – 10 – 50% – Sabrina Campground (9,000′) A difficult area to grade since the color along Hwy 168 East tends to pop and peak first while the larger old growth aspen along the middle fork of Bishop Creek that meanders through the campground tend to come on later. The trees along the hwy are already well on their way with some gorgeous yellow, orange and red hues to go along with some aspen in full green not yet started. As expected, the campground has a touch of lime but very little yellow.

Tabel Mountain Camp (9/10/14) Jared Smith

Tabel Mountain Camp (9/10/14) Jared Smith

Patchy – 10 – 50% – Table Mountain Camp (8,900′) There are significant patches of yellow showing here already but we’re a ways off from the spectacular color we’re used to seeing in this area in late September.

Suyrveyor's Meadow (9/10/14) Jared Smith

Suyrveyor’s Meadow (9/10/14) Jared Smith

Patchy – 10 – 50% – Surveyor’s Meadow (8,975′)While the colors have progressed slightly over the past 7 days, there is still plenty of green yet to turn with some bright patches of yellow crawling down the mountain.

Lake Sabrina (9/10/14) Jaered Smith

Lake Sabrina (9/10/14) Jaered Smith

Patchy – 10 – 50% – Lake Sabrina (9,150′) Lake Sabrina is one location where the color is poised to really bust loose in the next week. The groves towards the inlet side of the lake are really starting to turn and the smaller groves along the east shore are as well. Mostly yellow is showing with a touch of orange, especially across from the boat landing.

North Lake (9/10/14) Jared Smith

North Lake (9/10/14) Jared Smith

Patchy – 10 – 50% – North Lake (9,255′)Lots of variety at North Lake with some of the smaller scrub aspen near the first parking area already brilliant orange and yellow while the famous dirt road stretch looks like July still. The mountain above the lake, known for lots of orange with some red during the peak, is just now turning yellow in substantial patches. I’d be willing to bet it’s going to be go-time for fall color at North Lake in the next 7 to 10 days if the weather holds out.

Mt Glen Camp (9/10/14) Jared Smith

Mt Glen Camp (9/10/14) Jared Smith

Just Starting – (0 – 10%) – Steiny Loop &  Mt. Glen Camp (8600ft) 
Not much going on yet in this area, just a few small patches of brilliant yellow amongst a sea of green.

Mist Falls and The Groves (9/10/14) Jared Smith

Mist Falls and The Groves (9/10/14) Jared Smith

Just Starting – 0 – 10% – 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 (9/10/14) Jared Smith

Aspendell (9/10/14) Jared Smith

Just Starting – 0 – 10% – Aspendell (8,400′) Some lime green starting to develop in this charming little mountain community but the vast majority of the area is nearly as green as summertime.

Groves above Cardinal Village (9/10/14)

Groves above Cardinal Village (9/10/14)

Patchy – 10 – 50% – Groves Above Cardinal Village (8,550′) As green as Aspendell is, it’s surprising that just a half mile above the community there is significant color. The trees on the slopes above Cardinal Village and Cardinal Mine to the south and east are really turning yellow fast. This is going to be one of the first go-now locations.

Additional reports from Parchers Camp, Four Jefferies Camp, Intake II, Big Trees Camp, and more in the coming weeks. As of now all of these areas at or below 8,000ft are all Just Starting (0 – 10%) of peak color.

Brilliant Yellow and Touch of Orange

Fri ,05/09/2014
Weir Pond (9/3/14) Jared Smith

Weir Pond (9/3/14) Jared Smith

Color Spotter Jared Smith of the Parcher’s Resort provides the first comprehensive report of autumn, today. Jared notes that historically there hasn’t been much to report on Sept. 5, though this season has been “surprising on many levels, including an early start to the autumn colors.” He continues, “While the majority of aspen and willow are still deep, dark green, many of the trees have started turning with some brilliant yellow and a touch of orange” showing in the Eastern Sierra’s Bishop Creek Canyon. He writes that with a third year of drought, “it’s impossible to predict when the peak color will show, but with higher than average precipitation during summer, we’re hopeful that fall color, despite an early start, will offer spectacular photographic opportunities throughout September and into early or mid October.”

Aspen, Bishop Creek Canyon (9/3/14) Jared Smith

Aspen, Bishop Creek Canyon (9/3/14) Jared Smith

Just Starting – 0 – 10% – Wier Pond (9,650′) “One of the most scenic locations in the Bishop Creek Canyon is Weir Pond. We’re used to seeing some of the first color of the season here but for whatever reason, there isn’t much happening yet, somewhat of a surprise given the color developing down canyon. A few select branches are in full color but the aspen around the pond and on the mountain above the pond to the west are still mostly green.”

Sabrina Campground (9/3/14) Jared Smith

Sabrina Campground (9/3/14) Jared Smith

Patchy – 10 – 50% – Sabrina Campground (9,000′) One of the first places to find peak color is just below the entrance to Sabrina Campground on Hwy 168, especially on the eastern wall of the canyon.  As expected, this area has a lot of aspen turning and some of them even have a bit of orange and red hues.

Table Mountain Camp (9/3/14) Jared Smith

Table Mountain Camp (9/3/14) Jared Smith

Patchy – 10 – 50% – Table Mountain Camp (8,900′) A surprising amount of color is already visible in the groves just above and below Table Mountain Group Campground.  The aspen along the road and the camp itself are still green, but the dark green of summer has definitely lightened to a more bright lime green.

Surveyor's Meadow (9/3/14) Jared Smith

Surveyor’s Meadow (9/3/14) Jared Smith

Patchy – 10 – 50% – Surveyor’s Meadow (8,975′) Another area that is really ahead of the game is Surveyor’s Meadow. The hillsides above and around Surveyor’s Meadow are already exhibiting some beautiful yellow and gold. It will be interesting to see how things progress here in the coming weeks.

Lake Sabrina (9/3/14) Jared Smith

Lake Sabrina (9/3/14) Jared Smith

Just Starting – 0 – 10% – Lake Sabrina (9,150′) Despite the drought, water managers have been able to store a fair amount of water in the reservoir at Sabrina adding to the beauty. The groves directly across the lake from the store & café are turning yellow, as are the groves to the west above the main inlet towards the back of the lake. There is still a lot of color on deck but folks could realistically get some exceptional photos now if they wanted. With the 10 day forecast similar to what we’d see during the summer, the color should continue to develop over the next several weeks.

North Lake (9/3/14) Jared Smith

North Lake (9/3/14) Jared Smith

Just Starting – 0 – 10% – North Lake (9,255′) The North Lake area has a bit of color, especially on the hillside above the pack station, but the road is still green as can be. This area has a tendency to turn quickly so we’ll be watching closely to see how things progress around this beautiful high country lake. Just Starting – 0 – 10% – Steiny Loop above Mt. Glen Camp (8,600′) This is somewhat of a sleeper spot for photographers being that these groves are along a dirt road off of South Lake Road. A few aspens have branches that are turning but the majority of the trees are still green, albeit a bit lighter shade of green than we typically see in the summer. Judging by the lime green leaves, I would expect to see some significant color in the next week to 10 days.

Mist Falls and Groves (9/3/14) Jared Smith

Mist Falls and Groves (9/3/14) Jared Smith

Just Starting – 0 – 10% – Mist Falls and the groves above Bishop Creek Lodge (8,350′) Not much color here but there are a few trees that are ahead of the game and showing some yellow. The trees in this area tend to peak late in September or even early to mid October so it’s no surprise that there isn’t much going on yet. Just Starting – 0 – 10% – Aspendell (8,400′) Another area that tends to peak later is the small community of Aspendell. There is little to no color around the neighborhood as of today.

Groves above Cardinal Village (9/3/14) Jared Smith

Groves above Cardinal Village (9/3/14) Jared Smith

Patchy – 10 – 50% – Groves Above Cardinal Village (8,550′) As green as Aspendell is, it’s surprising that just a half mile above the community there is significant color already. The trees on the east slope above Cardinal Village are already turning yellow. One of the best views in the canyon can be captured from a turnout just above Aspendell.