California Fall Color
Dude, autumn happens here, too.

Posts Tagged ‘Eastern Sierra’

Bishop Takes Peak of the Week – Checkmate!

Wed ,05/11/2014
Bishop (11/3/14) Nicholas Barnhart

Bishop (11/3/14) Nicholas Barnhart

Fall in Bishop (11/3/14) Nicholas Barnhart

Fall in Bishop (11/3/14) Nicholas Barnhart

Fremont Cottonwood, Bishop (11/3/14) Alena Barnhart

Fremont Cottonwood, Bishop (11/3/14) Alena Barnhart

Bishop (Peak 75-100%) - The Eastern Sierra city of Bishop on US 395 is peaking with glorious stands of huge Fremont cottonwood glowing orange-red along the Owens River. Color spotters Nick and Alena Barnhart captured the peak this past weekend.  It appears these trees will remain beautiful for a week more, longer if it remains calm. So, Bishop and the Owens Valley are this week’s Peak of the Week. GO NOW!

Bishop (11/3/14) Alena Barnhart

Bishop (11/3/14) Alena Barnhart

Bishop (11/3/14) Nicholas Barnhart

Bishop (11/3/14) Nicholas Barnhart

Bishop (11/3/14) Nicholas Barnhart

Bishop (11/3/14) Nicholas Barnhart

Bishop (11/3/14) Nicholas Barnhart

Bishop (11/3/14) Nicholas Barnhart

Fremont Cottonwood, Bishop (11/3/14) Alena Barnhart

Fremont Cottonwood, Bishop (11/3/14) Alena Barnhart

Weekend Roundup: Snow and Glory

Sat ,01/11/2014
Narrow Gate Vineyards (11/1/14) John Poimiroo

Narrow Gate Vineyards (11/1/14) John Poimiroo

Pomegranates are the color of fall at Boa Vista in Apple Hill (10/30/14 John Poimiroo

Pomegranates are the color of fall at Boa Vista in Apple Hill (10/30/14 John Poimiroo

Grape tubs are full of rainfall at Narrow Gate Vineyards (11/1/14) John Poimiroo

Grape tubs are full of rainfall at Narrow Gate Vineyards (11/1/14) John Poimiroo

Counoise vines at Holly's Hill Winery (11/1/14) John Poimiroo

Counoise vines at Holly’s Hill Winery (11/1/14) John Poimiroo

Color spotters from around the state have sent reports on what’s showing as November and daylight saving time arrives.

Western El Dorado County (Near Peak 50 -75%) – The brilliant orange-red of exotic Chinese pistache is a show stopper along El Dorado Hills Boulevard and at all US 50 exits in Placerville.  Newtown Rd between Placerville and Pleasant Valley is a veritable canopy of yellow and lime bigleaf maple with occasional orange flushes of black oak. This is one of the most beautiful drives in the Gold Country, though has few turnouts, so you have to stop before or after you see the color to photograph it.  GO NOW!

Apple Hill (Near Peak 50-75%) - Apple orchards, fruit trees and vineyards are a blend of yellow, gold and green. GO NOW!

Sierra Foothills Wineries and Vineyards (Near Peak 75-100%) - Counoise and Grenache vineyards at Holly’s Hill and Narrow Gate wineries in the Pleasant Valley area south of Placerville are a mix of lime, yellow, orange and red.  GO NOW!

Beckstoffer Vineyards, Ukiah (10/29/14) Walter Gabler

Beckstoffer Vineyards, Ukiah (10/29/14) Walter Gabler

Ukiah Valley (Near Peak – 50-75%) - North coast color spotter Walter Gabler reports that Mendocino County vineyards are near peak in the Ukiah Valley. Vineyards tend to change by variety.  Because of this, it’s difficult to know which are peaking and which are progressing toward peak. Our advice, regarding all wineries, is to visit anytime from early October to mid November and there is likely to be color in their vineyards. GO NOW!

Monument Campground, Lake Camanche (10/30/14) Terry Willard

Monument Campground, Lake Camanche (10/30/14) Terry Willard

Lake Camanche (Near Peak 50 – 75%) - Colorful fremont cottonwood and exotic trees are reflected in the Monument Campgrounds trout pond, providing an idyllic setting for RVers. GO NOW!

Castle Crags State Park (10/30/14) Cory Poole

Castle Crags State Park (10/30/14) Cory Poole

Castle Crags State Park (Near Peak 50 – 75%) - Cory Poole posted this photo of Castle Crags State Park on California Fall Color’s Facebook page, showing how the color is developing in Shasta County. GO NOW!

Tilden Park, Berkeley  (11/1/14) Sandy Steinman

Tilden Park, Berkeley (11/1/14) Sandy Steinman

Tilden Park, Berkeley  (11/1/14) Sandy Steinman

Tilden Park, Berkeley (11/1/14) Sandy Steinman

Tilden Park, Berkeley  (11/1/14) Sandy Steinman

Tilden Park, Berkeley (11/1/14) Sandy Steinman

Tilden Park, Berkeley (Patchy 10 – 50%) - Color spotty Sandy Steinman reports that fall color at East Bay Regional Parks’ Botanic Garden is mixed.  He writes there are no grand displays, but some nice color spots. Some decidous trees have peaked while other are still showing green.

Oakland Camp, Quincy (10/31/14) Mike Nellor

Oakland Camp, Quincy (10/31/14) Mike Nellor

Aspendell (10/31/14) Steve Wolfe

Aspendell (10/31/14) Steve Wolfe

High Sierra (Peak 75 – 100%) - Three to six inches of snow fell in the High Sierra this weekend.  That’s a dusting of snow by Sierra standards.  Steve Wolfe and Mike Nellor captured snow and fall color in Inyo and Plumas Counties.  The combination of fall color and snow is dramatic and emotional, as seen in Mike’s shot of Oakland Camp.  This does not mean the fall color show has ended, only that it has moved to a different stage. GO NOW!

Owens Valley (10/31/14) Steve Wolfe

Owens Valley (10/31/14) Steve Wolfe

Owens Valley (10/31/14) Steve Wolfe

Owens Valley (10/31/14) Steve Wolfe

Owens Valley (Peak – 75 – 100%) - Color spotter Steve Wolfe – on departing the Eastern Sierra provided this last report on the Owens Valley, where rabbitbrush, willows and black cottonwood are peaking with gorgeous tones of orange, yellow and gold. GO NOW!

Switzer Falls Trail (11/1/14) Dan Riley

Switzer Falls Trail (11/1/14) Dan Riley

Switzer Falls Trail (11/1/14) Dan Riley

Switzer Falls Trail (11/1/14) Dan Riley

Switzer Falls (Past Peak) - Dan Riley sent these photos of: Switzer Falls in the Angeles National Forest.  The forest floor is orange with spent maple and black oak leaves. The Switzer Falls trail is an area from which we’ve not received photos, previously.  A tip for photographers – take pictures of places not seen on this site previously and you’re almost assured of getting them posted. YOU MISSED IT.

“Pockets of Resistance” in the Eastern Sierra

Tue ,28/10/2014
June Lake Loop (10/25/14) Alena Barnhart

Pockets of Resistance along the June Lake Loop (10/26/14) Alena Barnhart

We’ve reported that this is the autumn that just won’t die and that’s seen in these photographs taken by Alena Barnhart along US 395.  Color spotters Nick and Alena Barnhart term the areas where color persists as “pockets of resistance.”

Alena Barnhart 4

Lundy Pond (10/26/14) Alena Barnhart

June Lake Loop  (10/25/14) Alena Barnhart

June Lake Loop (10/25/14) Alena Barnhart

June Lake Loop (10/25/14) Alena Barnhart

June Lake Loop (10/25/14) Alena Barnhart

June Lake Loop (10/25/14) Alena Barnhart

June Lake Loop (10/25/14) Alena Barnhart

That means, even though “crazy” wind should have stripped trees of leaves (as occurred last Friday and Saturday) there are areas where the trees “resisted” the elements.

Now, we all know trees can’t resist the wind.  Probably, they were in a spot where swirling winds missed the groves or the trees were still early enough in their change that their leaves had enough strength to stay attached.  Whatever the reason, the result is that a different type of scene develops, one mixed with stripped and unstripped trees, which is lovely in its own right.

So, even though we’re now classifying many areas in the Eastern Sierra as “peak to past peak” or fully past peak, there still are “pockets of resistance” to be appreciated.

Hike of the Week: Lower Rock Creek Road

Mon ,27/10/2014
Lower Rock Creek  (10/26/14) Alicia Vennos

Lower Rock Creek (10/26/14) Alicia Vennos

This will likely be the last week for any significant color in the Eastern Sierra, so if you hope to see any color in the Eastern Sierra, go immediately.  Otherwise, you’ll likely be reading that YOU MISSED IT.

Mono County color spotter Alicia Vennos recommends this week’s Hike of the Week along Lower Rock Creek Road which is right off US 395 just south of Tom’s Place.

Lower Rock Creek  (10/26/14) Alicia Vennos

Lower Rock Creek (10/26/14) Alicia Vennos

Lower Rock Creek  (10/26/14) Alicia Vennos

Lower Rock Creek (10/26/14) Alicia Vennos

Lower Rock Creek  (10/26/14) Alicia Vennos

Lower Rock Creek (10/26/14) Alicia Vennos

Lower Rock Creek  (10/26/14) Alicia Vennos

Lower Rock Creek (10/26/14) Alicia Vennos

Lower Rock Creek  (10/26/14) Alicia Vennos

Lower Rock Creek (10/26/14) Alicia Vennos

Lower Rock Creek Rd (Peak – 75 – 100%) - HIKE OF THE WEEK: Drive about 2.5 miles down Lower Rock Creek Rd. to the first major pull-out (west side of the road),  park and then cross the road to hike back up the trail.  Aspens along the beautiful rushing creek are at peak now. Look for the beaver dam which has stilled the water surface to afford mirror-like reflections of the trees.  The trail is multi-use, so mountain bikers, hikers and anglers.  Alicia warns, “Please watch out for one another!” GO NOW!

Mammoth Lakes (Peak to Past Peak – Sections of Mammoth Creek Rd. (off Old Mammoth Road in Mammoth Lakes) still offer brilliant red and orange on the trees.

June Lake Loop/Hwy. 158  (Past Peak) - Even though the June Lake Loop moves to being past peak, a few stands remain vibrant, particularly around Gull Lake, at the base of June Mountain and just north of Silver Lake. YOU MISSED IT!

Lee Vining Canyon (Peak to Past Peak) – The lower section of Tioga Pass Rd. and Lee Vining Canyon are peaking beautifully, with some trees definitely past peak. GO NOW!

Conway Summit, Green Creek Road and Twin Lakes (Past Peak) - Again, though spots of color appear in the groves surrounding Bridgeport, comparative photos now show the haunting contrast between most of the trees that are completely bare and those few with bright patches of color still on them.  Overall, it’s past peak and one good gust from being stripped.  YOU MISSED IT!

West Walker River and Walker/Coleville (Peak – 75 – 100%) - Grand cottonwood flanking the northern stretch of US 395 and along the West Walker River are bright yellow at peak. GO NOW!

US 395, Bishop (10/24/14) Kathy Thieu

US 395, Bishop (10/24/14) Kathy Thieu

Bishop (Peak 75 – 100%) - US 395 from Lone Pine to Bishop is at peak with cottonwood and sage brush golden.

California Fall Color Glows High Above US395

Sun ,26/10/2014
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

Sat ,25/10/2014
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.

Travel Writer Lee Foster Describes US 395 Fall Color

Fri ,24/10/2014
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.

Aerial Eastern Sierra

Thu ,23/10/2014

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

Her Hardest Hue to Hold

Sun ,19/10/2014
Aspendell (10/19/14) Steve Wolfe

Aspendell (10/19/14) Steve Wolfe

Color spotter Steve Wolfe reports from the Eastern Sierra that this weekend was glorious, though he worries that wind predicted for tomorrow will strip what little is left in Bishop Creek Canyon.

A mix of color is seen in and around Aspendell and S. Bishop Creek (10/19/14) Steve Wolfe

A mix of color is seen in and around Aspendell and S. Bishop Creek (10/19/14) Steve Wolfe

Steve was at Aspendell today and caught these lovely images.  He notes, as Jared Smith did last week, that the area around Aspendell is both at peak and past peak, though on the main road through Aspendell there’s still green among the aspen, meaning that color change will continue to develop for a week or two.

It’s a mix of patchy color with yellow, orange and leafless stands.  The color is lasting a week longer than usual.  “Even around the tiny burg of South Fork Bishop Creek there are pockets of bright yellow aspen with this photo taken about a mile up the road.” If you’re in the area, GO NOW!  As, Monday’s wind will likely strip what color remains.

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.