California Fall Color
Dude, autumn happens here, too.

Posts Tagged ‘Eastern Sierra’

L.A. Has Rolled Out The Red Carpet

Fri ,12/08/2016
Liquidambar (June) Leaf Peeper

Liquidambar, Los Angeles (6/14/16) Leaf Peeper

Liquidambar, Los Angeles (6/14/16) Leaf Peeper

Liquidambar, Los Angeles (8/10/16) Leaf Peeper

I hesitated posting the top left photo received from Leaf Peeper when it arrived in June.

This is the same tree Leaf Peeper has submitted previously in summer, making it the third year that a Los Angeles tree gets attention for early color.

Now, this just may be that this tree shows red color in its uppermost branches and isn’t really changing color, though we’d need a tree expert to say.

Nevertheless, color is color and with Leaf Peeper’s report, Los Angeles again gets the nod for being the first to roll out the red carpet.

On Sunday, I head to the Eastern Sierra to check out Bishop Creek Canyon, Mammoth Lakes and U.S. 395 through Inyo and Mono Counties, and will report on what’s showing after returning on Thursday.

If you’re in the area, I’ll be talking to businesses about fall color and how to better serve fall color viewers in Bishop on Monday and Mammoth Lakes on Tuesday, sponsored by the local visitors bureaus.

Just Starting (0-10%) – Los Angeles County

Mammoth Lakes Is Go Now! Golden

Thu ,29/10/2015

 

Snowcreek, Mammoth Lakes (10/29/15) Josh Wray

Snowcreek, Mammoth Lakes (10/29/15) Josh Wray

Lakes Basin Bike Path, Mammoth Lakes  (10/29/15) Josh Wray

Lakes Basin Bike Path, Mammoth Lakes (10/29/15) Josh Wray

Mammoth Creek (10/29/15) Josh Wray

Mammoth Creek (10/29/15) Josh Wray

Mammoth Creek  (10/29/15) Josh Wray

Mammoth Creek (10/29/15) Josh Wray

Just when you think it might be over, another set of photos arrives.

This one is from Josh Wray who toured his home town of Mammoth Lakes this morning and found “Go Now!” gold everywhere and snow dusting Mammoth Mountain’s ski runs.

Josh writes that the Lakes Basin Bike Path, Snowcreek and Mammoth Creek are all at full peak. We believe you, Josh.

Now, why did we ever think it might be ending!? Maybe we oughta read the Fall Color Report posted at the visitor center!

Peak (75-100%) GO NOW! – Mammoth Lakes

Fall Color at Mammoth Lakes (10/29/15) Josh Wray

Fall Color at Mammoth Lakes (10/29/15) Josh Wray

JW-MammothLakes-10

Mammoth Creek (10/29/15) Josh Wray

Blood Red Aspen Drip Across Conway Summit

Wed ,28/10/2015
Conway Summit (10/27/15) Alicia Vennos

Conway Summit (10/27/15) Alicia Vennos

How’s that for a Halloween headline?

When we received the above photo of a plethora of peaked aspen oozing across a gully atop Conway Summit, macabre thoughts of haunted forests, delightfully possessed with crimson fall color, came to mind.

After all, it’s the time of year when things go bump in the night, or is it that aspen generate intense color during the night?

Mono County fall color sorceress Alicia Vennos looked into her crystal ball before reporting, “It’s now or never.” She hints that this could be the last weekend to see such color in the Eastern Sierra. By the following weekend, much of it will likely be gone.

If you’re an experienced trick or treater, you know which houses give out the big chocolate bars and which give bags of mini carrots.  The same is true of fall color. Some areas are worth visiting, while others, well, the carrots are more tasty.

For those heading to Mono County this weekend, must stops are the June Lake Loop in its entirety, Mammoth Creek, Lower Rock Creek Road and trail, lower Tioga Pass Road, lower Lundy Lake Road, Conway Summit between Lee Vining and Bridgeport, and the West Walker River.

But, hurry, as snow is expected to dust surrounding peaks.  That provides a photogenic contrast to the gold, orange and red among the aspen, though it could also trick the trees to drop their leaves.  No treat.

Silver Lake (10/27/15) Alicia Vennos

Silver Lake (10/27/15) Alicia Vennos

Gull Lake Campground (10/27/15) Alicia Vennos

Gull Lake Campground (10/27/15) Alicia Vennos

Gull Lake (10/27/15) Alicia Vennos

Gull Lake (10/27/15) Alicia Vennos

June Lake Loop (10/27/15) Alicia Vennos

June Lake Loop (10/27/15) Alicia Vennos

Mono Lake (10/27/15) Alicia Vennos

Mono Lake (10/27/15) Alicia Vennos

Conway Summit (10/27/15) Alicia Vennos

Conway Summit (10/27/15) Alicia Vennos

West Walker River (10/27/15) Alicia Vennos

West Walker River (10/27/15) Alicia Vennos

West Walker River (10/27/15) Alicia Vennos

West Walker River (10/27/15) Alicia Vennos

Road to Lobdell Lake (10/27/15) Alicia Vennos

Road to Lobdell Lake (10/27/15) Alicia Vennos

Here’s Alicia’s latest (and perhaps last) report:

Peak GO NOW! (75-100%) – Lower Rock Creek – For a lovely Creekside hike amidst glowing aspens, take the Lower Rock Creek trail. Start from the top parking lot, near the US 395 junction, and walk down for about 2 miles. It’s uphill on the way back, but the different light through the trees makes it equally enjoyable. Road work along Rock Creek Road is finished and the smooth drive through still-lovely color is enjoyable. Tom’s Place holds a Halloween Costume Party on Oct. 31.  Lower Rock Creek Road and the mountain bike/hiking trail have some nice spots of color but they are still a week or so before peak.

Peak GO NOW! (75-100%) – McGee Creek, Convict Lake.

Peak GO NOW! (75-100%) – Mammoth Creek/Old Mammoth Road.  Mammoth Creek is shining brightly with orange, gold and reds, right now.

Peak GO NOW! (75-100%) – June Lake Loop/Hwy. 158.  The Loop should not be missed right now — the color is pretty much perfect the entire way around Hwy. 158.

Near Peak GO NOW! (50-75%) – Lee Vining Canyon/Lower Tioga Pass Road. Poole Plant Road, close to the bottom of Tioga Pass Road, is getting very close to going off. It’s a matter of days now before it is perfect.

Peak GO NOW! (75-100%) – Lundy Canyon, especially lower Lundy Lake Road, around Lundy Lake itself, and at the first waterfall lookout on the trail.

Peak GO NOW! (75-100%) – Conway Summit.  This spectacular hillside of aspens shines under snow-covered Dunderberg Peak and some of the groves are literally blood red.  This can be seen right from US 395 and the pull-outs but always use caution when exiting and re-entering the highway.

Peak GO NOW! (75-100%) – West Walker River – The river is now lined with mostly golden foliage, and Devil’s Gate, just north of Bridgeport, is perfect, right now. The Burcham Flat Road out of Walker to Lobdell Lake has a few patches of color left, though it’s pretty much past peak. Add this to your bucket list to visit during the first two weeks of October next autumn (can you believe we’re already talking about next year?), as the groves of aspens in this part of northern Mono County are prolific and, backed by an alpine setting, lovely.

Halloween Parties: Tom’s Place (Rock Creek); Heidelberg Inn, June Lake.

Trick or Treating for Kids: The “Trails” neighborhood in Mammoth Lakes is closed to traffic from 5-9 p.m. on Halloween for community trick or treating… Everyone is welcome!

Video: Eastern Sierra, Oct. 2015

Tue ,27/10/2015

William Croce sends this “classical” look at quaking aspen changing color in Bishop Creek Canyon (Eastern Sierra) in early October. Of note, frames include images of black-leaf-spot-damaged aspen leaves and leaves that show all colors seen among California aspen: red, orange, yellow and lime. Enjoy!

Owens Valley Soft and Lovely

Mon ,26/10/2015
Rawson Ponds, Owens Valley (10/25/15) Gary Young

Rawson Ponds, Owens Valley (10/25/15) Gary Young

Warm Springs Rd, Owens Valley (10/25/15) Gary Young

Warm Springs Rd, Owens Valley (10/25/15) Gary Young

Rawson Ponds, Owens Valley (10/25/15) Gary Young

Rawson Ponds, Owens Valley (10/25/15) Gary Young

Rawson Ponds, Owens Valley (10/25/15) Gary Young

Rawson Ponds, Owens Valley (10/25/15) Gary Young

Bishop color spotter Gary Young drove down to the Owens River before work, yesterday morning and returned with these beautiful shots of soft, lovely fall color.

The pond shots are from Rawson Ponds near the Owens River (Between East Line Rd and Warm Springs Rd, southeast of Bishop) and the road with the Eastern Sierra seen in the background is Warm Springs Rd.

Gary writes that “you can sure see the effects of the drought in the Owens Valley with only a small percentage of trees showing great color.  It certainly has become the Cadillac Desert, described in literature.

Near Peak (50-75%) GO NOW! – Owens Valley

June Is Busting Out All Over

Sun ,25/10/2015
Willow Reflections, South of Silver Lake (10/24/15) David Olden

Willow Reflections, South of Silver Lake (10/24/15) David Olden

Lundy Canyon (10/24/15) Alena Nicholas

Lundy Canyon (10/24/15) Alena Nicholas

Convict Lake Sunset (10/25/15) Alena Nicholas

Convict Lake Sunset (10/25/15) Alena Nicholas

June Lake Loop (10/24/15) Alena Nicholas

June Lake Loop (10/24/15) Alena Nicholas

June Lake Loop (10/24/15) Alena Nicholas

June Lake Loop (10/24/15) Alena Nicholas

We’re beginning to receive reports and photos from color spotters who visited June Lake in the Eastern Sierra and who say it’s as good as it gets.

David Olden sent this image of willows reflected just south of Silver Lake.  The area is still just turning, though conditions vary greatly throughout the Loop, “from green to bare,” he writes.

Alena Nicholas called to say June Lake was busting out all over.  An extended report with Alena’s images will be posted on Tuesday. Here’s a sampling:

Bishop Creek Continues To Deliver

Sat ,24/10/2015
Intake II, Bishop Creek Canyon (10/23/15) Gary Young Photography

Intake II, Bishop Creek Canyon (10/23/15) Gary Young Photography

Hwy 168,  Bishop Creek Canyon (10/23/15) Gary Young Photography

Hwy 168, Bishop Creek Canyon (10/23/15) Gary Young Photography

Color spotter Gary Young of Bishop headed up the Bishop Creek Canyon yesterday and sent back these images of Intake II and Hwy 168 between Intake II and Aspendell.

Though the canyon is largely past peak, pockets of color provide beautiful imagery, as Gary found.

Intake II is one of those locations that most people visiting Bishop Creek often ignore, because it is late to turn, but it is the overlooked places that deliver some of the best images.

Deep Reds Deep into the John Muir Wilderness

Thu ,15/10/2015
Rock Creek Rd, John Muir Wilderness (10/14/15) Clayton Peoples

Rock Creek Rd, John Muir Wilderness (10/14/15) Clayton Peoples

Yesterday, color spotter Clayton Peoples hiked into the Little Lakes Valley (Inyo County) which is within the John Muir Wilderness and Inyo National Forest.

Rock Creek Rd, John Muir Wilderness (10/14/15) Clayton Peoples

Rock Creek Rd, John Muir Wilderness (10/14/15) Clayton Peoples

He confirms what others have been reporting that Rock Creek Rd, portions of which are both in Mono County and Inyo County) is definitely peaking.

Many aspen groves along the road are showing gorgeous color with nice variation of yellow, orange “even deep reds in pockets.”

Little Lakes Valley itself is also “peak” status. Although there are fewer aspens along the trails and lakes, there is plenty of brush sporting bright yellow and/or rusty orange, which really helps accent the stunning beauty of the area.
Rock Creek Rd, John Muir Wilderness (10/14/15) Clayton Peoples

Rock Creek Rd, John Muir Wilderness (10/14/15) Clayton Peoples

Peak GO NOW! – Little Lakes Valley, John Muir Wilderness

It’s Happening Big Time in Mono County

Wed ,14/10/2015
June Lake Loop (10/14/15) Alicia Vennos

June Lake Loop (10/14/15) Alicia Vennos

When Alicia Vennos starts screaming “WoooooHooooo!,” as she did in today’s report, you know you’re gonna be up late posting it.

Sure ‘nough, Mono County is at peak or approaching it.  There are so many GO NOW! alerts in this report, that, well, the best advice I have is to just pack your bags for the weekend. And, the good news it’ll last for a week or two longer, given the weather doesn’t get blustery.

That’s a concern, as some precip is forecast for the weekend. Ugh!  So, GO NOW!, GO NOW!, GO NOW!

Laurel Creek (10/13/15) Alicia Vennos

Laurel Creek (10/13/15) Alicia Vennos

OK, I know, not everyone can go now, and if you do visit on the weekend, though it will be truly fall weather, there’ll also be openings of wonderful soft light to accent the color.  Here’s what’s happening…

 

June Lake Loop (10/14/15) Alicia Vennos

June Lake Loop (10/14/15) Alicia Vennos

Gull Lake (10/14/15) Alicia Vennos

Gull Lake (10/14/15) Alicia Vennos

Silver Lake (10/14/15) Alicia Vennos

Silver Lake (10/14/15) Alicia Vennos

Tioga Pass (10/8/15) Jeff Simpson

Tioga Pass (10/8/15) Jeff Simpson

Lundy Falls (10/14/15) Alicia Vennos

Lundy Falls (10/14/15) Alicia Vennos

Lundy Beaver Pond (10/14/15) Alicia Vennos

Lundy Beaver Pond (10/14/15) Alicia Vennos

Mono Lake (10/14/15) Alicia Vennos

Mono Lake (10/14/15) Alicia Vennos

Conway Summit (10/14/15) Alicia Vennos

Conway Summit (10/14/15) Alicia Vennos

Dunderberg Meadow (10/12/14) Robin K. Roberts

Dunderberg Meadow (10/12/14) Robin K. Roberts

Summers Meadow (10/12/15) Robin K. Roberts

Summers Meadow (10/12/15) Robin K. Roberts

Peak GO NOW! (75-100%) – Rock Creek – Most of Rock Creek Road is gorgeous and golden.  The newly paved road makes for a smooth and lovely ride both for motorists and cyclists.  Lower Rock Creek Road and trail which should be peaking within a week to 10 days, so expect this peak to continue for perhaps two weeks.

Peak GO NOW! (75-100%) – McGee Creek – The color all along the creek are at their prime which may last for the next two weeks judging from the amount of green remaining in many of the groves.

Convict Lake (10/14/15) Charles Porter

Convict Lake (10/14/15) Charles Porter

Peak GO NOW! (75-100%) – Convict Canyon/Convict Lake – The lower section of the canyon up through the campground/resort is at peak. The fall color in this area is spectacular, showing bright yellow, gold, orange and some red. The foliage along the lake has also started to peak and has greatly increased in intensity. The shoreline is traced with a line of yellow.  At the back of the lake, a bright ribbon of gold is snaking its way up the canyon. From bottom to the top of the canyon there are still some pockets of green next to sections that have already peaked. So, we’re good for a long peak here, conditions permitting. The Convict Lake Resort is offering an End-Of-Season Fall Lodging Special starting at $259+tax (Oct. 25 – Nov. 15; Sun. thru Thurs., two nights for two persons). Includes $100 restaurant credit & full-day motor boat rental. The Convict Lake fall fishing derby, “Ambush at the Lake” continues through Nov. 15, with up to $6,000 in prizes.

Peak GO NOW! (75-100%) – Laurel Canyon – A breathtaking ribbon of orange, red, and gold is stretching from top to bottom along Laurel Creek, creating an impressive contrast against the soft grey and green sage-covered hillside. Take Sherwin Creek Road of US 395 just south of Mammoth Lakes to see this colorful phenomenon up close.

Mammoth Lakes (10/12/15) Josh Wray

Mammoth Lakes (10/12/15) Josh Wray

Twin Lakes (10/12/15) Josh Wray

Twin Lakes, Mammoth Lakes (10/12/15) Josh Wray

Near Peak GO NOW! (50-75%) -Mammoth Lake is near or at peak with Mammoth Creek and the Twin Lakes absolutely glorious (see below).

Near Peak GO NOW! (50-75%) – June Lake Loop/Hwy. 158 – Yes, folks, “the Loop” is almost there! Shades of lime-green throughout the gold and orange remind us that the June Lake Loop is not quite at peak yet, but it is already worth the drive! Parker Lake trail should be at peak now; Walker Lake is probably getting close although we have not had any recent reports to confirm that assumption.

Past Peak YOU MISSED IT! – Sage Hen Meadow Road.

Patchy (10-50%) – Lee Vining Canyon – Tioga Pass Road and Poole Plant Road are still a week or more away from peaking.

Peak GO NOW! (75-100%) – Lundy Canyon. The lower part of Lundy Lake Road is at full peak, as are the aspens around the beaver ponds and the first set of waterfalls.  Oddly enough, there are still full groves at the Lundy Lake level that are still completely green so the color should last through the next two weeks.

BRIDGEPORT / CONWAY SUMMIT

Peak GO NOW! (75-100%) – Conway Summit.  Conway Summit is perfect right now! Bridgeport’s Ducks Unlimited Dinner is this Saturday, Oct. 17. Join Bridgeport locals at Memorial Hall for dinner and to find out their secret fall color and duck hunting spots.

Past Peak YOU MISSED IT! – Virginia Lakes

Peak GO NOW! (75-100%) – Green Creek/Summers Meadow.  Just south of Bridgeport, take the Green Creek Road and follow signs for Upper Summers Meadow, or stay on the main road to Green Creek trail or Dunderberg Meadow. Some groves are past peak but most are glowing orange and gold, and still others remain green.

WALKER / COLEVILLE / TOPAZ

Near Peak GO NOW! (50-75%) – Monitor Pass/Sonora Pass/Leavitt Meadows. Past peak at upper elevations but golden at lower levels.

Patchy (10-50%) – Walker Canyon/West Walker River/Towns of Walker & Coleville

Mammoth Creek, Mammoth Lakes (10/15/15) Lara Kaylor

Mammoth Creek, Mammoth Lakes (10/15/15) Lara Kaylor

Hike of the Week: Big Pine Creek

Tue ,13/10/2015
N. Fork Big Pine Creek (10/10/15) Jackson Frishman

N. Fork Big Pine Creek (10/10/15) Jackson Frishman

Avid hiker, photographer and color spotter A. Jackson Frishman must have been breathless both from his hike, but also from the beautiful peaking aspen he found along the North Fork of Big Pine Creek this past weekend.  His report causes us to declare this the Hike of the Week.

N. Fork Big Pine Creek (10/10/15) Jackson Frishman

N. Fork Big Pine Creek (10/10/15) Jackson Frishman

The North Fork hike is not for the feint hearted.  Modern Hiker describes it as a difficult trek that gains 3,000′ in 9.2 miles.  Whew!

However, there’s a fall color bonus the higher you go.

Frishman writes, “There’s good color to be found for folks willing to walk a ways up the trail. Below Second Falls (9,000′) the color is Patchy, but it’s peaking from Cienega Mirth (above 9,000′) and up, with very few bare trees.”

Peak GO NOW! (75-100%) – Big Pine Creek