California Fall Color
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Posts Tagged ‘Eastern Sierra’

Mammoth/June – Simply Lovely, Losing It Higher Up

Tue ,15/10/2013
Mammoth Creek, Sunday  Evening (10/13/13) Susan Morning

Mammoth Creek, Sunday Evening (10/13/13) Susan Morning

Color spotter Edina Ingram reports that the Mammoth Lakes area is closer to full peak in lower elevations.  Jaganath Achari seconds her assessment and reports, after visiting  Mammoth and June Lakes this past weekend that, “it was busting in colors all over the place.”  

He added, “You really have no idea how many times I refresh your home page every day this season… Now eagerly waiting for your Napa/Sonoma and Shasta Cascade reports!”  OK, Jag, you’ve challenged us.  We’ll put out a report on the wine country this week.  From photos we’ve seen, some Sonoma County vineyards – it’s always spotty there- are 50%. 

Getting back to Mammoth/June, here’s the latest:

 

Convict Lake (10/12/13) Jaganath Achari

Convict Lake (10/12/13) Jaganath Achari

 

Gull Lake (10/13/13) Jaganath Achari

Gull Lake (10/13/13) Jaganath Achari

 

Aspen, Lundy Canyon (10/12/13) Jaganath Achari

Aspen, Lundy Canyon (10/12/13) Jaganath Achari

 

Conway Summit (10/12/13) Jaganath Achari

Conway Summit (10/12/13) Jaganath Achari

GO NOW! – 50-75%  - 7,500′ Elevation and Below - Mammoth Creek and areas off Sherwin Creek Road in Mammoth Lakes are approaching or at full peak. 

GO NOW! – 75-100% – 8,000′ Elevation and Above - Similar to what’s happened at Rock Creek and Bishop Creek, areas above 8,000′ are beginning to die off with trees showing half their leaves.  You’ll find color leading up to these elevations, though increasingly less color the higher up you go.

GO NOW! – 75 – 100% – June Lake - Full Peak.

GO NOW! – 50 – 75% – Conway Summit - Broad swaths of yellow aspen are turning orange, as Conway Summit continues to lag behind nearby canyons (Lundy, Virginia Creek, Twin Lakes).

GO NOW! – 75 – 100% – Twin Lakes, Bridgeport - This canyon tucked at the southwest end of the Bridgeport basin is often overlooked by leaf peepers and photogs, though it shouldn’t be.  Jaganath Achari didn’t miss visiting it on his trip to the East Side this past weekend and provides this panorama of the lakes, fringed with gold and backed by impressive Sierra peaks.  It’s worth a diversion, when traveling US 395 through Bridgeport… famous for its rustic cabins and fishing.

Twin Lakes, Bridgeport (10/13/13) Jaganath Achari

Twin Lakes, Bridgeport (10/13/13) Jaganath Achari
Location: Mammoth / June Lakes
Temperature: 35.6 °F
Humidity: 64%
Dew point: 24.8 °F
Wind speed: 9km/hr
Wind direction: 280°
Cloud cover: n/a

Hiking to Serendipity

Sun ,13/10/2013
Aspen, South of Mammoth Lakes (10/13/13) Susan Taylor

Sierra Fall Creek Cabin, US 395, South of Mammoth Lakes (10/11/13) Susan Taylor

Photographer Susan Taylor was hiking south of Mammoth Lakes, off US 395, when she happened upon this cabin among golden aspen by a creek.  A talented artist, Susan made the most of the moment, proving again that “seren” is the best kind of “dipity.”  CLICK HERE to see more of her work.

Lundy Canyon Full Peak

Sun ,13/10/2013
Lundy Canyon, Mono County (10/12/13) Steve Wolfe

Lundy Canyon, Mono County (10/12/13) Steve Wolfe

Color spotter Steve Wolfe sends this gorgeous shot of full color in Lundy Canyon in the Eastern Sierra (Mono County).  Apologies to Steve and all other photographers who emailed photos but didn’t see them posted. I have finally figured out why those emails were getting lost and had 8,000 email messages fill our inbox, this morning!  Regrettably, we’ll only be able to post the most recent shots.

75 – 100% – Lundy Canyon – Full Peak

Mono Lake As Seen By Michael Frye

Sun ,13/10/2013

Professional photographer Michael Frye (see his blog at left) is an enduring and respected chronicler of Yosemite and the High Sierra.  This past week, he traveled across Tioga Pass to Mono Lake and the Eastern Sierra where he photographed fall color under a dusting of snow.  He notes that the snow didn’t greatly damage the color, which has been our experience.  It will spot leaves, but because snow falls often without wind, the leaves are not taken away.  This weekend has been beautiful in the high country, with clear skies and dazzling color.  CLICK HERE to read Michael’s observations.

Location: Mono Lake, Calif.
Temperature: 37.4 °F
Humidity: 69%
Dew point: 28.4 °F
Wind speed: 14km/hr
Wind direction: 280°
Cloud cover: overcast

Upper Bishop Creek – You Missed It

Fri ,11/10/2013

It is still spectacular up the Bishop Creek Canyon, though all areas above 8,500′ in elevation are now past peak with leaves dropping every day.  Here’s the latest from Jared Smith of the Parchers Resort up the Bishop Creek Canyon, east of Bishop (US 395)

PAST PEAK – Overall Conditions above 8,500′ - Still many pockets of color around but overall conditions have progressed well past peak with many trees have lost their leaves or turned brown/black from the cold front that came through this week. Still, judging by the number of photographers still photographing the color up high, especially with the snow-capped peaks after the snowfall, it’s still worth a look.

GO NOW! – Overall Conditions below 8,500′ - Lots of color below 8500ft still with many popular areas at or nearing peak. The cold snap did burn a some of yellow the aspen resulting in a reddish brown hue in some of the aspen but most of the color persists, again looking quite stunning with the snowfall from the last few days.

Location Specific Reports

Past Peak – South Lake Rd above Mt. Glen Camp (8,600′) - Still a bit of color, especially along the road, but the best is behind us.

GO NOW! - 75 – 100% – Mountain Glen Campground (8,400′) - The groves directly above the campground have already gone barren of color but the aspen along the creek and the huge groves from here down canyon are spectacular right now.

Mist Falls (10/10/13) Krisdina  Karady

Mist Falls (10/10/13) Krisdina Karady

GO NOW! - 75 – 100% – Mist Falls and the groves above Bishop Creek Lodge (8,350′) - It doesn’t get much better than it is right now. Time will tell if the cold and snow has any effect on these aspen but for the time being, we’re looking at peak color here.

Cardinal Mine Groves (10/10/13) Krisdina Karady

Cardinal Mine Groves (10/10/13) Krisdina Karady

GO NOW! - 75 – 100% – Cardinal Village & Aspendell (8,550′) - The groves above Cardinal Village near the mine are past peak but the aspen along the creek and on the canyon floor are stunning right now. The Aspens in and around the community of Aspendell, CA are really starting to go off as well.

Intake II (10/10/13) Krisdina Karady

Intake II (10/10/13) Krisdina Karady

GO NOW! - 75 – 100% – Intake II (8,100′) - One of the better concentrations of color in the canyon right now is around Intake II and above the lake in the upper campground. The color along the inlet creek is spectacular right now. Again, these campgrounds are closed to campers but photographers would be well served to make the walk into the campground to see the color.

Sabrina Campground (10/10/13) Krisdina Karady

Sabrina Campground (10/10/13) Krisdina Karady

Past Peak – Sabrina Campground (9,000′) - Not much left here – what a difference a week makes.

GO NOW! - 75 -100 % – Forks, Four

Bishop Park Campground (10/10/13) Krisdina Karady

Bishop Park Campground (10/10/13) Krisdina Karady

Jeffries, Big Trees & Bishop Park Camgrounds (8,000′ – 8,300′) - These areas aren’t quite as famous as some of the other locations in the canyon but they are absolutely worth a look right now as most of the color along the creek at these campgrounds are in peak color. While the campgrounds are closed to campers, photographers are welcome to wander the stream looking for the right photo opportunity.

Past Peak – Table Mountain Camp (8,900′) - Mostly brown leaves left here as the cold snap really hit this area hard turning brilliant peak color into dead colorless leaves.

Past Peak – Surveyors Meadow (8,975′) - There is a bit of color left here but the color from last week is all but gone, even along the road and stream at the canyon floor.

Past Peak  – Willow Campground (9,100′) - The best color here is above the campground in between the campground and Parchers Resort but even then, there are only a few bunches of really good color.

Willow Camp on road to Parchers Camp (10/10/13) Krisdina Karady

Willow Camp on road to Parchers Camp (10/10/13) Krisdina Karady

Past Peak – Parchers Camp - The orange and red vein of aspen above the resort still survives but the vast majority of the color is either gone or turned brown with the storm.

Past Peak – Weir Pond (9,700′) - Still beautiful in the snow, but not much from a color standpoint as the color is mostly gone up this high.

Past Peak – Lake Sabrina (9,150′) - Just about all of the color is gone here, including the groves below the dam which were so good last week.

Below Sabrina Dam (10/10/13) Krisdina Karady

Below Sabrina Dam (10/10/13) Krisdina Karady

 

North Lake (10/10/13) Krisdina Karady

North Lake (10/10/13) Krisdina Karady

Past Peak – North Lake (9,255′) - There is one nice stretch of color along the road at North Lake that still looks great but the rest of it is gone.

Location: Bishop, Calif.
Temperature: 50 °F
Humidity: 56%
Dew point: 35.6 °F
Wind speed: n/a
Wind direction: n/a
Cloud cover: n/a

June Is Bustin’ Out All Over – Go Now!

Thu ,10/10/2013
Gull Lake, June Lakes (10/10/13) Alicia Vennos

Gull Lake, June Lakes (10/10/13) Alicia Vennos

In the words of Rodgers and Hammerstein, “June is bustin’ out all over!”  We always get the most queries from color photogs and leaf peepers anxious about timing their visits to the Eastern Sierra and beautiful June Lake in Mono County, off US 395.  This week was no different.

Several wrote to us, nervous about what we’d report, as June hadn’t checked in for two weeks.  Well, pack your bags!  Mono County color spotter Alicia Vennos has confirmed that June IS bustin out all over.

June Lake is a special place to see fall color because of its impressive… no, I’m sorry, I meant to say, IMPRESSIVE landscapes.  Massive, snow-draped peaks rise in the background, while dazzling color is reflected in mountain lakes in the foreground.  

That’s the scene at June Lake, Gull Lake, Silver Lake and Grant Lake.   So, hold your breaths and adjust your white balance, as you’ll see auburn, flame red, pumpkin orange, cadmium yellow, lime green and azure blue.  We give it another week like this with full peak sometime next week, unless (fingers crossed) weather comes through.  But, why risk it?  Go now!

Here’s the latest from Mono County.

Conway Summit, Mono County (10/10/13) Alicia Vennos

Conway Summit, Mono County (10/10/13) Alicia Vennos

Convict Lake (10/10/13) Peter Chun

Convict Lake (10/10/13) Peter Chun

GO NOW! – 75 – 100% – Convict Lake - It is absolutely golden surrounding this pond.

GO NOW! 50 – 75% – Conway Summit - Broad swaths of flickering yellow, tinged with orange and lime are making Conway Summit a sight to behold.  It’s still just short of peak, but very close.  Don’t wait.  The risk of winds or weather stripping the trees from their majesty is just too great.  Go now!

June Lake, Mono County (10/10/13) Alicia Vennos

June Lake, Mono County (10/10/13) Alicia Vennos

June Lake Foothills, Mono County (10/10/13) Alicia Vennos

June Lake Foothills, Mono County (10/10/13) Alicia Vennos

Grant Lake, June Lakes (10/10/13) Alicia Vennos

Grant Lake, June Lakes (10/10/13) Alicia Vennos

June Lake Loop (10/10/13) Alicia Vennos

June Lake Loop (10/10/13) Alicia Vennos

GO NOW! – 75 – 100% – June Lake - This measurement is at the lower end of 75%.  Because of this, June Lake should have two weeks of good color.  Though, it is likely to peak early next week.  Conditions are ripe for great photography and leaf peeping this weekend.  For anyone who waited too long to see June peak, don’t blow it this year.  Go now!

Skiers and Riders: June Mountain ski area will be reopening again this winter, after a several year hiatus.  This is a fabulous ski mountain for families, boarders, and backcountry skiing (from a lift).  If you’ve not skied or ridden there previously, do yourself a favor and plan a trip this winter.  It’s great fun.

Lundy Lake, Mono County (10/8/13) Susan Johnson

Lundy Lake, Mono County (10/8/13) Susan Johnson

GO NOW! 75 – 100% – Lundy Lake - The aspen surrounding Lundy Lake are deep orange, the deepest color we’ve seen them carry in many years.  Don’t miss this spectacular show.  Go now before the wind knocks them from branches!

Past Peak – Upper Rock Creek - You missed it.

Rock Creek (10/10/13) Peter Chun

Rock Creek (10/10/13) Peter Chun

30 – 50% – Lower Rock Creek – Still glowing and turning at lower elevations, though it’s now half off in upper areas.

Location: Mammoth / June Lakes
Temperature: 53.6 °F
Humidity: 32%
Dew point: 24.8 °F
Wind speed: 9km/hr
Wind direction: 10°
Cloud cover: broken clouds

Reflecting on Convict Lake – Go Now!

Tue ,08/10/2013
Convict Lake, Mono County (10/7/13) Susan Morning

Convict Lake, Mono County (10/7/13) Susan Morning

On reflection, Convict Lake – south of Mammoth Lakes- is picture-perfect, presently.  Color spotter Christie Osborne reports that color has now descended to 7,000′ in elevation approaching full peak at Mammoth Lakes.  Weather has been ideal with temps in the 60s and no wind. Nights remain cool in 20s and 30s, providing for optimal conditions to intensify fall color.

Convict Lake (10/7/13) Susan Morning

Convict Lake (10/7/13) Susan Morning

Convict Lake (10/7/13) Susan Morning

Convict Lake (10/7/13) Susan Morning

Convict Lake (10/7/13) Susan Morning

Convict Lake (10/7/13) Susan Morning

GO NOW! – 50 – 75% – Convict Lake - Picture-perfect reflections are to be seen in Convict Lake on still days, the color has blanketed the far end of the lake and along its banks with bright yellow.  There’s still some lime, so unless the color gets stripped, it should last a while.

GO NOW! 50-75% – Mammoth Lakes - Below 7,500′ – There’s lots of color to be seen along Sherwin Creek Road and Mammoth Creek, which hasn’t quite hit peak, but will soon.

GO NOW! 75-100% – Mammoth Lakes - Above 8,000′ – Full peak to past peak is occurring at the highest elevations in  The Sherwins above the town of Mammoth Lakes. 

Despite the Government Shutdown, there are plenty of fall color viewing options in and around Mammoth Lakes. For more information about color viewing and visiting Yosemite during the Government Shutdown, CLICK HERE. For deals on lodging, dining, and activities, CLICK HERE

 

Location: Mammoth Lakes, Calif.
Temperature: 39.2 °F
Humidity: 23%
Dew point: 5 °F
Wind speed: n/a
Wind direction: n/a
Cloud cover: n/a

Worth A Thousand Words

Thu ,03/10/2013
Summers Meadow, Mono County (10/2/13) Jeff Simpson

Summers Meadow, Mono County (10/2/13) Jeff Simpson

Now, You’re Talking – Full Peak Bishop Creek

Thu ,03/10/2013
Phtographer on the North Lake Road, Bishop Creek Canyon, Inyo County (10/2/13) Krisdina Karady

Phtographer on the North Lake Road, Bishop Creek Canyon, Inyo County (10/2/13) Krisdina Karady

This week’s photos and report from Jared Smith of Parcher’s Resort in Bishop Creek Canyon has the high country at full peak.  Corresponding reports from color spotters indicate that several areas are approaching Past Peak, so this is a definite Go Now! alert.

GO NOW! – 75 – 100% – FULL PEAK – Overall Conditions above 8,500 ft  

 

Aspen leaves damaged by last weekend's weather (10/2/13) Krisdina Karady

Aspen leaves damaged by last weekend’s weather (10/2/13) Krisdina Karady

 

Aspen leaves, showing effects of weather (10/2/13) Jon Klusmire

Aspen leaves, showing effects of weather (10/2/13) Jon Klusmire

The bitter cold and wind experienced up Bishop Creek Canyon last weekend had the expected effect on some of the groves that had already fully turned, namely the leaves began to fall or the brilliant color turned dull auburn or even black. Thankfully, there was huge percentage of color that had just started to turn and thus weathered the cold quite well and the cold snap kicked into gear much of the color that had yet to change. The overall result was a fast transformation of much of the lower lying aspen and willows along the road or creek. While some of the higher scrub aspen are bare now, the older growth trees have made up for it and the views are still absolutely spectacular.

GO NOW! – 50 – 75% – Overall Conditions below 8,500 ft

The cold snap over the weekend caused a dramatic change in the mid elevation aspen turning entire groves of dark green or lime green into brilliant yellow with hints of orange.  There have even been changes in the color as low as 7500ft in just a week’s time. Expect many of these areas to peak over the course of the next week provided the cold weather and wind stay moderate.

Location Specific Reports

GO NOW! - 75-100% – South Lake Rd above Mt. Glen Camp (8,600 ft) - Some of the smaller scrub aspen have gone bare but the majority of the color remains and has turned brilliant yellow with quite a bit of orange showing. A few very obvious pockets of red are also adding to a spectacular view.

GO NOW! - 50-75% – Mountain Glen Campground (8,400 ft) - There is a ton of yellow here with most of the aspen along the creek and on the hillside adjacent to the road showing beautiful color. Not much in the way of orange or read hues but the yellow is brilliant and the lime green is too. If Mother Nature behaves we should have some peak color here by next week’s report.

Mist Falls, South Fork Bishop Creek (10/2/13) Jared Smith

Mist Falls, South Fork Bishop Creek (10/2/13) Jared Smith

30 – 50% – Mist Falls (8,350 ft) - This area continues to progress slower than other areas of Bishop Creek Canyon, though is now hovering about 50% turned. The majority of the yellow is just above or to the right of the waterfall.

GO NOW! - 75 – 100% – Groves above Cardinal Village & Aspendell (8,550 ft) - The groves above Cardinal Village are fully turned and look spectacular with the crest in the backdrop. The lower lying aspen around Cardinal Village are now in full peak display. Aspendell has a fair amount of green still hanging around but if you take into account all of the color between the North Lake turnoff and the village of Aspendell, the average would be somewhere in the 75% range

GO NOW! - 75 – 100% – Sabrina Campground (9,000 ft) - Time to get up here, glorious views along the creek with brilliant yellow reflecting in the slow moving stream. Much of the orange and red along the road which peaked first is gone, but there is still plenty of peak or almost peak color here.

 

South Fork Bishop Creek (10/2/13) Jon Klusmire

South Fork Bishop Creek (10/2/13) Jon Klusmire

30-50% – Forks, Four Jeffries, Big Trees & Bishop Park Camgrounds (8,000 ft – 8,300 ft) - Quite a bit of color developing in these areas. Still, the color is probably closer to 30% than 50% but some areas, like the groves just above Four Jeffries for instance, is closer to the 50% of peak color.

GO NOW! - 75 – 100% – Table Mountain Camp (8,900 ft) - The cold snap last week put this grove into high gear and it is near or at peak now with gorgeous orange hues with yellow and lime in the background. The meandering stream flowing through the meadow can make for some spectacular views right now.

GO NOW! - 75 – 100% – Surveyors Meadow (8,975 ft) - While much of the color is past peak now, there is still so much color here that I’m still rating it in the 75 – 100% range. The best of the color is along the creek, along the road and looking up towards the Tyee Ridge…simply stunning with a few pockets of bright red still showing.

GO NOW! - 75 – 100% – Willow Campground (9,100 ft) - Probably closer to 75% than 100% but this area is certainly going off right now with color. The campground itself, the aspen lining the road near the beaver dam and old growth groves just above the campground as spectacular.

GO NOW! - 75 – 100% – Parchers Camp – Some of the smaller scrub aspen groves were lost this past week to cold and wind.  However, there is still so much color surrounding the resort that peak color is accurate. The hillside looking up towards Coyote Ridge is unbelievable right now with far more orange and red than we’re used to seeing. Spectacular views of the surrounding hillsides are showing all day long and the aspen within the resort property and along Green Creek are also showing spectacular color.

GO NOW! - 75 – 100% – Weir Pond (9,700 ft) - While the scrub aspen above the pond are now past peak, the aspen along the road, pond and the view up towards South Lake are in full peak color. Reds, limes, orange and yellow is all there.

 

Sabrina Lake, Bishop Creek Canyon, Inyo County (10/2/13) Jon Klusmire

Sabrina Lake, Bishop Creek Canyon, Inyo County (10/2/13) Jon Klusmire

 

Bishop Creek, Below Sabrina Lake (10/2/13) Jon Klusmire

Bishop Creek, Below Sabrina Lake (10/2/13) Jon Klusmire

GO NOW! - 75 – 100% – Lake Sabrina (9,150 ft) - The best views of the lake have come and gone but just below the dam has exploded with color. The bridge and the two ponds just below the dam are also incredibly vibrant with a good showing of red to go along with yellow.

North Lake Road. Bishop Creek Canyon, Inyo County  (10/2/13) Krisdina Karady

North Lake Road. Bishop Creek Canyon, Inyo County (10/2/13) Krisdina Karady

North Lake Road 10-2 (2)

North Lake Road, Bishop Creek Canyon, Inyo County (10/2/13) Krisdina Karady

GO NOW! - 75 – 100% – North Lake (9,255 ft) - This is another difficult area to grade as different parts of the lake and surrounding  area peak at different times. The hillside above North Lake itself is past peak but still showing lots of color, including some nice red hues. The groves along the road however are spectacular and in full peak color. Some of the groves up near the campground have some change coming yet.

30 – 50% – Intake II  (8,100 ft) – Groves above the lake are past peak now but the color is just now starting to pop around the shoreline of this small lake. I’ll bet this area will be truly spectacular in the coming week.

Location: Bishop, California
Temperature: 62.6 °F
Humidity: 16%
Dew point: 19.4 °F
Wind speed: 26km/hr
Wind direction: 350°
Cloud cover: n/a

Mammoth Lakes – Color Intensifies – Go Now!

Wed ,02/10/2013
Sherwin Creek Road, Mammoth Lakes (10/1/13) Susan Morning

Sherwin Creek Road, Mammoth Lakes (10/1/13) Susan Morning

Edina Ingram reports that predictions of  warm days and cool nights are expected to sustain intense color to be found in and around Mammoth Lakes. Presently, Mammoth Lakes is peaking or approaching peak.

GO NOW! – Full Peak at all elevations above 8,000′ - The Sherwins and all mountainous areas surrounding the town of Mammoth Lakes are at full peak.

GO NOW! – 50 – 75% – Between 7,000 and 8,000′ - Color is approaching peak along the Sherwin Creek Road, with plenty of green and lime seen on the edges of stands of red, orange and yellow quaking aspen.

Mono County Supplementary Report

Summers Meadow 1

Summers Meadow, Mono County (10/2/13) Jeff Simpson

GO NOW! – 50 – 75% – Summers Meadow – This is one of Mono County’s lesser-known, spectacular fall color destinations.  It is only a few miles off U.S. 395. To find Summers Meadow, take the Green Creek Road turnoff, five miles south of Bridgeport. Follow a dirt road about a mile to the first right,  “Lower Summers Meadow Road.” The best colors are located four to five down this graded dirt road that is suitable for any type vehicle.

GO NOW! 75 – 100% – McGee Creek Canyon – McGee Creek is at full peak and glowing with yellow and orange aspen.

Government Shutdown: the federal shutdown has not limited color viewing in the Mammoth Lakes area.  U.S. National Forests and BLM lands remain open, though no services are available.  Devil’s Postpile National Monument has closed, temporarily. For details and suggestions on what to do in the area, visit : http://9nl.me/park-closure.

Location: Mammoth / June Lakes
Temperature: 50 °F
Humidity: 43%
Dew point: 28.4 °F
Wind speed: 4km/hr
Wind direction: 90°
Cloud cover: n/a