California Fall Color
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Posts Tagged ‘Eastern Sierra’

Bishop Canyon – Snow Chills Fall Color High Up

Thu ,08/10/2015
North Lake (10/6/15) Erick Castellon

North Lake (10/6/15) Erick Castellon

An early, though brief winter storm that dropped snow high up in the Eastern Sierra this past Sunday damaged and reduced what color was remaining above 9000′ in Bishop Creek Canyon.  There’s still a lot of beautiful color to be seen, but it has descended.

Overall Conditions Above 8400ft Elevation – Peaking – Go Now! – The upper reaches of Bishop Creek Canyon have now gone past peak, though they flamed out in brilliant splashes of red.  Lots of yellow and some lime is found between 8,400 and 8,600′.

Overall Conditions Between 7500ft & 8400ft Elevation – Patchy (10% – 50%) – A lot more color has developed at these elevations, though many of the groves had already been stripped of leaves.  Still, large areas of lush foliage will continue to show nicely in the coming two weeks.

North Lake (10/3/15) Jeff Hemming

North Lake (10/3/15) Jeff Hemming

Past Peak – YOU MISSED IT! – Sabrina Campground to Sabrina Dam (9000ft).

Past Peak – YOU MISSED IT! – Willow Campground (9000ft) .

Past Peak – YOU MISSED IT! – North Lake (9255ft) .

Past Peak – YOU MISSED IT! – Weir Pond (9650ft).

Past Peak– YOU MISSED IT! – Parchers Resort (9260ft)

Past Peak– YOU MISSED IT! – Table Mountain Camp (8900ft) .

Past Peak– YOU MISSED IT! – Surveyors Meadow (8975ft) .

Lake Sabrina (10/6/15) Aditi Das

Lake Sabrina (10/6/15) Aditi Das

Past Peak– YOU MISSED IT! – Lake Sabrina (9150ft).

Peak GO NOW! (75-100%) – Stiny Loop above Mt. Glen Camp (8600ft) – It is as good as it will get this year at Stiny.  It’s peak, but we’re being generous in that rating.  This area lost a lot of leaves earlier in autumn.

Near Peak GO NOW! (50-75%) – Mist Falls and the groves above Bishop Creek Lodge (8350ft) – Yellow and some green are surrounding the waterfall and in the groves between there at Mt. Glen Campground. As predicted, this is probably the best color to be seen up Bishop Creek Canyon and it has another week to show.

Near Peak GO NOW! (50-75%) – Aspendell (8400ft) – Much better color has developed here in the past week.  Some spotters classified it as peaking.

Peak GO NOW! Groves at Cardinal Village – While aspen from Cardinal Pinnacle down have blown, aspen down the creek from the  North Lake turnoff winding down the canyon past the mine towards Cardinal Village are full of yellow.

Patchy (10 – 50%) – Four Jeffries (8000ft) – The aspen here continue to lighten.

Patchy (10 – 50%) – Intake II (8000ft) – The canyon wall is mostly stripped now but there are some very nice patches near the dam, and a couple of the large aspen along the shoreline are yellow.

Just Starting – (0 – 10%) – Big Trees Campground (7800ft) – Yellow is beginning to appear.

 

Color of the Week: Red

Thu ,08/10/2015
Pacific Aspen, North Lake, Bishop Creek (10/6/15) Aditi Das

Pacific Aspen, North Lake, Bishop Creek (10/6/15) Aditi Das

The color of the week has been red, particularly at North Lake in Bishop Creek Canyon where Pacific Aspen have turned crimson.

North Lake, Bishop Creek (10/6/15) Aditi Das

North Lake, Bishop Creek (10/6/15) Aditi Das

South Lake, Bishop Creek (10/6/15) Aditi Das

South Lake, Bishop Creek (10/6/15) Aditi Das

South Fork Bishop Creek (10/6/15) Aditi Das

South Fork Bishop Creek (10/6/15) Aditi Das

North Lake (10/6/15) Erick Castellon

North Lake (10/6/15) Erick Castellon

North Lake (9/25/15) Julie Kirby

North Lake (9/25/15) Julie Kirby

This deep a tone of red has surprised many who thought aspen turned only yellow. Colorado’s famous mountain slopes flickering with yellow aspen are a trademark of autumn in the Rocky Mountains.  However, aspen that grow in the high alpine canyons of the eastern Sierra Nevada have the ideal combination of warm, sunny days and cold, cold nights to bring out red, orange and pink, as well as yellow and lime.

We post, today, a selection of great photos taken in past days by a selection of color spotters. Bravo for finding the color and sharing your vision with us.

A Week of Photos In Review

Fri ,02/10/2015
North Lake (9/27/15) Elliott McCucken

North Lake (9/27/15) Elliott McCucken

North Lake (9/27/15) Elliott McCucken

North Lake (9/27/15) Elliott McCucken

Sunrise, Tioga Pass (9/30/15) Alena Nicholas

Sunrise, Tioga Pass (9/30/15) Alena Nicholas

 

So many photographers send great photos to share with CaliforniaFallColor.com readers, that we often don’t have time to post them.  Let’s make that up, today.

Anyone can send photos.  The best way to get your photos published is to email them to editor@californiafallcolor.com.

Photos should be large enough to post. 1,000k is best, though we can use photos down to about 250k.

The top five photos, each week, are (with the photographer’s permission) sent to media for placement on their websites on television (weather reports) and in newspapers.  This is a great way to get published and garner exposure from a major medium.  For these, we need high resolution shots (300 dpi).

We’re unable to promise to publish every photo, but when a photo is of a place we don’t see very often or is exceptional, we try our best to post it.

Here are some of the best photos received this past week from color spotters across California.  Enjoy.  We sure did.

AN-YosemiteValley-1

Dogwood, Yosemite Valley (10/1/15) Alena Nicholas

Bishop Creek (9/27/15) Elliott McCucken

Bishop Creek (9/27/15) Elliott McCucken

Blue Lake above Big Virginia Lake (9/27/15) Kevin Randick

Blue Lake above Big Virginia Lake (9/27/15) Kevin Lennox

Tioga Pass (10/1/15) Alena Nicholas

Tioga Pass (10/1/15) Alena Nicholas

Tioga Pass (10/1/15) Alena Nicholas

Tioga Pass (10/1/15) Alena Nicholas

Bishop Creek (9/27/15) Elliott McCucken

S. Fork Bishop Creek (9/27/15) Elliott McCucken

Weekend Forecast: A Wet Mix of Peak and Past Peak

Thu ,01/10/2015
Mule Deer at June Lake (9/30/15) Alena Nicholas

Mule Deer at June Lake (9/30/15) Alena Nicholas

Color spotter Alena Nicholas reports from a lakeside cabin at Boulder Lodge on June Lake, near where these photos were taken.  Nicholas notes that June Lake is joyfully transitioning from green to yellow, though the color is still at the low end of being Patchy.  When it’s drizzling, as is now happening in the Eastern Sierra, it’s time to look for new things to photograph, like deer enjoying fresh bursts of green.

June Lake Loop (9/30/15) Alena Nicholas

June Lake Loop (9/30/15) Alena Nicholas

June Lake Loop (9/30/15) Alena Nicholas

June Lake Loop (9/30/15) Alena Nicholas

June Lake Loop (9/30/15) Alena Nicholas

June Lake Loop (9/30/15) Alena Nicholas

June Lake Loop (9/30/15) Alena Nicholas

June Lake Loop (9/30/15) Alena Nicholas

June Lake Loop (9/30/15) Alena Nicholas

June Lake Loop (9/30/15) Alena Nicholas

June Lake Loop (9/30/15) Alena Nicholas

June Lake Loop (9/30/15) Alena Nicholas

This weekend, all points above 9,000’ in the Eastern Sierra (Inyo and Mono Counties), including: Bishop Creek, Rock Creek, Hilton Creek, Virginia Lakes, Green Creek, Summers Meadow, Sage Hen, Dunderberg Meadow and Twin Lakes have the most color, though how long it lasts will depend on the weather.

Yesterday, light breezes blew some of the color from areas in the Eastern Sierra that had peaked or were approaching peak (see below reports). However, the wind only got to what had peaked.  As Alicia Vennos wrote from Mono County this morning, there is still “far too much green mixed with the yellows and oranges,” for the show to end.

That should hold true even after this weekend’s storm passes by. Trees that have green leaves or slightly turned leaves will retain them and their fall color will emerge in coming days and weeks.

Prime areas to see California Fall Color this weekend are at all points above 9,000’ in the Eastern Sierra (Inyo and Mono Counties), including: Bishop Creek, Rock Creek, Hilton Creek, Virginia Lakes, Green Creek, Summers Meadow, Sage Hen, Dunderberg Meadow and Twin Lakes.

Patchy (10-50%) – June Lake – Still early, though color has begun developing.

Yee Haw! Mono County Nears Peak

Wed ,30/09/2015
Jennifer Roeser rides her mule, Pearl, in McGee Creek (9/28/15) Alicia Vennos/Mono County Tourism

Jennifer Roeser rides her mule, Pearl, in McGee Creek (9/28/15) Alicia Vennos/Mono County Tourism

Editor’s note: This report is based on observations made this week. However, in the past day, light rain and wind has stripped some leaves from aspen (See Kahlee Brighton’s comment under “Baffling Brilliance”).  As always, these reports can be affected by changing conditions. 

One of the most enjoyable ways to see California’s Fall Color is to ride to it by horseback, as seen above. Jennifer Roeser, owner of the McGee Creek Pack Station, is one of several wranglers who operate fall color rides from Eastern Sierra stables.

Above 9,000′, Mono County is approaching peak, reports color spotter Alicia Vennos. Below 9,000′, a beautiful mix of yellow and gold blended with lime-green and pops of bright orange are emerging.  

Mono County’s hot spots this weekend (conditions permitting) will be: Rock Creek Road, McGee Creek Canyon (about 1.5 miles up the trail), Parker Lake (north of the June Lake Loop/Hwy. 158), Bloody Canyon out of Walker Lake (hike up about 2 miles), Virginia Lakes Road, Dunderberg Meadow Road, Twin Lakes near Bridgeport  and Sage Hen Meadow Road, off Hwy. 120 East.  Here’s Alicia’s report by area:

Near Peak (50-75% –GO NOW!) Upper Rock Creek Road/Rock Creek Lake – This 11-mile drive diverts from 395 at Tom’s Place. Along the route, there are lots of hiking options. Colors are in full swing a few miles up the road, around the lake, and up Hilton Creek trail. If you’re going for the pie at Pie in the Sky Café, get there early, as they sell out often by noon. 

Patchy (10-50%) – Upper Rock Creek Road – Around East Fork, you’ll see a blend of green, lime-green, gold and orange.  A favorite hike starts at the East Fork campground and meanders along the aspen-lined creek all the way to Rock Creek Lake. 

McGee Creek (9/28/15) Alicia Vennos/Mono County Tourism

McGee Creek (9/28/15) Alicia Vennos/Mono County Tourism

McGee Creek (9/28/15) Alicia Vennos/Mono County Tourism

McGee Creek (9/28/15) Alicia Vennos/Mono County Tourism

Patchy (10-50%) – McGee CreekThere are still so many green aspen around the McGee Creek Campground, Pack Station, and trailhead at the end of the road, that we continue to rate this area as patchy. Though, hike up the trail and you will soon see aspen that range from gold to orangey-red.  

Patchy (5-35%) – Convict Lake Canyon – Color spotter Charles Porter says Convict Lake is starting to show pockets of yellow from top to bottom. The color change has increased modestly over the last week. Foliage along the lower creek, around the resort and in the campground is now about 30%. These areas are still showing a generous amount of green but the hues of orange and yellow are starting to establish themselves. The back of the lake and up the canyon is showing an increase of yellow but will need a few weeks to reach peak.

This week, a road crew was laying down asphalt. By the time the aspen peak here, there will be new road access to the lake. Until then, for day-use parking use the marina lot or the parking lot at the entrance of the campground.  

The Convict Lake Resort is offering Fall Lodging Specials starting at $379+tax (Sunday thru Thursday – 2 Nights for 2 Persons). They include a $100 restaurant credit & full-day motor boat rental. Ambush at the Lake, the resort’s fall fishing derby, continues through Nov. 15 with $6,000 in resort prizes and a $2,000 cash bonus weekend on Oct. 30 – Nov. 1.

Beaver Pond, McGee Creek Trail (9/28/15) Alicia Vennos/Mono County Tourism

Beaver Pond, McGee Creek Trail (9/28/15) Alicia Vennos/Mono County Tourism

Patchy (10-50%) – June Lake Loop/Hwy. 158 – Color is escalating on the mountainside at the north end of the June Lake Loop, while down canyon and on the south end of the Loop, the change is still in its beginning stages.  

Near Peak (50-75%) GO NOW! – Parker Lake – As reported earlier this week, the hike to Parker Lake is beautiful right now. To get there, take the Parker Lake Road at the north end of Hwy. 158.  It’s a good dirt road with some washboard and rough spots.  

Bloody Canyon Trail (9/27/15) Alicia Vennos/Mono County Tourism

Bloody Canyon Trail (9/27/15) Alicia Vennos/Mono County Tourism

Bloody Canyon Trail and Walker Lake (9/27/15) Alicia Vennos/Mono County Tourism

Bloody Canyon Trail and Walker Lake (9/27/15) Alicia Vennos/Mono County Tourism

Peak (75-100%) GO NOW! – Walker Lake – Another excellent but steep hike is Bloody Canyon out of Walker Lake.  The aspen at lake level are still mostly green, but if you trek two miles up the trail at the west end of the lake, the aspen are abundant and peaking. June Lake Brewing hosts the June Lake Autumn Beer Festival on Oct. 10 at Gull Lake Park.

Sage Hen Meadow Rd. (9/27/15) Alicia Vennos/Mono County Tourism

Sage Hen Meadow Rd. (9/27/15) Alicia Vennos/Mono County Tourism

Sage Hen View (9/27/15) Alicia Vennos/Mono County Tourism

Sage Hen View (9/27/15) Alicia Vennos/Mono County Tourism

Sage Hen Summit Rd. (9/27/15) Alicia Vennos/Mono County Tourism

Sage Hen Summit Rd. (9/27/15) Alicia Vennos/Mono County Tourism

Peak (75-100% –GO NOW!) – Sage Hen Meadow Road – Off CA-120 East at Sage Hen Summit, turn south on Sage Hen Meadow Road for a few miles where you will find thick aspen groves of brilliant yellow and orange alongside the road.  It is a short but sweet stretch. If you continue driving, take the first left-hand turn which will bring you to an overlook of the Sage Hen aspen groves. They seemed to have peaked early this year so there is only some red-orange color left, but the views of Mono Lake are pretty.  

Patchy (10-50%) – Lee Vining Canyon – Aspen at the lower end of the Tioga Pass Road look like they are still a couple of weeks from peaking.  Log Cabin Road, which is a good dirt road with some relatively steep switchbacks to an historic cabin is aspen-lined and is starting to show some rich golden color.

Patchy (10-50%) – Lundy Canyon – A beautiful paved drive to Lundy Lake takes you past aspen along the road that are just beginning to change. Beyond the lake, the road turns to dirt and takes you to some photogenic beaver ponds and one of the prettiest hiking trails in the area.  Lundy Canyon still has a way to go before it nears peak, though it’s definitely starting.

Virginia Lakes (9/26/15) Misti Sullivan/Twin Lakes Resort

Virginia Lakes (9/26/15) Misti Sullivan/Twin Lakes Resort

Dunderberg Meadows (9/26/15) Misti Sullivan/Twin Lakes Resort

Dunderberg Meadows (9/26/15) Misti Sullivan/Twin Lakes Resort

Peak (75-100% –GO NOW!) – Virginia Lakes/Dunderberg/Green Creek Road/Bridgeport/Twin Lakes – Summer’s Meadow off Green Creek Road will be gorgeous this weekend.  Same with Virginia Lakes Road and Dunderberg Meadow Road which are peaking now.  Conway Summit is also brightening substantially, making for really pretty photos right from the pullouts on US 395.  

The Bridgeport Valley’s Hunewill Ranch has been a working cattle ranch for over 100 years and offers horseback rides to see the fall colors and the opportunity to participate in an authentic cattle drive. Check out their programs at HunewillRanch.com.

Patchy (10-50%) – Walker/Coleville/Sonora Pass/Leavitt Meadows) At the higher elevations above the West Walker River, the aspen stands are glowing golden and light orange, as is the top of Sonora Pass/Hwy. 108 and on the crest of Monitor Pass/Hwy. 89.  Some aspens have lost leaves due to black leaf spot fungus. Leavitt Meadows is just starting to show off. Another area to ride to see the fall colors is the Leavitt Meadows Pack Station, which remains open until mid-October.  Coming up on Oct. 3 is the Antelope Valley’s annual Deer Hunter Barbecue in Walker featuring a homemade dinner with the community’s “secret barbecue sauce.” Call (530) 208-6078 for more info.

Confirmed: North Lake Peaking For Sure

Mon ,28/09/2015
North Lake, Bishop Creek Canyon (9/27/15) Nikhil Shahi

North Lake, Bishop Creek Canyon (9/27/15) Nikhil Shahi

We were as surprised as our readers when Bishop Creek (Inyo County, Eastern Sierra) jumped from Patchy to Peak last week, though color spotter Nikhil Shahi confirms this rating was deserved and shares these beautiful pictures, taken this past weekend.

Nikhil writes, “North Lake is at peak, for sure… it will not last. It’s just gorgeous there.”

North Lake, Bishop Creek Canyon (9/27/15) Nikhil Shahi

North Lake, Bishop Creek Canyon (9/27/15) Nikhil Shahi

North Lake, Bishop Creek Canyon (9/27/15) Nikhil Shahi

North Lake, Bishop Creek Canyon (9/27/15) Nikhil Shahi

South Lake Road is bursting with color as far up as Weir Pond.  Lee Vining Canyon is two weeks away from full color and there’s good color at Conway Summit and along the road to Virginia Lakes.

Mono County Gets Hot – GO NOW!

Fri ,25/09/2015
Summer's Meadow from Green Creek Rd (9/24/15) Alicia Vennos

Summer’s Meadow from Green Creek Rd (9/24/15) Alicia Vennos

In what she describes (we concur) as some of Mono County’s nicest photos so far this season, color spotter Alicia Vennos updates us on how her county has suddenly gotten hot with fall color.

Virginia Lakes Road (9/23/15) Alicia Vennos

A VW Camper patrols Virginia Lakes Rd. for fall color (9/24/15) Alicia Vennos

Dunderberg Meadow Rd near Virginia Lakes Rd (9/24/15) Alicia Vennos

Dunderberg Meadow Rd near Virginia Lakes Rd (9/24/15) Alicia Vennos

Dunderberg Meadow Rd near Virginia Lakes Rd (9/24/15) Alicia Vennos

Dunderberg Meadow Rd near Virginia Lakes Rd (9/24/15) Alicia Vennos

Dunderberg Meadow Rd near Virginia Lakes Rd (9/24/15) Alicia Vennos

Dunderberg Meadow Rd near Virginia Lakes Rd (9/24/15) Alicia Vennos

Dunderberg Meadow Rd near Virginia Lakes Rd (9/24/15) Alicia Vennos

Dunderberg Meadow Rd near Virginia Lakes Rd (9/24/15) Alicia Vennos

Dunderberg Meadow Rd near Virginia Lakes Rd (9/24/15) Alicia Vennos

Dunderberg Meadow Rd near Virginia Lakes Rd (9/24/15) Alicia Vennos

Lower Twin Lakes (9/25/15) Misti Sullivan

Lower Twin Lakes (9/25/15) Misti Sullivan

Lower Twin Lakes (9/25/15) Misti Sullivan

Lower Twin Lakes (9/25/15) Misti Sullivan

Near Peak (50-75%) GO NOW! – Virginia Creek Rd/Dunderberg Meadow Rd. – Groves of aspen near the Virginia Lakes currently range from bright red, to orange, to gold and lime-green, with a few completely denuded stands (our bet is those that lost their leaves were due to black leaf spot fungus, not the change of seasons).

Patchy (10-50%) – Green Creek/Summer’s Meadow – Green Creek/Summer’s meadow is about to pop and should be peaking within a week.  This is one of the most beautiful areas of the Eastern Sierra and one that few photographers and leaf peepers ever visit.  A vehicle that doesn’t mind a dirt road (Rats! I just washed my car… oh, well) that’s bumpy in places is best to make this trek.  And, if you happen to have a SUV, well use it as it was designed to be used… off-road.

Near Peak (50-75%) – Twin Lakes, Bridgeport – Most of the Twin Lakes area is glowing and by next week should be peaking.  The Twin Lakes are tucked against an escarpment of Sierra peaks in the southwest corner of the Bridgeport Valley, a broad, grassy mountain basin that in summer is covered with hundreds of grazing cattle.  The town of Bridgeport is the capital seat of Mono County with a photogenic 1880 Italianate county courthouse that is still being used.  It even has a cannon sitting in front of it.

Sherwin Lakes Brightly Beautiful

Fri ,25/09/2015
Sherwin Lake (9/24/15) Josh Wray

Sherwin Lake (9/24/15) Josh Wray

The trail to Sherwin Lakes Sherwin Lakes (9/24/15) Josh Wray

The trail to Sherwin Lakes Sherwin Lakes (9/24/15) Josh Wray

Fly fishing at Sherwin Lakes Sherwin Lakes (9/24/15) Josh Wray

Fly fishing at Sherwin Lakes Sherwin Lakes (9/24/15) Josh Wray

Sherwin Lakes (9/24/15) Josh Wray

Sherwin Lakes (9/24/15) Josh Wray

Aspen along the trail to Sherwin Lakes (9/24/15) Josh Wray

Aspen along the trail to Sherwin Lakes (9/24/15) Josh Wray

Sherwin Lakes (9/24/15) Josh Wray

Sherwin Lakes (9/24/15) Josh Wray

It’s an invigorating hike to the Sherwin Lakes above the town of Mammoth Lakes, though the reward is worth the effort.

The trail passes through colorful brush and the lakes reflect fall color that rings the lakes.  And, once at the lakes, dip your fly to catch and release native trout.

Here’s what color spotter Josh Wray found with some friends when they hiked there, yesterday.

Patchy (10-50%) – Sherwin Lakes – Brush paint the trail to the Sherwin Lakes above Mammoth in shades of gold and buff.  At the lakes, a mix of green, lime, yellow and orange aspen are reflected in the lake’s still waters.

High Sierra Surprise: Full Peak – GO NOW!

Thu ,24/09/2015
Weir Pond (9/24/15) Jared Smith

Weir Pond (9/24/15) Jared Smith

After posting Mono County’s report this morning, I anticipated the arrival of Jared Smith’s report from Bishop Creek Canyon in the Eastern Sierra.  I sensed he would report Near Peak at Surveyor’s Meadow, but was blown away by the news that color has changed rapidly in the past few days, pushing all areas above Mt. Glen Campground to full Peak.

Therefore, CaliforniaFallColor.com is issuing its first GO NOW! alerts of autumn (just a day after the autumnal equinox).  When we issue these alerts, do not delay getting to the locations identified as Near Peak or Peaking, as the turned leaves are very fragile and can be blown away.  In this instance, there is such a mix of color that it should last a while, though our advice is… GO NOW!

Here’s Jared’s report:

Overall Conditions Above 8500ft Elevation

Surveyor's Meadow (9/24/15) Jared Smith

Surveyor’s Meadow (9/24/15) Jared Smith

Peak – GO NOW! (75% – 100%) – What a difference a week makes! Color has exploded up Bishop Creek Canyon at higher elevations, with Lake Sabrina, North Lake and anything on the South Fork above Mt. Glen Campground peaking.

Jared says he’s noticing some odd transitioning occurring. “Where usually entire groves change together, instead a really cool mix of yellow, orange and red are appearing simultaneously with quite a few stubborn green aspen in the mix.” The color variation is gorgeous though he is rating these areas at Full Peak or at the high end of Near Peak, “as by the time those stubborn green trees turn, the others may have given up their color.  We’re certainly in the “Go Now!” zone. If the weather plays ball, the next 7 days will be excellent in the higher reaches of the canyon…hard to say beyond that.”

Overall Conditions Between 7500ft & 8500ft Elevation – Patchy (10% – 50%) – Quite a bit more yellow than last week but still mostly green in areas that we’ll see go off later in the autumn. I would rate this area just above 10% but barely. Some brilliant yellow patches below Mt. Glen Campground, Cardinal Village, Intake II and Mist Falls, but below those spots we’re looking at mostly green.

Weir Pond (9/24/15) Jared Smith

Weir Pond (9/24/15) Jared Smith

Peak – GO NOW! (75% – 100%) – Weir Pond (9650ft) – Weir is about as good as its going to get this season with brilliant yellow and a bit of orange reflecting off the glass pond. The aspen along the road are still mostly green so there is still a little left to change, but this is pretty much peak photo time if you want to catch the yellow on the hillside and near the inlet.

Sabrina Campground (9/24/15) Jared Smith

Sabrina Campground (9/24/15) Jared Smith

Peak – GO NOW! (75% – 100%) – Sabrina Campground (9000ft) – This area is hard to call because even areas close to one another change at slightly different times, but there is peak color right now in large areas along Hwy 168 and just above the campground on the North Lake Rd. Still some green within the campground itself but there is peak color surrounding it.

Peak – GO NOW! (75% – 100%) – Parchers Resort (9260ft) – Yellow pretty much surrounds the resort on all sides with the groves above Rainbow Meadow on the old trail to South Lake taking the cake as the most brilliant. Groves below the resort in between Parchers and Willow Camp are also looking spectacular.

Near Peak – GO NOW! (50% – 75%) – Willow Campground (9000ft) – The campground is really starting to change but the canyon walls above the to the south of the beaver pond are already exploding with color. I’m still guessing next week will be the best.

Peak – GO NOW!(75% – 100%) – Table Mountain Camp (8900ft) – Lots of color now showing all around the campground as well as below the campground. There is still some green yet to change along the roadway but it likely won’t the best will be seen over the next 7 days tops.

Surveyor's Meadow (9/24/15) Jared Smith

Surveyor’s Meadow (9/24/15) Jared Smith

Peak – GO NOW! (75% – 100%) – Surveyors Meadow (8975ft) – This is probably the most brilliant view along South Lake road with lots of yellow and touches of orange. We’ve lost a little color from those scrub aspen that popped early, but the larger aspen are now showing brilliant color and have brought this area into the “Go Now” zone. I’d expect the next 7 days to be the window for this location to be at its best.

Sabrina Lake (9/24/15) Jared Smith

Sabrina Lake (9/24/15) Jared Smith

Sabrina Lake (9/24/15) Jared Smith

Sabrina Lake (9/24/15) Jared Smith

Peak – GO NOW! (75% – 100%) – Lake Sabrina (9150ft) – Spectacular views at Lake Sabrina now. This may be closer to the 75% mark than the 100% mark, especially as the approach to the lake still has some ways to go, but not for long. Some rosy red, orange and yellow blanket the shoreline as well as the canyon wall near the lake’s main inlet. Breathtaking morning reflections off the lake despite the lower than normal water level.

North Lake Road (9/24/15) Jared Smith

North Lake Road (9/24/15) Jared Smith

North Lake Road (9/24/15) Jared Smith

North Lake Road (9/24/15) Jared Smith

North Lake (9/24/15) Jared Smith

North Lake (9/24/15) Jared Smith

Peak – GO NOW! (75% – 100%) – North Lake (9255ft) – This was an area difficult to grade as areas of the north shore of the lake, the approach to the lake, and the aspen grove near the upper parking lot are all fully peaking. Still yet to peak however are the road just past the lake (one of my favorite views), and the aspen along the west shore. It’s hard to say whether or not this area will have color all at once so I consider this a “go now” scenario as there is peak color to be had and whether it will get much better is hard to say.

Near Peak – GO NOW! (50 – 75%) – Stiny Loop above Mt. Glen Camp (8600ft) – We’re getting pretty close to a peak color situation here with tons of yellow mixed in with lime green.

Groves Above Cardinal Village (9/24/15) Jared Smith

Groves Above Cardinal Village (9/24/15) Jared Smith

Just Starting (0 – 10%) – Mist Falls and the Groves above Bishop Creek Lodge (8350ft) – I almost wanted to call this patchy but alas, only a few yellow trees and some obvious lightening of the aspen at the very crest of the waterfall. This location is always photo-worthy, but not like it will be in 7 to 10 days from now.

Just Starting (0 – 10%) – Aspendell (8400ft) – Very few signs of color here right now.

Patchy (10 – 50%)  – Groves above Cardinal Village (8550ft) – This area actually lost some color over the last report as far as the yellow that was blanketing the east wall of the canyon below Cardinal Pinnacle. The aspen surrounding and below Cardinal Village are starting to lighten up considerably with some nice yellow patches in the mix. Looking for this to get really good in the next week or so.

Just Starting (0 – 10%) – Four Jeffries (8000ft) – Nothing but a few yellow branches showing right now. The aspen have lightened considerably though over last week.

Patchy – (10 – 50%) – Intake II (8000ft) – Much of the yellow on the canyon wall is gone, but the color is just starting to develop around the lake with bright lime greens mixed with some patchy yellow.

Just Starting – (0 – 10%) – Big Trees Campground (7800ft) – Nothing but green here right now.

 

Mono County “Weekend Best Bets”

Thu ,24/09/2015
Rock Creek Lake (9/20/15) Alicia Vennos

Rock Creek Lake (9/20/15) Alicia Vennos

CaliforniaFallColor.com kicks into high gear today, with autumn officially arriving yesterday.  Each Thursday, during autumn, we’ll be issuing weekly summaries to media throughout California and posting the latest extended report here.

Today’s report is from Mono County color spotter Alicia Vennos who says, “Color is really kicking it up a notch in the Upper Rock Creek area, especially near the top of the road and around Rock Creek Lake. Lower down at East Fork, for example, (where there is a lovely hiking trail up to Rock Creek Lake), the aspens are still on the verge.  

Alicia suggests Rock Creek, Hilton Lakes and Virginia Lakes. Parker Lake, Lundy Canyon, Twin Lakes in Bridgeport, and Sonora Pass area as best bets to see fall color this weekend and notes that the color will transition from patchy to near peak at all these areas within the coming two weeks.

June Lake, Convict Lake, and Conway Summit are just starting and should not near peak for two weeks.

Upper Rock Creek Road (9/20/15) Alicia Vennos

Upper Rock Creek Road (9/20/15) Alicia Vennos

Rock Creek Lake (9/20/15) Alicia Vennos

Rock Creek Lake (9/20/15) Alicia Vennos

Rock Creek Lake (9/20/15) Alicia Vennos

Rock Creek Lake (9/20/15) Alicia Vennos

Patchy (10-50%) – Rock Creek Road/Hilton Creek Road – As seen in photos submitted by Josh Wray earlier this week, Rock Creek and Hilton Creek are best bets for bright fall color this week.  Getting there, you’ll pass Rock Creek Lodge, known for its breakfasts – everything, including the jam is homemade. Pie in the Sky Café is another must stop, but just until Columbus Day when it closes for the season. The wranglers at Rock Creek Pack Station have been transporting horses down to lower pastures, in preparation for winter, though a few horses are still stabled there for anyone wanting to see fall colors by horseback. CLICK HERE to reserve your ride.

Just Starting (0-10%) – Mammoth Lakes – Willows are glowing orange-yellow by lake shores in the Lakes Basin.

Patchy (10-50%) – Laurel Lakes Road – Neon lime and bright yellow are painting the aspen beside this rock-strewn 4WD road.

Patchy (10-50%) – Virginia Lakes/Green Creek Road/Bridgeport – Green Creek Road, south of Bridgeport, is a stunner, particularly Summer’s Meadow. Watch for signs leading you to it that divert from the graded dirt road. The area should be at full peak when Bridgeport hosts its Ducks Unlimited Dinner on Oct. 17.

Patchy (10-50%) – Lundy Canyon – This area probably still is a week or two away from peak, though it the beautiful transition from deep green to kelly to lime, with touches of yellow is now showing. This is one of the best hikes on the east side.

Patchy (10-50%) – Lee Vining Canyon – Still two weeks away.

Just Starting (0-10%) – June Lake Loop – Many color spotters ask about this beautiful necklace of lakes to the east of Yosemite National Park.  Right now, aspen groves at the north end of the June Lake Loop, high above Grant Lake, are beginning their transition from green to lime to golden yellow and orange. Elsewhere on the Loop (Hwy. 158), color is now just starting to become lime green with some hints of gold.  Parker Lake, about a 2-mile hike from the end of Parker Road at the north end of the June Lake Loop, has got some nice lime-green, yellow-orange hues now.  June Lake should be Near Peak when June Lake Brewing hosts the June Lake Autumn Beer Festival on Oct. 10 at Gull Lake Park.

Convict Lake (9/20/15) Alicia Vennos

Convict Lake (9/20/15) Julie Yost

Convict Lake (9/20/15) Alicia Vennos

Convict Lake (9/20/15) Alicia Vennos

Just Starting (0-10%) – Convict Lake – This photo says it all. The color is just beginning around Convict Lake. That’s probably a good thing for people out to see it, as road crews are paving the parking lot area, the accessible trail, and Convict Lake Road, limiting parking. Convict Lakes annual Ambush at the Lake Fishing Derby will continue through the end of the regular fishing season on Nov. 15.

Conway Summit (9/20/15) Alicia Vennos

Conway Summit (9/20/15) Alicia Vennos

Just Starting (0 -10%) – Conway Summit – As seen above, the aspen are mostly green with spots of yellow.  Golden grasses and bright yellow rabbitbrush provide nice foreground accents.

Patchy (10-50%) – McGee Creek Canyon – There’s gold and yellow to be seen among the aspen.  McGee Creek is still a week to 10 days away.  If you want to ride the area, the McGee Creek Pack Station remains open just through September.

Just Starting (0-10%) – Walker/Coleville – Aspen have begun turning lime-green with some yellow patches, though the cottonwood throughout the Antelope Valley are still mostly green. The last event to put on your calendar, should you plan trips to this area is Walker’s annual Deer Hunter Barbecue on Oct. 3.  Put on by the Antelope Valley Lions Club, this is the place to learn local secrets on where to hunt in the valley or what goes into their famous barbecue sauce. (530) 208-6078 is the number to call for more info. Finally, the Leavitt Meadows Pack Station plans to remain open through mid-October for fall color horseback rides in the Sonora Pass area.