California Fall Color
Dude, autumn happens here, too.

Posts Tagged ‘Eastern Sierra’

A Forest of Yellow at Mammoth Lakes

Tue ,22/10/2013
Aspen, Mammoth Lakes Basin (10/22/13) Susan Morning

Aspen, Mammoth Lakes Basin (10/22/13) Susan Morning

Edina Ingram reports, “the weather in Mammoth Lakes remains gorgeous. With daytime temperatures in the mid 60s: crisp air, bright blue skies and a forest of yellow, now is a perfect time for sightseeing, hiking or mountain biking.”  The Mammoth Lakes area is in full peak at lower elevations and past peak at higher elevations.

Aspen, Mammoth Lakes (10/22/13) Susan Morning

Aspen, Mammoth Lakes (10/22/13) Susan Morning

GO NOW! 75-100% – Mammoth Lakes (7,500′) - Fall color is peaking at Mammoth Creek, and Convict Lake, just south of Mammoth.  The trail around Convict Lake, ten minutes south of Mammoth Lakes, remains beautiful.  The aspen grove at the backside is fully vibrant. In Mammoth Lakes Basin, hike the trail ascending from the Twin Lakes parking lot to spots of great color.

Past Peak  – Above 8,000 feet - Fall color is just past peak. This includes upper regions of the Lakes Basin in Mammoth Lakes and the Devils Postpile National Monument (closes Oct. 31).

 

“Magnificent Mono

Thu ,17/10/2013
June Lake (10/12/13) Alicia Vennos

June Lake (10/12/13) Alicia Vennos

Mono County has come into magnificence with reports from color spotter Alicia Vennos of areas of this Eastern Sierra County that we haven’t seen previously.  This is most definitely the weekend to head to the East Side.  Now that the federal shutdown has ended, Yosemite National Park has reopened (Tioga Pass remained open throughout the shutdown).  So, this is likely the last, best weekend to head across the Sierra through Yosemite (Hwy 120 – The Tioga Road).

McGee Creek Canyon (10/16/13) Ethan James

McGee Creek Canyon (10/16/13) Ethan James

McGee Creek Canyon (10/16/13) Ethan James

McGee Creek Canyon (10/16/13) Ethan James

GO NOW! 75 – 100% – McGee Creek Canyon - Alicia reports that “There is a real mix of color right now at McGee — some trees are past peak, some are perfect, and others are still tiptoeing towards lime green and yellow.  The campground area is the richest in color, right now, but the hiking trail has some gorgeous gold and orange, too.

Convict Lake (10/16/13) Convict Lake Resort

Convict Lake (10/16/13) Convict Lake Resort

Silver Lake (10/12/13) Alicia Vennos

Silver Lake (10/12/13) Alicia Vennos

GO NOW! – 75 – 100% – Convict Lake – The entire canyon is at peak. There are lots of spectacular colors to be seen on the ride to the lake, including intense yellow, brilliant orange and, recently, traces of burnt Sienna. This is about the last weekend to see full color at Convict Lake, as large sections along the upper creek above the lake are dropping their leaves.  If you’re going, take advantage of these deals and offers:

  • Convict Lake Resort is offering Fall Lodging Specials through Oct. 31st starting at $379+tax (Sunday thru Thursday – 2 Nights for 2 Persons).  Includes $100 Restaurant Credit & Full Day Motor Boat Rental.
  • Late Fall Lodging Specials from Nov 3rd to Nov. 15th starting at $199+tax (Sundaythru Thursday – 2 Nights for 2 Persons).  Includes Full Day Motor Boat Rental.
  • Convict Lake Resort’s annual fall fishing derby, “Ambush at the Lake” is happening now through Nov. 15, with $6,000 in resort prizes.  A $2,000 Cash Bonus Weekend occurs Nov. 1-3.
Double Eagle Resort & Spa, June Lake Loop (10/13/13) Ralph Lockhart

Double Eagle Resort & Spa, June Lake Loop (10/13/13) Ralph Lockhart

June Lake (10/14/13) Rachel Jackson

June Lake (10/14/13) Rachel Jackson

GO NOW! – 75 – 100% – June Lake – 100% - Alicia reports that “It is pretty much perfection right now around everyone’s favorite “loop”, a.k.a. Hwy. 158″ We’ll add, that if you can get away, this is the prime weekend to see the June Lake Loop in all its glory.  We’ll probably be reporting past week, next week.  Ralph Lockhart at the Double Eagle Resort and Spa reports the entire north end of the June Lake Loop is “Exploding, right now.”

Therese LaChance Ely paints fall color at Parker Lake (10/12/13) Alicia Vennos

Therese LaChance Ely paints fall color at Parker Lake (10/12/13) Alicia Vennos

Parker Lake (10/12/13) Alicia Vennos

Parker Lake (10/12/13) Alicia Vennos

GO NOW! – 75 – 100% – Parker Lake – 100% - This small, but majestic lake, attracts many young families, a few anglers, photographers and – this past weekend – even award-winning artist, Therese LaChance Ely, well-known for her “Sierra-scapes.”

GO NOW! – 75 – 100% – Lundy Lake - We’re amazed that Lundy has been so spectacular for so long.  This could be the last weekend to see it at peak.  Alicia describes it as “at peak and glorious, especially along Lundy Lake Road.” The popular hiking trail at the end of the dirt road, past Lundy Lake Resort, is past peak with just a few bright trees left.

Little Walker Lake (10/14/13) Alicia Vennos

Little Walker Lake (10/14/13) Alicia Vennos

GO NOW! – 75 – 100% – Little Walker Lake – Little Walker is a beautiful, lesser-known lake in dramatic Bloody Canyon, just north of the June Lake Loop.  Directions:  At the north end of Hwy. 158, take Parker Lake Road and then the first right, following the signs.  The trail starts high with a lovely view down to the lake.

 

Bishop Creek Canyon – Past Peak

Wed ,16/10/2013

Color spotter Jared Smith of Parchers Resort reports that a solid week of sub-zero temperatures finished what was left of fall color up Bishop Creek Canyon.  Inyo County’s show now moves down in elevation to the Owens Valley.  Here’s Jared’s last report of autumn, 2013:

Overall Conditions above 8500ft  Past Peak

A solid week of frigid weather did in most of the color that was left. The color arrived a little early this year and while it was beautiful for a while, it’s mostly gone now. Hopefully next fall lasts a bit longer.

Overall Conditions below 8500ft Past Peak

Still some color lower in the canyon, especially near Bishop Creek Lodge and Big Trees Campground, however much of the brilliant yellow is more of an auburn after the cold temps of the last week. It’s safe to say that the best color has come and gone, even in the lower reaches of the canyon.

Parchers Resort closes for the season Sunday 10-20-13 and with most of the fall color gone, this will be our last report of the season. We would like to thank everyone who followed our reports and all of those who provided positive feedback. We look forward to 2014 and another batch of fall color reports. Feel free to email us to join the fall color list any time and we’ll make sure you get the latest greatest reports as soon as we start them next year.

We are indebted to color spotters Jared Smith and Krisdina Karady for supplying such detailed and colorful reports. Because of their reports, California Fall Color is left with memories of beautiful color on an early, but long-lasting show up Bishop Creek.

Parcher's Camp (9/26/13) Krisdina Karady

Parcher’s Camp (9/26/13) Krisdina Karady

More Mono Images

Tue ,15/10/2013
Silver Lake (10/13/13) Rachel Jackson

Silver Lake (10/13/13) Rachel Jackson

Here’s a selection of nice photos taken this past weekend in Mono County by Rachel Jackson.

June Lake Loop (10/13/13) Rachel Jackson

June Lake Loop (10/13/13) Rachel Jackson

RJackson - Silver Lake 2

Silver Lake (10/13/13) Rachel Jackson

Freeway Foliage

Tue ,15/10/2013

While driving along US 101, the Redwood Highway, the green forest beside the road will often light up suddenly in yellow or crimson.  Color spotter Sandy Steinman reports he took the route this past weekend, from Arcata to the Bay Area and experienced just that.  He writes, “The trees in northern California have turned quite a bit in the last several days. The Maples and other deciduous trees around the Avenue of the Giants to Willits are mostly showing their fall yellows. I would guess they are now about 80 percent turned.  There is also still lots of red from poison oak growing on the redwoods.  There are also planted trees in towns and private property showing other fall colors as well. Just remember this area is mostly conifers and patches of fall color are usually not large or widespread.”

As Sandy drove south of  Willits, he found “the best fall color was the vineyards. Some are in full color  showing a lot of yellow and red while others are still mostly green.”  That’s the thing about the vineyards.  One will be deep red, another unturned and the next a mix of yellow, orange, red and lime.

GO NOW! – 75 – 100% – U.S. 101, The Redwood Highway - Spots of yellow bigleaf maple and crimson poison oak decorate the otherwise evergreen redwood forest from Willits north to Arcata.

GO NOW! – 50 – 75% – Mendocino and Sonoma County Vineyards - A mix of fully peaked vines of various bright colors (deep red, orange, yellow, lime) can be near one that hasn’t even considered turning color.  That’s October in the vineyards.  Still, we issue a Go Now alert for wine country as spots will be good throughout the remainder of October and early November.

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

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.

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.