California Fall Color
Dude, autumn happens here, too.

Posts Tagged ‘Eastern Sierra’

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.

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.

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