California Fall Color
Dude, autumn happens here, too.

Posts Tagged ‘Fall Color in California’

Mono County – Pie Perfect – Go Now!

Thu ,26/09/2013
Pie in the Sky (9/21/13) Alicia Vennos

Pie in the Sky (9/21/13) Alicia Vennos

Mono County color spotter Alicia Vennos sent  a little whimsy along with today’s report of fall color… a humorous shot of someone spotting a slice of fall color at Pie in the Sky along the Rock Creek Road.

Rock Creek

Hilton/Davis Trail, Rock Creek Lake (9/21/13) Alicia Vennos

Float Angler on Rock Creek Lake (9/21/13) Alicia Vennos

Float Angler on Rock Creek Lake (9/21/13) Alicia Vennos

GO NOW! – 75 – 100% – Rock Creek Lake – Alicia writes, “Undaunted by recent wind and snow, the color shines on at Rock Creek in southern Mono County, particularly the upper section of Rock Creek Road at Rock Creek Lake where the red and orange hues are dazzling.”

Convict Lake (9/25/13) Alicia Vennos

Convict Lake (9/25/13) Alicia Vennos

10 – 20% – Convict Lake - The canyon is starting to show a few small pockets of gold and the yellow has increased. The aspens along the lower creek and in the campground are still showing green with a modest amount of yellow. The back of the lake and up the canyon is also showing signs of yellow but no brilliant colors to date. Still some time before Convict Canyon will be at its peak.

Early Snow on Aspen at Virginia Lakes (9/21/13) Alicia Vennos

Early Snow on Aspen at Virginia Lakes (9/21/13) Alicia Vennos

GO NOW! – 75 – 100% – Virginia Lakes - The early snowfall on Saturday, Sept. 21 created the perfect backdrop to the fall color along Virginia Lakes Road.

Green Creek Road, Red Aspen (9/21/13) Alicia Vennos

Green Creek Road, Red Aspen (9/21/13) Alicia Vennos

Green Creek Road, Red Aspen (9/21/13) Alicia Vennos

Colorful Aspen leaves in the Snow, Green Creek Rd. (9/27/13) Donna Mercer

Colorful Aspen leaves in the Snow, Green Creek Rd. (9/27/13) Donna Mercer

GO NOW! – 75 – 100% - A  stand of astonishingly red aspen are to be viewed along upper Green Creek Road.  Take Virginia Lakes Road from the top of Conway Summit (US 395 between Lee Vining and Bridgeport) and watch for the sign to Green Creek Road to the right/north. Green Creek is a wide dirt road in excellent shape and the color is magnificent right now.  75% at upper elevations; 30% at lower elevations.

Conway Summit (9/24/13) Alicia Vennos

Conway Summit (9/24/13) Alicia Vennos

0 – 15% – Conway Summit - Still hovering at 15%, though keep track of reports, as this beautiful area can turn quickly once it begins to flush.  Alicia Vennos provides the above photo of what she describes as a “staggered” timing of fall color.  There’s lots of green, but also lime, yellow and just over the ridge to the west is Green Creek Rd. with prolific reds and oranges.

Ducks on Silver Lake (9/22/13) Alicia Vennos

Ducks on Silver Lake (9/22/13) Alicia Vennos

0 – 15% – June Lake Loop – The spectacular June Lake Loop is just starting to get into the spirit of the season — still mostly lime green and yellow — but colder temperatures in coming nights should act as the perfect catalyst to nudge the June Lake area along.  A dusting of snow on high peaks surrounding Silver Lake and the other June Lakes promises to provide some incredible scenes in coming weeks as the color turns below.

Snow Dusts Peaks Above Mammoth Lakes – Go Now!

Tue ,24/09/2013
The Sherwins, Mammoth Lakes, Eastern Sierra (9/23/13)

The Sherwins, Mammoth Lakes, Eastern Sierra (9/23/13) © Susan Morning

High peaks surrounding Mammoth Lakes were dusted with a couple of inches of snow this past weekend, as an early storm passed over California.  Color spotter Christie Osborne says the snow did little to change the steady progression of color at Mammoth Lakes, which has now begun to descend from the high country. She reports, “More color is starting to show in Mammoth Lakes at the base of the Sherwin’s, in Town and at resort levels. Also look for color starting to break at the base of the Sherwins and near Sherwin Creek Campground, and expect to see more yellow flowing down canyons.”  This week, at higher elevations, above 8,500, look for orange and yellow colors to be at full peak.

Mammoth Lakes (9/23/13) © Susan Morning

Mammoth Lakes (9/23/13) © Susan Morning

Mammoth Lakes (9/23/13) © Susan Morning

Mammoth Lakes (9/23/13) © Susan Morning

30-50%  - Elevations Above 7,000

GO NOW! – 50-75% - Approaching Peak – Elevations above 8,000
GO NOW! – 75-100% - Full Peak – Elevations Above 8,500

Signs of Autumn

Mon ,23/09/2013
Buckeye, Plumas County (9/22/13) © Richard McCutcheon

Buckeye, Plumas County (9/22/13) © Richard McCutcheon

Plumas County color spotter Richard McCutcheon (first to spot fall color on Aug. 1) reports that, “When the Buckeye tree changes, you know fall colors are not far away.”

California Fall Color Editor John Poimiroo spoke with Randol White and Patty Piper of Eat, Drink, Explore and click on this video to hear what was said:

Going Big, Early – Up Bishop Creek – Go Now!

Thu ,19/09/2013
Sierra Crest with Cardinal Mine Grove and Middle Fork, Bishop Creek (9/19/13) © Jared Smith

Sierra Crest with Cardinal Mine Grove and Middle Fork, Bishop Creek (9/19/13) © Jared Smith

Fall color is early and big up Bishop Creek Canyon, with an exceptional display of orange and red appearing.  We spoke with color spotter Jared Smith of the Parcher’s Resort, today, who said “I can’t recall a year when the fall color peaked this early.”  His latest report (following) and photos tell it all.  Note the number of fly fishermen and women either floating or standing in various streams (look closely).  What incredibly beautiful places to go fishing!

Quaking Aspen (9/19/13) © ShaleAnn Cluff

Quaking Aspen (9/19/13) © ShaleAnn Cluff

GO NOW! – 75 – 100% – Overall Conditions above 8,500 ft – Things are progressing quickly in the higher reaches of the Bishop Creek Canyon. There is still a lot of green along the road and in most of the parking areas however the canyon walls are really exploding with color. We typically see a lot of yellow, but this year it seems there is more brilliant orange and red than usual. It’s hard to say how long the higher color will stay but if the weather stays good, these areas will still around for a bit. This is the earliest we can remember  the color being this far along this early. Many areas are still well below 75% but the majority of the higher canyon walls are at least 75%.

15 – 30% – Overall Conditions below 8,500 ft – The vast majority of aspen below 8,500 ft are still mostly green, though a lot of lime green is showing with some pockets of yellow, especially on the So. Fork Bishop Creek above Bishop Creek Lodge.

Location-specific Reports

Table Mountain Camp (9/19/13) © Jared Smith

Table Mountain Camp (9/19/13) © Jared Smith

GO NOW! – 50 – 75% – Mt. Glen Camp to Table Mountain Camp (8,600 ft) – This area is turning fast and is much closer to the 75% mark than the 50% mark. While the roadside aspen is still showing mostly green hues, the hillside to the east is really exploding with bright yellow.

Mountain Glen Campground, above Bishop Creek Lodge (9/19/13) © Jared Smith

Mountain Glen Campground, above Bishop Creek Lodge (9/19/13) © Jared Smith

30 -50% – Mountain Glen Campground (8,400 ft) – The grove directly above the campground is starting to turn nicely while the aspen down along the creek are still very green. Still another week or so before this area really starts to pop.

Mist Falls (9/19/13) © Jared Smith

Mist Falls (9/19/13) © Jared Smith

15-30% – Mist Falls and the groves above Bishop Creek Lodge (8,350 ft) – Quite a bit of color change on either side of the waterfall but it’s still mostly green around the falls and below the falls. Still a while before this area is at it’s peak.

30 – 50% – Table Mountain Camp (8,900 ft) – This grove tends to pop early but this year it seems to be a little later than the surrounding areas. The aspen along the creek and around the campground itself are showing lime green with a little yellow showing but not much in the way of color just yet.

Surveyor's Meadow (9/19/13) © Jared Smith

Surveyor’s Meadow (9/19/13) © Jared Smith

GO NOW! - 75-100% – Surveyors Meadow (8,975 ft) – Quite a surprising sight to see as the hillsides just up canyon from Surveyor’s Meadow are nearing full color. The groves along the creek, along the road, and the two large groves to the west and north of the meadow are still showing a lot of green. I’m guessing the next week to 10 days will be the best views at this location. This is much earlier than we’re used to seeing, perhaps the drought is at work here.

Willow Campground (9/19/13) © Jared Smith

Willow Campground (9/19/13) © Jared Smith

Willow Campground (9/19/13) © Krisdina Karady

Willow Campground (9/19/13) © Krisdina Karady

30 – 50% – Willow Campground (9,100 ft) – This area is difficult to grade because the aspen along the road and in the campground are only showing lime green and some moderate yellow while the aspen perched in the granite cliff just above the campground are nearly all yellow and looking beautiful. The hillside above Parchers looks incredible from Willow Camp and contrasts nicely with the green aspen along the road.

Parcher's Camp (9/19/13) © Jared Smith

Parcher’s Camp (9/19/13) © Jared Smith

GO NOW! – 75 – 100% – Parchers Camp – It’s really quite remarkable that while the resort grounds contains mostly green aspen, the surrounding canyon walls have changed drastically in the last week and tons of yellow, orange and even a little red is showing in just about every direction. We haven’t seen any evidence of leaves dropping so we’re hoping the views will remain spectacular for a while here at the resort.

Weir Pond (9/19/13) © Jared Smith

Weir Pond (9/19/13) © Jared Smith

GO NOW! - 75 – 100% – Weir Pond (9,700 ft) – This are is also hard to grade as the groves directly to the west of the pond are fully turning while the foliage surrounding the pond only has pockets of color with a lot of green still showing. Still, I would guess that from a photographer’s standpoint the 7 to 10 days will be the best.

Weir Pond (9/19/13) © Jared Smith

Weir Pond (9/19/13) © Jared Smith

Weir Pond (9/19/13) © Jared Smith

Weir Pond (9/19/13) © Jared Smith

GO NOW! – 75 – 100% – Lake Sabrina (9,150 ft) – The vast majority of the color has already arrived at Lake Sabrina, quite a surprise given how early in the season we area. Some groves at the southwest end of the lake still have more color to offer but the dam, east shore, and the higher groves surrounding the lake are all exploding with yellow, orange and red. How long the color sticks around is anyone’s guess but it’s safe to say that the sooner you make it there, the better. With the lake level down, there is a somewhat limited opportunity for spectacular lake shots this year.

GO NOW! – 50 -75% – Groves above Cardinal Village & Aspendell    (8,550 ft) – Quite a change from last week with brilliant yellow blanketing the canyon to the east of Hwy 168 and flowing all the way down towards Cardinal Mine. Still a lot of green surrounding Cardinal Village but the aspen above there is looking fantastic. We’re not too far off from some peak color here.

Hwy 168, below Sabrina Camp (9/19/13) Jared Smith

Hwy 168, below Sabrina Camp (9/19/13) Jared Smith

GO NOW! – 50 – 75% – Sabrina Campground (9,000 ft) – The aspen along the road near Sabrina Camp are in peak fall color. Thankfully the large old growth aspen in and around the campground and along the stream are still mostly lime green so more color will continue to develop in the area.

North Lake (9/19/13) © Jared Smith

North Lake (9/19/13) © Jared Smith

North Lake (9/19/13) © ShaleAnn Cluff

North Lake (9/19/13) © ShaleAnn Cluff

North Lake Road (9/19/13) © ShaleAnn Cluff

North Lake Road (9/19/13) © ShaleAnn Cluff

GO NOW! – 50 – 75% – North Lake (9,255 ft) – North Lake has a great variety of color showing right now. The road below the lake is nearing peak with lots of yellow and orange. Along the lake however, there is mostly lime green aspen with just a few touches of yellow. The main grove that blankets the mountain above the lake and reaches down to the west shore is showing a lot of color up high with more green towards the lower part of the grove.

15 – 30% – Intake II  (8,100 ft) – The grove above the lake is showing quite a bit of yellow but not much going on with the trees surrounding the lake itself. Look for this area to be at its best in a few weeks

0-15% – Forks, Four Jeffries, Big Trees & Bishop Park Camgrounds (8,000 ft – 8,300 ft) – No yellow to speak of in these areas but the aspen are certainly turning to lime green in most of these areas. These areas tend to peak quite a bit later than the higher reaches of the canyon so look for these areas to start looking their best around the end of the month or early October depending on the weather.

 

Such a Deal!

Thu ,19/09/2013
Parcher's Resort (10/11/12) Krisdina Karady

Parcher’s Resort (10/11/12) Krisdina Karady

A great place to base fall color viewing trips in Bishop Creek Canyon is Parcher’s Resort.  Not only is their staff the most knowledgeable about where the best fall color viewing can be found, but the resort offers all sorts of deals in autumn.  Here’s this fall’s list:

  • Fall RV Special – Stay 5 nights at regular price get 2 more nights FREE in any RV site from September 20th through October 19th
  • Mountain Cabin Weekly Special – Beginning Sept. 1st Stay 5 nights in Cabin 21, 22 or 23 and get 2 more nights FREE and one breakfast voucher for up to 4 persons!
  • Photographers Retreat – Rent 6 or more Cabins for at least 3 nights and get 10% off your stay and complimentary use of our store meeting facility from 11am til 6pm daily and 25% off a private dinner in our dining room (12 persons minimum). Offer valid September 15th through October 15th
  • Hiker’s Heaven – Stay 3 nights in any Hiker Cabin between Sept. 1st and October 19th, and get your 4th night FREE.

Call 760-873-4177 to take advantage of these special deals.

At left is a photo taken of Parcher’s last October, following an early dusting of snow.

Mono County Peaking at Upper Elevations – Go Now!

Thu ,19/09/2013

Mono County color spotter Ethan James reports autumn is “in full-swing” well before its official first day (Sun., June 22).  And, with cool weather forecast, the color will intensify and pockets of peak color will exist for the next three weeks.  Because of this, we are issuing three GO NOW! alerts for Mono County.

15 – 30% – Lower Rock Creek Road - James estimates the of the road to be at 25% with some gold, yellow, lime green and orange emerging.  As previously reported, Pie in the Sky Café at the Rock Creek Lake Resort plans to remain  open until October 13,  serving their world-famous pies, freshly baked from scratch every day.

Rock Creek Lake (9/17/13)

Rock Creek Lake (9/18/13) © Ethan James

Rock Creek Canyon (9/17/13) ©

Rock Creek Canyon (9/18/13) © Ethan James

GO NOW! – 50- 75% – Upper Rock Creek Road - The upper reaches of Rock Creek Road, including around Rock Creek Lake are “quite breathtaking with beautiful red, orange and gold aspen.”

0 – 15% – Convict Lake - Charles reporting from the Convict Lake Resort says “It’s still early for significant color in the canyon. There is just a scattering of yellow as you drive up to Convict Lake.”  The Convict Lake Resort is offering Fall Lodging Specials starting at $379+tax (Sunday thru Thursday – 2 Nights for 2 Persons).  Includes $100 Restaurant Credit & Full Day Motor Boat Rental.  Convict Lake’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.

GO NOW! – 75 – 100% – The Sherwins (Mammoth Lakes) - The Sherwins above 8,500′ are peaking.

15 – 30% – Mammoth Lakes - Spots of color are to be seen in the Town of Mammoth Lakes, though peak is still two weeks away.

Parker Lake (9/17/13) Donna Mercer

Parker Lake (9/17/13) © Donna Mercer

Parker Lake (9/17/13) Donna Mercer

Parker Lake (9/17/13) © Donna Mercer

Quaking Aspen, Parker Lake (9/17/13) Donna Mercer

Quaking Aspen, Parker Lake (9/17/13) © Donna Mercer

0 – 15% – Parker Lake - Color spotter Donna Mercer hiked to Parker Lake off the June Lake Loop on 9/17 and says that the colors on the trail and at the lake itself are still mostly bright lime-green with some gold, yellow and random splotches of orange.

15 – 30% – June Lake Loop - This magnificent drive (Hwy. 158) is showing signs of color, especially at higher elevations, but still has a long way to go.  It should be glorious during June Lake’s Autumn Beer Festival on October 5 at Gull Lake Park.

Virginia Lakes Road (9/13/13) Carolyn Webb

Virginia Lakes Road (9/13/13) © Carolyn Webb

Virginia Lakes Road (9/13/13) Carolyn Webb

Virginia Lakes Road (9/13/13) © Carolyn Webb

Virginia Lakes (9/13/13) © Carolyn Webb

Virginia Lakes (9/13/13) © Carolyn Webb

GO NOW! – 50 – 75% – Virginia Lakes - Color spotter Carolyn Webb recommends driving up the Virginia Lakes Road for displays of  vibrant colors

0 – 15% – Conway Summit – Still  mostly lime-green.

The new edition of the Eastern Sierra Fall Color Guide & Map is now in.  Call 800-845-7922 for a FREE copy or request one on-line at www.MonoCounty.org/Fall-Color.  

 

KCET Reports from Bishop Creek Canyon

Tue ,17/09/2013
South Lake Road, Bishop Creek Canyon (9/17/13) © Zach Behrens/KCET

South Lake Road, Bishop Creek Canyon (9/17/13) © Zach Behrens/KCET

Zach Behrens of KCET is another of the growing legion of fall color enthusiasts turning up, across California.  CLICK HERE TO see the report Zach posted today on KCET’s site.  His photo of changing trees along South Lake Road depicts the layered change of color to be seen there, right now.

 

Early Peak Approaching in Eastern Sierra

Thu ,12/09/2013

Spots of color above 8,500′ in elevation are trending toward one of the earliest peaks seen in the Eastern Sierra in recent years. Yesterday, we reported that The Sherwins (Mammoth Lakes) above 8,500 were showing 30 – 50% color.  Today, Jared Smith of Parcher’s Resort is reporting some areas of Bishop Creek Canyon already “well above 50%”, including our first Go Now! declarations for Sabrina Campground and Surveyor’s Meadow.  Here’s his full report (9/11/13).

Overall Conditions above 8,500 ft  
30 – 50% – Lots of green still around but many of the higher elevation areas are now showing a lot of color. A little orange and red but most of the color showing is brilliant yellow and gold. Although most of the aspens along the road are still totally green, the hillsides in the higher reaches of the canyon are really looking impressive.  Some areas, surveyors meadow for example, is actually well above 50% of peak color.

Overall Conditions below 8,500 ft

Not much going on yet below 8,500 ft, but there are some little pockets of color developing. We’ve still got another couple weeks before these areas will be in full color.

Location Specific Reports

15-30% – South Lake Rd above Mt. Glen Camp (8,600 ft) – While this area is not in full color and the aspens along the creek are still green, the view up canyon is spectacular and the groves to the east are really lighting up.

0-15% – Mountain Glen Campground (8,400 ft) – Just a handful of aspens turning here with most of the foliage still dark or lime green.

0-15% – Mist Falls and the groves above Bishop Creek Lodge (8,350f t) –  Not much going on here yet, just a few trees starting to turn.

Groves Above Cardinal Village (9/11/13) © Krisdina Karady

Groves Above Cardinal Village (9/11/13) © Krisdina Karady

15 – 30% – Groves above Cardinal Village & Aspendell    (8,550 ft) –  Just enough yellow showing to be noteworthy but this area still has a ways to go before the color really starts popping.

Sabrina Campground (9/11/13) © Krisdina Karady

Sabrina Campground (9/11/13) © Krisdina Karady

Sabrina Campground (9/11/13) © Krisdina Karady

Sabrina Campground (9/11/13) © Krisdina Karady

50-75% – Sabrina Campground (9,000 ft) Go Now! – As expected, the groves along the road near Sabrina Campground are the first to near peak color. Plenty of orange, yellow and some read showing along with brilliant lime green.  I would expect this area to peak in the next 10 days if not sooner and the grove inside the campground to be a little behind that.

0-15% – Forks Campground (8,000 ft – 8,300 ft) – No color at all developing here yet.

0-15% – Table Mountain Camp (8,900 ft) –  Not much color showing yet.

Surveyor's Meadow (9/11/13) © Krisdina Karady

Surveyor’s Meadow (9/11/13) © Krisdina Karady

50 – 75% – Surveyors Meadow (8,975 ft) Go Now! – The aspen above Surveyors Meadow are really lighting up in all directions. The lower aspen along the creek are still mostly green but there is a ton of color on all of the surrounding hillsides.

15 – 30% – Willow Campground (9,100 ft) – The view up canyon from Willow Camp has lots of turning aspen but the majority of the aspen surrounding the campground are still very green. The best color is just past the camp on your right where there are a few dozen trees in full color. Just below the camp near the Tyee Trailhead also has several trees showing color.

30 – 50% – Parchers Camp – Lots of color developing in and around Parchers Camp. Especially brilliant are the hillsides to the east and west of the resort. Still plenty of aspen yet to change but its progressing nicely. The trail from Parchers to Willow is also turning nicely.

Weir Pond (9/11/13) © Krisdina Karady

Weir Pond (9/11/13) © Krisdina Karady

15-30% – Weir Pond (9,700 ft) – The grove above the pond is really turning yellow while the lower aspen surrounding the Weir still have yet to turn except for a few small branches here and there.

15 – 30% – Lake Sabrina (9,150 ft) – Still a ways to go here but there is quite a bit of color developing around what’s left of the lake. This location will be a little harder to find good photos this year with the water level being so low. Look for the groves below the dam to be one of the best places to capture color when it develops.

North Lake (9/11

North Lake (9/11/13) © Krisdina Karady

 

15-30% – North Lake (9,255 ft) – The groves above the lake area starting to turn nicely but the majority of the aspen are still green including the aspen along the creek and along the road. The most intense color is just below the lake along the road where some nice read and orange is visible.Closer to 15% than 30%, there is still a ways to go for full color.

The Sherwins Color Up Above Mammoth Lakes

Wed ,11/09/2013
The Sherwins, Mammoth Lakes; Christie Osborne; © Mammoth Lakes Visitors Bureau, 9/11/13

The Sherwins, Mammoth Lakes; Christie Osborne; © Mammoth Lakes Visitors Bureau, 9/11/13

Seeing is believing!  A week before the first day of autumn, color spotters are reporting 30 – 50% change at high elevations surrounding Mammoth Lakes.

The Sherwins, Mammoth Lakes; Christie Osborne; © Mammoth Lakes Visitors Bureau, 9/11/13

The Sherwins, Mammoth Lakes; Christie Osborne; © Mammoth Lakes Visitors Bureau, 9/11/13

Color spotter Christie Osborne reports that, “The Sherwins above Snowcreek golf course in Mammoth Lakes are showing some fine color at approximately 8,500 feet. Lower, at the 7,500-8,000 foot level just the first hints of color are starting to show, but there is mostly little or no color in town. Fall dessert flowers are also blooming with a show of purple and gold.”

Color spotter Leanne K comments, “… just got back from a long weekend in Mammoth. The high meadows like Agnew, Crater and the meadow between Shadow Lake and Ediza Lake were already gold. The willows and grasses were beautiful in the blue sky. No smoke from the fires. The aspen trees were definitely getting lime and some had begun to change to yellow. It seems like it is a bit early, but really does feel like fall. Other low growing type plants were beginning to yellow.”  Leanne wasn’t sure how to assign a %, though Christie suggests:

Mammoth Lakes
0 – 15% in town at approximately 7,500 feet. Some yellow green.
30 – 50% in the Lakes Basin near Twin Lakes at approximately 8500 feet.
30-50% above approximately 8,500 feet along slopes on the Sherwin Mountain Range.

Note: the 30 – 50% evaluation is for high areas in The Sherwins, above 8,500′.  There’s still lots and lots of time to see great color at Mammoth Lakes and in the Eastern Sierra.

Only in California - wildflowers blooming in autumn; Christie  Osborne; © Mammoth Lakes Visitors Bureau, 9/11/13

Only in California – wildflowers blooming in autumn; Christie Osborne; © Mammoth Lakes Visitors Bureau, 9/11/13

California Fall Color in 3-D

Mon ,09/09/2013

Put on 3-D glasses to watch this fun YouTube video by Jim Carbonetti.  It’ll come right at ya.