California Fall Color
Dude, autumn happens here, too.

Posts Tagged ‘foliage’

New Interactive Map

Tue ,12/08/2014

New for 2014 is the California Fall Color Map seen at left.  This interactive map is exclusive to CaliforniaFallColor.com and provides a quick way to see where the color is changing in California and at what stage.

Non-reporting areas appear in dark green.  All reporting areas have leaves in light green, yellow, orange, red or brown, depending on the fall color’s stage of development. This new scale matches that used by The Weather Channel: Just starting, patchy, near peak, peak and past peak. The colors are based on reports received from volunteer color spotters located throughout California.

Anyone can be a color spotter.  Just email a current report to editor@californiafallcolor.com stating where the fall color is seen, at what stage the color is (just starting, patchy, near peak, peak, past peak), your name and – if you have one – a current photograph of what you’re reporting.  We’ll publish the report with credit attributed to you.

Each Thursday morning from the first day of autumn to Thanksgiving Day, we send summaries of each week’s reports to media across California (every TV meteorologist and all travel and outdoor reporters) based on reports received from our network of color spotters.  The best photos could appear, with credit, in newspapers or on TV.

Though no color is yet appearing, our first report this year is from St. Helena in the Napa Valley where Brian Baker of the Chateau Montelena winery notes that an early harvest is expected.  That could mean an earlier show of fall color in the vineyards.

Invisible Rain

Fri ,08/08/2014
Invisible Rain - 8/8/14 - John Poimiroo

Invisible Rain – 8/8/14 – John Poimiroo

Increasingly, since the beginning of August, blue oak leaves have begun appearing on my lawn. I never see them falling and the oaks still seem to be full  of blue-green foliage. It’s an invisible rain.  One day, nothing.  The next, a carpet of dry detritus.

I suppose the oaks are telling me fall is approaching. This is about the time of year (early August) when our color spotters and loyal followers start looking us up, wondering if what they’re seeing is already being reported by us.

The appearance of autumn always happens here or there in mid to late summer… a single tree begins to show flashes of yellow, leaves begin falling and yards become littered as mine has.

The drought seems to have little to do with this though, certainly, lack of water affects foliage and shortens the brilliance or duration of the display.  Still, there will be color change and it will be spectacular in locations throughout the state.  Though, our guess is that some places that were glorious in past years, may be disappointing this year.

One way to know where the color is best, is to keep returning to this site.  Our reporting begins in earnest in September, though if early reports are received we’ll post them.  As in the past, anyone can be a color spotter.  Simply email your report or photo to editor@californiafallcolor.com, comment on any of this site’s blogs, tweet to @CalifFallColor, or post on our Facebook page, California Fall Color.

If you’ve searched for us on Google lately, you may have noticed that someone supposedly hacked our site.  As far as we can tell, our site was not hacked.  What was hacked was how Google describes us in search results.  Visiting californiafallcolor.com is entirely safe.  Do not fear visiting californiafallcolor.com or clicking through on Google to it.

Our tech has reset how we describe this site to Google and I’m told it will take Google 30 days to scrub what the hacker inserted and return our listing to its correct description.  The hacking of Google was a senseless, criminal act that had the effect of alarming internet users searching for our site.

More fundamental than our frustration over someone else trying to take advantage of our site’s renown is the question, “Who thinks it’s a good business practice to insert your message in someone else’s promotion?” The hacker got Google to add words promoting purchase of erectile dysfunction medication next to our site’s name and to replace the description of our site in Google with a message to buy pharmaceuticals online, in search results.  However, the hacking was so inept that the hacker failed to provide a link to the pharmaceutical supplier.   Had they identified themselves, we would have sought legal action to prosecute them for trade infringement.

Ah well, on to happier things.  We’re working on a new, interactive California Fall Color Map to appear on the home page that will show where color can be seen in all corners of California.  More about the new map will be reported in our next blog. Regular reports will begin in September, though we will publish any report of fall color emailed to editor@californiafallcolor.com.  In the meantime, enjoy the invisible rain.

Death Valley Wildflowers Provide Surprising Show

Wed ,02/04/2014
Death Valley National Park

Death Valley National Park

Death Valley National Park

Death Valley National Park

Death  Valley National Park

Death Valley National Park

Cheryl Chipman of the National Park Service reports that, much to their surprise, Death Valley National Park is experiencing a spectacular bloom of wildflowers, despite California experiencing a severe drought.

On paved roads:
• South of Badwater, on the west side of Salsberry Pass there are carpets of yellow Desert Dandelion, Wooly Daisy and Gold Poppy. For the full effect, visit on a sunny mid-day as the dandelion and poppys open only in direct sunlight.
• Along Highway 190, between Emigrant Campground and Towne Pass are orange Globemallow, yellow White-Stemmed Blazing Star, white Gravel Ghost, pale purple and yellow Mojave Aster and vine-like Death Valley Phacelia.
• In lower Emigrant Canyon the bloom is about to peak. Hillsides are covered with Golden Evening Primrose, white Pebble Pincushion, and lavender Fremont Phacelia and Broad-flowered Gilia.
• The showy magenta flowers of Beavertail Cactus are popping open throughout the park, and if you look closely you may also notice the green flowers on the Golden Cholla.
• Bit by bit, high desert flowers like scarlet Indian Paintbrush, richly-hued Indigo Bush, sky-blue Desert Larkspur, tall spikes of Princes Plume and multi-colored Hopsage are just starting to appear.

On backcountry roads:
• On the north end of Greenwater Valley you can find fields of Desert Dandelion, Fremont Phacelia, Tickseed and Coreopsis.
• At Eureka Dunes the rare white (fading to pink) Eureka Dune Evening Primrose is just starting to bloom and will have an exceptional flowering season with huge plants already in place. The large flowered Yellow Evening Primrose and Desert Marigold are now the show.
• At Lee Flat, the Joshua Trees are blooming nicely this year. This is the best to see these tree-sized yuccas in the park.
• The canyons on the east side of the Panamint Mountains that were flooded out last summer are thick with yellow Brittlebush this spring. The roads in the washes are still a mess, but worth walking into from the canyon mouths.

California Fall Color Looks Back at Autumn, 2013

Fri ,20/12/2013

On the last day of autumn, we look back at some of our favorite photographs of 2013, while expressing thanks to all who contributed photos and reports.

Special thanks are expressed to Inyo County, Mono County, Mammoth Lakes Tourism, Redding Convention & Visitors Bureau, Shasta Cascade Wonderland Association, Humboldt County C&VB, and The California Parks Company for making California Fall Color possible. A special nod to Ron Tyler for helping to create this Animoto video.

Vibrant Fall Colors Enliven Southern California

Thu ,12/12/2013
LA County Arboretum (12/11/13) Frank McDonough

LA County Arboretum (12/11/13) Frank McDonough

Autumn is “winding down” at the Los Angeles County Arboretum and Botanic Gardens, reports color spotter Frank McDonough, who sends these vibrant photographs.

Tule Pond, LA County Arboretum (12/11/13) Frank McDonough

Tule Pond, LA County Arboretum (12/11/13) Frank McDonough

(l to r) Pomagranate bush, Japanese maple, Gingko biloba "canopy" (12/11/13) Frank McDonough

(l to r) Pomagranate bush, Japanese maple, Gingko biloba “canopy” (12/11/13) Frank McDonough

(l to r) Mexican marigold, Tagetes lemmonii; Fishtail Ginkgo at the Herb Garden (12/11/13) Frank McDonough

(l to r) Mexican marigold, Tagetes lemmonii; Fishtail Ginkgo at the Herb Garden (12/11/13) Frank McDonough

Meadowbrook, LA Co. Arboretum (12/11/13) Frank McDonough

Meadowbrook, LA Co. Arboretum (12/11/13) Frank McDonough

LA County has, along with most of the far west, experienced very cool nights (around freezing) and clear, sunny days, providing ideal conditions for leaf color development.   Frank writes, “I’m starting to see red leaves on some of the east coast oaks here, and our Diamyo oak (Quercus dentate) just might develop its full color –something that doesn’t happen often.”

The intense colors seen in these photos are the result of an incorrectly balanced white card in Frank’s camera – he apologizes for the mistake – though we find it to be a lovely interpretation and representative of how many California impressionists painted California landscapes.

GO NOW! – 75 – 100% – Los Angeles County - This a spectacular time to see naturally decorated trees, during the holidays, at the LA County Arboretum.

Location: Arcadia, Calif.
Temperature: 64.4 °F
Humidity: 31%
Dew point: 33.8 °F
Wind speed: n/a
Wind direction: n/a
Cloud cover: n/a

Berkeley Birders Searching for “Painted Redstart” Find Fall Color

Tue ,03/12/2013

Color spotter Sandy Steinman started yesterday looking for a rare bird, the Painted Redstart which normally lives in Arizona, eastern New Mexico and northern Mexico. It had somehow winged its way north to matriculate near Berkeley and ended up itself being studied by Redstart-fevered birders. Steinman never was sure he saw the bird (perhaps a glimpse), though ended up taking these shots of spots of remaining fall color along Berkeley’s streets.

Berkeley (12/1/13) Sandy Steinman

Berkeley (12/1/13) Sandy Steinman

Past Peak – Berkeley - Spots of color can still be seen with some trees not fully turned.  The most exciting spot of fall color is the red, black and white Painted Redstart seen flitting through Berkeley’s urban forest. A cold front will push through Northern California, beginning today, perhaps urging the Redstart to head back to Mexico and with days expected to be cold, chilling further prospects for color development in Berkeley and forcing global warming protestors from the steps of Sproul Hall to warm themselves, indoors.

Location: Berkeley, Calif.
Temperature: 46.4 °F
Humidity: 51%
Dew point: 30.2 °F
Wind speed: 7km/hr
Wind direction: 340°
Cloud cover: n/a

Giving Thanks

Thu ,28/11/2013
Mammoth Creek, Sunday  Evening (10/13/13) Susan Morning

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

Each year on Thanksgiving Day, California Fall Color gives thanks to the nearly 60 color spotters and photographers who provided reports.

Convict Lake (10/7/13) Susan Morning

Convict Lake (10/7/13) Susan Morning

The following individuals contributed reports and photographs to this blog this year: Richard McCutcheon, Jared Smith, Krisdina Karady, Christie Osborne, Leanne K, Alicia Vennos, Jon Klusmire, Donna Mercer, Zach Behrens, Carolyn Webb, Ethan James, ShaleAnn Cluff, Susan Morning, Bart Godett, Shae Garrett, Dave McKernan, Jeff Simpson, Rick E Martin, Grace Smith, Laurie Baker, Michael Frye, Susan Johnson, Sandy Steinman, Michael Han, Dotty Molt, Roy Kennedy, Adam Nilsson-Weiskott, Jaganath Achari, Peter Chun, Rachel Jackson, Karen Moritz, Jeff Titcomb, Charlene Burge, Nina Sazevich, Barbara Steinberg, Dave Kingman, Aki Yamakawa, Vijay Sridhar, Phoebe Chuason, Brian Reilly, Grant Roden, Jerry Steffen, Kimberly Kolafa, Daniel Rosenthal, Jim Beau, Linnea Wahamaki, Steve Wolfe, Lisa Wilkerson-Willis, Susan Taylor, Edina Ingram, Stephany Fernandez, Ralph Lockhart, Frank McDonough, Anissa Granados, Son H. Nguyen, Liliana Navia and Mathias van Hesemans.

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

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

Without question, many others contributed, as well.  For those who we overlooked or did not know, please know that we are indebted to each of you for your efforts, talents, attentiveness and generosity in providing others reports on what you witnessed. This list is incomplete without including Joan, my wife, who has humored my recording color percentages, species and elevations as we would travel here and there and – more importantly – point out particularly beautiful color on our travels across California.  Every person should have so dear and understanding a friend, companion and lover.

Aspen Grove, San Bernardino National Forest (10/12/13) Lisa Wilkerson-Willis

Aspen Grove, San Bernardino National Forest (10/12/13) Lisa Wilkerson-Willis

Special thanks are also expressed to the many reporters and media who carried our reports and gave attention to what we have shown about California’s fall color.  And, of course to the many tens of thousands of people who have followed and contributed to this site, and our Facebook and Twitter pages.  You are, after all, the reason we do this.

Our first “fall color report” was published on August 1, 43 days earlier than we reported, last year, and the first GO NOW! alert was reported on September 9, a full week before the first report was made, last year.  The first full peak was reported on Sept. 19, days before the Autumnal Equinox.

Indian Rhubarb, Butt Creek  (8/1/13) Richard McCutcheon

Indian Rhubarb, Butt Creek (8/1/13) Richard McCutcheon

Yes, this was one of the earliest shows of fall color that we’ve reported in the five years CaliforniaFallColor.com has existed.  It’s impossible to measure one year against another.  We’ll let you judge the photos contributed by color spotters and photographers.  Though, more photos posted on California Fall Color were recognized by major media this year, than in any previous year.

We fully expect to continue to receive fall color reports in December, particularly from Southern California, confirming our claim that California has the longest and most varied season of autumn color in North America. California quite possibly holds the world record for the duration of its autumn show.  It doesn’t peak over a couple of weeks here, it peaks across four to five months.

Temecula Wine Country (10/27/13) Brian Reilly

Temecula Wine Country (10/27/13) Brian Reilly

Further, as one of the few Mediterranean climate regions on Earth, California is able to grow a variety of colorful foliage that provides a spectacle unmatched anywhere.  Our urban forests can be as spectacular as the national forests. The variety of foliage here, combined with California’s varied terrain, climates and elevations combines to make our fall color the most varied and long-lasting for leaf peepers, photographers and nature lovers. Doubting Thomases need only click through any year on the archive, at left, to see the progression of color across The Golden State.

Black Oak, Mt. Laguna, San Diego County (10/19/13) Charlene Bruge

Black Oak, Mt. Laguna, San Diego County (10/19/13) Charlene Bruge

The change of color this autumn was particularly impressive.  We received reports from those traditional places, well-known for their impressive displays (e.g., Bishop Creek Canyon, the June Lake Loop, Plumas County), but also from places that hadn’t reported previously (e.g., Big Bear, Mt Laguna, Mt Palomar).

For future reference, anyone can be a color spotter.  Should you see great fall color, email a cell phone picture to editor@californiafallcolor.com.  Include a caption stating when the picture was taken, where the photo was taken, what type of foliage is seen in the photo (if you know it) and your name.  We’ll post the photo and recognize you.  The best photos, each week, are shared with media and often appear (with credit) on TV weather reports and in newspapers across California.

Acapulco St., Campbell (11/15/13) John Poimiroo

Acapulco St., Campbell (11/15/13) John Poimiroo

Presently, there’s still beautiful fall color to be seen and enjoyed.  It’s mostly showing  in the state’s urban forests (San Francisco, the San Francisco Peninsula, South Bay and East Bay, its vineyards, the Gold Country, Central Coast and Los Angeles, Orange and San Diego counties).  And, it hasn’t ended; spots of fall color will warm the winter landscape well into December.

So, CaliforniaFallColor.com will continue to report it as we receive reports.  Though, as of today we will stop sending weekly updates and photographs to California meteorologists, travel and outdoor writers for what’s left of fall 2013.  Until next autumn, keep looking for California’s Fall Color.

75 – 100% – California - In my heart, it is always peaking.

It Blew Right Past

Mon ,25/11/2013

“It blew right past,” seems an appropriate description for today’s California Fall Color report, as just like a California street rod, this past week’s blustery weather blew right past.

While the wind storm was here, it blew away most of what remained of turned color in the Shasta Cascade, Sierra foothills and northern Central Valley.  Reports were similarly received from Southern California, though the wind is not expected to have appreciably changed the show down south, as color develops in spurts there and will continue to show into December.

The grand show of color in northern California’s urban forests is now gone with the wind, having tumbled away in the breezes, revealing bare branches on towering London Plane Tree and elms.  Blue oaks continue to carry halos of buff-orange leaves, though that color has been reduced in intensity.  Likewise, Cottonwood have lost a lot of their luster, though neighboring wetlands are identified by their glow.

Fall color will continue to brighten urban areas during Thanksgiving Day week.

LA Lights Up Following Cooler Weather and Rain

Fri ,22/11/2013
California Wild Grape, Baldwin Lagoon, LA Co. Arboretum (11/22/13) Frank McDonough

California Wild Grape, Baldwin Lagoon, LA Co. Arboretum (11/22/13) Frank McDonough

Colder temperatures and light rain have caused an intensification of color across Los Angeles County, as evidenced by these photos provided by Frank McDonough a botanical information consultant at the Los Angeles County Arboretum and Gardens.

GO NOW! – 75 – 100% – Los Angeles County - Reports from Southern California indicate perfect fall color conditions with crystal clear skies and bright color.

San Gabriel Mountains, seen from Talac Knoll (11/22/13)

San Gabriel Mountains, seen from Talac Knoll (11/22/13)

Gingko tree, near Rose Garden (11/22/13) Frank McDonough

Gingko tree, near Rose Garden (11/22/13) Frank McDonough

Crepe myrtle and Sumac at LA Co. Arboretum (11/22/13) Frank McDonough

Crepe myrtle and Sumac at LA Co. Arboretum (11/22/13) Frank McDonough

Los Angeles County Arboretum (11/22/13) Frank McDonough

Los Angeles County Arboretum (11/22/13) Frank McDonough

Location: Arcadia, Calif.
Temperature: 62.6 °F
Humidity: 45%
Dew point: 41 °F
Wind speed: 4km/hr
Wind direction: 200°
Cloud cover: few clouds

Shasta Cascade Rapidly Approaching Past Peak

Thu ,21/11/2013

Color spotter Grace Smith sends the last report of autumn from the Shasta Cascade.

Please note: the GO NOW! Alerts posted here are only valid through today.  As, the Shasta Cascade region of Northeast California is expected to be lashed by gusting, high winds.  The Shasta Cascade region will almost surely be Past Peak after it stops blowing.

GO NOW! – 75 – 100% –  Tehama County – The Red Bluff area is at peak, with Sacramento Valley oaks mostly burnt orange, though that won’t last much longer, and with winds predicted should be past peak by the weekend.

GO NOW! – 75 – 100% – Shasta County - Remnant fall color is found at spots throughout Shasta County at Anderson, near Whiskeytown National Recreation Area, and in Redding.  The last of it – given that it isn’t blown all the way to the coast, will provide harvest glow to the Thanksgiving Day week.

GO NOW! – 75 – 100%  - Butte County – Chico and Butte County are finally at full peak. There is still quite a bit of color left on the trees, despite many of them littering the landscape with yellow, orange, red and brown confetti this past weekend. The best color remains along the boulevards of Chico and at Bidwell Park, Chico State University, the Hwy 32 and Hwy 99 corridors, Esplanade Ave, Manzanita Ave., and Mangrove Ave.

Location: Redding, Calif.
Temperature: 55.4 °F
Humidity: 40%
Dew point: n/a
Wind speed: 20km/hr
Wind direction: 20°
Cloud cover: n/a