California Fall Color
Dude, autumn happens here, too.

Posts Tagged ‘Gold Country’

Weather Arrives, Will Color Survive?

Tue ,19/11/2013
Bing Cherry, El Dorado Hills (11/17/13) John Poimiroo

Bing Cherry, El Dorado Hills (11/17/13) John Poimiroo

A storm will be crossing Northern and Central California today with rain and winds that are likely to strip trees of their color.  The show now has moved to sea level with urban forests at peak across the state.

This cherry tree was just beginning to turn when photographed on Sunday in the Sierra foothills.  In a storm, fully turned leaves are the most vulnerable.  They’ve lost much of their strength and are more easily blown from branches.  Still-green or slightly turned leaves will usually survive to turn color later.

The condition of California’s fall color is typical for this time of year with much of the best color still to be seen in urban forests where boulevard trees and parks will continue their show through Thanksgiving Day.  Parts of Southern California will still be turning through the holidays.

Location: Sacramento, Sacramento Executive Airport
Temperature: 51.8 °F
Humidity: 86%
Dew point: 46.4 °F
Wind speed: n/a
Wind direction: n/a
Cloud cover: overcast

Nevada City – Still Discovering Gold

Sat ,16/11/2013
Bigleaf maple, Nevada City (11/16/13) Dotty Molt

Maple leaf, Nevada City (11/16/13) Dotty Molt

Color spotter Dotty Molt (one of her photos was chosen as a California Fall Color Photo of the Week, sent to California media, last week) drove to Nevada City in the Gold Country, today to discover gold in the woods around this 1800s town.

Dotty reported, “Nevada City is a picturesque little town filled with surprisingly good restaurants, intriguing art galleries, and tree lined streets of historic homes that are still holding onto leaves of brilliant yellow, red, and orange.

Deer Creek Tribute Trail, Nevada City (11/16/13) Dotty Molt

Deer Creek Tribute Trail, Nevada City (11/16/13) Dotty Molt

The Deer Creek Tribute Trail, which runs through this tiny town, is past peak, but definitely worth a trip back next year. Go now just to walk along the streets and enjoy the crisp fall air.”

Nevada City (11/16/13) Dotty Molt

Nevada City (11/16/13) Dotty Molt

GO NOW! – 75 – 100% – Nevada City - While the woods surrounding Nevada City are  past peak, trees along the city’s blocks are still holding their color.  With a change in weather approaching, you probably ought to get there now, to see the remaining color, though it’s worth a trip, just for the autumn atmosphere that’s in the crisp Sierra Foothill air.

Location: Nevada City, Calif.
Temperature: 46.4 °F
Humidity: 56%
Dew point: n/a
Wind speed: n/a
Wind direction: n/a
Cloud cover: n/a

California’s Urban Forests are – in a word – “Glorious”

Fri ,15/11/2013
Acapulco St., Campbell (11/15/13) John Poimiroo

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

A road trip from the Sierra Foothills to Silicon Valley and back, today, provided opportunities to see how color is developing along the I-80, I-680 and I-880 corridors.  In a word, it is “glorious.”

Land Park, Sacramento (11/15/13) John Poimiroo

Land Park, Sacramento (11/15/13) John Poimiroo

GO NOW! – 75 – 100% – Sacramento - Piles of leaves along Sacramento streets are a sure sign that the fall color is past peak on some species.  Sycamore are among them, though other large species in Sacramento are still yellow and orange, with spots of red.  Land Park, south of U.S. 50 and the Fabulous 40s in midtown have the best displays of color.

GO NOW! 75 – 100% – Dixon Agricultural Corridor - Orchards between Davis and Vacaville are at peak.

Livery Shopping Center, Danville (11/13/13) Linnea Wahamaki

Livery Shopping Center, Danville (11/13/13) Linnea Wahamaki

Danville Oak (File Photo) Yelp

Danville Oak (File Photo) Yelp

GO NOW! – 75 – 100% – Walnut Creek, Danville, San Ramon - Native oak are softly pastel orange, while exotic species are blazing.  Color spotter Linnea Wahamaki sent along these shots taken this past week at the Livery Shopping Center in Danville.  We tip our hat to Danville which, Linnea reports, “Does a good job of planting and protecting trees, and is really gorgeous during the autumn season – as is evident by these stunning trees!”  Danville is one of California’s Cities of Trees, even with a landmark oak that has it’s own Yelp page.

Palo Alto (11/17/13) Mathias Van Hesemans

Palo Alto (11/17/13) Mathias Van Hesemans

GO NOW! – 75 – 100% – San Francisco Peninsula - The Peninsula communities of Burlingame, Hillsborough, Palo Alto, Menlo Park and Atherton are providing the best show of color in the Bay Area.

Livery Shopping Center, Danville (11/13/13) Linnea Wahamaki

Livery Shopping Center, Danville (11/13/13) Linnea Wahamaki

Livery Shopping Center, Danville (11/13/13) Linnea Wahamaki

Livery Shopping Center, Danville (11/13/13) Linnea Wahamaki

Leaf pile on Pine in San Jose (11/15/13) John Poimiroo

Leaf pile on Pine in San Jose (11/15/13) John Poimiroo

Pomagranate, Silicon Valley (11/15/13) John Poimiroo

Pomegranate, Silicon Valley (11/15/13) John Poimiroo

 

GO NOW! – 75 – 100% – Silicon Valley - The Santa Clara County communities of Campbell, Los Gatos and San Jose are dressed in fall foliage.  Brilliant stands of gingko are found along the boulevards.  Before it became known as Silicon Valley (for the silicon chips produced here by Intel), the Santa Clara Valley was known for growing fruit (apricots, plums and other tree fruit).

Today, a pomegranate bush along Pine in San Jose was heavy with ripe fruit.

Location: San Jose, Calif.
Temperature: 55.4 °F
Humidity: 61%
Dew point: 42.8 °F
Wind speed: 8km/hr
Wind direction: 320°
Cloud cover: few clouds

How Do It Know!?

Wed ,13/11/2013
Blue oak leaves, El Dorado Hills (11/13/13) John Poimiroo

Blue oak leaves, El Dorado Hills (11/13/13) John Poimiroo

“How do it know!?” is the silly punchline of the old joke about the guy, who claims the Thermos to be the world’s greatest invention, after his friends have named the printing press, airplane and computer as their choices.  He reasons, “In summer, it keeps a drink cold and in winter, it keeps a drink hot.  How do it know!?”

Yesterday, I had the same sort of experience upon seeing blue oak in the Sierra foothills suddenly dump piles of leaves.  It wasn’t a particularly breezy day, though it was overcast.  Then, a day-long shower of dry, buff, oak leaves littered the ground around my house to be raked, swept or blown into piles.

Blue oaks, El Dorado Hills (11/13/13) John Poimiroo

Blue oaks, El Dorado Hills (11/13/13) John Poimiroo

The same thing scene is occurring across California as trees shed their leaves.  Some species of oaks provide spectacular shows of color… the black oak  - growing between 4,000′ and 5,000′ in elevation – is one of them.  Though others, like the blue oak, will exhibit the slightest hint of orange color, as they change quickly from blue-green to dry-brown. That’s happening now in the Sierra foothills.

How do it know!?

GO NOW! – 75 – 100% – Sierra foothills (1,000′)

Location: El Dorado Hills, Calif.
Temperature: 48.2 °F
Humidity: 66%
Dew point: 37.4 °F
Wind speed: n/a
Wind direction: n/a
Cloud cover: n/a

Amador County Looks/Tastes Delicious

Mon ,11/11/2013
Bray Vineyards, Amador County (11/10/13) Dotty Molt

Bray Vineyards, Amador County (11/10/13) Dotty Molt

Grape leaf, Amador County (11/10/13) Dotty Molt

Grape leaf, Amador County (11/10/13) Dotty Molt

Bray Vineyards, Amador County (11/10/13) Dotty Molt

Bray Vineyards, Amador County (11/10/13) Dotty Molt

GO NOW! – 75 – 100% – Amador County - Color spotter Dotty Molt forwards these lovely photos taken in the vineyards of Amador County and reports that thanks to Robin Bray of Bray Vineyards, Dotty was allowed to “wander in and around beautiful multi-colored vines.”  She adds, “The colors are at peak, and if you’re headed that way, try to get there soon as the weather is changing.  And make sure you stop in for a tasting. Yum!”

Grape Leaves. Bray Vineyards, Amador County (11/10/13) Dotty Molt

Grape Leaves. Bray Vineyards, Amador County (11/10/13) Dotty Molt

Oaks, Gold Country (11/10/13) Dotty Molt

Oaks, Gold Country (11/10/13) Dotty Molt

Location: Plymouth, Calif.
Temperature: 59 °F
Humidity: 22%
Dew point: 21.2 °F
Wind speed: 6km/hr
Wind direction: 100°
Cloud cover: n/a

Hwy 50 Magical At Day’s End

Mon ,11/11/2013
American River, U.S. 50 (11/10/13) Kimberly Kofala

American River, U.S. 50 (11/10/13) Kimberly Kofala

GO NOW! -75-100% – U.S. 50 (Lincoln Highway) - Color spotter Kimberly Kofala reports she drove U.S. 50 yesterday and “the corridor from Placerville to just below Strawberry was gorgeous with golden oaks, grasses and bushes. The banks of the American River are showing beautifully now.  If you are returning in the late afternoon, around 4:30,  be sure to stop in at the Strawberry Market turn arou’nd and watch the alpenglow of Lovers Leap behind Strawberry Lodge – you will think you are in Yosemite for a moment!”

Redbud, El Dorado Hills (11/9/13) John Poimiroo

Redbud, El Dorado Hills (11/9/13) John Poimiroo

GO NOW! – 75 – 100% – El Dorado Hills / Folsom - The Sierra foothills communities of El Dorado Hills and Folsom were beautifully colored this past weekend, with a variety of exotic trees dressed in brilliant yellow, red, orange and Sienna.  Threatened rain and wind will likely strip some trees by week’s end.

Location: Placerville, Calif.
Temperature: 60.8 °F
Humidity: 25%
Dew point: 24.8 °F
Wind speed: 4km/hr
Wind direction: 340°
Cloud cover: n/a

Breezy Beginnings

Mon ,04/11/2013
Red oak, Sierra foothills (11/4/13) John Poimiroo

Red oak, Sierra foothills (11/4/13) John Poimiroo

Following a calm weekend, the first full week in November begins with breezy conditions as fall color continues to descend through the Sierra foothills to California’s urban forests.  This red oak is typical of the change happening at 1,000′ in elevation, with red, orange, yellow and Sienna mixed with lime and unchanged green.

GO NOW! 50 – 75% – Sierra Foothills - Lower elevations of the Sierra foothills are approaching peak, with lots of exotic trees already peaking.

Location: El Dorado Hills, Calif.
Temperature: 62.6 °F
Humidity: 27%
Dew point: 28.4 °F
Wind speed: 9km/hr
Wind direction: 310°
Cloud cover: n/a

Gone With The Wind

Mon ,28/10/2013
Before The Wind, Mono County (File Photo) Alicia Vennos

Before The Wind, Mono County (File Photo) Alicia Vennos

It began blowing at about noon yesterday in the Sierra foothills and blew through the afternoon and night, stripping trees of leaves that had turned.  Snow fell to 5,000′ in elevation.  Steve Hemphill of Sierra-at-Tahoe said a foot fell last night.  Webcams from Heavenly and Kirkwood show a heavy dusting, though those images showed brush poking through, here and there.  It will take a bit longer before we’ll be skiing, even though Heavenly began making snow today.

On Saturday, we traveled to Pleasant Valley in the Gold Country where the oaks were beautifully orange along Snow’s Road, south of Camino and Apple Hill.  High winds likely stripped a bit of that color, yesterday, though leaves that hadn’t yet turned will remain on their branches and color up in the next week or two.

US 50 (10/27/13) Vijay Sriday

US 50 (10/27/13) Vijay Sridhar

Black Oak, US 50 (10/27/13) Vijay Sridhar

Black Oak, US 50 (10/27/13) Vijay Sridhar

Also traveling US 50 (The Lincoln Highway) this past Saturday was Vijay Sridhar, who was on his way to Emerald Bay.  Vijay was taken by the beautiful color to be seen beside US50, which was at peak.  He noted the beautiful combinations of green, yellow and orange  as the highway traveled beside the American River.

Chrystal Lake (10/26/13) Richard McCutcheon

Chrystal Lake (10/26/13) Richard McCutcheon

Color spotter Richard McCutcheon sent this image of what the color looked like at Chrystal Lake in Plumas County. The beautiful show that was at peak along Hwy 89 in the Northern Sierra has now been blown away by rain, snow and wind.

Mono County’s color spotter, Alicia Vennos, said the change began with, “…big winds yesterday afternoon and all through the night, and it’s snowing quite heavily right now (11 a.m.)”  She said, “driving the June Lake Loop yesterday late afternoon was like being in one of those booths where paper money is flying all around and you have to grab as many bills as you can – the leaves were swirling like crazy through the air!  So our precious fall season has come to an end.”

There wasn’t much left on the trees in Mono County, as the show had already descended to 6,000′, so the storm stripped what would have dropped anyway, over the coming week.

We’re now in a typical pattern of early storms then breaks.  It’s predicted to be cold for the next week, but then warm slightly.  That means color will continue to develop at lower altitudes and autumn has not ended. The Shasta Cascade and Gold Country regions will likely be at or near full peak in the next two weeks, with color appearing between 3,000 and 4,000 feet.

Aspen, Eastern Sierra (10/23/13) Phoebe Joy

Aspen, Eastern Sierra (10/23/13) Phoebe Joy

Photographer Phoebe Chuason sent a link to images she’d captured in the Eastern Sierra on Oct. 23, well before the storm flew through.  She took our advice to GO NOW! and got lovely photos of the peak, including a late season shot at Cardinal Mine in the Bishop Creek Canyon that is pure magic.  CLICK HERE to see her photos.

ATT San Ramon

AT&T Park, San Ramon (10/27/13) Linnea Wahamaki

Color spotter Linnea Wahamaki sends this photo of fall color at the AT&T Business Park in San Ramon.  It’s representative of the many beautiful urban forests that are at or near peak throughout California.  Great color can be seen in Sacramento, Burlingame, Palo Alto, Los Altos, Cupertino, Saratoga, Los Gatos, Walnut Creek and San Ramon.

Past Peak – Mono County - You missed it.  Alicia thanks all who came to enjoy the fall colors of Mono County this autumn and says she’s already missing the show, but looking forward to 2014.

30 – 50% – Gold Country (3,500′) - Pleasant Valley is at too low an elevation to have been snowed upon, but the many oaks that are turning from green to orange have likely lost a good percentage of leaves from yesterday’s winds.  Still, color will continue to show on leaves that hadn’t turned.

Black oak, US 50 (10/27/13) Vijay Sridhar

Black oak, US 50 (10/27/13) Vijay Sridhar

GO NOW! 50 – 75% – US 50 (4,000 to 5,000′) - Black oaks are peaking along The Lincoln Highway between Pollock Pines and Kyburz.

 

Early Color

Mon ,12/08/2013
Chinese Pistache - 2013 John Poimiroo

Chinese Pistache – 2013 John Poimiroo

Something odd is happening.

Early color is not unusual, but Indian Rhubarb showing in Plumas County (4,500′), Chinese Pistache showing in El Dorado County (800′), Fremont Cottonwood coloring up in Folsom wetlands (Sacramento County) and Quaking Aspen showing in Inyo County (5,000′) at the same time?  That’s unusual.

Quaking Aspen - 2013 Zach Behrens

Quaking Aspen – 2013 Zach Behrens

Last winter was unusually dry.  A dry winter often translates into earlier color (at least as far as we’ve noticed in past years).

We think naturalists and scientists might say “hogwash.”  But then we don’t pretend to be naturalists or scientists at California Fall Color, just observers of color change in the Golden State.

What are you seeing where you live and travel?

0 – 15% – Showing early color in the northern Sierra, eastern Sierra, Gold Country and Sierra foothills (exotic).

Color Moves to the Mid Elevations

Wed ,14/11/2012

Napa Valley (file photo) John Poimiroo

Fall color has now descended to the mid elevations throughout California, with peak color occurring in the vineyards, the Sierra foothills, the San Jacinto Mountains in Southern California and on Hwy 299 between Redding and Weaverville.

Color is peaking in urban forests and orchards of the Sacramento Valley.  With an approaching storm, leaf peepers and photographers are advised to go now to peaking areas, before the leaves are further denuded from branches.

Eastern Sierra

75 – 100% – Owens Valley - The Owens Valley remains beautiful with long-lasting spots of bright color along US 395 in Bishop and Independence.

75 – 100% – Rock Creek - First to peak and last to peak in the Eastern Sierra, Rock Creek continues to have areas of lovely color at its lowest elevations.

Past Peak – June Lake - Although there are small pockets of nice  color found along the June Lake Loop, this area is now mostly past peak.

High Sierra

Past Peak – All elevations above 5,000′ are now past peak.

Past Peak – Yosemite Valley - The combination of snow on fall color was gorgeous in Yosemite Valley this past weekend, but this likely was the last spurt of leaf peeping to be seen in the national park.

Gold Country

75 – 100% - Color has descended along the Mother Lode with beautiful orange and yellow maples and oaks showing from the 2,000 to 4,000′ elevations.

Central Valley

75 – 100% - The urban forests in Sacramento, Modesto and  cities of the northern Central Valley have been peaking for the past two weeks with beautiful color reported.  Sacramento is a veritable jewel box of brilliant reds, auburns, oranges, yellows and chartreuse.  Recent storms have affected some trees, though there’s still a lots and lots of color to be seen.   Go Now!

North Coast

75 – 100% – Napa and Sonoma County Vineyards - As has been happening for near a  month, the vineyards of Napa and Sonoma Counties have been peaking, with vineyards showing ruby, orange, yellow and lime by variety.  The wine country doesn’t change all at once, it shows by plot, though lots of great color remains.  Go Now!

Southern California

75 – 100% – San Jacinto Mountains - Dazzling displays of yellow and orange have been seen among the maple and oaks of the San Jacinto Mountains near Lake Hemet, Mountain Center and Idyllwild.  Go Now!