California Fall Color
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Posts Tagged ‘Inyo County’

Peak Moves Down to the Owens Valley

Wed ,04/11/2015
Vista Point, Owens Valley (10/28/15) Shuo Li

Vista Point, Owens Valley (10/28/15) Shuo Li

Color spotter Shuo Li, broke away from studies as an international student to visit the Eastern Sierra just before snow fell in the high country.

Several of the areas he photographed – Conway Summit, June Lake and Mammoth Lakes – have changed significantly since he photographed them late last week, though Crowley Lake and the Owens Valley are still peaking.

Peak (75-100%) GO NOW! – Owens Valley

The Green Church, Crowley Lake (10/28/15) Shuo Li

The Green Church, Crowley Lake (10/28/15) Shuo Li

Owens Valley Vista  (10/28/15) Shuo Li

Owens Valley Vista (10/28/15) Shuo Li

Owens Valley Vista (10/28/15) Shuo Li

Owens Valley Vista (10/28/15) Shuo Li

Owens Valley  (10/28/15) Shuo Li

Owens Valley (10/28/15) Shuo Li

Owens Valley (10/28/15) Shuo Li

Owens Valley (10/28/15) Shuo Li

Owens Valley  (10/28/15) Shuo Li

Owens Valley (10/28/15) Shuo Li

High Sierra Sings Its Fall Swan Song

Tue ,03/11/2015
June Lake (11/3/15) Alicia Vennos

June Lake (11/3/15) Alicia Vennos

With snow blanketing high points throughout the Eastern and Northern Sierra, as Mono County color spotter Alicia Vennos reports, “most areas are now past peak.”

Poole Plant Rd, off Tioga Rd. (11/3/15) Alicia Vennos

Poole Plant Rd, off Tioga Rd. (11/3/15) Alicia Vennos

Lower Tioga Pass Rd. (11/3/15) Alicia Vennos

Lower Tioga Pass Rd. (11/3/15) Alicia Vennos

Lower Tioga Rd. (11/3/15) Alicia Vennos

Lower Tioga Rd. (11/3/15) Alicia Vennos

June Lake Loop (11/3/15) Alicia Vennos

June Lake Loop (11/3/15) Alicia Vennos

June Lake Loop (11/3/15) Alicia Vennos

June Lake Loop (11/3/15) Alicia Vennos

Silver Lake (11/3/15) Alicia Vennos

Silver Lake (11/3/15) Alicia Vennos

Silver Lake (11/3/15) Alicia Vennos

Silver Lake (11/3/15) Alicia Vennos

Gull Lake (11/3/15) Alicia Vennos

Gull Lake (11/3/15) Alicia Vennos

Exceptions are northern Mono County where Walker, Coleville and Topaz in the Antelope Valley “are absolutely gorgeous, right now.” and the Owens Valley.

These territories are, as Alicia describes, a “combination of pastoral ranch lands surrounded by rugged snowcapped mountains, populated with golden poplars, willows, elm and aspen, and rivers running running through it all.”

At the north end of US 395, it’s the West Walker River canyon and Antelope Valley. To the south, it’s the Owens River and Valley. Both will continue to show nice fall color for the next week or two.

This week’s snow has closed several roads and passes, including Tioga Pass (CA-120), Sonora Pass (CA-108), Monitor Pass (CA-89) and roads to Red’s Meadow, Devil’s Postpile, Lake Mary and the Mammoth Lakes Basin.

Those closures also indicate that skiing and snowboarding is about to begin. Sure enough, Mammoth Mountain has announced it will be opening a week earlier than anticipated, with lifts operating, starting on Thursday (Nov. 5).

Bishop Creek Canyon: Baffling Brilliance

Wed ,30/09/2015
The Road to Lake Sabrina (9/30/15) Jared Smith

The Road to Lake Sabrina (9/30/15) Jared Smith

“Baffling brilliance” is all we can think of to describe what’s happening this year up Bishop Creek in the Eastern Sierra.  Today, we announce ominously, Tah, Dah!, that if you didn’t get to Weir Pond, Parcher’s Resort, Table Mountain Camp, Surveyor’s Meadow or Lake Sabrina,  YOU MISSED IT! 

That’s right. You missed it. These areas are now Past Peak and it’s still September… well, at least for the rest of today it is.

However, despite being past peak, these areas retain impressive patches of fall color near streams. OK, now you’re as baffled as we are.

What is happening, in this fourth year of drought, is that some groves are going off quickly while others that have water seem to be on their normal schedule. That creates what Jared Smith termed, last week, “transitional change,” where part of the forest is peaking, while other parts are still patchy.

The bottom line to anyone who wants to photograph or see fall color at peak is that when we announce GO NOW!, you must not delay, even if the alert is for Near Peak areas.  As, this year the color change may not last a week, OR (more bafflement), it could continue for weeks on end.

Here’s todays report from color spotter Jared Smith of Parcher’s Resort:

Overall Conditions Above 8500ft Elevation – Peak – Go Now! (75% – 100%) – Out of all the years Jared has been doing fall color reporting for the Bishop Creek Canyon, he writes “this has been by far the most difficult to put into a rating scale. There are areas of color that are absolutely going off in full peak color, right next to areas where the color is quickly diminishing, right next to areas containing lots of green still developing color…it’s very difficult.”

Still, while some areas in the higher elevations were better last week than they are today, there are more areas of peak color than not at the higher elevations so he went with a peak rating. The highlights this week are the South Fork of Bishop Creek near Willow Campground, and between Parchers Resort & Weir Pond. On the other side of the canyon, the area between Sabrina Campground and the Sabrina Dam is stunning, and North Lake has tons of peak color.

A storm is predicted for the weekend, including wind and a chance of snow.  So, let’s cross our fingers that the color withstands the cold front.

Overall Conditions Between 7500ft & 8500ft Elevation – Patchy (10% – 50%) – The yellow continues to develop, along with a few patches of orange and red, but the green is holding strong, at least for the next few days. Look for this elevation to be in near peak condition or better by next week’s report. The best color is showing near Cardinal Village on up towards Cardinal Mine. A few small patches of brilliant color near Intake II also.

Road to Lake Sabrina (9/30/15) Jared Smith

Road to Lake Sabrina (9/30/15) Jared Smith

Road to Lake Sabrina (9/30/15) Jared Smith

Road to Lake Sabrina (9/30/15) Jared Smith

Peak – Go Now! (75% – 100%) – Sabrina Campground to Sabrina Dam (9000ft) – Some of the red shown over the past few weeks is gone, but without skipping a beat, the color within the campground on up to the approach to the Sabrina dam is absolutely spectacular. Especially beautiful are the views of the winding road across the bridges.

Peak – Go Now! (75% – 100%) – Willow Campground (9000ft) – The next few days will have primo color in and around Willow Campground. A few of the trees already have lost their leaves but the vast majority of the color is just now at or extremely close to peak. The color on the mountain above the camp and also along the old road between Willow and Parchers is really stunning.

North Lake Road (9/30/15) Jared Smith

North Lake Road (9/30/15) Jared Smith

North Lake Road (9/30/15) Jared Smith

North Lake Road (9/30/15) Jared Smith

Peak – Go Now! (75% – 100%) – North Lake (9255ft) – This area continues to give Jared fits as a reporter, since parts of the shoreline are naked, parts are bright red, and the famous grove lining the road between the first parking area and the campground is about as gorgeous as it gets, a far cry from last week when there was still green dominating that spot. Anyhow, there is enough peak color here, and enough areas that are at their best, for this to get a peak rating still. But seriously, GO NOW!  Jared questions whether the color will be as good next week. Willows are almost completely naked now, a sure sign that the color won’t hold out for much longer at this location.

Weir Pond (9/30/15) Jared Smith

Weir Pond (9/30/15) Jared Smith

Past Peak – YOU MISSED IT! (but still impressive) – Weir Pond (9650ft) – As expected, Weir Pond isn’t quite as stunning as it was last week with much of the scrub aspen on the hillside above the pond having gone naked. Lots of color has developed along the road and the color is still beautiful surrounding the pond itself. Any photographer visiting the area should check this spot out – it’s still very much worth the trip.

Past Peak– YOU MISSED IT! (but still impressive) – Parchers Resort (9260ft) – There is a bunch of color still around the resort, especially along the back trail towards South Lake and below on the way to Willow. However, the best color has started to falter, especially higher on the mountains where the smaller aspen have given up. There is some especially brilliant color along South Lake road next to the resort as well as on the canyon wall to the west wall of the canyon that is hanging tough and very much worth a look.

Table Mountain Camp (9/30/15) Jared Smith

Table Mountain Camp (9/30/15) Jared Smith

Past Peak– YOU MISSED IT! (but still impressive)  – Table Mountain Camp (8900ft) – The color higher on the mountain and within the campground is showing past peak conditions. Lots and lots of color along the stream though, anywhere between the Stiny Loop and the campground.

Surveyor's Meadow (9/30/15) Jared Smith

Surveyor’s Meadow (9/30/15) Jared Smith

Past Peak– YOU MISSED IT! (but still impressive) – Surveyors Meadow (8975ft) – Color-a-plenty can be found in the area between Surveyors and the Tyee bridge, but last week was better than this week, so it gets the past-peak rating.

Lake Sabrina (9/30/15) Jared Smith

Lake Sabrina (9/30/15) Jared Smith

Past Peak– YOU MISSED IT! (but still impressive) – Lake Sabrina (9150ft) – The color in the back of the lake is gorgeous orange, yellow and red and a walk along the trail that skirts the west shore of the lake offers some pretty impressive views. The east shore is less so, and given how far the color is along here, Jared doubts much will remain after the weather this weekend.

Near Peak (50 – 75%) – Stiny Loop above Mt. Glen Camp (8600ft) – Jared questions how much peak color will develop at this location, considering that the color seems to disappear as fast or faster than it appears.

Mist Falls (9/30/15) Jared Smith

Mist Falls (9/30/15) Jared Smith

Just Patchy (10 – 50%) – Mist Falls and the groves above Bishop Creek Lodge (8350ft) – Finally a bit of progress in the color this week with a lot more yellow showing up around the waterfall and in the groves between there at Mt. Glen Campground. This will likely be one of the highlights by next weekend (not this weekend).

Aspendell (9/30/15) Jared Smith

Aspendell (9/30/15) Jared Smith

Groves Above Cardinal Village (9/30/15) Jared Smith

Groves Above Cardinal Village (9/30/15) Jared Smith

Just Starting (0 – 10%) – Aspendell (8400ft) – Very little yellowing, but the green is getting very light so Jared predicts patchy or better color within the week.

Patchy (10 – 50%) – Groves above Cardinal Village (8550ft) – The aspen blanketing the hillside from Cardinal Pinnacle down are pretty much toast. But, now that is done, the color all down the creek from the North Lake turnoff winding down the canyon past the mine towards Cardinal Village is showing yellow. Jared anticipates a great report from this area next week, conditions permitting.

Just Starting (0 – 10%) – Four Jeffries (8000ft) – Nothing but a few yellow branches showing right now. The aspen have lightened considerably though over last week.

Patchy – (10 – 50%) – Intake II (8000ft) – The canyon wall is mostly stripped now but there are some very nice patches near the dam, and a couple of the large aspen along the shoreline are starting to yellow quite nicely.

Just Starting – (0 – 10%) – Big Trees Campground (7800ft) – Nothing but green here right now.

 

Confirmed: North Lake Peaking For Sure

Mon ,28/09/2015
North Lake, Bishop Creek Canyon (9/27/15) Nikhil Shahi

North Lake, Bishop Creek Canyon (9/27/15) Nikhil Shahi

We were as surprised as our readers when Bishop Creek (Inyo County, Eastern Sierra) jumped from Patchy to Peak last week, though color spotter Nikhil Shahi confirms this rating was deserved and shares these beautiful pictures, taken this past weekend.

Nikhil writes, “North Lake is at peak, for sure… it will not last. It’s just gorgeous there.”

North Lake, Bishop Creek Canyon (9/27/15) Nikhil Shahi

North Lake, Bishop Creek Canyon (9/27/15) Nikhil Shahi

North Lake, Bishop Creek Canyon (9/27/15) Nikhil Shahi

North Lake, Bishop Creek Canyon (9/27/15) Nikhil Shahi

South Lake Road is bursting with color as far up as Weir Pond.  Lee Vining Canyon is two weeks away from full color and there’s good color at Conway Summit and along the road to Virginia Lakes.

High Sierra Surprise: Full Peak – GO NOW!

Thu ,24/09/2015
Weir Pond (9/24/15) Jared Smith

Weir Pond (9/24/15) Jared Smith

After posting Mono County’s report this morning, I anticipated the arrival of Jared Smith’s report from Bishop Creek Canyon in the Eastern Sierra.  I sensed he would report Near Peak at Surveyor’s Meadow, but was blown away by the news that color has changed rapidly in the past few days, pushing all areas above Mt. Glen Campground to full Peak.

Therefore, CaliforniaFallColor.com is issuing its first GO NOW! alerts of autumn (just a day after the autumnal equinox).  When we issue these alerts, do not delay getting to the locations identified as Near Peak or Peaking, as the turned leaves are very fragile and can be blown away.  In this instance, there is such a mix of color that it should last a while, though our advice is… GO NOW!

Here’s Jared’s report:

Overall Conditions Above 8500ft Elevation

Surveyor's Meadow (9/24/15) Jared Smith

Surveyor’s Meadow (9/24/15) Jared Smith

Peak – GO NOW! (75% – 100%) – What a difference a week makes! Color has exploded up Bishop Creek Canyon at higher elevations, with Lake Sabrina, North Lake and anything on the South Fork above Mt. Glen Campground peaking.

Jared says he’s noticing some odd transitioning occurring. “Where usually entire groves change together, instead a really cool mix of yellow, orange and red are appearing simultaneously with quite a few stubborn green aspen in the mix.” The color variation is gorgeous though he is rating these areas at Full Peak or at the high end of Near Peak, “as by the time those stubborn green trees turn, the others may have given up their color.  We’re certainly in the “Go Now!” zone. If the weather plays ball, the next 7 days will be excellent in the higher reaches of the canyon…hard to say beyond that.”

Overall Conditions Between 7500ft & 8500ft Elevation – Patchy (10% – 50%) – Quite a bit more yellow than last week but still mostly green in areas that we’ll see go off later in the autumn. I would rate this area just above 10% but barely. Some brilliant yellow patches below Mt. Glen Campground, Cardinal Village, Intake II and Mist Falls, but below those spots we’re looking at mostly green.

Weir Pond (9/24/15) Jared Smith

Weir Pond (9/24/15) Jared Smith

Peak – GO NOW! (75% – 100%) – Weir Pond (9650ft) – Weir is about as good as its going to get this season with brilliant yellow and a bit of orange reflecting off the glass pond. The aspen along the road are still mostly green so there is still a little left to change, but this is pretty much peak photo time if you want to catch the yellow on the hillside and near the inlet.

Sabrina Campground (9/24/15) Jared Smith

Sabrina Campground (9/24/15) Jared Smith

Peak – GO NOW! (75% – 100%) – Sabrina Campground (9000ft) – This area is hard to call because even areas close to one another change at slightly different times, but there is peak color right now in large areas along Hwy 168 and just above the campground on the North Lake Rd. Still some green within the campground itself but there is peak color surrounding it.

Peak – GO NOW! (75% – 100%) – Parchers Resort (9260ft) – Yellow pretty much surrounds the resort on all sides with the groves above Rainbow Meadow on the old trail to South Lake taking the cake as the most brilliant. Groves below the resort in between Parchers and Willow Camp are also looking spectacular.

Near Peak – GO NOW! (50% – 75%) – Willow Campground (9000ft) – The campground is really starting to change but the canyon walls above the to the south of the beaver pond are already exploding with color. I’m still guessing next week will be the best.

Peak – GO NOW!(75% – 100%) – Table Mountain Camp (8900ft) – Lots of color now showing all around the campground as well as below the campground. There is still some green yet to change along the roadway but it likely won’t the best will be seen over the next 7 days tops.

Surveyor's Meadow (9/24/15) Jared Smith

Surveyor’s Meadow (9/24/15) Jared Smith

Peak – GO NOW! (75% – 100%) – Surveyors Meadow (8975ft) – This is probably the most brilliant view along South Lake road with lots of yellow and touches of orange. We’ve lost a little color from those scrub aspen that popped early, but the larger aspen are now showing brilliant color and have brought this area into the “Go Now” zone. I’d expect the next 7 days to be the window for this location to be at its best.

Sabrina Lake (9/24/15) Jared Smith

Sabrina Lake (9/24/15) Jared Smith

Sabrina Lake (9/24/15) Jared Smith

Sabrina Lake (9/24/15) Jared Smith

Peak – GO NOW! (75% – 100%) – Lake Sabrina (9150ft) – Spectacular views at Lake Sabrina now. This may be closer to the 75% mark than the 100% mark, especially as the approach to the lake still has some ways to go, but not for long. Some rosy red, orange and yellow blanket the shoreline as well as the canyon wall near the lake’s main inlet. Breathtaking morning reflections off the lake despite the lower than normal water level.

North Lake Road (9/24/15) Jared Smith

North Lake Road (9/24/15) Jared Smith

North Lake Road (9/24/15) Jared Smith

North Lake Road (9/24/15) Jared Smith

North Lake (9/24/15) Jared Smith

North Lake (9/24/15) Jared Smith

Peak – GO NOW! (75% – 100%) – North Lake (9255ft) – This was an area difficult to grade as areas of the north shore of the lake, the approach to the lake, and the aspen grove near the upper parking lot are all fully peaking. Still yet to peak however are the road just past the lake (one of my favorite views), and the aspen along the west shore. It’s hard to say whether or not this area will have color all at once so I consider this a “go now” scenario as there is peak color to be had and whether it will get much better is hard to say.

Near Peak – GO NOW! (50 – 75%) – Stiny Loop above Mt. Glen Camp (8600ft) – We’re getting pretty close to a peak color situation here with tons of yellow mixed in with lime green.

Groves Above Cardinal Village (9/24/15) Jared Smith

Groves Above Cardinal Village (9/24/15) Jared Smith

Just Starting (0 – 10%) – Mist Falls and the Groves above Bishop Creek Lodge (8350ft) – I almost wanted to call this patchy but alas, only a few yellow trees and some obvious lightening of the aspen at the very crest of the waterfall. This location is always photo-worthy, but not like it will be in 7 to 10 days from now.

Just Starting (0 – 10%) – Aspendell (8400ft) – Very few signs of color here right now.

Patchy (10 – 50%)  – Groves above Cardinal Village (8550ft) – This area actually lost some color over the last report as far as the yellow that was blanketing the east wall of the canyon below Cardinal Pinnacle. The aspen surrounding and below Cardinal Village are starting to lighten up considerably with some nice yellow patches in the mix. Looking for this to get really good in the next week or so.

Just Starting (0 – 10%) – Four Jeffries (8000ft) – Nothing but a few yellow branches showing right now. The aspen have lightened considerably though over last week.

Patchy – (10 – 50%) – Intake II (8000ft) – Much of the yellow on the canyon wall is gone, but the color is just starting to develop around the lake with bright lime greens mixed with some patchy yellow.

Just Starting – (0 – 10%) – Big Trees Campground (7800ft) – Nothing but green here right now.

 

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.

Now, You’re Talking – Full Peak Bishop Creek

Thu ,03/10/2013
Phtographer on the North Lake Road, Bishop Creek Canyon, Inyo County (10/2/13) Krisdina Karady

Phtographer on the North Lake Road, Bishop Creek Canyon, Inyo County (10/2/13) Krisdina Karady

This week’s photos and report from Jared Smith of Parcher’s Resort in Bishop Creek Canyon has the high country at full peak.  Corresponding reports from color spotters indicate that several areas are approaching Past Peak, so this is a definite Go Now! alert.

GO NOW! – 75 – 100% – FULL PEAK – Overall Conditions above 8,500 ft  

 

Aspen leaves damaged by last weekend's weather (10/2/13) Krisdina Karady

Aspen leaves damaged by last weekend’s weather (10/2/13) Krisdina Karady

 

Aspen leaves, showing effects of weather (10/2/13) Jon Klusmire

Aspen leaves, showing effects of weather (10/2/13) Jon Klusmire

The bitter cold and wind experienced up Bishop Creek Canyon last weekend had the expected effect on some of the groves that had already fully turned, namely the leaves began to fall or the brilliant color turned dull auburn or even black. Thankfully, there was huge percentage of color that had just started to turn and thus weathered the cold quite well and the cold snap kicked into gear much of the color that had yet to change. The overall result was a fast transformation of much of the lower lying aspen and willows along the road or creek. While some of the higher scrub aspen are bare now, the older growth trees have made up for it and the views are still absolutely spectacular.

GO NOW! – 50 – 75% – Overall Conditions below 8,500 ft

The cold snap over the weekend caused a dramatic change in the mid elevation aspen turning entire groves of dark green or lime green into brilliant yellow with hints of orange.  There have even been changes in the color as low as 7500ft in just a week’s time. Expect many of these areas to peak over the course of the next week provided the cold weather and wind stay moderate.

Location Specific Reports

GO NOW! – 75-100% – South Lake Rd above Mt. Glen Camp (8,600 ft) – Some of the smaller scrub aspen have gone bare but the majority of the color remains and has turned brilliant yellow with quite a bit of orange showing. A few very obvious pockets of red are also adding to a spectacular view.

GO NOW! – 50-75% – Mountain Glen Campground (8,400 ft) – There is a ton of yellow here with most of the aspen along the creek and on the hillside adjacent to the road showing beautiful color. Not much in the way of orange or read hues but the yellow is brilliant and the lime green is too. If Mother Nature behaves we should have some peak color here by next week’s report.

Mist Falls, South Fork Bishop Creek (10/2/13) Jared Smith

Mist Falls, South Fork Bishop Creek (10/2/13) Jared Smith

30 – 50% – Mist Falls (8,350 ft) – This area continues to progress slower than other areas of Bishop Creek Canyon, though is now hovering about 50% turned. The majority of the yellow is just above or to the right of the waterfall.

GO NOW! – 75 – 100% – Groves above Cardinal Village & Aspendell (8,550 ft) – The groves above Cardinal Village are fully turned and look spectacular with the crest in the backdrop. The lower lying aspen around Cardinal Village are now in full peak display. Aspendell has a fair amount of green still hanging around but if you take into account all of the color between the North Lake turnoff and the village of Aspendell, the average would be somewhere in the 75% range

GO NOW! – 75 – 100% – Sabrina Campground (9,000 ft) – Time to get up here, glorious views along the creek with brilliant yellow reflecting in the slow moving stream. Much of the orange and red along the road which peaked first is gone, but there is still plenty of peak or almost peak color here.

 

South Fork Bishop Creek (10/2/13) Jon Klusmire

South Fork Bishop Creek (10/2/13) Jon Klusmire

30-50% – Forks, Four Jeffries, Big Trees & Bishop Park Camgrounds (8,000 ft – 8,300 ft) – Quite a bit of color developing in these areas. Still, the color is probably closer to 30% than 50% but some areas, like the groves just above Four Jeffries for instance, is closer to the 50% of peak color.

GO NOW! – 75 – 100% – Table Mountain Camp (8,900 ft) – The cold snap last week put this grove into high gear and it is near or at peak now with gorgeous orange hues with yellow and lime in the background. The meandering stream flowing through the meadow can make for some spectacular views right now.

GO NOW! – 75 – 100% – Surveyors Meadow (8,975 ft) – While much of the color is past peak now, there is still so much color here that I’m still rating it in the 75 – 100% range. The best of the color is along the creek, along the road and looking up towards the Tyee Ridge…simply stunning with a few pockets of bright red still showing.

GO NOW! – 75 – 100% – Willow Campground (9,100 ft) – Probably closer to 75% than 100% but this area is certainly going off right now with color. The campground itself, the aspen lining the road near the beaver dam and old growth groves just above the campground as spectacular.

GO NOW! – 75 – 100% – Parchers Camp – Some of the smaller scrub aspen groves were lost this past week to cold and wind.  However, there is still so much color surrounding the resort that peak color is accurate. The hillside looking up towards Coyote Ridge is unbelievable right now with far more orange and red than we’re used to seeing. Spectacular views of the surrounding hillsides are showing all day long and the aspen within the resort property and along Green Creek are also showing spectacular color.

GO NOW! – 75 – 100% – Weir Pond (9,700 ft) – While the scrub aspen above the pond are now past peak, the aspen along the road, pond and the view up towards South Lake are in full peak color. Reds, limes, orange and yellow is all there.

 

Sabrina Lake, Bishop Creek Canyon, Inyo County (10/2/13) Jon Klusmire

Sabrina Lake, Bishop Creek Canyon, Inyo County (10/2/13) Jon Klusmire

 

Bishop Creek, Below Sabrina Lake (10/2/13) Jon Klusmire

Bishop Creek, Below Sabrina Lake (10/2/13) Jon Klusmire

GO NOW! – 75 – 100% – Lake Sabrina (9,150 ft) – The best views of the lake have come and gone but just below the dam has exploded with color. The bridge and the two ponds just below the dam are also incredibly vibrant with a good showing of red to go along with yellow.

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

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

North Lake Road 10-2 (2)

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

GO NOW! – 75 – 100% – North Lake (9,255 ft) – This is another difficult area to grade as different parts of the lake and surrounding  area peak at different times. The hillside above North Lake itself is past peak but still showing lots of color, including some nice red hues. The groves along the road however are spectacular and in full peak color. Some of the groves up near the campground have some change coming yet.

30 – 50% – Intake II  (8,100 ft) – Groves above the lake are past peak now but the color is just now starting to pop around the shoreline of this small lake. I’ll bet this area will be truly spectacular in the coming week.

Los Angeles Times Leads Readers to Fall Color

Fri ,20/09/2013

We often hear it said that there is no change of seasons in California.  One spotter recently said a friend describes California has having two seasons: green and gold.  Well, pardners, that’s pure bunk, fiddle-dee-dee and nonsense.  You just have to know when and where to see the change of seasons.  Apologies if the coarseness of our previous exclamation has shocked any of our more easily offended readers, but when it comes to defending the spectacular change of seasons to be seen here, we get downright “miffed.”

Clearly others around our state go to similar lengths to do the same.  Recently, Wendy Abrams, writing for the Los Angeles Times, drove a doubting Thomas from Vermont (we don’t actually know if her New England friend’s name was Thomas) to the Eastern Sierra to prove Wendy’s assertion that California has great fall color, too.

Wendy hit it right, as this year the color – Good Golly, Miss Molly! – is turning earlier than ever.  Follow this link to see what Wendy and her friend saw: http://www.latimes.com/travel/deals/la-trb-california-fall-colors-20130917,0,6468626.photogallery

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.