This is one of the longest reports California Fall Color has ever published. It is so, because of many detailed reports received.
Unbeknownst to us, our inbox crashed along with the server, causing reports sent to us last week to arrive today. So, please bear with this long post, as it’s full of great photos and important guidance for the week ahead.
The upper areas of the Hope Valley are past peak, though as seen in Andrew Zheng’s photo (above) of the cabin near the junction of CA-88 and CA-89, a mix of developing lime to fully peaked trees can be seen side-by-side with stripped trees.
Hope Valley – Peak to Past Peak YOU ALMOST MISSED IT!
First Report: Longtime contributor, Clayton Peoples sent news of “an oft-overlooked gem,” Glacier Lodge which is west of Big Pine in the southern Eastern Sierra, off US 395. He visited the previous weekend and found some nice patchy color in the lower elevations and near peak higher up, with more color appearing this week. He promises to return.
Tip of the Day: a number of canyons lead up into the Eastern Sierra from US 395. These are often lightly visited and full of color. No, they don’t have the big stands of aspen found in Bishop Creek or at June Lake, but they’re beautiful, nonetheless. And, for So. Calif. color spotters they’re a lot closer to reach.
Glacier Lodge, Big Pine – Near Peak (50-75%) GO NOW!
Bishop Creek is past peak at its upper reaches, though peak color can still be found (conditions permitting) at mid and lower elevations.
Then, there are exceptions like the Sabrina Approach, photographed by Abhi Bhaskaran, Robert Provin and Julie Kirby.
Following is a video from Bishop showing what the canyon looked like this past weekend.
Bishop Creek Canyon – Upper Elevations – Past Peak YOU MISSED IT!
Bishop Creek Canyon – Mid Elevations – Near Peak and Peak GO NOW!
Bishop Creek Canyon – Low Elevations – Patchy (10-50%)
Gigi deJong toured Round Valley, northwest of Bishop in the Eastern Sierra on Friday and found the cottonwood just turning yellow.
Though, there are “some lovely stand in picturesque spots,” with rabbitbrush in full irridescent yellow bloom, complementing the trees perfectly.
Counterpoints include bull rushes along the creeks, an occasional apple tree and “old structures that have lovely patina.”
Farm animals and the Sierra Nevada provide ornamentation that complements the scene and makes it classically a California Fall Color diorama.
She recommends exploring Pine Creek Rd., Round Valley Rd., Horton Creek Campground and Millpond County Park (Inyo County).
Round Valley, Inyo County (northwest of Bishop) – Patchy (10-50%), though well worth a trip.
Color spotter Anthony DeChiaro hiked to the Hilton Lakes on Oct. 6 to find the area denuded of leaves. He admitted he didn’t spend a lot of time searching for color around the lake, but that’s about what we would have expected, considering that the lakes are from 9,800′ to 11,000′ in elevation, and everything abover 9,000′ was reported as past peak the day Anthony headed up to the Hilton Lakes.
Hilton Lakes – Past Peak YOU MISSED IT!
Leor Pantilat traveled to Mono County yesterday to capture these images on an iPhone.
He reports that the “Robinson Creek Trail to Barney Lake is at peak and dazzling with mountainsides full of yellow, orange and red contrasting with the rugged peaks surrounding the scene.
“After the short stretch in the pine forest near Twin Lakes, the trail emerges into meadows and the aspen at peak color is virtually unabated for 4 miles all the way to Barney Lake and beyond.
“I was at the same spot at the same time last year and the aspen show is substantially better this year with much less brown rot.
“Leaves were flying off the trees with every breeze so this is definitely a GO NOW! situation.”
He continues, “Strong winds are forecast as early as Thursday will likely end the show.”
Robinson Creek Trail to Barney Lake, Mono County – Peak (75-100%) GO NOW!
June Lake should peak this weekend, with color lasting another week. So, even if the winds strip some trees, enough color should remain along the June Lake Loop to keep it beautiful.
June Lake Loop – Near Peak (50-75%) GO NOW!
Sonora Pass and Leavitt Meadow are now wearing orange as if they were rooting for the San Francisco Giants in the playoffs. When Dave Olden crossed the pass on Oct. 7, it was just beginning its peak.
Then, Leor Pantilat happened by on Sunday and found it had donned Giant colors. That’s how fast it peaks. Again, this color might not last out the week.
Sonora Pass – Peak (75-100%) GO NOW!
First Report: Traveling north from Ojai along SR33, color spotter Kevin Rose found a stand of Fremont cottonwood, brushed by refreshing mountain breezes off Rose Valley Road.
The trees were showing patchy color at coordinates 34.5595382 – 119.1654414 along Sespe Creek.
Nearby, several backpackers were gearing up to hike Lion Canyon. Kevin did some of the same hike and declares it hike-worthy! Turn right off CA-33 on Rose Valley Rd. and follow the parking lot to its bitter end.
This is a nice walk for Central Coast color spotters and earns title as HIKE OF THE WEEK. “Totally worth it!” wrote Rose who followed Rose Valley Road.
Rose Valley Road, Los Padres National Forest, Ojai – Patchy (10-50%)
North Coast color spotter Max Forster happened upon the historically significant Luna tree while looking for color in Humboldt Redwoods State Park.
This is the tree that Julia “Butterfly” Hill sat in for two years in protest of logging within the area.
Humboldt Redwoods State Park – Patchy (10-50%). Bigleaf maple and poison oak along the Avenue of the Giants have another week until peak yellow and crimson, though examples can be seen when rays of sun light the redwood forest. Look for the poison oak creeping up the trunks of the skyscraper redwoods along Mattole Road.
Redwood National & State Parks – (75%-100%) GO NOW!. Most of the bigleaf maple are putting on their best show of the season. Trees along Mill Creek (Jedediah Smith State Park) and Little Lost Man Creek (Redwood National Park) have turned particularly impressive over the last few days.