California Fall Color
Dude, autumn happens here, too.

Posts Tagged ‘Inyo County’

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.

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.

Location: Bishop, Calif.
Temperature: 50 °F
Humidity: 56%
Dew point: 35.6 °F
Wind speed: n/a
Wind direction: n/a
Cloud cover: n/a

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.

Location: Bishop, California
Temperature: 62.6 °F
Humidity: 16%
Dew point: 19.4 °F
Wind speed: 26km/hr
Wind direction: 350°
Cloud cover: n/a

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.

 

Location: Bishop, California
Temperature: 77 °F
Humidity: 8%
Dew point: 14 °F
Wind speed: 8km/hr
Wind direction: 170°
Cloud cover: n/a

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.

Location: Bishop, California
Temperature: 77 °F
Humidity: 8%
Dew point: 14 °F
Wind speed: 8km/hr
Wind direction: 170°
Cloud cover: n/a

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.

 

Location: Bishop, Calif.
Temperature: 89.6 °F
Humidity: 6%
Dew point: 19.4 °F
Wind speed: 21km/hr
Wind direction: 270°
Cloud cover: n/a

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.

Location: Bishop, California
Temperature: 78.8 °F
Humidity: 26%
Dew point: 41 °F
Wind speed: n/a
Wind direction: n/a
Cloud cover: scattered clouds

For Joy! California Color Reports Are Streaming In

Mon ,26/08/2013
Willow Creek Campground (8/25/13) © 2013 Jared Smith

Willow Creek Campground (8/25/13) © 2013 Jared Smith

We’re getting lots of great reports from color spotters all over California about the great early color being seen.  In the comments section are reports from Ben who writes, “There is a ton of fall color in Berkeley right now. Does that count?”  You bet it does, Ben.

We report all color, whether native or exotic.  Like we reported at the beginning of August, the color started appearing then.  Ben is seeing “Lots of red on the sweetgums, the Japanese maples are turning, yellow on pistache, yellow gingkos…” even “the big leaf maples are already turning yellow in the City and in the Berkeley Hills/Tilden Park. Lots of red in Tilden park in bushes…” surprise, surprise even some “Black oaks started showing some color about 2 weeks ago.”

Rebecca reports she regularly visits the site (apologies to all you California Fall Color fanatics who missed our reports during those other seasons) and repeats what Ben’s seeing… pistaches turning early, some maples are green and red with not a lot of yellow.  She visited Carmel this past weekend and found maples turning there, as well.  A lot of you out there are finding the early change to be unexpected.  We haven’t seen it this early, but then early shows have never meant a less spectacular fall.

Esther reports back from Aspendell (Eastern Sierra) where she was painting landscapes en pleine air  and was shocked by the “yellow Aspen leaves on the ground already after a windy night. I took a few home in a notebook. I was just trying to plan a fall weekend to go back up there. Looks like I better plan it for early to mid October.”

Then reporting yesterday was reliable color spotter Jared Smith of the Parcher’s Resort in the Bishop Creek Canyon (Eastern Sierra) who provides the first full report of the year (see below).  If Jared is reporting this early, we’re full on.

For your review, here’s how we report color change.  It’s easy to become a California Fall Color Spotter, just email your report to us at editor@califoriafallcolor.com.  We love getting photos (the best photo of each location is all we can publish – great photos get sent to TV weather reporters across California).

We use a scale to identify the percentage of color for a given location.  This is the same scale used by The Weather Channel:

0 – 15% – Little to no color change, some lime or yellow may appear.  (Note: we include lime as color change, even though it’s yellow-green.

15 – 30% – Still mostly green though up to a third of the forest is showing lime and other colors (yellow, orange, red).

30 – 50% – Approaching half the forest is showing (lime, yellow, red, orange, pink), though half the forest remains green.

50 – 75% – Solid color change – lots of yellow, orange or red, some lime, less than 25% of the trees are green – At 50% we’ll report GO NOW!

75 – 100% – As good as it gets, this is full peak – We continue to report GO NOW!

Past Peak – Most of the leaves have blown off or turned brown or are discolored.  Still, we like to receive past peak reports, as they help identify elevation levels that are changing.

Color change can happen quickly, so be prepared to travel if the color is approaching 50%.  If you follow our reports, you’ll be able to see at what elevations color is appearing.  That will help you plan a trip.

Native trees tend to change at the same time by elevation.  Exotic trees (those not native to California) change at different times.  Individual trees may turn early or late, so they’re not as predictable as those native to California.  OK, now that you’ve had a refresher, here’s the first full report from the Eastern Sierra, though Richard McCutcheon gets the nod for sending the first report of color (Aug. 1) of an Indian Rhubarb flushing orangy-red along Butt Creek (Plumas County).

EASTERN SIERRA

Color spotter Jared Smith of the Parcher’s Resort is reporting an early show of yellow among the aspen and writes, “we figured we’d get the show on the road as it were.”  Jared plans to supply reports each week beginning in September and twice a week, if time permits, Sept. 15 – Oct. 20.  We will say, after seeing his reports and photographs, if you’ve not seen autumn in the Eastern Sierra, it is one of California’s great foliage shows and should be on your life’s list.

Willow Creek Campground (8/25/13) © 2013 Jared Smith

Willow Creek Campground (8/25/13) © 2013 Jared Smith

Overall Conditions above 8500′

0-15% -   Still mostly green but there are just a handful of little pockets where some bright yellow can be seen. The willows are starting to lighten considerably.

Overall Conditions below 8500′

0 – 15%   -     Still mostly green but one can see the hue changing from dark to lime green has begun.

Location-specific Reports

0-15% – South Lake Rd above Mt. Glen Camp (8600ft)

0-15% – Mountain Glen Campground (8400ft).

0-15% – Mist Falls and the groves above Bishop Creek Lodge (8350ft)

0-15% – Groves above Cardinal Village & Aspendell    (8550ft)

0-15%% – Forks Campground (8000ft – 8300ft)

0-15% - Table Mountain Camp (8900ft)

0-15% – Surveyors Meadow (8975ft)

0-15% - Willow Campground (9100ft)

0-15% - Lake Sabrina (9150ft)

0-15% - North Lake (9255ft)

Location: Bishop, Bishop Airport
Temperature: 89.6 °F
Humidity: 16%
Dew point: 37.4 °F
Wind speed: 17km/hr
Wind direction: 160°
Cloud cover: n/a

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).