This past week in Mono County brought a mix of snow, rain, sun and clouds, but with little to no wind, meaning that autumn color continues to light up the Eastern Sierra.
Color spotter Alicia Vennos writes, “The icing on top of it all is the fresh topping of snow on Eastern Sierra peaks that is providing a stunning contrast to the golden color.”
This weekend and next promise to be epic for photographers and leaf peepers on the East Side, as the short-term weather forecast is for sunny skies.
Photos are posted at californiafallcolor.com and on a video posted by Mono County Tourism VLOG host, Jeff Simpson at https://youtu.be/QmzUrxXdaI0.
Peak GO NOW! (75-100%) – Rock Creek – Color has endured throughout this area, though is now moving down the canyon. Lower Rock Creek Road and the mountain bike/hiking trail have some nice spots of color but they still a week short of peak. Tom’s Place, a local hangout, has taken on the colors of its surrounding trees, as it prepares its annual Halloween costume party on Oct. 31.
Peak GO NOW! (75-100%) – McGee Creek – Aspen lining the creek, just below the road, are thick with color; those along the first mile or two on the hiking trail are also prime, or close.
Peak GO NOW! (75-100%) – Convict Canyon/Convict Lake – The entire canyon is now peaking. Colors from top to bottom are spectacular. The foliage is showing yellows, bright gold and, recently, more orange. Conditions permitting, it should remain at peak for another week. Hike of the Week is the 3-mile trail around Convict lake. Aspens that fill the campground are brilliant against the dramatic mountain backdrop. Locals rate this as one of the prettiest places in Mono County to camp.
Peak GO NOW! (75-100%) – Mammoth Creek/Old Mammoth Road – Aspen are yellow, golden and orange with red highlights along the trail beside Mammoth Creek from where Hwy. 203 nears the exit onto US 305 (south). This area will be glorious this weekend with possibly another week to go.
Near Peak (50-75%) – June Lake Loop/Hwy. 158 – The June Lake Loop is, in places, a boulevard flanked by peaking yellow and golden aspen. Some areas of lime remain, though the Loop is Near Peak in many places, particularly between Silver Lake and Grant Lake. The aspen around Gull Lake and June Lake are still a week from peak color. Parker Lake and Walker Lake, off the north end of the Loop offer varying degrees of bright color and short, sweet hikes. LA Leaf Peeper was one of the many color spotters who followed our direction and headed to the Loop for an “AMAZING” weekend. Here’s a snap LAFP took with a cell phone, a little different than Alicia’s.
The Heidelberg Inn in June Lake was once a favored destination of Hollywood celebrities; on Oct. 31, this glamorous old inn opens its doors for a Halloween tour and party.
Past Peak YOU MISSED IT! – Tioga Pass
Patchy (10-50%) – Lower Lee Vining Canyon – The lower part of Tioga Pass Road, near US 395, has some photogenic aspen groves, though Poole Plant Road continues to hang on to its green wardrobe. Log Cabin Road is almost past peak at the cabin level with one serene stretch still golden and photogenic. (This area is not gated but it is private property and has long been an animal and bird sanctuary; please tread softly).
Peak GO NOW! (75-100%) – Lundy Canyon – Don’t give up. While aspen along the first part of the Lundy Canyon trail are past peak, at the first waterfall are found an iconic gold-rust-yellow-orange blend of color. Higher up, the color is spent.
BRIDGEPORT / CONWAY SUMMIT
Peak GO NOW! (75-100%) – Conway Summit – What is remarkable is that while large groves of aspen have peaked, there are so many layers of color here, this year, that Conway Summit continues to look incredible. Some big stands are still a patchy mix of yellow and lime.
Past Peak YOU MISSED IT! – Virginia Lakes.
Peak GO NOW! (75-100%) – Green Creek/Summers Meadow – Summers Meadow has lost a lot of its color, though, like Conway Summit, layering and depth of color still keep the Green Creek/Summers Meadow area worth visiting.
WALKER / COLEVILLE / TOPAZ
Past Peak YOU MISSED IT! – Monitor Pass/Sonora Pass – It’s gone at the highest elevations.
Peak GO NOW! (75-100%) – Leavitt Meadows – Still golden.
Patchy (10-50%) – Walker Canyon/West Walker River/Towns of Walker & Coleville – This is one of the last areas of Mono County to change. For anglers, the West Walker River is flowing nicely as a result of recent rain, though leaf peepers and photographers won’t find much fall color for another two weeks.