Three weeks ago, Vince Piercy captured this scene in the Hope Valley. It will be beautiful there and in Mono County this weekend, though with a few less leaves a fluttering.
Posts Tagged ‘June Lake’
To all those photographers, color spotters and leaf peepers who were concerned about how this past weekend’s strong winds, rain and snow affected the High Sierra, rest easy and GO NOW!
Mono County color spotter Jeff Simpson reports that the storm and major wind event that occurred over the weekend has past, leaving the mountain peaks shining with snow, and providing for spectacular fall photo opportunities.
Ideal conditions for fall color are now to be found on the east side, with warm days and cold nights. These conditions are predicted to persist until next week.
All areas above 8,500′ in the Eastern Sierra are now mostly past peak, though there’s way, way lots of color left to be enjoyed along the June Lake Loop, Walker Canyon, Twin Lakes and Lundy Lake. So, “GO NOW,” Jeff exclaims.
Photo tip: Fallen leaves that wash up beside creeks and on rocks accent the scene. So, even though many leaves have fallen, good photographs remain to be taken. Shoot big waterfalls with a fast shutter speed, small waterfalls with a slow shutter speed and with camera mounted on a tripod.
These areas were affected by the storm, but still have groves of fantastic color: Conway Summit, Convict Lake, Summers Meadow, McGee Creek and Rock Creek.
As of posting this report, Tioga Pass, Sonora Pass and Monitor Pass were closed. However, road conditions change. CLICK HERE for the latest in California road road conditions and pass openings/closures. Simpson reports:
WALKER / COLEVILLE / TOPAZ
- Monitor Pass – Past Peak YOU MISSED IT!
- Lobdell Lake – Past Peak YOU MISSED IT!
- Walker Canyon – Peak (75-100%) GO NOW! – The banks of the West Walker River are lined with gold! Plan your viewing for mid-day as the shadows will be out early in the morning and late afternoon.
- Towns of Walker & Coleville – Near Peak (50-75%) GO NOW! Lots of great color in Antelope Valley. The cottonwood around Topaz Lane should be spectacular this weekend.
- Sonora Pass – Past Peak YOU MISSED IT!
BRIDGEPORT / VIRGINIA LAKES
- Twin Lakes – Peak (75-100%) GO NOW! – Still plenty of excellent color around both lakes and through Robinson Creek. Make sure to take the dirt round around Lower Twin Lakes for the best fall color experience.
- Virginia Lakes – Past Peak YOU MISSED IT!
- Conway Summit – Peak (75-100%) GO NOW! – A lot of leaves were blown off during the storm but around 35% of the leaves still remain. It’s a fantastic photo opp with the snowy mountains in the background.
Green Creek – Past Peak
- Summers Meadow – Peak (75-100%) GO NOW! – Still a few groves handing on with brilliant color with some sections being past peak.
- Tioga Pass & Lee Vining Canyon – Peak (75-100%) GO NOW! – Lee Vining Canyon has amazing color in all the campground down to US 395. Anything above Lee Vining Canyon is past peak with Tioga Pass currently closed.
- Lundy Lake & Canyon – Peak (75-100%) GO NOW! – Brilliant oranges and reds along the campground and in the creek down to US 395. Anything Lundy Lake and into Lundy Canyon is past peak.
- Sagehen Meadows – Past Peak YOU MISSED IT!
JUNE LAKE LOOP
- June Lake Loop/Hwy 158 – Peak (75-100%) GO NOW! – Groves of brilliant yellow, gold and red in some locations while others are past peak. Fantastic color around Gull Lake and in between Grant and Silver Lake.
- Parker Lake -Past Peak YOU MISSED IT!
- Little Walker Lake -Past Peak YOU MISSED IT!
- Devil’s Postpile National Monument – Past Peak YOU MISSED IT!
- Mammoth Lakes Basin – Past Peak YOU MISSED IT!
- Mammoth Creek Rd. – Past Peak YOU MISSED IT!
- Snowcreek Golf Course – Past Peak YOU MISSED IT!
CONVICT LAKE / LAUREL CANYON / ROCK CREEK / McGEE CREEK
- Laurel Canyon – Past Peak YOU MISSED IT!
- Convict Lake – Past Peak YOU MISSED IT!
- Rock Creek – Peak (75-100%) GO NOW! – Pockets of bright color can still be found.
- McGee Creek – Peak (75-100%) GO NOW! – Pockets of bright color can still be found.
CROWLEY / TOM’S PLACE
- Crowley – Peak (75-100%) GO NOW!
- Tom’s Place – – Peak (75-100%) GO NOW! – Bold yellow aspen surround the community, though much has fallen.
Daniel Stas took our advice and headed to June Lake today for one last look before the storm arrived. Here are the wonders he found.
“Everything, everywhere (in Mono County) is peaking right now, including the June Lake Loop which is glowing and brilliant especially ‘down canyon’ from the Double Eagle Resort to Grant Lake,” reports color spotter, Alicia Vennos.
If you can get there today, GO NOW! As, it may not be there in a day or two. Darrell Sano visited on 10/12 and plans to continue photographing on 10/13, right up to the point when the scene might be gone with the wind.
Alicia advises that a storm is expected on Friday (10/14), with a break Saturday (10/15), and potentially more precipitation on Sunday (10/16). The storm could close Tioga and Sonora passes, though the freeze is expected to be very high.
Tip: During and immediately following an early winter, the scene is spectacular as trees, heavy with fall color, are dusted with snow.
Alicia suggests that anyone traveling this weekend should consult the weather forecast and road conditions (1-800-427-7623) before heading to the East Side in order to avoid road and pass closings.
Iconic locations at peak include the June Lake Loop, Convict Lake, Conway Summit, Walker Canyon, McGee Canyon, Twin Lakes and Summers Meadow.
Areas near the end of peak and likely to transition to past peak this weekend include Monitor Pass, Sonora Pass, Lobdell Lake (4WD high clearance vehicles only) and Parker Lake.
WALKER / COLEVILLE / TOPAZ
Monitor Pass – Peak (75-100%) GO NOW! – You’ll see color from top to bottom right now. Check road conditions before attempting to cross this pass.
Lobdell Lake – Peak (75-100%) GO NOW! – Still some brilliant colors but most leaves will be blown off by the end of the weekend. For 4WD high clearance vehicles only.
Walker Canyon – Near Peak (50-75%) GO NOW! – Lots of yellows around every bend working all the way up to Sonora Pass. Still a few days short of full peak.
Towns of Walker & Coleville – Patchy (10-50%) – Just getting started but those iconic cottonwood trees will be perfect next weekend.
Sonora Pass – Peak (75-100%) GO NOW! – An incoming storm this weekend may close the pass and the fall color door on this location. Check road conditions before attempting to cross this pass.
BRIDGEPORT / VIRGINIA LAKES
Twin Lakes – Near Peak (50-75%) GO NOW! – Still a little green around Upper and Lower Lakes and through the campgrounds of Robinson Creek. Hike the Horsetail Falls or Barney Lake trails for peak colors.
Virginia Lakes – Past Peak YOU MISSED IT!
Conway Summit – Peak (75-100%) GO NOW! – Still slightly green in some spots but will be perfect later this weekend, conditions permitting, especially on the south side of Conway near the Mono Lake overlook. Check this location post storm for snowy mountains in the background and fall color in the foreground.
Green Creek – Peak (75-100%) GO NOW! – Past peak in the upper elevations, especially on the hike to Green Lake. Colors around the road and campgrounds are at peak color.
Summers Meadow – Peak (75-100%) GO NOW! – This location will be gleaming with color the next 10 days
Tioga Pass & Lee Vining Canyon – Near Peak (50-75%) Go Now! – Lee Vining Canyon is just getting going while the colors around Tioga Pass and Saddlebag are past peak. Check road conditions before attempting to cross this pass.
Lundy Lake & Canyon – Peak (75-100%) GO NOW! Lundy Canyon and around the beaver ponds are at full peak while colors around the lake and campground are still spotty.
BENTON & 120 EAST
Sagehen Meadow – Past Peak YOU MISSED IT!
JUNE LAKE LOOP
June Lake Loop/Hwy 158 – Peak (75-100%) GO NOW! Groves of brilliant yellow, gold and red in some locations while others are still patchy. The drive around the June Lake Loop (Hwy. 158) is especially gorgeous down canyon from the Double Eagle Resort to Grant Lake.
Parker Lake – Peak (75-100%) GO NOW! – Colors are still unbelievable at Parker Lake. Take the Parker Bench Trail from Silver Lake Resort for a more difficult but worthy fall color experience.
Little Walker Lake – Peak (75-100%) GO NOW! –Little Walker Lake is finally starting to shine and should be perfect over the next 5 days.
Lakes Basin – Peak (75-100%) GO NOW! – Colors around the Mammoth Lakes Basin are at full peak.
Mammoth Creek Road – Peak (75-100%) GO NOW! – Take the drive around Sherwin Creek for the best chance for peak fall color.
Around resort/campgrounds – Near Peak (50-75%) GO NOW! Still slightly green the closer you get to US 395 but still plenty of color.
Convict Lake & Canyon – Peak (75-100%) GO NOW! Colors around the lake and up Convict Canyon are brilliant right now! Take the short and easy hike around the lake for the best fall color experience.
CROWLEY LAKE/McGEE CREEK
McGee Creek Canyon – Peak (75-100%) GO NOW!Great color around the pack station and campground right now!
Around Crowley community – Patchy (10-50%)
ROCK CREEK CANYON
Around Rock Creek Lake – Past Peak YOU MISSED IT!
Along the road – Peak (75-100%) GO NOW! – Colors along the road and in the campgrounds are at peak while the higher elevation locations are at past peak.
After hearing today that leaves had dropped from some aspen trees at June Lake, we asked Jeff Simpson to go there and photograph what it looks like, right now. His photos do not disappoint.
The aspen groves are lush and full of leaves, though, on closer inspection, some are spotted with black leaf spot fungus. Still, June Lake is on track for terrific color.
Next weekend (Oct. 15/16) should be prime for peak color at June Lake. Make your travel plans, now!
June Lake Loop/Hwy 168 – Patchy (10-50%) – The patchy rating is deceiving. This area should easily move to near peak within a week.
As such, in the coming week June Lake is sure to earn the title PEAK OF THE WEEK.
Fall foliage is peaking in Mono County and will continue for two weeks.
Color spotter Alicia Vennos calls the brilliant yellow, orange and red leaves, her county’s “Sierra gold” and recommends visiting Lobdell Lake, Sonora Pass, Green Creek, Lundy Canyon, Parker Lake, and Rock Creek, this week. They are all at full peak and will be aglow through Monday.
Other locations worth viewing are Monitor Pass, Summers Meadow (off Green Creek Road), Lee Vining Canyon, Lundy Canyon Trail, and McGee Canyon.
The West Walker River, Convict Lake, the June Lake Loop, and Little Walker Lake are just starting to show color and should be ready for the weekend of the 15th.
WALKER / COLEVILLE / TOPAZ
- Monitor Pass – Near Peak (50-75%) GO NOW! Still green in some locations but groves near the top of the pass are peaking.
- Lobdell Lake (9,200′) Near Peak (50-75%) GO NOW! Colors are absolutely stunning along the road to Lobdell Lake just off Burcham Flat Road. 4WD vehicle necessary – high clearance vehicles ONLY!
- Sonora Pass (9,623′) Near Peak (50-75%) GO NOW! Last week’s storm blew a few leaves off the trees near the top of the pass. Areas near the Mountain Warfare Training Center near US 395 are a mix of yellow and lime.
BRIDGEPORT / VIRGINIA LAKES
- Virginia Lakes (9,770′) – Past Peak YOU MISSED IT!
- Conway Summit (8,143′) – Patchy – (10 – 50%) – On the verge of a “go now” designation but still mostly green and lime green.
- Green Creek (7,500′) Near Peak (50-75%) GO NOW! The hike to Green Lake is peak to past peak while colors around the campground and along Green Creek Road will be perfect this week.
- Summers Meadow Near Peak (50-75%) GO NOW! Foliage along the mountain side are full red and orange while the colors along the road will be perfect in about 7-10 days.
- Tioga Pass (9,943′) – Past Peak YOU MISSED IT!
- Lee Vining Canyon – Near Peak (50-75%) GO NOW! Lee Vining Canyon is still very green but the upper elevations around Tioga Lake, Ellery Lake and Saddlebag Lake are in prime viewing condition.
- Lundy Lake & Canyon – Near Peak (50-75%) GO NOW! Still a little early around the lake and campground. Lundy falls and the beaver ponds are at full peak and will be a perfect hike for this weekend..
- BENTON & 120 EAST
- Sagehen Meadow – Past Peak YOU MISSED IT!
JUNE LAKE AREA
- Parker Lake (8,313′) – Peak (75-100%) to Past Peak GO NOW! or YOU MISSED IT! – This is the weekend to go to Parker Lake. Take the Parker Bench Trail from Silver Lake Resort for a more difficult but worthy fall color experience. Kevin Lennox reports the hike to the lake (2 miles) was past peak, but once at the lake, a rolling peak was occurring where some aspen were still green or lime, while others were yellow and orange. Color at Parker Lake will likely last another week, though don’t delay as “conditions are progressing fast.”
- Laurel Canyon (8,500′) – Peak (75-100%) to Past Peak GO NOW! or YOU MISSED IT! – Some areas of Laurel Canyon are now past peak, though large areas of color remain in the aspen groves along the middle section of this 4WD road (high clearance vehicles required or hike it).
- Little Walker Road and Lake – Near Peak (50-75%) GO NOW! – The Little Walker Lake Road is still a week from full peak. Leaves are turning yellow with patchy lime greens still present. HIKE OF THE WEEK – If you are up for a steep hike, take the trail to Sardine Lake where aspen are in full color.
- Silver Lake, June Lake Loop – Patchy (10-50%) – Fall color is starting to spill down from the surrounding hillsides onto the June Lake Loop. Many sections are just starting to turn over to lime green and yellow with few groves ahead of the pack. The aspen grove that lines the western shore at Silver Lake is just starting to shift and should be at full peak within the next ten days, in time for the #SilverLakeInstameet on Oct. 15.
CROWLEY LAKE/McGEE CREEK
- McGee Creek Canyon – Near Peak (50-75%) GO NOW! The hike to the beaver ponds and beyond are prime for fall color while its still a little patchy around the campground and pack station.
ROCK CREEK CANYON
- Upper Rock Creek (10,300′) – Peak (75-100%) GO NOW! Peak to past peak around the lake and in the high elevation areas. This will be the last few days to catch the color around the lake.
- Middle Rock Creek Road – Peak (75-100%) Go Now! Colors along the road and in the campgrounds are at peak color and will be perfect this weekend.
- Patchy (10 – 50%) – Mammoth Lakes Basin, Mammoth Creek Rd., Convict Lake and Canyon, Lower Rock Creek
- Just Starting (0-10%) – Walker Canyon, Towns of Walker/Coleville, Twin Lakes, June Lake Loop/Hwy 168, Convict Lake Resort/Campground, Crowley Lake, Lower Rock Creek.
Two of my favorite meteorologists to watch are Mark Finan and Eileen Javora of KCRA-TV3 (NBC) in Sacramento. They aren’t just spot-on accurate meteorologists, they’re fans of fall color, too.
I suppose that comes with the job. As, how would you otherwise immerse yourself in analyzing the weather and predicting it, without also becoming fascinated by the turn of seasons?
Mark moved from meteorologist to color spotter this past weekend, driving a long loop in search of inspiration (and there is much of it along this drive), east from Sacramento over Carson and Monitor passes, then south along the Eastern Sierra Scenic Byway over Conway Summit and past Mono Lake, June Lake and Mammoth Lakes, to Convict Lake and back… all to see what’s developing.
Like others who have visited the area, he notes that most of the well-known fall color locations along the route remain mostly green or lime (Caples Lake, CA-88; Monitor Pass, CA-89; June Lake and Convict Lake), though promising yellow is emerging at the highest elevations: (above Mono Lake and on individual trees at June Lake).
For those judging whether to head to the east side or not, it is still a bit early, though emerging color can be seen and it will continue to improve through the last two weeks of September, particularly at the highest elevations.
How’s that for a forecast?
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.
Color spotter Alena Nicholas sent urgent text messages this past weekend, exclaiming about the incredible color to be seen in Mono County.
Alena knows the Eastern Sierra well, having photographed it many times in the past, though wrote “The Sierra are GLORIOUS!!! Never seen June Lake and area finer…”
Color spotter Patricia Costa followed our advice and headed to the east side to send us photos of the same storm swirling and dropping snow amidst the color while visiting Mammoth Lakes, Devil’s Postpile National Monument, June Lake and points along US 395.
Color spotter Alena Nicholas reports from a lakeside cabin at Boulder Lodge on June Lake, near where these photos were taken. Nicholas notes that June Lake is joyfully transitioning from green to yellow, though the color is still at the low end of being Patchy. When it’s drizzling, as is now happening in the Eastern Sierra, it’s time to look for new things to photograph, like deer enjoying fresh bursts of green.
This weekend, all points above 9,000’ in the Eastern Sierra (Inyo and Mono Counties), including: Bishop Creek, Rock Creek, Hilton Creek, Virginia Lakes, Green Creek, Summers Meadow, Sage Hen, Dunderberg Meadow and Twin Lakes have the most color, though how long it lasts will depend on the weather.
Yesterday, light breezes blew some of the color from areas in the Eastern Sierra that had peaked or were approaching peak (see below reports). However, the wind only got to what had peaked. As Alicia Vennos wrote from Mono County this morning, there is still “far too much green mixed with the yellows and oranges,” for the show to end.
That should hold true even after this weekend’s storm passes by. Trees that have green leaves or slightly turned leaves will retain them and their fall color will emerge in coming days and weeks.
Prime areas to see California Fall Color this weekend are at all points above 9,000’ in the Eastern Sierra (Inyo and Mono Counties), including: Bishop Creek, Rock Creek, Hilton Creek, Virginia Lakes, Green Creek, Summers Meadow, Sage Hen, Dunderberg Meadow and Twin Lakes.
Patchy (10-50%) – June Lake – Still early, though color has begun developing.