Posts

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An Unbelievable Autumn

Walker River (10/24/18) Jeff Simpson/Mono County Tourism

Convict Lake (10/24/18) Alicia Vennos/Mono County Tourism

California’s 2018 Autumn will be remembered as one of the most unbelievably beautiful and long-lasting, ever. In Mono County, the show has simply been beyond exclamation.

That’s encouraged Mono County’s Alicia Vennos to declare that her destination, our previous pick as “Peak of the Week,” should get its title extended another week, “thanks to gorgeous fall weather with little to no wind.”

Alicia certainly has a point. Many of Mono County’s fall color hotspots deserve a “GO NOW!” designation.

Being that it is so close to Halloween, we don’t want a curse placed on us that would upset fall spirits. So, we urge you to GO NOW! As, this well could be the last call for Peak viewing along US 395.

At the beginning of autumn, had Alicia vowed Mono County’s aspen would be peaking right up to Hallow’s Evening, we would have accused her of brewing an “Unfallen Leaf” spell.

Instead, she’s made us believers and expect one unbelievable Peak Party in Mammoth Lakes on All Hallow’s Eve. 

US 395, Coleville (10/24/18)Jeff Simpson/Mono County Tourism

Topaz Lake (10/24/18)Jeff Simpson/Mono County Tourism

US 395, Coleville (10/24/18) Jeff Simpson/Mono County Tourism

US 395, Coleville (10/24/18) Jeff Simpson/Mono County Tourism

Walker/Coleville/Topaz

  • Monitor Pass (8,314′) – Past Peak – YOU MISSED IT!
  • Lobdell Lake Road (8,600′) – Past Peak – YOU MISSED IT!
  • Walker Canyon (5,200′) – Peak (75-100%) GO NOW! – The shores of the West Walker are gleaming.
  • Towns of Walker & Coleville – Peak (75-100%) GO NOW! – Massive cottonwood along US 395 and beside the Walker River in the Antelope Valley are beautiful.
  • Sonora Pass (9,623′) – Past Peak – YOU MISSED IT!

Conway Summit (10/24/18)Alicia Vennos/Mono County Tourism

 

Bridgeport/Virginia Lakes

  • Twin Lakes (7,000′) – Peak (75-100%) GO NOW! –
  • Virginia Lakes (9,819’)- Past Peak – YOU MISSED IT!
  • Conway Summit (8,143′) – Peak (75-100%) GO NOW! – The south side of Conway Summit is at its prettiest. The north side is almost past peak. Conway has a rolling peak with some groves still green, beside bare branches and peak color mixed between them.
  • Summers Meadow (7,200′) – Peak (75-100%) GO NOW! – There’s great color all along the road.

Lee Vining

  • Tioga Pass (9,943′) – Past Peak – YOU MISSED IT!
  • Lee Vining Canyon (6,781′)  Peak to Past Peak, GO NOW, YOU ALMOST MISSED IT!
  • Lundy Lake & Canyon (7,858′) – Peako Past Peak, GO NOW, YOU ALMOST MISSED IT! – Lundy Lake Rd, Lundy Lake, Lundy Campground and the Beaver Ponds still have lots of peak color. The trail to the waterfalls is now Past Peak.

Mono Lake (10/24/18)Alicia Vennos/Mono County Tourism

Lundy Lake (10/24/18)Alicia Vennos/Mono County Tourism

Beaver Pond, Lundy Lake (10/24/18)Alicia Vennos/Mono County Tourism

Lundy Lake (10/24/18)Alicia Vennos/Mono County Tourism

Lundy Lake Rd (10/24/18)Alicia Vennos/Mono County Tourism

Lundy Lake Rd. (10/24/18)Alicia Vennos/Mono County Tourism

Benton & 120 East

  • Sagehen Summit (8,139’) -Past Peak – YOU MISSED IT!

June Lake Loop, Down Canyon (10/24/18)Alicia Vennos/Mono County Tourism

Silver Lake, June Lake Loop (10/24/18)Alicia Vennos/Mono County Tourism

June Lake Loop (10/24/18)Alicia Vennos/Mono County Tourism

June Lake Loop

  • June Lake Loop/Hwy 158 (7,654′) – Peak (75-100%)

Gull Lake Marina (10/24/18)Alicia Vennos/Mono County Tourism

GO NOW! – Fall Color Viewing Tip: The most iridescent color is seen when trees are backlit. Because this is a loop, drive it in both directions to see the best light and color. June Lake at Oh! Ridge is peaking, as is Gull Lake – highly recommended, right now.  The mountainside between Grant Lake is shining with a number of gold and orange aspen groves. Silver Lake is past peak, as are some of the roadside aspens along the Loop, particularly down canyon.

Mammoth Lakes

  • Mammoth Lakes Basin (8,996′) – Past Peak – YOU MISSED IT!
  • Laurel Canyon (8,500′) – Peak (75-100%) GO NOW! (high clearance 4WD required)

Crowley Lake/McGee Creek/Convict Lake

  • McGee Creek Canyon (8,600’) – Peak (75-100%) GO NOW! – Fingers crossed that it doesn’t blow. If it doesn’t, the color will remain good for another week around the campground and along the trail.
  • Around Crowley community (6,781′) – Peak (75-100%) GO NOW! – This has been Crowley’s best year for Fall Color. It is literally aglow with color.
  • Convict Lake (7850′) – Peak (75-100%) GO NOW! – Convict Lake Campground, the road between Convict Lake Resort and the Marina, and the entire shoreline are inspirational this week. The hike around the lake offers colorful views and photo ops around every bend.

Rock Creek Canyon

  • Rock Creek Road (8,500’+) – Past Peak – YOU MISSED IT!

Remember: even though an area is listed as Past Peak, you will still be able to find spots of nice color. So, if you have the time to explore them, you won’t be disappointed, as the scenery is other worldly.

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Lovin’ Lundy

Lundy Canyon Campground (10/21/18) Sophie Geaney

Lundy Canyon Campground (10/21/18) Sophie Geaney

Sophie Geaney was lovin’ Lundy this past weekend, finding it “peaking perfectly,” with lush aspen throughout the campground and up the first 1.5 miles of the trail, described as “really amazing.”

The trail to Parker Lake is Past Peak, though there’s color once at the lake. June Lake, of course, is magnificent this week. 

  • Lundy Canyon Trail – Peak (75-100%) GO NOW!
  • June Lake Loop – Peak (75-100%) GO NOW!’
  • Parker Lake – Peak to Past Peak, YOU ALMOST MISSED IT!

 

 

 

 

Lundy Canyon Trailhead (10/21/18) Sophie Geaney

Lundy Canyon Trail (10/21/18) Sophie Geaney

June Lake Loop (10/21/18) Sophie Geaney

Parker Lake (10/21/18) Sophie Geaney

Convict Lake (10/21/18) Candace Gregory

Gull Lake, June Lake Loop (10/21/18) Candace Gregory

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What Matters Most

June Lake Loop (10/18/18) Josh Wray/Mammoth Lakes Tourism

So what if:

  • It’s your daughter’s wedding.
  • You have 50-yard-line tickets to the big game.
  • Your big retirement dinner happens Saturday and everyone will be there.
  • After flirting for months, you finally got asked out by the hot barista at the coffee shop.
  • The Nobel Prize committee just called and would like to meet you on Sunday.
  • It’s your tenth wedding anniversary and you have tickets to Paris.
  • Your doctor called and you’re finally scheduled for open-heart surgery.

Don’t get tunnel vision (unless it’s what you see, above).

All that matters is that fall color surrounding Mammoth Lakes in Mono County is peaking and that’s EPIC! 

Cancel all plans and GO NOW! Here’s why:

June Lake Loop (10/18/18) Josh Wray/Mammoth Lakes Tourism

June Lake Loop (10/18/18) Josh Wray/Mammoth Lakes Tourism

June Lake Loop (10/18/18) Josh Wray/Mammoth Lakes Tourism

June Lake Loop (10/18/18) Josh Wray/Mammoth Lakes Tourism

June Lake Loop (10/18/18) Josh Wray/Mammoth Lakes Tourism

June Lake Loop (10/18/18) Josh Wray/Mammoth Lakes Tourism

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

June Lake Loop (10/18/18) Josh Wray/Mammoth Lakes Tourism

June Lake Loop (10/18/18) Josh Wray/Mammoth Lakes Tourism

June Lake Loop (10/18/18) Josh Wray/Mammoth Lakes Tourism

June Lake Loop (10/18/18) Josh Wray/Mammoth Lakes Tourism

June Lake Loop (10/18/18) Josh Wray/Mammoth Lakes Tourism

June Lake Loop (10/18/18) Josh Wray/Mammoth Lakes Tourism

June Lake Loop (10/18/18) Josh Wray/Mammoth Lakes Tourism

June Lake Loop (10/18/18) Josh Wray/Mammoth Lakes Tourism

Gull Lake, June Lake Loop (10/18/18) Josh Wray/Mammoth Lakes Tourism

Gull Lake, June Lake Loop (10/18/18) Josh Wray/Mammoth Lakes Tourism

June Lake Loop (10/18/18) Josh Wray/Mammoth Lakes Tourism

Beaver Ponds, Lundy Canyon (10/18/18) Josh Wray/Mammoth Lakes Tourism

Beaver Ponds, Lundy Canyon (10/18/18) Josh Wray/Mammoth Lakes Tourism

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Touching Gold in Lundy Canyon

McGee Creek Canyon (10/14/18) Rodney Chai

Lundy Canyon (10/14/18) Rodney Chai

McGee Creek Canyon (10/14/18) Rodney Chai

Rodney Chai, a meteorologist from Monterey, led a group of hikers to Lundy Canyon and McGee Creek as recommended here, last week, and they “found gold (and then some)!”

Reporting that they were collectively “speechless by the vibrant display of yellow and apricot.”

Should you hike Lundy Canyon, you’ll find the first mile to have a lot of green (20-30%), though Chai estimates it will “be excellent viewing for the upcoming weekend.”

His group found the most intense color at about “mile 2, where a forest of quaking aspens reside.” Above that, the trail was past peak with a lot of leaves that had fallen.

McGee Creek, he continued, “was simply splendid from start to finish with a golden sea of aspen and apricot. The range of yellow and apricot, as well as the ability to see up the canyon made this his favorite hike. 

  • Lundy Canyon Trail (7,858′) – Peak (75-100%) GO NOW!
  • McGee Creek Trail (8,600′) – Peak (75-100%) GO NOW!

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Waterfall Hike – Lundy Canyon

Lundy Canyon (10/5/18) Darrell Sano

Lundy Canyon (10/5/18) Darrell Sano

Lundy Canyon (10/5/18) Darrell Sano

Sagehen Summit, (10/5/18) Darrell Sano

Mono Lake, (10/5/18) Darrell Sano

Hiking Lundy Canyon combines fall color and waterfalls, providing for a very scenic and exhilarating fall color adventure.

Darrell Sano spent Friday in Mono County hiking the long, enjoyable trail up Lundy Canyon to its beautiful waterfalls, and still had time to visit Sagehen Summit and watch the sun set over Mono Lake and the Eastern Sierra.

The Lundy Canyon hike begins in Patchy, green, lime and yellow aspen, continuing through “pockets of color.” to areas with barren trees stripped of color. Overall, the trail is Patchy. This will likely be Near Peak next week.

At Sagehen Meadows, pockets of peak color remain among wind-swept aspen. Though, the area has lost a lot of color and is declining. 

  • Lundy Canyon (7,858′) – Patchy (10-50%)
  • Sagehen Summit (8,139′) – Peak to Past Peak – GO NOW or YOU ALMOST MISSED IT!

Eastern Sierra Sunset, (10/5/18) Darrell Sano

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Get Ready to Pack Into Mono County

Little Lakes Valley (9/8/18) Liz Grans/Mono County Tourism

Fall color scouting trips by Mono County color spotters Alicia Vennos, Liz Grans and Robert Bernstein returned with promising images of gilding beside high Eastern Sierra trails.

Vennos and Grans visited Lundy Canyon, Green Creek, the Little Lakes Valley and Rock Creek Lake, while Bernstein visited Dunderberg Meadows. Each of their trips showed that color spotters should get packing to see Mono County’s Fall Color.

When these photos were taken a few days ago, the color was just starting to appear, but within the coming week that will change as fall color transition from Just Starting, to Patchy and Near Peak at the highest elevations in the Eastern Sierra. In Mono County, expect Upper Rock Creek and Virginia Creek to show the earliest color.

Click photo to enlarge.

Just Starting (0-10%) – Mono County

Dunderberg Meadows (9/10/18) Robert Bernstein

Dunderberg Meadows (9/10/18) Robert Bernstein

Dunderberg Meadows (9/10/18) Robert Bernstein

Little Lakes Valley (9/8/18) Liz Grans/Mono County Tourism

Rock Creek Lake (9/8/18) Liz Grans/Mono County Tourism

Green Creek Trail (9/9/18) Alicia Vennos/Mono County Tourism

Green Creek Trail (9/9/18) Alicia Vennos/Mono County Tourism

Parker Lake (9/7/18) Alicia Vennos/Mono County Tourism

Parker Lake (9/7/18) Alicia Vennos/Mono County Tourism

Aspen, Parker Lake (9/7/18) Alicia Vennos/Mono County Tourism

Green Creek Trail (9/9/18) Alicia Vennos/Mono County Tourism

Lundy Canyon Trail, Mono Lake in distance (9/8/18) Alicia Vennos/Mono County Tourism

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Peak and Past Peak on the Eastside

Tuli, a miniature Labradoodle, enjoys the fall color at McGee Creek (10/15/17) Maggie Huang

Mono County was peaking gloriously this past weekend, while areas above 8,500′ in the eastern Sierra Nevada, including most of Bishop Creek Canyon had peaked.

Color spotters Maggie Huang and Anirudh Natekar found beauty at McGee Creek, Lundy Lake, the June Lake Loop and Convict Lake.

Maggie captured her dog, Tuli’s, joy over being able to hike off-leash on posted Eastern Sierra trails, saying she was, “enjoying the moment of her life!”

Aspendell, Bishop Creek Canyon (10/15/17) Anirudh Natekar

Anidrudh’s shot of Aspendell shows the last of the color at this elevation along the Sabrina fork of Bishop Creek. There is peak beauty still there to be seen, but it is fading quickly.

Niven Le followed our advice and traveled to the same areas, finding peak color wherever we advised going.

Here’s what they saw.

Aspendell, Bishop Creek Canyon – Peak to Past Peak – You Almost Missed It.

McGee Creek Canyon – Peak (75-100%) GO NOW!

Convict Lake – Peak (75-100%) GO NOW!

June Lake Loop – Peak (75-100%) GO NOW!

Lundy Canyon – Peak (75-100%) GO NOW!

Grant Lake, June Lake Loop (10/14/17) Gene Miller

Grant Lake, June Lake Loop (10/14/17) Gene Miller

Lee Vining Canyon (10/14/17) Gene Miller

Lee Vining Canyon (10/14/17) Gene Miller

Lee Vining Canyon (10/14/17) Gene Miller

Sherwin Creek Campground (10/14/17) Gene Miller

Gull Lake (10/15/17) Niven D Le

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Convict Lake, CA-395 (10/15/17) Niven D Le

June Lake Loop (10/15/17) Niven D Le

Lundy Lake (10/15/17) Niven D Le

June Lake Loop (10/15/17) Niven D Le

Sonora Pass (10/14/17) Niven D Le

Lundy Lake (10/15/17) Maggie Huang

June Lake Loop (10/15/17) Maggie Huang

June Lake Loop (10/15/17) Maggie Huang

June Lake Loop (10/15/17) Maggie Huang

Convict Lake (10/15/17) Maggie Huang

June Lake (10/15/17) Anirudh Natekar

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Lundy’s Looking Luscious

Lundy Canyon (10/8/17) Dylan Ren

Lundy Canyon (10/8/17) Dylan Ren

Jean Pan reports that she and her husband, Dylan Ren, visited Bishop, the June Lake loop and Lundy Canyon this past weekend. And, “It was really nice!”

Of these areas, they chose to linger in Lundy Canyon, because of its luscious color. They stopped at a day use area, about a mile or two up the canyon, where they entered an aspen grove that was cloaked in golden and red leaves.

Jean reported that the Lundy Canyon Campground had the best color she saw and estimates Lundy Canyon to be at peak, so we’re gonna declare it Peak of the Week.

However, please note that these photographs were taken before this week’s wind event. Today, winds gusting to 30 mph are predicted for the Eastern Sierra and days will remain breezy for the rest of the week.

So, we caution that areas that have turned color will lose some color, but those in the process of turning will continue to hold color. Jeff Simpson from Mono County affirms this reporting that while higher elevations (Sagehen, Virginia Lakes, Sonora Pass) have lost some of their leaves, lower elevations – including areas like the June Lake Loop and Lundy Canyon are still prime for a big show this weekend.

The June Lake Loop is nearing peak and should peak this weekend. Some locations, like Gull Lake, are already at Peak.

Lundy Canyon (7,858′) – Peak (75-100%) GO NOW!
June Lake Loop (7,654′)- Near Peak (50-75%) GO NOW!

Gull Lake, June Lake Loop (10/8/17) Dylan Ren

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Eastside Getting Hotter

Cardinal Village (10/7/17) Ryan Prawiradjaja

Convict Lake (10/7/17) Carol Novacek

Convict Lake (10/7/17) Dave Olden

It’s taken a while for fall color to develop on the Eastside, but signs are that it’s getting hotter, as seen in Ryan Prawiradjaja’s shot of aspen near Cardinal Village (Bishop Creek Canyon, Inyo County).

Carol Novacek hiked around Convict lake in Mono County on Saturday and found it not as far along as it was last year, though the difference in change in her photos indicate’s it’s getting close to peaking, since I was there on Wednesday.

At the time, only about 25% of the trees at the far end of the lake, below Mt. Morrison, had changed. In the three days since, more than half have turned yellow.

Convict Lake Trail (10/7/17) Herb Hwang

Color spotter Herb Hwang hiked beside Convict Lake to find the aspen 50/50 in lime and yellow. While, Dave Olden found the same, but noticed the lack of oranges and reds.

Convict Lake (7,850′) – Patchy to Near Peak (10-75%) – GO NOW!

Carol found Lundy Canyon, to the north in Mono County, Near Peak and “Glorious!”

Lundy Canyon (7,858′) – Near Peak (50-75%) – GO NOW!

Erick Castellon visited McGee Creek to return with these spectacular shots of peak color along the creek.  The peak color starts above the trailhead parking lot. Down canyon, Near Peak and Patchy conditions exist, meaning that the show will continue for another two weeks at McGee (conditions permitting).

 

 

McGee Creek (10/7/17) Erick Castellon

McGee Creek (10/7/17) Erick Castellon

McGee Creek (8,600′) – Near Peak – GO NOW!

Color spotter Clayton Peoples was among several who reported they traveled to the Eastside, “hitting key fall color spots in Inyo and Mono Counties. Most places–particularly those above 7,000′.”

Here’s what he found:

Upper Rock Creek (9,000′ to 10,300′) – Peak GO NOW! – Similar to what is happening elsewhere, there’s a varied mix of color in the groves, though Upper Rock Creek is a consistent Peak (75%-100%). The area around Rock Creek Lake is especially stunning right now, and a short hike on the Hilton Lakes Trail provides a great introduction to the beautiful color–with Bear Creek Spire and surrounding peaks serving as an awe-inspiring backdrop.

June Lake Loop (7,654′) – Near Peak GO NOW! – There is a lot more variation here than the aforementioned locations–some groves are still sporting lots of green, while others are brimming with yellow and orange glow. As such, Clayton rates the Loop in its entirety as “Near Peak” (50%-75%), but some groves are already Peak (75%-100%). For instance, the grove along the north shore of Silver Lake has peaked, but the aspen lining the south side of June Lake are Near Peak with probably a week to go before Peak.

Sonora Pass, CA-108 (10/8/17) Robert Cherenson

Sonora Pass (9,623′) – Near Peak to Peak (50-100%) GO NOW! – Sonora Pass (CA-108) is peaking reports Robert Cherenson. He traveled CA-108 finding peak color just west of the pass, two miles east of the pass, at the Leavitt Meadows Pack Station and the U.S. Marine Corps Mountain Warfare Training Center, near US 395. Spotty salmon-colored and yellow aspen grow along the West Walker River to the town of Walker on US 395.

Aspen, June Lake (10/7/17) Clayton Peoples

June Lake (10/8/17) Michael Brandt

Bishop Creek (8,000′ to 9,768′) – Peak GO NOW! – Most of the canyon has moved dramatically toward peak color, with “the Cardinal Village area is really popping right now. There is a beautiful pond on the property that is surrounded by white granite boulders and aspens–all of which are now peaking out in a vibrant yellow.”

North Lake (9,225′) – Near Peak to Peak (50-100%) – North Lake is the problem child of Bishop Creek Canyon. Some color spotters love it, while others say it is done… put a fork in it. As Xin Wang’s sunset photograph of North Lake shows, there are still many green aspen on the hillside above where the aspen are at peak. Though also in the photograph, some stands are now Past Peak. While, along the North Lake Road, it has been peaking, as seen in Peter Robbins’ shot (thumbnail below – click on thumbnail images to enlarge).

Bear Creek Lodge, S. Fork Bishop Creek (10/7/17) Kevin Gilligan

Quaking Aspen, Bishop Creek Canyon (10/7/17) Ryan Prawiradjaja

Cardinal Village, Bishop Creek (10/7/17) Ryan Prawiradjaja

Mist Falls, S. Fork Bishop Creek (10/7/17) Ryan Prawiradjaja

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pond at Cardinal Village (10/7/17) Clayton Peoples

Bear Creek Spire, Upper Rock Creek (10/7/17) Clayton Peoples

North Lake, Bishop Creek Canyon (10/7/17) Xin Wang

Table Mountain Group Camp, Bishop Creek Canyon (10/7/17) Ravi Ranganathan

Conway Summit (10/7/17) Ravi Ranganathan

Sagehen Meadows (10/7/17) Ravi Ranganathan

June Lake Loop (10/7/17) Ravi Ranganathan

Silver Lake (10/7/17) Ravi Ranganathan

South Lake Rd. near Parchers, Bishop Creek Canyon (10/7/17) Ravi Ranganathan

North Lake Turnoff (10/7/17) Peter Robbins

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Lundy Canyon – 50/50

Lundy Lake (9/30/17) Kimberly Kolafa

Lundy Canyon (9/30/17) Kimberly Kolafa

Color spotter Kimberly Kolafa visited Lundy Canyon last Saturday and found lots of patchy color with it at about “50/50 gold/green” around the lake.

She wrote, “If I were choosing a trail to day hike this weekend, the one up Lundy Canyon would be my pick.”

Lundy Canyon (7,858′) – Patchy (10-50%)