California Fall Color
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Posts Tagged ‘Monitor Pass’

June Lake is Jumping – Go Now!

Tue ,21/10/2014
Despite the warning, Greg Newbry shot this at June Lake, anyway (10/19/14) Greg Newbry

Despite the warning, Greg Newbry shot this near June Lake anyway (10/19/14) Greg Newbry

June Lake Loop (10/19/14) Alicia Vennos

June Lake Loop (10/19/14) Alicia Vennos

June Lake Loop (10/21/14) Steve Wolfe

June Lake Loop (10/21/14) Steve Wolfe

June Lake Loop (10/21/14) Steve Wolfe

June Lake Loop (10/21/14) Steve Wolfe

Lee Vining Canyon (10/21/14) Steve Wolfe

Lee Vining Canyon (10/21/14) Steve Wolfe

Mono County color spotter Alicia Vennos reports that fall color continues to explode in Mono County and predicts it should hold for at least another weekend, barring storms or high winds.

Today, Eastern Sierra color spotter Steve Wolfe left Bishop Creek Canyon to drive north along U.S. 395.  He confirmed what Alicia’s been saying, that aspen up Lundy Canyon, along the June Lake Loop and in Lee Vining Canyon are, surprisingly, still full in many places, with at- or past-peak, “Go Now!” colors.

Steve predicted that “with weather due to warm up about 10 degrees for the next few days, the color should continue to hold at least until the end of the week.  The color north of Bridgeport and south of Walker River is at- or past-peak, too, with yellow, orange and the occasional red.”

He wrote that “Lundy Canyon, while not as spectacular as June Lake Loop in its variety and intensity of color, is still uniformly yellow, with some green hanging in there. Lee Vining also has brilliant, full aspen stands.”

Lower Rock Creek Road (Near Peak – 50 – 75%) The lower trail is finally turning and should be close to peak this weekend.

Convict Lake (Peak to Past Peak) - “Ambush at the Lake” the Convict Lake Resort’s annual fall fishing derby is running now through Nov. 15, with cash and resort prizes.  Morrison’s Bonus Derby Weekend is Oct. 31 – Nov. 2, 2014.  For more about these events, contact Convict Lake Resort at 800-992-2260 or www.ConvictLake.comGO NOW!

Mammoth Lakes (Peak to Past Peak) – GO NOW!

June Lake Loop (10/19/14) Greg Newbry

June Lake Loop (10/19/14) Greg Newbry

June Lake Loop (Peak – 75 – 100%) - The June Lake Loop/Hwy. 158 is particularly beautiful from Gull Lake, “down canyon” to Grant Lake.  GO NOW!

Little Walker Lake (10/19/14) Alicia Vennos

Little Walker Lake (10/19/14) Alicia Vennos

Walker Lake (Peak – 75 – 100%) From the north end of the June Lake Loop/Hwy. 158, Little Walker Lake (Walker Lake on the Google Map) is peaking at lake level, and should hold through the weekend. Alicia Vennos provides this advice on how to get there: the trailhead is the only public access (you cannot drive to the lake on Walker Lake Rd. as that end of the lake is private).  Find the trailhead at the end of Sawmill Canyon Rd.  On the Fall Color Map, it doesn’t look that close to the lake but you just walk up a short incline from the parking lot, and you can look right down on the lake. GO NOW!

Lower Tioga Road (10/19/14) Alicia Vennos

Lower Tioga Road (10/19/14) Alicia Vennos

Lee Vining Canyon (Peak – 75 – 100%) - Groves at the base of Tioga Pass Rd./Hwy. 120 just north of the US 395 junction in Lee Vining Canyon are just turning now while along Poole Plant Road, the color is peaking and again should be amazing this weekend, as well. GO NOW!

Lower Lundy Lake Road (Peak – 75 – 100%) Lower Lundy Lake Rd. is rich in color — definitely peaking. GO NOW!

Sonora Pass (Peak to Past Peak) Sonora Pass and Leavitt Meadows are also glowing, with some areas and stands past peak.  Autumn rides through the trees are still available at the Leavitt Meadows Pack Station: text (preferred) or leave a message at (775) 450-0014GO NOW!

Walker River (Patchy – 10 – 50%) – The drive along the West Walker River in north county is becoming golden as the trees and willows along the shore get increasingly brighter.

Walker, Coleville, Topaz  (Patchy – 10 – 50%) – Spots of bright yellow and lime are seen among the Antelope Valley’s stands of black cottonwood.

Monitor Pass (Past Peak) – YOU MISSED IT!

 

 

 

Fall Color Hike: Lundy Canyon Trail

Thu ,02/10/2014
Fall color edges the Lundy Canyon Trial (9/28/14) Alicia Vennos

Fall color edges the Lundy Canyon Trail (9/28/14) Alicia Vennos

GO NOW! Near Peak (50 – 75%) Mammoth Lakes Basin - Twin Lakes in the Mammoth Lakes Basin is at peak with beautiful orange colors.  Other lakes in the basin either lack fall color or are still patchy. Color spotter Kevin Lennox reports erratic uniformity of color among the trees in the Lakes Basin.

Patchy (10 – 50%) – Laurel Canyon – Very little color showing at base, though about a fourth of trees have turned at the top of the canyon.

Patchy (10 – 50%) – Convict Lake - Convict has lots of yellow just appearing around the lake; Convict Canyon has a way to go.

GO NOW! Near Peak (50 – 75%) - McGee Creek Canyon – Gorgeous color above 8,500′

Patchy (10 – 50%) – Crowley Lake - Very little color is showing, as yet.

Lower areas of the Lundy Canyon trail are still green (9/28/14) Alicia Vennos

Lower areas of the Lundy Canyon trail are still green (9/28/14) Alicia Vennos

Peak color is found higher along the Lundy Canyon trail and near waterfalls (9/28/14) Alicia Vennos

Peak color is found higher along the Lundy Canyon trail and near waterfalls (9/28/14) Alicia Vennos

Lundy Canyon (9/28/14) Alicia Vennos

Lundy Canyon (9/28/14) Alicia Vennos

GO NOW! Near Peak (50 – 75%) – Lundy Canyon Trail – Color Spotter Alicia Vennos of Mono County picks Lundy Canyon as a peak hike for this weekend.  She reports color at peaking along the trail and in waterfall areas though the Lundy Lake Road and the lake itself are still green.  That means the color should be good not just this weekend, but for the following week (wind and weather permitting).

Patchy (10 – 50%) – June Lake Loop - A mix of green, lime and yellow color the aspen surrounding the June Lakes. Brush are painting surrounding mountainsides auburn and orange. June Lake has at least a week to two weeks before peaking.

GO NOW! Peak (75 – 100%) – Saddlebag Lakes - Upper Tioga Pass is at full peak.  There aren’t many aspen in this area, though riparian color is beautiful.

Patchy (10 – 50%) – Lee Vining Canyon – Similar to June Lakes, it has a way to go before full color.

YOU MISSED IT! Past Peak – Upper Virginia Lakes Road – Wind stripped turned trees at Virginia Lakes, last weekend.

Patchy (10 – 50%) Lower Virginia Lakes Road - Wind swept aspen surrounding Virginia Lakes lost their leaves this past week. Color spotter Steve Wolfe reported “The last half of Virginia Lakes Road at Conway Summit is past peak, with lots of leafless stands, but the first half… is still just this side of “patchy”, with green, lime and yellow stands.”

GO NOW! Peak (75 – 100%) – Sonora Pass - Most of the color to be seen along Sonora Pass is on the eastern side of the pass. Higher elevations are at full peak with lower groves of aspen a mix of yellow and green.

Patchy (10 – 50%) – Walker/Coleville - Very little yellow and orange color is showing among the willows and cottonwood.

Near Peak (50 – 75%) – Monitor Pass – Wind stripped some of the turned color this past week, but leaves that hadn’t turned are now coloring up.  Color Spotter Kimberly Kofala reports the white trunks of the aspen contrast nicely with the new color.

Finally, It’s Fall

Tue ,23/09/2014
Google

Google

We’re feeling lucky today.  Even though fall color has been visible in locations throughout California since August, Google’s search masthead today makes it official.  Finally, it’s fall. In the past week, I traveled to attend a travel writer’s conference in Iceland.  Though that Nordic country has much to its credit, Iceland’s fall color doesn’t hold a candle (or more appropriately, a lava flow) to California’s. Here are some of the great photos that have appeared on our Facebook site, since I took off towards the artic circle.

Santa Bernardino Mountains (9/6/14) Alena Nichols

Santa Bernardino Mountains (9/6/14) Alena Nichols

Santa Bernardino Mountains (9/6/14) Alena Nichols

Santa Bernardino Mountains (9/6/14) Alena Nichols

Santa Bernardino Mountains (9/6/14) Alena Nichols

Santa Bernardino Mountains (9/6/14) Alena Nichols

Santa Bernardino Mountains (9/6/14) Alena Nichols

Santa Bernardino Mountains (9/6/14) Alena Nichols

Santa Bernardino Mountains (9/6/14) Alena Nichols

Santa Bernardino Mountains (9/6/14) Alena Nichols

Alena Nichols posts these shots taken in the San Bernardino Mountains

Rock Creek (9/6/14) Steve Wolfe

Rock Creek (9/6/14) Steve Wolfe

Virginia Lakes (9/12/14) Steve Wolfe

Virginia Lakes (9/12/14) Steve Wolfe

Virginia Lakes Rd (9/12/14) Steve Wolfe

Virginia Lakes Rd (9/12/14) Steve Wolfe

Bishop Creek (9/14/14) Steve Wolfe

Bishop Creek (9/14/14) Steve Wolfe

Dunderberg Meadow (9/21/14) Steve Wolfe

Dunderberg Meadow (9/21/14) Steve Wolfe

Steve Wolfe sends these shots from the Eastern Sierra.

Rock Creek (9/20/14) Susan Taylor

Rock Creek (9/20/14) Susan Taylor

Napa Valley (9/20/14) Susan Taylor

Napa Valley (9/20/14) Susan Taylor

Susan Taylor visited the Napa Valley and Eastern Sierra for these great images.

Sabrina Lake (9/21/14) Kimberly Kofala

Sabrina Lake (9/21/14) Kimberly Kofala

Monitor Pass (9/1/14) Kimberly Kofala

Monitor Pass (9/1/14) Kimberly Kofala

Hope Valley (9/20/14) Kimberly Kofala

Hope Valley (9/20/14) Kimberly Kofala

North Lake (9/22/14) Kimberly Kofala

North Lake (9/22/14) Kimberly Kofala

Kimberly Kofala always has great shots, and these did not disappoint.

Mosquito Flat Trail (9/17/14) Candace Gregory

Mosquito Flat Trail (9/17/14) Candace Gregory

Mosquito Flat Trail (9/17/14) Candace Gregory

Mosquito Flat Trail (9/17/14) Candace Gregory

Mosquito Flat Trail (9/17/14) Candace Gregory

Mosquito Flat Trail (9/17/14) Candace Gregory

Candace Gregory sent these warm aspen leaves from the Mosquito Flat Trail near Rock Creek Lake.

Hwy 89, north of Truckee (9/21/14) Laura Thompson

Hwy 89, north of Truckee (9/21/14) Laura Thompson

Laura Thompson reports the color is beginning to develop on Hwy 89 north of Truckee.

Indian Corn (9/21/14) Katrina Lounsbury

Indian Corn (9/21/14) Katrina Lounsbury

And closing this gallery of recent shots is Katrina Lounsbury’s kernel of fall color.

On the Road Again

Wed ,19/09/2012

Conway Summit (9/18/12) John Poimiroo

This past Saturday, I headed to Mammoth Lakes in the Eastern Sierra for the Outdoor Writers Association of California fall meeting.  My route crossed Echo Summit (U.S. 50); Luther Pass and Monitor Pass (CA-89); and Devil’s Gate Pass, Conway Summit and Deadman Summit (U.S. 395).

Monitor Pass, aspen begin to turn lime green (9/15/12) John Poimiroo

Side trips during the conference took me through Mono and Inyo Counties, along U.S. 395 and over Sherwin Summit to Bishop, then up Bishop Creek Canyon to the Parcher’s Resort at South Lake.  I also joined outdoor writers on a Jeep expedition south of Mammoth Lakes and up Laurel Creek Canyon to 10,300′.

Returning yesterday, I checked the state of color change along U.S. 395 at June Lake and up the Virginia Lakes Canyon.  I then crossed Sonora Pass (CA 108) to the Golden Chain Highway (CA 49) and rode north to El Dorado County.

Yellow rabbitbrush provide the brightest color along Monitor Pass (9/15/12) John Poimiroo

I came away with an overall impression of what fall color will look like on Saturday, when autumn arrives officially.

My conclusion: The most colorful display (red, orange, yellow, gold, lime, dark green) will occur in the Bishop Creek Canyon (west of Bishop) toward South, North and Sabrina Lakes.  Though, fluttering yellow and lime will be seen in stands of aspen above 9,000′ throughout the Eastern Sierra.

Pockets of nice color can be found below 9,000′, though lower elevations are still two to three weeks away before they approach 50% change.

Here’s what I found:

U.S. 50

0 – 15% – Bracken fern have turned yellow-orange between 2,000 and 3,000′. At 6,000′, quaking aspen are liming with some yellow.  From Strawberry Lodge to Sierra at Tahoe, willows have turned yellow to gold with lots of the drainage plants having turned.

CA – 89/88

0 – 15% – Luther Pass – Quaking aspen lining the edge of Grass Lake are showing the slightest change in color.

0 – 15% – Hope Valley – Several stands of quaking aspen have turned yellow near the Sorenson’s Resort, though peak appears to be two weeks away.

0 – 15% – Monitor Pass – There is some lime showing among the several stands of aspen along the pass, but very little yellow yet showing.

Conway Summit aspen backlit by sunset (9/15/12) John Poimiroo

U.S. 395

0 – 15% – Conway Summit – Groves of aspen to the west of the highway, approaching the summit are liming and tinged with yellow and gold, particularly at sunset.

 

Virginia Lakes – Trumbull Lake (9/18/12) John Poimiroo

15 – 30% – Virginia Lakes Canyon (9,200′) – Aspen not near water are showing signs of stress.  Paul McFarland of Friends of the Inyo, a non-profit cooperative association that helps public agencies protect the Eastern Sierra, commented that he believes the previous dry winter has parched some trees and will lead to disappointing color in areas not near water sources.  That phenomenon was seen in select stands of aspen, where leaves appeared desicated or spotted.  However, most of the trees appear healthy, with their leaves green and shiny.

15 – 30% – Lundy Canyon - Color spotter Janet Fullwood reports color starting to appear in Lundy Canyon.  It is similar to Virginia Lakes Canyon.

Virginia Lakes (9/18/12) John Poimiroo

However, leaves on aspen near water sources are deeply green and appear healthy.  Color spotter Carolyn Webb of the Virginia Lakes Resort believes it’s too early to tell whether the show will match previous years, though there’s still plenty of time for the trees to color up.

Virginia Lakes (9/18/12) John Poimiroo

The weather at Virginia Lakes has been ideal for fishing and should continue through the weekend.  Plan on the best color appearing in the next two weeks.

0 – 15% – June Lakes Basin – Too early.  Plan for color to be near peaking in two to three weeks.  In the meantime, the fishing is great!

0 – 15% – Mammoth Lakes Basin – Too early.  Plan for color to be near peaking in two to three weeks.  More great fishing here and nearby.

0 – 15% – U.S. 395 – The upper reaches of the Hilton Creek drainage (south of Mammoth Lakes) seen from U.S. 395 are aglow with orange, yellow and lime aspen.

Jeeps drive a rocky road to Laurel Canyon (9/17/12) John Poimiroo

15 – 30% – Laurel Lakes Canyon – Lots of lime and yellow are beginning to show among the aspen lining Laurel Creek.  This is a rock and boulder strewn Jeep road that should be driven only with a 4WD vehicle.  Only a couple of turnouts exist, so it’s a long drive uphill to get to one, once you pass the color.

A Gecko-green Jeep Wrangler seems camouflaged as it rides toward the changing colors of Laurel Canyon (9/17/12) John Poimiroo

CA 168

Bishop Creek Canyon, approaching South Lake (9/18/12) Janet Fullwood

15 – 30% – Bishop Creek Canyon – Dogtrekker.com editor Janet Fullwood (who won two photography awards at the Outdoor Writers conference) provided the following photograph taken in Bishop Creek Canyon.  This area is prime to be full of color this weekend and for the next couple of weeks.

U.S. 395

Whitney Portal Trail (9/16/12) Dennis Vance

0 – 15% – Whitney Portal Road – Color spotter Dennis Vance sends this photo taken last Sunday at the  Mount Whitney Portal trail at Big Horn Sheep Meadow as well as Out Post Camp.  He saw a ” shade of yellow appearing on the willows within the meadow at 10,300′.

CA 108 – Marine Corps Warfare Center (9/18/12) John Poimiroo

CA – 108

15 – 30% – Marine Corps Mountain Warfare Training Center – An impressive stand of quaking aspen is beginning to glow.

CA 108 – Leavitt Meadows Pack Station (9/18/12) John Poimiroo

30 – 50% – Leavitt Meadows Pack Station – A spectacular stand of quaking aspen is seen on the eastern side of Sonora Pass at the Leavitt Meadows Pack Station.

0 – 15% – Sonora Pass (8,000′) – Clusters of robust aspen are seen at 8,000′, a dried out stand of aspen is found at 9,000′.

Mullein – Stanislaus Nat’l Forest (9/18/12) John Poimiroo

0 – 15 – Stanislaus National Forest – California is one of the few fall color destinations where wildflowers continue to bloom as trees turn color.  This is seen at the entrance to the Eureka Valley Campground where a mullein grandmother plant and Yosemite aster bloom near stands of Fremont Cottenwoods with their distinctive tear drop shaped lime to yellow leaves.  Black oak are still three weeks away from showing their deep orange color.

CA 49

0 – 15% – The only gold to be found along Hwy 49 is in the Gold Country’s stream beds, as cottonwood, maple and oaks are still dressed in green.

Fremont Cottonwood – Stanislaus Nat’l Forest (9/18/12) John Poimiroo

Shasta Cascade

0 – 15% – Sarah, a color spotter in the Shasta Cascade reports it’s still too early to see much change throughout the region, though expect ground plants in Lassen Volcanic National Park to turn color, first.

Find of the day: “The Big Cheese” sandwich served at Tahlula’s Restaurant in Sonora… a grilled combo of bacon, mac ‘n’ cheese, chedder, mozarella and parmesan.  It’s worth the drive, even if there’s little fall color yet to be seen along Hwy 49.

Colorful Routes to the Eastern Sierra – Go Now!

Fri ,21/10/2011

From the Central Valley and SF Bay Area, the most direct and most colorful route to June Lake and Mammoth Lakes is across Tioga Pass (CA Hwy 120).  Color spotters are reporting rosy dogwood glowing in the forests of Yosemite National Park along the park’s Big Oak Flat and Tioga roads (Hwy 120).

75 – 100% – Tioga Pass (Hwy 120) - 90% of the aspen are showing yellow with “huge swaths of color, with quite a bit of orange” along slopes visible from US 395, according Ann Turner reporting in CalPhoto.com.

75 – 100% – Monitor Pass (Hwy 89) - Most of the aspen over the pass are at peak with brilliant yellow.

75 – 100% – Conway Summit (US 395) - Broad areas of orange, yellow and red color cover the hillsides east of US 395 at Conway Summit.

75 – 100% – Carson and Luther Pass (Hwy 88 and 89) - The Hope Valley is flickering with bright yellow and at peak.

Monitor Pass/Antelope Valley Near Peak

Fri ,23/10/2009
Monitor Pass (10/23/09)

Monitor Pass (10/23/09)

Monitor Pass (10/23/09)

Monitor Pass (10/23/09)

Monitor Pass (10/23/09)

Monitor Pass (10/23/09)

Monitor Pass (10/23/09)

Monitor Pass (10/23/09)

Walker Canyon (10/23/09)

Walker Canyon (10/23/09)

EASTERN SIERRA

30-50% — Antelope Valley (Walker, Coleville & Topaz 5000′ – 5300′). Mark Fesko of the Meadowcliff Resort reports that the cottonwoods in the Antelope Valley are turning from the lime green to yellows. Some at completely yellow while others are half & half.

50-75% — Monitor Pass (7000′ – 8300′). Mark’s run up to Monitor Pass, reported partial to full yellow aspen leading up to the summit at 8314′ which is now 75-100% of peak.  This is a good weekend to travel over Monitor Pass to  the Antelope Valley.

50-75% — Walker Canyon (5400′ – 6000′). Aspen, Cottonwoods and Willows are turning.  Mark says lots of yellows and some oranges are starting to pop!

Photo Credit: © 2009, Mark Fesko