California Fall Color
Dude, autumn happens here, too.

Posts Tagged ‘Mono County’

Go Fly A Kite!

Fri ,26/08/2016
Eastern Sierra Kite Festival

Eastern Sierra Kite Festival

Walker, Calif. is the location of the first Eastern Sierra Kite Festival on the weekend of Sept. 17 and 18.

Colorful kites will be competing, demonstrated, built and displayed at this visual and fun event.

That’s great timing for a trip to Virginia Lakes, off Conway Summit, where color should be approaching peak.

Early peak color may also be near peak then at Tuolumne Meadows in eastern Yosemite National Park.

And, if you arrive from the south, a trip up Bishop Creek Canyon should be rewarding that week.

CLICK HERE or HERE, for more about the festival.

Scouting Report: Eastern Sierra

Thu ,18/08/2016
Aspen, South Lake (8/15/16) John Poimiroo

Aspen, South Lake (8/15/16) John Poimiroo

Aspen, Parcher's Resort (8/15/16) John Poimiroo

Aspen, Parcher’s Resort (8/15/16) John Poimiroo

Spots of bright yellow have begun to appear in a few aspen and willows at high elevations in the Eastern Sierra (U.S. 395) from Bishop Creek to Carson Pass (CA-88).

This is normal and does not indicate an early autumn show, though the overall health and robust green color of the aspen forest is encouraging. Conditions permitting, the fall color display in the Eastern Sierra should be as good as ever.

The Eastern Sierra aspen forest is mostly devoid of black leaf spot fungus, as was prevalent in the Northern Sierra last autumn. Though, willows, particularly at higher elevations, are dusted with yellow-orange rust fungus, and some aspen leaves carry nipple galls (small cream-colored bulges that contain insect larvae). The rust and galls will have inconsequential effect on the show, however.

More of a threat to California fall color has been the decline of native lady bugs (replaced by imported foreign varieties), as lady bugs are voracious consumers of aphids which can destroy aspen leaves and their color.

Aphids do not kill aspen, but they do reduce their autumn beauty. An Alpine County resident said she’s noticed a larger than normal number of aphids, as evidenced by the honeydew they drip on cars and deck furniture.

Aspen, Parcher's Resort (8/15/16) John Poimiroo

Aspen, Parcher’s Resort (8/15/16) John Poimiroo

Willows, South Lake (8/15/16) John Poimiroo

Willows, South Lake (8/15/16) John Poimiroo

South Lake (8/15/16) John Poimiroo

South Lake (8/15/16) John Poimiroo

Mist Falls, Bishop Creek Canyon (8/15/16) John Poimiroo

Mist Falls, Bishop Creek Canyon (8/15/16) John Poimiroo

0-10% – Just Starting – Bishop Creek Canyon and the Owens Valley – At Parcher’s Resort near South Lake, Jared Smith was encouraged by the high lake levels, which will provide brightly colored reflections at South, Sabrina and North Lake.

He reported that bright spots of yellow began appearing this week high up along the east canyon wall and among the willow.

In Bishop, towering cottonwood flanking the Owens River are verdant and seemingly unaware that autumn is approaching.

Twin Lakes, Mammoth Lakes (8/16/18) John Poimiroo

Twin Lakes, Mammoth Lakes (8/16/18) John Poimiroo

0-10% – Just Starting – Mammoth Lakes Basin – Similar spots of color are seen in the Lakes Basin at Mammoth Lakes. Mammoth Lakes’ many paved bike paths were full of families out for a ride through green groves of aspen. Mammoth Lakes Tourism is putting heightened emphasis on fall events, activities, festivals, programs and fall color reporting, this year, including locals recommending their favorite fall color hikes and rides. Mammoth Lakes Tourism has dedicated a page on their website to fall with new features and special offers.

June Lake (8/17/18) John Poimiroo

June Lake (8/17/18) John Poimiroo

Aspen, Virginia Lakes Rd (8/17/16) John Poimiroo

Aspen, Conway Summit (8/17/16) John Poimiroo

Aspen, Virginia Lakes Rd (8/17/16) John Poimiroo

Aspen, Conway Summit (8/17/16) John Poimiroo

Virginia Lakes Rd (8/17/16) John Poimiroo

Virginia Lakes Rd (8/17/16) John Poimiroo

Virginia Lakes Resort (8/17/16) John Poimiroo

Virginia Lakes Resort (8/17/16) John Poimiroo

Summer berries and lupine, Virginia Lakes Rd (8/17/16) John Poimiroo

Summer berries and lupine, Virginia Lakes Rd (8/17/16) John Poimiroo

Rabbitbrush, aspen, Virginia Lakes Rd (8/17/16) John Poimiroo

Rabbitbrush, aspen, Virginia Lakes Rd (8/17/16) John Poimiroo

0-10% – Just Starting – June Lake, Conway Summit, Virginia Lakes – No color is yet evident near June Lake or Conway Summit, where aspen are uniformly green. However, up toward Virginia Lakes, the change has started. Carolyn Webb of the Virginia Lakes Resort said “a burn (quick freeze) came through this past week, followed by spots of yellow appearing along the road.”

The color isn’t evident driving to the Virginia Lakes, but it is on the return when leaves are backlit by the sun.

Golden rabbit brush are beginning to bloom beside purple lupine beside the Virginia Lakes Road. For the coming month, the combination of early fall color and late blooming wildflowers can be seen at high elevations in the Eastern Sierra.

0-10% – Just Starting – Walker River and Antelope Valley – At Meadowcliff Lodge, north of Walker, Tim Fesko is still in summer season mode, too busy to notice early emerging fall color, though he is optimistic about the potential for this autumn’s display, noting how much rain and snow fell last winter.

0-10% – Just Starting – Monitor Pass – Hints of yellow are emerging as aspen lose their chlorophyll are seen in groves on the east side of Monitor Pass (CA-89) and beside the upper forks of the Carson River.

Markleeville Creek (8/17/18) John Poimiroo

Markleeville Creek (8/17/18) John Poimiroo

Black cottonwood, Markleeville Creek (8/17/18) John Poimiroo

Black cottonwood, Markleeville Creek (8/17/18) John Poimiroo

0-10% – Just Starting – Markleeville – Black cottonwood at the Markleeville Heritage and Nature Park are dark green, healthy and ready to reveal their golden color.

0-10% – Just Starting – Hope Valley and Carson Pass – Continuing north, the Hope Valley and Carson Pass (CA-88) have a mix of stressed (light green) to robust (dark green) aspen, though overall the forest is doing better. John Brissenden at Sorensen’s Resort near the junction of CA-88 and CA-89, was encouraged by the improved vitality of Hope Valley’s aspen groves.  Again, this area should expect a strong show of color this autumn.

The take away from this scouting trip is that Eastern Sierra deciduous trees and shrubs are healthy, robust and prime for a great show this fall.

 

Peak Moves Down to the Owens Valley

Wed ,04/11/2015
Vista Point, Owens Valley (10/28/15) Shuo Li

Vista Point, Owens Valley (10/28/15) Shuo Li

Color spotter Shuo Li, broke away from studies as an international student to visit the Eastern Sierra just before snow fell in the high country.

Several of the areas he photographed – Conway Summit, June Lake and Mammoth Lakes – have changed significantly since he photographed them late last week, though Crowley Lake and the Owens Valley are still peaking.

Peak (75-100%) GO NOW! – Owens Valley

The Green Church, Crowley Lake (10/28/15) Shuo Li

The Green Church, Crowley Lake (10/28/15) Shuo Li

Owens Valley Vista  (10/28/15) Shuo Li

Owens Valley Vista (10/28/15) Shuo Li

Owens Valley Vista (10/28/15) Shuo Li

Owens Valley Vista (10/28/15) Shuo Li

Owens Valley  (10/28/15) Shuo Li

Owens Valley (10/28/15) Shuo Li

Owens Valley (10/28/15) Shuo Li

Owens Valley (10/28/15) Shuo Li

Owens Valley  (10/28/15) Shuo Li

Owens Valley (10/28/15) Shuo Li

High Sierra Sings Its Fall Swan Song

Tue ,03/11/2015
June Lake (11/3/15) Alicia Vennos

June Lake (11/3/15) Alicia Vennos

With snow blanketing high points throughout the Eastern and Northern Sierra, as Mono County color spotter Alicia Vennos reports, “most areas are now past peak.”

Poole Plant Rd, off Tioga Rd. (11/3/15) Alicia Vennos

Poole Plant Rd, off Tioga Rd. (11/3/15) Alicia Vennos

Lower Tioga Pass Rd. (11/3/15) Alicia Vennos

Lower Tioga Pass Rd. (11/3/15) Alicia Vennos

Lower Tioga Rd. (11/3/15) Alicia Vennos

Lower Tioga Rd. (11/3/15) Alicia Vennos

June Lake Loop (11/3/15) Alicia Vennos

June Lake Loop (11/3/15) Alicia Vennos

June Lake Loop (11/3/15) Alicia Vennos

June Lake Loop (11/3/15) Alicia Vennos

Silver Lake (11/3/15) Alicia Vennos

Silver Lake (11/3/15) Alicia Vennos

Silver Lake (11/3/15) Alicia Vennos

Silver Lake (11/3/15) Alicia Vennos

Gull Lake (11/3/15) Alicia Vennos

Gull Lake (11/3/15) Alicia Vennos

Exceptions are northern Mono County where Walker, Coleville and Topaz in the Antelope Valley “are absolutely gorgeous, right now.” and the Owens Valley.

These territories are, as Alicia describes, a “combination of pastoral ranch lands surrounded by rugged snowcapped mountains, populated with golden poplars, willows, elm and aspen, and rivers running running through it all.”

At the north end of US 395, it’s the West Walker River canyon and Antelope Valley. To the south, it’s the Owens River and Valley. Both will continue to show nice fall color for the next week or two.

This week’s snow has closed several roads and passes, including Tioga Pass (CA-120), Sonora Pass (CA-108), Monitor Pass (CA-89) and roads to Red’s Meadow, Devil’s Postpile, Lake Mary and the Mammoth Lakes Basin.

Those closures also indicate that skiing and snowboarding is about to begin. Sure enough, Mammoth Mountain has announced it will be opening a week earlier than anticipated, with lifts operating, starting on Thursday (Nov. 5).

Blood Red Aspen Drip Across Conway Summit

Wed ,28/10/2015
Conway Summit (10/27/15) Alicia Vennos

Conway Summit (10/27/15) Alicia Vennos

How’s that for a Halloween headline?

When we received the above photo of a plethora of peaked aspen oozing across a gully atop Conway Summit, macabre thoughts of haunted forests, delightfully possessed with crimson fall color, came to mind.

After all, it’s the time of year when things go bump in the night, or is it that aspen generate intense color during the night?

Mono County fall color sorceress Alicia Vennos looked into her crystal ball before reporting, “It’s now or never.” She hints that this could be the last weekend to see such color in the Eastern Sierra. By the following weekend, much of it will likely be gone.

If you’re an experienced trick or treater, you know which houses give out the big chocolate bars and which give bags of mini carrots.  The same is true of fall color. Some areas are worth visiting, while others, well, the carrots are more tasty.

For those heading to Mono County this weekend, must stops are the June Lake Loop in its entirety, Mammoth Creek, Lower Rock Creek Road and trail, lower Tioga Pass Road, lower Lundy Lake Road, Conway Summit between Lee Vining and Bridgeport, and the West Walker River.

But, hurry, as snow is expected to dust surrounding peaks.  That provides a photogenic contrast to the gold, orange and red among the aspen, though it could also trick the trees to drop their leaves.  No treat.

Silver Lake (10/27/15) Alicia Vennos

Silver Lake (10/27/15) Alicia Vennos

Gull Lake Campground (10/27/15) Alicia Vennos

Gull Lake Campground (10/27/15) Alicia Vennos

Gull Lake (10/27/15) Alicia Vennos

Gull Lake (10/27/15) Alicia Vennos

June Lake Loop (10/27/15) Alicia Vennos

June Lake Loop (10/27/15) Alicia Vennos

Mono Lake (10/27/15) Alicia Vennos

Mono Lake (10/27/15) Alicia Vennos

Conway Summit (10/27/15) Alicia Vennos

Conway Summit (10/27/15) Alicia Vennos

West Walker River (10/27/15) Alicia Vennos

West Walker River (10/27/15) Alicia Vennos

West Walker River (10/27/15) Alicia Vennos

West Walker River (10/27/15) Alicia Vennos

Road to Lobdell Lake (10/27/15) Alicia Vennos

Road to Lobdell Lake (10/27/15) Alicia Vennos

Here’s Alicia’s latest (and perhaps last) report:

Peak GO NOW! (75-100%) – Lower Rock Creek – For a lovely Creekside hike amidst glowing aspens, take the Lower Rock Creek trail. Start from the top parking lot, near the US 395 junction, and walk down for about 2 miles. It’s uphill on the way back, but the different light through the trees makes it equally enjoyable. Road work along Rock Creek Road is finished and the smooth drive through still-lovely color is enjoyable. Tom’s Place holds a Halloween Costume Party on Oct. 31.  Lower Rock Creek Road and the mountain bike/hiking trail have some nice spots of color but they are still a week or so before peak.

Peak GO NOW! (75-100%) – McGee Creek, Convict Lake.

Peak GO NOW! (75-100%) – Mammoth Creek/Old Mammoth Road.  Mammoth Creek is shining brightly with orange, gold and reds, right now.

Peak GO NOW! (75-100%) – June Lake Loop/Hwy. 158.  The Loop should not be missed right now — the color is pretty much perfect the entire way around Hwy. 158.

Near Peak GO NOW! (50-75%) – Lee Vining Canyon/Lower Tioga Pass Road. Poole Plant Road, close to the bottom of Tioga Pass Road, is getting very close to going off. It’s a matter of days now before it is perfect.

Peak GO NOW! (75-100%) – Lundy Canyon, especially lower Lundy Lake Road, around Lundy Lake itself, and at the first waterfall lookout on the trail.

Peak GO NOW! (75-100%) – Conway Summit.  This spectacular hillside of aspens shines under snow-covered Dunderberg Peak and some of the groves are literally blood red.  This can be seen right from US 395 and the pull-outs but always use caution when exiting and re-entering the highway.

Peak GO NOW! (75-100%) – West Walker River – The river is now lined with mostly golden foliage, and Devil’s Gate, just north of Bridgeport, is perfect, right now. The Burcham Flat Road out of Walker to Lobdell Lake has a few patches of color left, though it’s pretty much past peak. Add this to your bucket list to visit during the first two weeks of October next autumn (can you believe we’re already talking about next year?), as the groves of aspens in this part of northern Mono County are prolific and, backed by an alpine setting, lovely.

Halloween Parties: Tom’s Place (Rock Creek); Heidelberg Inn, June Lake.

Trick or Treating for Kids: The “Trails” neighborhood in Mammoth Lakes is closed to traffic from 5-9 p.m. on Halloween for community trick or treating… Everyone is welcome!

Joyful Reflections Along The June Lake Loop

Wed ,28/10/2015

 

Silver Lake (10/23/15) Josh Wray

Silver Lake (10/23/15) Josh Wray

June Lake Loop (10/23/15) Josh Wray

June Lake Loop (10/23/15) Josh Wray

June Lake Loop (10/23/15) Josh Wray

June Lake Loop (10/23/15) Josh Wray

June Lake Loop (10/23/15) Josh Wray

June Lake Loop (10/23/15) Josh Wray

June Lake Loop (10/23/15) Josh Wray

June Lake Loop (10/23/15) Josh Wray

Photographs of the June Lake Loop taken by color spotter Josh Wray are so joyful, that like Josh, we just want to throw leaves into the air.

Josh writes that he’s “sad for this season to come to an end.”

That’s saying a lot, because Josh lives in Mammoth Lakes where it seems every local can hardly wait for winter to arrive, so that they can begin skiing and snowboarding again on their great mountain.

So, if fall color must end in Mono County, it’s doing so with a spectacular show of bright color, particularly at June Lake.

Josh, don’t be sad. Your photos are making us happy.

June Lake Loop (10/23/15) Josh Wray

June Lake Loop (10/23/15) Josh Wray

June Lake Loop (10/23/15) Josh Wray

June Lake Loop (10/23/15) Josh Wray

Mono County: The Show Goes On

Thu ,22/10/2015
Mammoth Creek (10/20/15) Greg Newbry

Mammoth Creek (10/20/15) Greg Newbry

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.

Convict Lake (10/16/15) Charles Porter

Convict Lake (10/16/15) Charles Porter

Convict Lake (10/21/15) Charles Porter

Convict Lake (10/21/15) Charles Porter

Conway Summit (10/18/15) Alicia Vennos

Conway Summit (10/18/15) Alicia Vennos

Convict Creek Below Outlet (10/21/15) Charles Porter

Convict Creek Below Outlet (10/21/15) Charles Porter

Mammoth Rock, Old Mammoth Rd (10/18/15) Alicia Vennos

Mammoth Rock, Old Mammoth Rd (10/18/15) Alicia Vennos

Old Mammoth Rd (10/18/15) Alicia Vennos

Old Mammoth Rd (10/18/15) Alicia Vennos

June Lake Loop (10/18/15) Alicia Vennos

June Lake Loop (10/18/15) Alicia Vennos

Tioga Rd (10/19/15)

Tioga Rd (10/19/15)

Lower Tioga Rd (10/19/15) Alicia Vennos

Lower Tioga Rd (10/19/15) Alicia Vennos

Lundy Canyon (10/20/15) Josh Wray

Lundy Canyon (10/20/15) Josh Wray

Silver Lake (10/18/15) Alicia Vennos

Silver Lake (10/18/15) Alicia Vennos

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.

Silver Lake (10/18/15) LA Leaf Peeper

Silver Lake (10/18/15) LA Leaf Peeper

 

Postcard: Gallimauphry

Tue ,20/10/2015
Sunrise Over Silver Lake (10/9/15) Nancy Wright

Sunrise Over Silver Lake (10/9/15) Nancy Wright

We’re now getting so many beautiful photographs of fall color each day, that sometimes there are just too many good ones to post separately.

So, Gallimauphry is our collection of assorted wonders. This collection includes some historic shots (more than a week old) and though we don’t usually post older images, as they could mislead travelers as to what’s showing, we’ll occasionally mix a few in these postcard selections, such as Nancy Wright’s shot of Sunrise Over Silver Lake (above) shot in early October in Mono County.

Lessons Learned:

  1. Get there at dawn, and
  2. There’s always next year.
Spanish Creek, Plumas County (10/19/15) Mike Nellor

Spanish Creek, Plumas County (10/19/15) Mike Nellor

Mike Nellor, a color spotter in the Quincy area, sends us this shot of Spanish Creek as it flows through Oakland Camp, east of Quincy. Plumas County color spotter Karen Moritz reports that Bucks Lake is now at 75% and the area around Quincy is peaking.  The Indian Valley, also in Plumas County, is Near Peak.

Lundy Canyon (10/20/15) Josh Wray

Lundy Canyon (10/20/15) Josh Wray

Josh Wray sends this peakaboo glimpse of how the color is developing in Lundy Canyon (Mono County).  Yes, it’s still Near Peak.

Mono County – Wow!

Mon ,19/10/2015
Double waterfall at June Lake (10/17/15) Alena Nicholas

Double waterfall, Lundy Canyon (10/17/15) Alena Nicholas

Ansel Adams Wilderness (10/18/15) Alena Nicholas

Ansel Adams Wilderness (10/18/15) Alena Nicholas

 

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.

June Lake Loop (10/17/15) Patricia Costa

June Lake Loop (10/17/15) Patricia Costa

Mammoth Lakes (10/17/15) Patricia Costa

Mammoth Lakes (10/17/15) Patricia Costa

Conway Summit (10/17/15) Patricia Costa

Conway Summit (10/17/15) Patricia Costa

Devil's Postpile (10/17/15) Patricia Costa

Devil’s Postpile (10/17/15) Patricia Costa

This Week in Mono County by Jeff Simpson

Fri ,16/10/2015

Here’s a video of #SierraFallColors taken this week by Jeff Simpson of Mono County Tourism. Most of the yellow color is California Aspen, though orange-yellow willows are also shown.