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 ‘Mono County’
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.
Jeff Simpson drove throughout Mono County yesterday and found the colors to be “unbelievable” before the storm. This morning, he returned across the same route and was pleased to see that despite last night’s rain and wind the color, “was still there,” and he was “very surprised to see a good majority of leaves still on the trees,” despite severe wind the previous night.
Earlier this autumn, we wrote about the abcission layer which develops in autumn, preventing the leaf from being nourished. “Eventually, like scissors, the abscission cells close the connection between leaf and branch and the leaf falls,” we reported.
Wind is the biggest nemesis to autumn leaves, but if the leaves are still being nourished by the tree and the abcission layer isn’t yet fully closed, they may stay attached to branches, even though colorful and near ready to fall. That is likely what happened in this case.
The joy Jeff felt about fall still continuing in Mono County, regardless of the storm, was doubled when he spied a double rainbow arcing over Conway Summit.
Conway Summit, Mono County – Peak (75-100%) GO NOW!
“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.
Peak yellow aspen leaves were fluttering in the wind when Laura Zirino visited McGee Creek, yesterday.
This area of the Eastern Sierra will likely drop it’s leaves by the weekend, should strong winds blow through on Thursday.
It’s why the season is called Fall.
McGee Creek – Peak (75-100%) GO NOW!
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.
The hike to Parker Lake is absolutely breathtaking, states Mammoth Lakes’ Josh Wray. “With a short climb at the beginning, it’s a perfect warm-up for the 1.8 mile hike to the lake.”
He continues, “After the short uphill section you’ll be hiking along the creek that flows from Parker Lake and the aspen groves along the creek are gorgeous.
“Bring along a hammock or another way to sit and rest, so that you can spend the day by the creek or lake.
“Upon arrival at Parker’s outlet and the main viewpoint, pull out your zoom lens because you’ll want to capture the colors across the far side of the lake. This spot is at full peak so go as soon as you can.
“Also, it is a busy trailhead on weekends. So, if you go this weekend be sure to arrive early, to get one of the few parking spots available, and for early solitude on the trail to Parker Lake.”
Parker Lake (8,500′) – Peak (75-100%) GO NOW!
Sometimes you just want to hang out. That’s what Scott Turner did this past weekend, opting to explore McGee Creek Canyon, “as opposed to a mad dash to different color spots.”
He reports McGee Creek Campground is just starting, but “Further up canyon from the trailhead to the bend in the canyon (about 1 mile), the color along the creek is patchy; most of the cottonwoods have turned, but the aspens are a mixture of orange, yellow, and lime.
“Along the trail, shrub aspen that climb the hillside and surround the creek crossing are Peaking or slightly Past Peak, following this weekend’s snow and wind.
“The color gets really good (at Peak, or slightly approaching Peak) at the beaver pond. The color up the hillsides and in the groves surrounding the pond are all at peak with a variety of warm shades turning the entire canyon gold.”
Scott added that the lower reaches of Lee Vining Canyon are just starting. Some aspen along the June Lake Loop look to be turning too, but are still Patchy – somewhere around 25%. Finally, he heard that Fern Lake is peaking.
Upper McGee Creek, Mono County – Peak (75-100%) GO NOW!
Middle McGee Creek, Mono County – Patchy (10-50%)
McGee Campground, Mono County – Just Starting (0-10%)
Kevin Lennox was at Parker Lake yesterday and reports the hike from the parking lot to the lake (2 miles) was past peak, but once he reached the lake, a rolling peak was occurring where some aspen were still green or lime, while others were yellow and orange. He estimates another week of peak color at Parker Lake, though don’t delay as “conditions are progressing fast.”
Parker Lake – Peak (75-100%) GO NOW!
“When should I go?” is the most common question we receive.
“Go Now!” is our response. Don’t put off visiting an area if it is Near Peak or, certainly, at Peak. As, when a location is peaking it only has two weeks – at most – of peak color to be seen at that elevation.
Each photo posted on this site, identifies when and where it was taken. We try to post photos not older than a week. What you see in a photo will be different by the time you get there.
Above, Josh Wray captured yellow and lime aspen leaves on his hike up Laurel Canyon, near Mammoth, this week. Today, many of those green leaves have turned to lime, the lime leaves to yellow, and some of the yellow leaves have fallen.
If you want to see a specific area at peak, go to “Categories” on the left side of this site and click on the region you plan to visit. Then, scroll back in time to see where it was peaking and when in the past.
If you can only travel on a given date, click on “Archives” on the left side of this site and scroll back in time to see what was peaking. Then, go there.
If you want to see reports for specific locations (e.g., Laurel Canyon), enter the location in the Search bar above the map.
But mostly, GO NOW!