California Fall Color
Dude, autumn happens here, too.

Posts Tagged ‘Northern Sierra’

Shasta Cascade – Peaking Everywhere

Thu ,31/10/2013
Black oak, Plumas County (10/30/13) Jeff Titcomb

Black oak, Plumas County (10/30/13) Jeff Titcomb

With this past week’s storm stripping many trees above 5,000′ in elevation, California’s Fall Color has moved down to mid and lower elevations.

GO NOW – 75 – 100% – Trinity County - Bordering on being past peak, Trinity County is at full peak along CA-299 near Weaverville with bigleaf maple, dogwood, mountain ash and exotic Chinese pistache coloring up this fascinating lumber and gold rush era town.  While there, be sure to include a visit to the Josh House Chinese temple, which is one of the most amazing and beautiful historic structures in the state.  Weaverville was, historically, a site of the Tong Wars, though locals quickly settled the dispute and established a climate of acceptance and welcome that continues today.

Indian Head, Plumas County (10/30/13) Jeff Titcomb

Indian Head, Plumas County (10/30/13) Jeff Titcomb

Past Peak – Plumas County – Snow has fallen to the 4,600′ elevation, taking most of the leaves with it. There is still color to be seen in the Greenville area with dogwood, bigleaf maple, and oak all at or just beyond peak.  The combination of the last of autumn’s fall color beside a dusting of fresh white snow, makes for great viewing.

GO NOW! – 50 – 75% – Tehama County – It has taken a while, though Tehama County is finally approaching peak. As we have seen so far this year, there’s lots of red and orange appearing with bigleaf maple and various species of California oaks exhibiting amber and Sienna.

GO NOW – 50 – 75% – Shasta County - Shasta County is just below peak this week. The oaks are halfway there, with a lovely mix of green, yellow to amber color with some burnt Sienna and brown. California bigleaf maples are at full peak with bright red, orange and still some yellow. There has been a noticeable change to far northern California’s weather pattern with days now considerably cooler. Local color spotter Grace Smith advises to go now, as all areas of Shasta County should peak within the week.  Top places to see the color are along the 16-mile Sacramento River Trail (a National Recreation Trail), McConnell Arboretum and Gardens at Turtle Bay, Whiskeytown National Recreation Area, Shasta Lake, and Anderson River Park where the NovemBeer Festival will occur on Nov. 2.  CLICK HERE for more about it.

CSU Chico (10/31/13) Stephany Fernadez

CSU Chico (10/31/13) Stephany Fernadez

Chinese pistache, CSU Chico (10/31/13) Stephany Fernadez

Chinese pistache, CSU Chico (10/31/13) Stephany Fernadez

GO NOW! – 50 – 75% – Butte County – Chico is a conundrum.  While many trees have not yet turned, others are shedding their leaves.  This occurs because of the wide variety of trees to be seen in this, one of California’s cities of trees.  Species tend to turn around the same time and because Chico has so many exotic species along its boulevards and on the campus of Chico State, at Bidwell Park, in its orchards and in surrounding wild areas, the change occurs over a longer period.  Many trees are still showing lime green, though others are bright yellow, orange and red, such as the exotic Chinese pistache, pictured here.

Top places to see the color include Bidwell Park, Chico State University, the Hwy 32 Corridor, the Hwy 99 Corridor, Esplanade Ave, Manzanita Ave., and Mangrove Ave.  For fascinating side trips, visit an 800-year-old gothic monastery chapter house rebuilt at the Abbey of New Clairvaux, roughly 10 miles north of Chico in Vina, and in Chico: Orient and Flume Art Glass where glass blowers create art, numerous quality art galleries and Sierra Nevada Brewery known for its excellent tour and restaurant.


Shasta, Siskiyou and Plumas Peaking

Fri ,25/10/2013
Anderson River Park (10/23/13) SCWA

Anderson River Park (10/23/13) SCWA

GO NOW! – 75-100% – Siskiyou County – The area surrounding Mt. Shasta between 3,500’ and 4,000’ is at full peak.  Now is the time to get a shot of Mt. Shasta with fall color in the foreground, though it will be declining now, through the weekend and into next week.  Good places to head are lower Castle Lake Road, lower South Fork Road (Forest Road 26), and Pondosa on Hwy 89 east of Mt. Shasta.  Aspen near Pondosa are at peak, though now dropping color.

GO NOW! 50-75% – Shasta County – The area in and around Redding is approaching peak, so we’re issuing our first Go Now Alert for Shasta County.  Bigleaf maple, oaks and riparian brush are nearing peak with lots of yellow, orange, gold, red, and chartreuse in the woods.  Areas along the Sacramento River Trail, at Sundial Bridge, Turtle Bay Exploration Park, and Anderson River Park are brightening up with some areas below 50% and others near peak.   Great fall color is also seen at the Coleman Fish Hatchery and the Battle Creek Wildlife Area, where fall colors and salmon returning to the area can be seen simultaneously.   Drive west on CA-299 for color splashes between Whiskeytown National Recreation Area and Weaverville.

Black Oak, Plumas County (10/23/13) Jeff Titcomb

Black Oak, Plumas County (10/23/13) Jeff Titcomb

GO NOW!  75-100% – Plumas County – Oaks along Highway 89 have been at peak for the past week.  Aspen and dogwood are also peaking, providing for abundant shows of yellow, orange, and red in the forest.  See Jeff Titcomb’s remarkable videos of fall color (posted earlier this week).

30 – 50% – Butte County – Little has changed this week in Butte County. Trees are still showing a variety of colors ranging from greens to reds, with the best places to see fall color remaining as: Bidwell Park, the Hwy 32 corridor, CSU Chico, the Hwy 99 corridor, Manzanita Ave., and Esplanade Ave.  On Oct. 26, Chico holds its 25th Open Art Studios Art Tour. More about it is found at

Sacramento River Discovery Center, Red Bluff (10/23/13) Grace Smith

Sacramento River Discovery Center, Red Bluff (10/23/13) Grace Smith

30 – 50% – Tehama County – More color is appearing at lower elevations of Tehama County, though the change is similar to Butte County. There is a considerable amount of yellows, and more oranges and reds appearing among bright greens.  Areas to see the best displays are found at The Sacramento River Discovery Center, Woodson Bridge State Recreation Area, and Lassen Volcanic National Park. While the fall color is fiddling around, so will be western fiddlers at the Western Open Fiddle Championship in Red Bluff, Oct. 24 – 26. More about it is found at

Videos Postcards From Round Valley

Tue ,22/10/2013

Jeff Titcomb provides these videos of the brilliant color to be seen near Greenville on the way to the Round Valley (Plumas County).

Shootin’ the Curl Along Hwy 89

Sun ,20/10/2013
Shootin' the curl along Hwy 89 in Plumas County (10/20/13) Richard McCutcheon

Shootin’ the curl along Hwy 89 in Plumas County (10/20/13) Richard McCutcheon

Color spotter Richard McCutcheon was riding beneath a crest of fall color along Hwy 89 in Plumas County.  He says driving through the overarching canopy of beautiful fall color in the Northern Sierra is like shootin’ the curl of a big break off the California coast.

Oaks, Hwy 89, Plumas County (10/20/13) Richard McCutcheon

Oaks, Hwy 89, Plumas County (10/20/13) Richard McCutcheon

Oaks, Indian Valley

Oaks, Indian Valley (10/22/13) Richard McCutcheon

Taylorsville (10/22/13) Richard McCutcheon

Taylorsville (10/22/13) Richard McCutcheon

75 – 100% – Hwy 89 – Plumas County - It’s full peak and glorious along California State Route 89 through Plumas County and into the Shasta Cascade.  Looking down on the Indian Valley from 7,000′, groves of oaks add orange color to the landscape.  McCutcheon describes it as, “just about as pretty as you will ever see it,” and he should know as he’s certainly the most observant and reliable spotter along this route.

Oaks Peaking in Plumas County

Sun ,13/10/2013

Cottonwood and oaks, Plumas County (10/12/13) Richard McCutcheon

Fall Oaks, Seen from Mt Jura near Taylorsville (10/12/13) Richard McCutcheon

Fall Oaks, Seen from Mt Jura near Taylorsville (10/12/13) Richard McCutcheon

Color spotter Richard McCutcheon sends these photographs of cottonwood and oaks colored up at full peak in Plumas County, near Taylorsville.  California’s oaks have lovely, though subtle color at peak.  It’s often difficult to catch the oaks all turned at the same time, since they tend to change little by little over the weeks.  Richard’s aerial perspective is a new one that shows the full change of the trees, looking down on them.  Bravo, Richard.

Plumas County (10/12/13) Richard McCutcheon

Plumas County (10/12/13) Richard McCutcheon

Oaks, Plumas County (10/12/13) Richard McCutcheon

Oaks, Plumas County (10/12/13) Richard McCutcheon

GO NOW! – Oak Woodlands – Plumas County – 

Northern Sierra Melody

Fri ,04/10/2013
Indisn Rhubarb, Butt Creek, Plumas County (10/2/13) Richard McCutcheon

Indisn Rhubarb, Butt Creek, Plumas County (10/2/13) Richard McCutcheon

Color spotter Richard McCutcheon sends this video (click link below) of color to be seen in the Northern Sierra (Plumas County). Here also are his gorgeous shots of big, orange, Indian Rhubarb fan leaves.

Northern Sierra Melody

Butt Creek, Plumas County (10/2/13) Richard McCutcheon

Butt Creek, Plumas County (10/2/13) Richard McCutcheon

Indian Rhubarb (10/2/13) Richard McCutcheon

Indian Rhubarb (10/2/13) Richard McCutcheon

Indian Rhubarb (10/2/13) Richard McCutcheon

Indian Rhubarb (10/2/13) Richard McCutcheon

GO NOW! – 75-100% – Butt Creek, Plumas County – Indian Rhubarb is at peak with big bunches of orange fan leaves.

Shasta Cascade Reports First Color

Fri ,27/09/2013
Red is starting to appear in  Shasta Cascade urban forests (9/27/13) Shae Garrett

Red is starting to appear in Shasta Cascade urban forests (9/27/13) Shae Garrett

Color spotter Shae Garrett provides this roundup of  color for the Shasta Cascade Region.  Some areas of this vast region of northeast California are beginning to show color, though it’s still two to three weeks from significant displays.  As in other areas of the state, red seems to be the theme of this autumn.

A number of special events and festivals are coming up.  Links to them are listed below for planning trips when color is showing.
The Shasta Cascade includes three different ecosystems: the Cascades, the Sierra Nevada and the Coastal Range.  Each has its own dominant fall foliage.  Look for orange-red Indian Rhubarb, yellow Bigleaf Maple, yellow Aspen, orange oaks, golden cottonwood, crimson poison oak and chartreuse wild cucumber.
Indian Rhubarb, Cascade Trail, Spanish Creek, Plumas County (9/27/13) Richard McCutcheon

Indian Rhubarb, Cascade Trail, Spanish Creek, Plumas County (9/27/13) Richard McCutcheon

Spanish Creek, Plumas County (9/27/13) Richard McCutcheon

Spanish Creek, Plumas County (9/27/13) Richard McCutcheon

0 – 15% – Plumas County - Color spotter Richard McCutcheon recommends following the Cascade Trail along Spanish Creek for spots of orangey-red Indian Rhubarb.  Other spotters in Plumas County predict the color will begin appearing in mid October.  Here’s a link to upcoming events:

15 – 30% – Lassen County – The annual “Rails to Trails Festival” and Susanville Symphony Swing Band Concert occurs Oct. 12.  Follow these links to more info:
15 – 30% – Siskiyou County – A bit of yellow is begining to appear in this far northern California county.
0 – 15% – Modoc County – Enjoy free admission to all federal public lands in Modoc County on Sept. 28, Public Nation Land Day
0 – 15% – Shasta County – Historic Hawes Farms Presents Civil War Days (reenactment)
0 – 15% – Trinity County – World’s Longest Tie-Dye Sept 25th – Oct 5th
0 – 15% – Tehama County – Lassen Volcanic National Park’s annual Art & Wine Festival occurs Sept. 28 at the Kohm Yah-mah-nee visitor center (southwest entrance) and features local artists, craftsmen and wines.  Park admission is free that day due to National Public Lands Day.  The Tehama County Fair  occurs Sept 26 – 29
Bidwell Park, Chico (9/27/13) Shae Garrett

Bidwell Park, Chico (9/27/13) Shae Garrett

15 – 30% – Butte County - It’s still too early to make a trip to Chico for fall color, though it is always a great place to visit.  For the moment, Chico is mostly green as seen in this photo taken at Bidwell Park.  The best color in Chico will be seen there, on the Chico State University campus, along the Highway 32 corridor, and up the Highway 99 corridor in mid October.  Chico is known as a city of trees with a spectacular mature canopy in its parks and along its boulevards.  The agricultural fields and orchards surrounding Chico have impressive displays of nut and fruit trees in mid October.  Here are some upcoming Chico events:

  • 19th Annual Window Art Project, Oct. 1 – 31.  Downtown businesses collaborate with Chico artists, who display original work in store windows.  This is a walking art show.  Free admission.
  • Chico State Canopy (9/27/13) Shae Garrett

    Chico State Canopy (9/27/13) Shae Garrett

    The Fourth Annual Chico Experience Week, Oct 4 to Oct 13.  Chico Experience Week brings Chico State students, alumni, parents, and friends together for 10 days of fun, education, and re-connection on the campus and in Chico.

  • 4th Annual Sierra Nevada Oktoberfest, Oct 4 and 5.   Sierra Nevada Brewery, Hop Field, 1075 E 20th St.  Admission $47.50.  This popular event sells out in advance, so plan ahead.  It is Oktoberfest revelry at the Sierra Nevada Brewery with live music, food and drink.  Starts at 4 p.m. each day.
  • Harvest Sidewalk Sale, Oct 12, downtown Chico. Rake in fall savings and celebrate the season at this Harvest Sidewalk Sale. Some incredible deals are offered. Free admission.
  • Forest Ranch Fall Festival, Oct 12, 15522 Nopel Ave, Chico. Free admission. Enjoy local crafts and unique purchases, a farmer’s market, free children’s bounce house and face painting at this family-focused event. Music and food for purchase.
  • Sierra Oro Farm Trail Passport Weekend, Oct 12 and 13. Sample farm-fresh food and award-winning wines at stops along the Sierra Oro Farm Trail. Meet farmers and winemakers while taking this self-guided tour of Butte County’s countryside. $25 admission.
  • Chico Parade of Lights “Dancin’ thur’ the Decades”, Oct 12, 7:30 p.m., Downtown Chico.  Create a rolling entry for this parade and light up the route by sharing your take on the parade’s theme “Dancin’ thru’ the Decades.” Parade participants wear decade-themed costumes, decorations and lights (e.g. 1920s flappers, 1950s sock hop, 1970s disco, etc).  Parade Route: 3rd St. and Salem, to Main St., 6th St. and ending at 4th St. and Broadway. 7:30 p.m.
  • Open Studios Art Tour, Oct 19 and 20,  and Oct. 26 and 27 – On two weekends each year, artists throughout the Chico area open their art studios for public visits.  Begin at the Chico Art Center (450 Orange St., Suite 6) and plan your tour itinerary to include stops at your favorite artists.
  • Treat Street, Oct 31, 2-5 p.m., downtown Chico, Free admission.  Kids (12 and under) are sure to have a safe and fun Halloween each year at Treat Street in downtown Chico, organized by local merchants.  It’s simple, kids… wear a costume, bring a parent and get ready to stroll Halloween-style. More than 60 businesses are listed on the Treat Street route, follow the map and look for special posters in store windows. Costume contest – $5 entry with prizes to the top 3 finalists: Child 0-3, Child 4-7, Child 8-12, Themed family or group, and canine.

Atmospheric River Floods the Color Away

Tue ,04/12/2012

North Arm, Indian Valley, Lights Creek (12/2/12) Richard McCutcheon

Color spotter Richard McCutcheon sends a link showing how this past week’s series of  storms stripped Plumas County’s Indian Valley of color and flooded fields and roads.  A phenomenon called an “atmospheric river” carried three tropical storms from Hawaii to California, deluging the north state.  McCutcheon reports his area was without power for nearly 39 hours.  To see more of his photos, CLICK HERE.

Past Peak – Plumas County - Recent storms have washed away what remaining color was on trees.

Approaching Storm Approaching Peak

Thu ,08/11/2012

Indian Valley, Taylorsville (11/8/12) Jeff Luke Titcomb

A cold winter storm is passing in waves through Northern California, bringing colder temperatures, rain, snow and, most distressingly, wind.

Snow blankets Greenville (11/9/12) Jeff Luke Titcomb

General Update: The storm is affecting fall color in the Sierra and Gold Country, as seen in this photo at left sent from Greenville (Plumas County) by Jeff Luke Titcomb.  Trees that were full of fall color (see photo above) are now covered with snow in the Northern Sierra.  About 15% of leaves that had changed color were blown off branches, causing a colorful shower to be carried away in swirling chaos.  Still, a lot of color remains, particularly among leaves that were still short of peak.

Leaves that are still green or lime, even many that have just turned yellow, will stay hanging from branches, unless the winds blow above 15 mph.  From forecasts seen so far, it appears trees below 4,000 in elevation will be mostly spared the brunt of the storm, though those above that elevation are likely to be rain and snow damaged and – in places where wind is high, stripped from branches.

Pick of the Week is Yosemite Valley, where the color is peaking with color yet to develop on some Pacific dogwood and black oak.

Here’s the latest roundup:

High Sierra

Mountain Biking in Lower Rock Creek (11/3/12) Rob McSkimming

75 – 100% – Bishop, Crowley Lake, Lower Rock Creek, June  Lake, Walker River –  Specific locations in these areas of the Eastern Sierra are still showing beautiful color, though the entire Eastern Sierra is now approaching Past Peak.  With snow falling at higher elevations, this is likely the last week to see color in the Eastern Sierra.

Past Peak – Bishop Creek, McGee Creek, Convict Lake, Lee Vining Canyon, Lundy Canyon, Virginia Lakes, Twin Lakes, Sonora Pass, Monitor Pass and Mammoth Lakes – While leaf peeping has ended at these locations, Mammoth Mountain opened for skiing and boarding!  Winter has officially arrived at Mammoth Lakes.

75 – 100% – Yosemite Valley – Photographer Michael Frye reports today that color has multiplied in the past week and Yosemite Valley is peaking now, with still some green leaves to show.  He predicts the combination of a light dusting of snow with the fall color should make for spectacular photography this weekend, if the leaves survive the cold and possible wind.  “The oaks seem to be particularly nice this year,” he reports. Go Now!

Central Valley

75 – 100% – Sacramento – The urban forest of Sacramento has shown spectacular fall color the past week and still has many landmark trees showing yellow and red.  A storm passing over Sacramento will strip leaves from many of the trees that peaked first, but lots of color can be enjoyed between breaks in the storm.

North Coast

75 – 100% – Redwood National Park – Grant Roden reports spots of yellow and red appearing on bigleaf maple and red alders, contrasting with the deep green of the coastal redwoods.  In support, on our Facebook page Richard Stenger posts a photo of bigleaf maple surrounded by redwoods, taken at Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park.

Shasta Cascade

75 – 100% – Siskiyou County – Trees in the lower elevations are hitting their peak or are already beyond it. Cooler temperatures are expected to hit in the next few days so the leaves are expected to fall soon. Most leaves have hit bright colors of yellows and reds.

Modoc County

Past Peak – Modoc National Forest- Most of the trees are past their peaks. There may be a few left with some color, but have started to lose their leaves.

Past Peak – Alturas – Trees in this area are at their peak. Not too many leaves left on the trees.

Lassen County

75 – 100% – BLM Eagle Lake – The area of Eagle Lake in Lassen County is reporting trees at their peak! The trees are beautiful with red, orange, and golden leaves. Few are starting to fall!

Shasta County

75 – 100% – Whiskeytown National Recreation Area – The Whiskeytown NRA is at peak with lots of yellow and orange and some red near the visitor’s center.   Near Whiskeytown Falls, the bigleaf maple are brilliant yellow against green conifers.

Redding (11/8/12) Charissa Gilmer

50 – 75% – Redding – The color is most evident near the Sacramento River where bigleaf maple peaking.  In residential areas, look for brilliant shades of red, orange, yellow, and green. Oak trees are providing a show of yellow along winding roads in the green belt. Placer Road is like a dream where brightly colored trees surround a small pond. The sun shines through the trees like a stain glass window off La Paloma Way.

75 – 100% – Trinity County – Trinity County has reached its peak. Most of the trees are at full color, mostly yellow and oranges. Leaves have started to drop!

Tehama County

75% – 100% –  Lassen Volcanic National Park – Manzanita Lake is at 50-75%, with aspen still holding their golden color and Maples turning red.  Pacific dogwoods are turning red.  The main park road is now closed due to snow.  At the southwest entrance near Mineral, there is lots of yellow, still.

30 – 50% – Red Bluff- Red Bluff is showing its varied fall color with orange, red and yellow among native and exotic foliage.  Red Bluff should peak near Thanksgiving Day.

50 – 75% – Butte County – Much of Butte County is approaching peak color with lots of red and yellow. Trees will be hitting their peaks in the next few weeks, especially at Bidwell Park in the City of Trees.

75 – 100% – Plumas County – Look for gold and red colored oaks near Indian Valley and lots of cottonwood still holding their orange-yellow, though today’s winds may reduce the number of leaves on branches.  Until today, the weather has been sunny, but rain and snow should change leaf peeping prospects, shortly.


Indian Valley Peaking – Go Now!

Tue ,06/11/2012

Indian Valley (11/6/12) Jeff Luke Titcomb

75 – 100% – Indian Valley - Color spotter Jeff Luke Titcomb reports the Indian Valley, southeast of Lake Almanor is “at peak color right now.”

This scenic mountain meadow was so named in 1851 for the large number of native Maidu people living there.  Greenville is the largest town in the valley.  Other communities include Taylorsville, Crescent Mills and Canyon Dam.

The valley is considered to be one of the best places in Plumas County for a scenic drive, due to its being surrounded by mountains, its tree-lined meadow and ranches, old barns and grazing cattle.