Above Crescent Mills

Anthony Occhipinti of Coruscating Images in Sacramento did it again, flying his drone over Crescent Mills in Plumas County.


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Color or B&W?

Black oak, Hideaway Rd., Greenville (10/29/17) Jeff Luke Titcomb

Black oak, Hideaway Rd., Greenville (10/29/17) Jeff Luke Titcomb

Jeff Luke Titcomb reports that black oak are peaking in Greenville (Plumas County) along Hideaway Rd.

Nancy Hull found red, orange, yellow and lime ash peaking near the Colusa Unified School playground.

Jeff says the oak look good even without their color. Which do you prefer: color, or black & white?

Greenville, Plumas County – Peak (75-100%) GO NOW!

Colusa – Peak (75-100%) GO NOW!



Ash, Colusa Unified School (10/29/17) Nancy Hull




Ash, Colusa Unified School (10/29/17) Nancy Hull


Plumas County Seen From The Heavens

Anthony Occhipinti of Coruscating Images sends a video of Plumas County fall color.


Plumas – About to Fall

Courthouse maples, Quincy (10/25/17) Herb Hwang

Fall. That’s what this season is called. And, it’s now happening in Plumas County.

Everywhere you look or travel, trees are laden with peaked leaves and dropping them incessantly.

The Indian Summer that arrived this week in Northern California has warmed days into the 80s and kept breezes light, but that can last only so long.

Color spotter Herb Hwang made a special trip to Quincy yesterday, just to see the courthouse maples at peak and said, “I’m glad I did!”

Now that’s dedication, Herb.

Parrish Todd also traveled Plumas County’s byways last Friday and Saturday, sending these images. Proof positive that Plumas is at Peak.

This will likely be the last, best weekend to see peak in Plumas County. All of the Shasta Cascade is experiencing peak conditions.

Plumas County – Peak (75-100%) GO NOW!

M. Fork Feather River (10/21/17) Parrish Todd

Maple, Quincy (10/20/17) Parrish Todd

Quaking aspen and rabbitbrush, CA-238, Plumas County (10/21/17) Parrish Todd


Indian Summer in the Shasta Cascade

Feather River Scenic Byway (10/21/17) Jeff Luke Titcomb

Feather River Scenic Byway (10/21/17) Jeff Luke Titcomb

Feather River Scenic Byway (10/21/17) Jeff Luke Titcomb

Indian Summer is the “spell of warm weather after the first frost.”

This American expression was first recorded in 1778 in a letter written to England, though its origins are uncertain.

Some attribute it to having come from areas inhabited by Native-Americans or because Indians were the first to describe it.

Beaver pond, Frenchman’s Lake (10/21/17) Parrish Todd

Packer Lake, Plumas County (10/22/17) Parrish Todd

Regardless of how it got coined, it is a pleasant period of warm weather following an early frost. That is happening now in the Shasta Cascade, where last week snow fell (see below). This week, temperatures are in the 70s and Peak color – appropriately – is being seen in the Indian Valley of Plumas County (northern Sierra).

Local color spotter Jeff Luke Titcomb writes that color is at peak, though that it will – like an Indian summer – soon be gone. Black oak dominate with deep orange leaves contrasting with their black limbs.

Yellow, chartreuse and red pop out at points along CA-89 and CA-70 on the route north, leaving the Sierra and entering the lower cascades at Lassen Volcanic National Park.

Indian Valley, CA-89 – Peak (75-100%) GO NOW!

Manzanita Lake, Lassen Volcanic National Park (10/20/17) Larry Robbins


It Hasta Be Shasta: Meadow Valley

Sugar Maple, Acer saccharum, Meadow Valley (10/19/17) Michael Beatley

Years ago, “It Hasta Be Shasta” was the motto of one of my PR clients, the Shasta Beverage Company. That motto sure fits what’s happening up north, as fall color is now filling the Shasta Cascade with beauty.

For the coming week, it hasta be Shasta.

Penny farthing in a field, North Arm of Indian Valley (10/17/17) Michael Beatley

Color spotter Michael Beatley was riding past Meadow Valley (not on the penny farthing seen at left) when he spied a Sugar Maple (Acer saccharum).

Sugar maples are exotic trees (native to eastern Canada and the northeast U.S.), known for their brilliant fall color.

Meadow Valley is eight miles west of Quincy on the old Beckwourth Trail where Black Bart robbed stage coaches in the late 1870s. The town was settled around 1850.

Bigleaf maple, Indian rhubarb, Indian Creek,
Taylorsville (10/17/17) Michael Beatley

It sits at the base of Spanish Peak in the Plumas National Forest, which is full of native aspen, maple, dogwood, cottonwood, pine and fir.

Michael reports that “CA-89 from CA-70 towards Taylorsville, Greenville and Chester is very beautiful, with a lot of color along Indian Creek.”

Meadow Valley – Near Peak (50-75%) GO NOW!

Indian Creek, Taylorsville (10/17/17) Michael Beatley









Spanish Peak, Meadow Valley (10/17/17) Michael Beatley

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Storm Arriving

Truckee River (10/19/17) Herb Huang

Foray Rd., Greenville, Plumas County (10/18/17) Jeff Luke Titcomb

Locations like these, shot by Herb Huang and Jeff Luke Titcomb, will be overcast for the next 24-hours as a storm passes over Northern California.

The storm will blow turned leaves from most trees, but it won’t denude them.

Lots of color will remain, particularly on trees that were nearing peak, as they still have the strength in the leaves to, as Avril Lavigne would sing…

Keep holding on
‘Cause you know we’ll make it through
We’ll make it through
Just stay strong
‘Cause you know I’m here for you
I’m here for you
There’s nothing you could say
Nothing you could do
There’s no other way when it comes to the truth
So keep holding on
‘Cause you know we’ll make it through
We’ll make it through


Feather River Scenic Byway

Maple, Quincy (10/16/17) Jeff Luke Titcomb

As peak color declines in the Southern and Eastern Sierra, color spotters look for other areas to satisfy their appetite for fall color.

The Feather River Scenic Byway in the Northern Sierra is one such destination. This route follows the North Fork of the Feather River 130 miles east/west across Butte and Plumas Counties on State Highway 70.

The byway has extraordinarily diverse terrain and is a showcase of engineering marvels including seven power houses that make up California’s “Stairway of Power” hydroelectric power generating system, impressive railroad trestles (one crossed by a highway bridge – providing for an amazing photograph) and grades and tunnels.

It’s all accessible by CA-70, an impressive accomplishment in its own right. Trailheads to many paths, including the Pacific Crest Trail, lead from it and to superb fall color viewing.

In mid to late October, fall color in Plumas and Butte Counties is peaking. Quincy, the Plumas County seat is a great starting point for exploring the region.

Because Plumas County does not have the elevation change found in the Eastern Sierra, knowing when to visit is key to a satisfying trip.

The trick to knowing where to go (as much of the color in Plumas County is not self-evident), is to search this site for references to Plumas County, then go to those locations within a week or two of when they peaked historically.

Black oak, Indian Falls (10/16/17) Jeff Luke Titcomb

Feather River Scenic Byway (5,436′) – Peak (75-100%) GO NOW!




Cascade Trail to Spanish Creek

Bigleaf Maple, Spanish Creek (10/14/17) Michael Beatley

Plumas County color spotter Michael Beatley hiked the Cascade Trail beside Spanish Creek toward Quincy, yesterday, discovering one beautiful reflection after another.

He wrote, “The area has a profusion of color and reflections, with Indian Rhubarb, Bigleaf maple, black oak and grasses providing the color.”

Spanish Creek is along the trail to the Cascades. It runs into the North Fork of the Feather River, which continues down to the Sacramento River and the Delta.

Michael advises that mornings (9 to 10 a.m.) are best for light and reflection photographs at Spanish Creek.

Daytime temperatures are in the 60s with nights in the 20s to 30s, blue skies and a lot of clear, rushing water and still blue lakes.

Plumas County has been spared the haze caused by this autumn’s wildfires.  So, skies are blue, windless and smokeless.

Spanish Creek, Plumas County (2,000′) – Near Peak (50-75%) GO NOW!

Spanish Creek (10/14/17) Michael Beatley

Spanish Creek (10/14/17) Michael Beatley

Spanish Creek (10/14/17) Michael Beatley

Spanish Creek (10/14/17) Michael Beatley


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Wonder-Filled Plumas

Indian Rhubarb and riparian grass, Rock Creek (10/8/17) Michael Beatley

Indian rhubarb (10/87/17) Michael Beatley

When the Indian Rhubarb start to burn orange, red, yellow and green in Plumas County, there are few more striking places to be to see fall color in California than along one of its streams.

Michael Beatley captures the start of this beauty in these closeups from along Rock Creek, downstream from Meadow Camp in Meadow Valley.

Plumas County is the northernmost end of the Sierra in the vast Shasta Cascade region of California, and during autumn, it is wonder-filled.

Indian rhubarb, black oak and bigleaf maple are the predominant sources of fall color.

Though, exotic trees planted in its towns mix with the native color to create dramatic showy scenes, like that of the exotic maple planted behind the Plumas Superior Courthouse in Quincy, contrasted with a native maple seen along Big Creek road.

Eastern maple, Plumas Superior Courthouse, Quincy (10/8/17) Michael Beatley

Bigleaf maple, Big Creek Rd., Plumas County (10/8/17) Michael Beatley

Plumas County Color spotter Michael Beatley drove to Thompson Lake (First Report), just above Bucks Lake, on the road to the dam and just off the road near 5 p.m.

Beatley called it the “Perfect time, no wind and aspen peaking at 5,600′.

What!? Peaking aspen at 5,600′ when they haven’t peaked above 9,000′ at some locations in the Eastern Sierra? What gives?

This continues to be one of the earliest autumn peaks for the Northern Sierra and one of the latest for the Eastern Sierra.

Thompson Lake, Plumas County (10/8/17) Michael Beatley






Superior Court Judge Alan Theiler Memorial Maple, Quincy (10/10/17) Michael Beatley

Thompson Ranch Maple, La Porte Rd., Quincy (10/10/17) Michael Beatley

Quincy (3,432′) –  Peak (75-100%) GO NOW!

Plumas County – Near Peak (50-75%) GO NOW!