California Fall Color
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Posts Tagged ‘Plumas County’

Driving Tour of Plumas County

Fri ,24/10/2014
Frenchman Canyon (10/23/14) Chuck Viebrock

Frenchman Canyon (10/23/14) Chuck Viebrock

If you don’t check back to read comments, earlier this week Sharon wrote that she was planning a trip this weekend to Plumas County and asked what advice we might offer.  Here’s the touring guide to Plumas County that we recommended:

  1. Drive to Truckee on I-80, then north on CA-89/CA-70 to Quincy. There will be spots of color along the road. Greenhorn Creek parallels the road. As you approach East Quincy, the La Porte Road is often cited as a location where good color is found. Follow the La Porte Road south to Nelson Creek where good color has been reported in past years. The Quincy-La Porte Road is also good, heading toward the town of La Porte. Color spotters report the best color in Plumas County is found off highway. That would require an SUV in some cases, an ATV in extreme cases (USFS service roads), but a normal car in most cases. Plumas County is laced with old roads that follow streams. That’s where you’ll find some of the county’s best color. Indian Creek, is one. Though, you’d need time to explore the backroads and if you don’t have it, continue on to Quincy. In the town of Quincy are many exotics: the famed Judge Thieler sugar maple (now past peak) and lovely trees around the Murray home. This is more like shooting in New England, where architecture and foliage combine, though the architecture here isn’t as old or as classic. Plumas County used to have an excellent visitor center whose proprietor, Suzi Brakken, would come out and wash the windshields of leaf peepers. The county defunded support to that organization, so try the Quincy Chamber of Commerce for local advice. Karen Moritz of Plumas County also recommended taking “the short trip (17) miles up to Bucks Lake – west of Quincy. Lots of aspen, dogwood and bigleaf maple just off the highway.” Beyond Quincy is Indian Valley and Greenville. There’s often lovely color along the streams leading into the valley. The trick is to know the streams at which there’ll be color (the Indian Valley Chamber in Greenville may have advice). Look for brilliant orange Indian Rhubarb along the edges of creeks. I haven’t found the area beyond Greenville and Indian Valley to be that productive, though there are black oak and bigleaf maple on the west shore of Lake Almanor. So, once you reach Greenville, you might want to turn back and head down CA-70 toward Paradise and Oroville. There is Indian Rhubarb at the top of Hwy 70 (Feather River Canyon) and some bigleaf maple, though the farther down you go, the color will diminish. Paradise and Oroville further down Hwy 70 are just starting. So, the lower you go down the canyon, the less you will see as most of the Shasta Cascade is patchy for the moment.
  2. The second approach is basically the reverse of what we just described. Get to Hwy 70, then follow it up to Greenville, then backtrack along Hwy 89 through Quincy toward Truckee.  You’ll find the best color on side trips to La Porte, Bucks Lake and other spots away from the main road.
  3. For another trip or a longer stay, eastern Plumas County can have great color in late October at Antelope Lake, along Babcock Creek and in Squaw Valley (not the ski area).

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 – 

Plumas and Trinity Approaching Peak

Thu ,10/10/2013

Grace Smith reports from Anderson, that the Shasta Cascade region of northeast California is finally approaching peak with lots of color developing in Trinity and Plumas Counties.

Aspen, Plumas County (10/5/13) Grace Smith

Aspen, Plumas County (10/5/13) Grace Smith

GO NOW – 50 – 75% – Plumas County - Aspen around Antelope Lake are approaching peak, with some lime, though mostly fluttering yellow and orange.  Most other trees in the Greenville area are also near peak.  Joe Willis reports on his blog (Black Oak Naturalist) that in Quincy, a  sweet gum, or liquidamber, on the northeast corner of the courthouse lawn is currently putting on a great show, as is a nearby mountain ash which is loaded with bright orange berries and some of its leaves are turning red. Joe also recommends looking closely at the black oak leaves, a mix of green and orange. The coming two weeks are anticipated to be optimum viewing for Plumas County, as the color is expected to drop, thereafter.

GO NOW! – 50 – 75% – Trinity County – Colors are brilliant along CA-3 near Trinity Center and Coffee Creek, with bigleaf maple warming the highway with orange and yellow and Pacific dogwood blushing red and pink.  Lower down, along CA-299 bewtween (Weaverville) and Whiskeytown NRA, wild cucumber are beginning to glow chartreuse, while bigleaf maple are bright yellow and lime.

15 – 30% – Butte County – There hasn’t been much change in the past week, though this changes quickly and when it does, it can be spectacular. Optimal areas to see fall color in Butte County remain Bidwell Park in Chico, Chico State University, the Highway 99 corridor, and Highway 32 corridor. Oct. 10 is  AutumnFest, between Chico and Durham at the Midway Patrick Ranch Museum. For more about this event, CLICK HERE. 

15 – 30% – Shasta County -  Similar to Butte County, more lime is turning to yellow, though it’s still at higher elevation.  Along the Sacramento River Trail in Redding, near the Sundial Bridge and at the Anderson River Park, you’ll see orange oaks, some bigleaf maple and riparian shrubbery.  CLICK HERE for news on local events.

0 – 15% – Tehama County 0-15% - There’s been little change at lower elevations in Tehama County.  All the action is occurring above 6,000′.  A good route to see it is along Hwy 36 from Red Bluff to Chester.



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.

Signs of Autumn

Mon ,23/09/2013
Buckeye, Plumas County (9/22/13) © Richard McCutcheon

Buckeye, Plumas County (9/22/13) © Richard McCutcheon

Plumas County color spotter Richard McCutcheon (first to spot fall color on Aug. 1) reports that, “When the Buckeye tree changes, you know fall colors are not far away.”

California Fall Color Editor John Poimiroo spoke with Randol White and Patty Piper of Eat, Drink, Explore and click on this video to hear what was said:

Who’s On First

Fri ,02/08/2013
Indian Rhubarb, Butt Creek - © Richard McCutcheon, 2013

Indian Rhubarb, Butt Creek – © Richard McCutcheon, 2013

Color spotter Richard McCutcheon sends this lovely spot of color seen yesterday in Butt Creek (Plumas County) and reports, “Could not believe it on Aug 1st, Indian Ruhbarb turned on Butt Creek.”

0 – 15% – Plumas County – Earning honors for the first report of autumn (at the beginning of August), Richard McCutcheon reports a hint of the glory to come now appearing along High Sierra streams.

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.