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Rim of the World: Visit the Lakes, Trails

Grass Valley Lake (10/21/17) Alena Nicholas

Alena Nicholas spent Saturday exploring the lakes and trails that spur off from the Rim of the World Scenic Byway in the San Bernardino Mountains.

Lake Arrowhead (10/21/17) Alena Nicholas

Lake Gregory 10/21/17) Alena Nicholas

Black oak at Lake Arrowhead, Grass Valley Lake, Lake Gregory and nearby areas are at full peak speckling the forest with bold splashes of orange.

The San Bernardino range’s bigleaf maple, dogwood and aspen are now past peak, though observant spotters can find “color in pockets from Lake Arrowhead down to Crestline.”

Exotic maples, sycamore and liquidambar are also providing bright color in planted neighborhoods.

Big Bear Lake has peak color among its oaks, as well. Though, the aspen and dogwood are past peak. Here are some upcoming events at Big Bear:

  • Oct. 28 – Spartan Race
  • Nov. 3 & 4 – Big Bear Comedy Festival

Elsewhere in Southern California, Ryan Lumb reported that he had anticipated seeing Peak color on Mt. San Gorgonio (11,503′), but was disappointed to find it mostly Past Peak. And, Walnut color spotter Del Hossain had a frustrating trip to the Eastern Sierra, visiting locations that had already been reported here as being Past Peak.

Advice to readers: check this site the week before you travel to see reports from places you’ll be visiting.  If the latest report for the location is peak color, by the time you travel it may be past peak. Peak color lasts only from a week to a few minutes at any given location, depending upon conditions (wind, rain, snow, overcast).

Always look at the date the photograph was taken. As, what you are seeing happened often days before. What you might see now or in a few more days will be very different than what’s shown in any photo. So, get there as fast as you can whenever we report “GO NOW!”

If there’s no report from the location you plan to visit, check locations at similar elevations near where you plan to visit. As, it’s likely the color at that latitude and elevation will similar.

Finally, if you don’t like what you’re seeing at a given location (because it’s almost Past Peak), then don’t go there. Instead, consider traveling somewhere else that’s shown nearing peak or having just peaked, as it will provide the best viewing experience.

We are grateful to Ryan and Del for their reports, as they will surely help others avoid missing the best color.

This is likely the last week of great color above 3,000′ in Southern California, as reports are now descending to locations in the valleys and basins of the southland.

Rim of the World, San Bernardino Mountains (5,174′) – Peak (75-100%) – GO NOW!

Grass Valley Lake (10/21/17) Alena Nicholas

Grass Valley Lake (10/21/17) Alena Nicholas

Grass Valley Lake (10/21/17) Alena Nicholas

Lake Arrowhead 10/21/17) Alena Nicholas

Lake Arrowhead 10/21/17) Alena Nicholas

Lake Arrowhead 10/21/17) Alena Nicholas

Lake Gregory 10/21/17) Alena Nicholas

Lake Gregory 10/21/17) Alena Nicholas

Lake Gregory 10/21/17) Alena Nicholas

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SoCal: Lake Gregory and Mt. Palomar Near Peak

Waterslide and black oaks, Lake Gregory (10/15/17) Micayla Anderson

Maple, Lake Gregory (10/15/17) Micayla Anderson

Black oak, Lake Gregory (10/15/17) Micayla Anderson

Now that days and nights are colder, the only thing sliding down the waterslide at Lake Gregory are fallen black oak leaves, Micayla Anderson reports.

Southern California’s mountain forests are now shedding their leaves as they evolve from Near Peak to Peak.

In the San Bernardino Mountains, Lake Gregory in Crestline is nearing peak with black oak and exotic maples showing orange, yellow and red.

Black oak, Mt. Palomar (10/15/17) John Caffrey

Fremont cottonwood, Mt. Palomar (10/15/17) John Caffrey

Dogwood, Mt. Palomar (10/15/17) John Caffrey

Black oak, dogwood and Frémont cottonwood at Mt. Palomar in San Diego County are showing near peak orange, rose and gold.

Lake Gregory (4,554′) – Near Peak (50-75%) GO NOW!

Mt. Palomar (6,138′) -Near Peak (50-75%) GO NOW!

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Autumn Blooms

Pink Floss-Silk Tree, Southern California (10/11/17) Kathy Jonokuchi

Pink Floss-Silk Tree, Southern California (10/11/17) Kathy Jonokuchi

Color spotter Kathy Jonokuchi shared these images on our Facebook page (@CalifFallColor) of the Pink Floss-Silk tree, an exotic that blooms in mid autumn.

It is another aspect of fall color that is seen only in California and other Mediterranean climates, during autumn.

 

 

 

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Spotting Color: Angeles National Forest

Bigleaf maple, Vincent Gulch (10/1/17) Naresh Satyan

Pasadenan Naresh Satyan describes the San Gabriel Mountains in Southern California as not truly a fall color hotspot, though like all of California’s mountain ranges, there are exceptional spots of bright color.

Bigleaf maple, San Gabriel National Monument (10/1/17) Naresh Satyan

Bigleaf maple in the chapparal, San Gabriel National Monument (10/1/17) Naresh Satyan

Bigleaf maple, San Gabriel National Monument (10/1/17) Naresh Satyan

Poison oak, San Gabriel National Monument (10/1/17) Naresh Satyan

Poison oak, San Gabriel National Monument (10/1/17) Naresh Satyan

He reports that the few bigleaf maple are at or near peak color are found between 4000’ and 6000′.

The Sheep Mountain Wilderness in San Gabriel National Monument along the East Fork of the San Gabriel River and its tributaries provides the best color.

“It is a remote area with very few trails, but the maples are accessible along the Mine Gulch trail from Vincent Gap (Vincent Gulch Divide) on the Angeles Crest Highway. There is plenty of poison oak this year in very beautiful shades of pink and red, at peak now at elevations near 5000′ and moving down,” Naresh states.

As we’ve declared previously, look but don’t touch!

Sheep Mountain Wilderness, San Gabriel National Monument (4,000-6,000’) – Near Peak to Peak GO NOW!

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San Bernardino Mountains Approaching Peak

Black oaks, Jenks Lake (10/9/16) Alena Nicholas

Black oaks, Jenks Lake (10/9/16) Alena Nicholas

Wonderful color is appearing among the black oak, maple and aspen of the San Bernardino Mountains.

Alena Nicholas traveled the Rim of the World highway, scouting each of the Bernardinos’ popular lakes, finding lots of bright color and predicting that peak color should continue for two weeks (CLICK ON PHOTO TO ENLARGE).

Lake Gregory (10/9/16) Alena Nicholas

Lake Gregory (10/9/16) Alena Nicholas

Lake Arrowhead (10/9/16) Alena Nicholas

Lake Arrowhead (10/9/16) Alena Nicholas

Jenks Lake (10/9/16) Alena Nicholas

Jenks Lake (10/9/16) Alena Nicholas

Jenks Lake (10/9/16) Alena Nicholas

Jenks Lake (10/9/16) Alena Nicholas

Jenks Lake (10/9/16) Alena Nicholas

Jenks Lake (10/9/16) Alena Nicholas

Green Valley Lake (10/9/16) Alena Nicholas

Green Valley Lake (10/9/16) Alena Nicholas

Green Valley Lake (10/9/16) Alena Nicholas

Green Valley Lake (10/9/16) Alena Nicholas

Green Valley Lake (10/9/16) Alena Nicholas

Green Valley Lake (10/9/16) Alena Nicholas

Grass Valley Lake (10/9/16) Alena Nicholas

Grass Valley Lake (10/9/16) Alena Nicholas

Big Bear Lake (10/9/16) Alena Nicholas

Big Bear Lake (10/9/16) Alena Nicholas

Big Bear Lake (10/9/16) Alena Nicholas

Big Bear Lake (10/9/16) Alena Nicholas

Big Bear Lake (10/9/16) Alena Nicholas

Big Bear Lake (10/9/16) Alena Nicholas

San Bernardino Mountains – Near Peak (50-75%) GO NOW!

Clear
Monday
Clear
High 60°/Low 35°
Clear
Tuesday
Clear
High 60°/Low 33°
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Wednesday
Clear
High 64°/Low 37°
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Thursday
Clear
High 63°/Low 37°
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Southern California Goes Big

Rim of the World (11/14/15) Alena Nicholas

Rim of the World (11/14/15) Alena Nicholas

Weekend reports from color spotters show fall color going big across Southern California.

Lake Gregory Waterslides (11/14/15) Alena Nicholas

Lake Gregory Waterslides (11/14/15) Alena Nicholas

Alena Nicholas sent pictures from Rim of the World, Lake Gregory, Seely Creek, Green Valley and Deep Creek in the San Bernardino Mountains with deep orange color within forests of black oak.

Seely Creek (11/14/15) Alena Nicholas

Seely Creek (11/14/15) Alena Nicholas

Even a few dogwood, that have been sheltered from the weather, are still carrying rose and lime confetti.

Lone Pine Cnyn, Wrightwood (11/14/15) Frank McDonough

Lone Pine Cnyn, Wrightwood (11/14/15) Frank McDonough

Frank McDonough sends back this shot of Lone Pine Canyon near Wrightwood, spiking hot, and at his home base in Arcadia, hickory and maple are alive with color at the Los Angeles County Arboretum & Botanic Garden.

Jim Beaux took his annual trip to Mt. Palomar in San Diego County on Saturday, Nov. 14 and reported black oaks and bracken fern as being past peak.

A small grove of dogwood on the lower end of the Chimney Flats trail were Near Peak.

Mt. Palomar (11/14/15) Jim Beaux

Mt. Palomar (11/14/15) Jim Beaux

Jim blames the poor color on the drought and windstorms that have blown thru the area over the last couple of weeks.

He’s seen similar dryness at Dogwood Campground near Lake Arrowhead.

Peak (75-100%) GO NOW! – San Bernardino Mountains (Lake Gregory, Rim of the World, Seely Creek, Green Valley, Deep Creek)

Peak (75-100%) GO NOW! – Wrightwood

Past Peak YOU MISSED IT! – Mt. Palomar

Near Peak (50-75%) GO NOW! – Los Angeles County Arboretum & Botanic Garden

Deep Creek (11/14/15) Alena Nicholas

Deep Creek (11/14/15) Alena Nicholas

Deep Creek (11/14/15) Alena Nicholas

Deep Creek (11/14/15) Alena Nicholas

Green Valley (11/14/15) Alena Nicholas

Green Valley (11/14/15) Alena Nicholas

Green Valley (11/14/15) Alena Nicholas

Green Valley (11/14/15) Alena Nicholas

Lake Gregory (11/14/15) Alena Nicholas

Lake Gregory (11/14/15) Alena Nicholas

Seely Creek (11/14/15) Alena Nicholas

Seely Creek (11/14/15) Alena Nicholas

Rim of the World (11/14/15) Alena Nicholas

Rim of the World (11/14/15) Alena Nicholas

Seely Creek (11/14/15) Alena Nicholas

Seely Creek (11/14/15) Alena Nicholas

Black oak, Seely Creek (11/14/15) Alena Nicholas

Black oak, Seely Creek (11/14/15) Alena Nicholas

Shagbark Hickory, LA County Arboretum (11/14/15) Frank McDonough

Shagbark Hickory, LA County Arboretum (11/14/15) Frank McDonough

Freeman's Maple, LA County Arboretum (11/14/15) Frank McDonough

Freeman’s Maple, LA County Arboretum (11/14/15) Frank McDonough

LA County Arboretum (11/14/15) Frank McDonough

LA County Arboretum (11/14/15) Frank McDonough

Out&About in Westways

Out&About, Westways, October 2015

Out&About, Westways, October 2015

CaliforniaFallColor.com was contacted by the Auto Club of Southern California for advice on where to find fall color within an easy drive of Southern California.  The advice appeared in “Falling for Color,” an article in Westways’ October number.

Travel writer Paul Lasley got it right when he concluded the article by writing, “Fall color can happen fast in California and be spectacular — you just have to be ready.”

Westways, October 2015

Westways, October 2015

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Mt. Palomar Patchy, but Looking Up

The view from Mt. Palomar alone is worth the trip (11/3/14) Scott Turner

The view from Mt. Palomar alone is worth the trip (11/3/14) Scott Turner

Black Oak, Mt. Palomar (11/3/14) Scott Turner

Black Oak, Mt. Palomar (11/3/14) Scott Turner

Mountain Maple, Mt. Palomar (11/3/14) Scott Turner

Mountain Maple, Mt. Palomar (11/3/14) Scott Turner

Mt. Palomar (Patchy 10 – 50%) – We beg forgiveness for the pun in the headline, though considering the observatory atop Mt. Palomar, we couldn’t miss the opportunity to post it.

Modern Hiker’s Scott Turner reports that most of the black oaks on Mt. Palomar still have a long way to go before they turn. The rain and the wind have stripped some of the trees – particularly those on south-facing slopes, but most of the oaks retain their leaves and are around 25-50% turned on the north-facing slopes and over 50% on the south-facing slopes. Bark beetles are not a problem here, and Palomar has actually been close to matching its average precipitation since July, which is 3x that of the lower elevations.

Riparian areas are well short of peak (11/3/14) Scott Turner

Riparian areas are well short of peak (11/3/14) Scott Turner

Dogwood, Mt. Palomar (11/3/14) Scott Turner

Dogwood, Mt. Palomar (11/3/14) Scott Turner

Riparian foliage, including berries, box elders, and dogwoods are showing a bit more color. Dogwoods are showing colors ranging from green, yellow, pink and red, while box elders are lime green. The berry plants are yellowing nicely. Scott estimates that Mt. Palomar will peak in one to two weeks. Last year, we received photographs of black oak peaking near the observatory.

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San Bernardino Mountains Near Peak

Mountain Maple, Big Bear Lake (10/5/14) Nick Barnhart

Exotic Silver Maple, Big Bear Lake (10/5/14) Nick Barnhart

Fremont Cottonwood (10/5/14) Nick Barnhart

Fremont Cottonwood (10/5/14) Nick Barnhart

Japanese Maple (10/5/14) Nick Barnhart

Maple, Green Valley Lake (10/5/14) Nick Barnhart

Color spotter Nick Barnhart traveled up to the San Bernardino Mountains this past weekend and got these colorful shots of fall color at Lake Gregory, Green Valley Lake and Big Bear Lake.

San Bernardino Mountains (10/5/14) Nick Barnhart

San Bernardino Mountains (10/5/14) Nick Barnhart

Rabbitbrush and cottonwoods (10/5/14) Nick Barnhart

Rabbitbrush and cottonwoods (10/5/14) Nick Barnhart

GO NOW! Near Peak (50 – 75%) – San Bernardino National Forest – A mix of black oak, mountain maple, rabbitbrush and aspen are delicately coloring Southern California’s San Bernardino Mountains.

Mountain Maple, Big Bear Lake (10/5/14) Nick Barnhart

Silver Maple, Green Valley Lake (10/5/14) Nick Barnhart

GO NOW! Peak (75 – 100%) – Big Bear Lake – Christine, a color spotter visited the famous aspen grove near Big Bear and repots it is peaking.  This is probably the last weekend to see it in its glory.

Lake Gregory (10/5/14) Nick Barnhart

Lake Gregory (10/5/14) Nick Barnhart

Patchy (10 – 50%) – Lake Gregory and Lake Arrowhead – Only about 25% of the trees are showing color.

 

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LA Lights Up Following Cooler Weather and Rain

California Wild Grape, Baldwin Lagoon, LA Co. Arboretum (11/22/13) Frank McDonough

California Wild Grape, Baldwin Lagoon, LA Co. Arboretum (11/22/13) Frank McDonough

Colder temperatures and light rain have caused an intensification of color across Los Angeles County, as evidenced by these photos provided by Frank McDonough a botanical information consultant at the Los Angeles County Arboretum and Gardens.

GO NOW! – 75 – 100% – Los Angeles County – Reports from Southern California indicate perfect fall color conditions with crystal clear skies and bright color.

San Gabriel Mountains, seen from Talac Knoll (11/22/13)

San Gabriel Mountains, seen from Talac Knoll (11/22/13)

Gingko tree, near Rose Garden (11/22/13) Frank McDonough

Gingko tree, near Rose Garden (11/22/13) Frank McDonough

Crepe myrtle and Sumac at LA Co. Arboretum (11/22/13) Frank McDonough

Crepe myrtle and Sumac at LA Co. Arboretum (11/22/13) Frank McDonough

Los Angeles County Arboretum (11/22/13) Frank McDonough

Los Angeles County Arboretum (11/22/13) Frank McDonough