A gallimaufry is a collection of unrelated writings.  Such is this post.

I was asked this morning by John Hamilton whether this would be a long fall color season, considering that the grape harvest was late this year.  Well, it seems all foliage are showing a bit later than last year, as we’re about a week to a half week behind what was occurring last year at this time, though it’s impossible to predict with confidence whether the season will be longer or better than in the past.  That’s because fall color is so affected by weather.

Great fall color occurs when the days are warm and the nights cold.  Rain or storms ruin the color by cooling the days and warming the nights and by blowing leaves from the trees.  So, the only way to predict whether the fall season will be longer is to watch long-range weather forecasts.  KGO’s John Hamilton said this a.m. that an average weather pattern is predicted for this autumn.  If so, the fall color should be as good as it ever is… and California has the longest, most varied and I’d say the most spectacular fall color anywhere in the USA… you just have to know where to look to see it.

Spot reports:

Sabrina Camp – 50-75’% – Jared Smith says Sabrina Camp (in the Eastern Sierra (US395) east of Bishop)  is nearing peak and should be spectacular  in the coming week.  Look back at previous entries on this blog to see when it was showing last year… right now, it appears the color is showing  a half week to a week later than it did last year at this time (of course, continue to check back here or other links on this site to see if things remain so delayed).

Antelope Valley – 0-15% – Tim Fesko at Meadowcliff Resort says the cottonwoods are just beginning to show yellow near Coleville (US 395).  That means it’s still green to lime-green among the aspen on nearby Monitor Pass (CA-89).

Drainages – Low lying drainages are showing color, as they always do at the beginning of autumn.  Look for color among the brush and grasses anywhere small streams run out.

Redwood National and State Parks – The Elk Rut is happening now through early October in Orick at Elk Meadow.  Visit to see a video of the rut.  Elk Rut rates are available at the Elk Meadow Cabins. 

U.S. 101 – 0-15% – As you drive north on US 101, there are spots of color (mostly yellow to orange tinged bigleaf maple and pink to red poison oak in the forests north of Willits (Mendocino County) and south of Scotia (Humboldt County).  That’s not a reason to head north along the route, unless you’re traveling to see the elk rut.

Yosemite National Park – 0-30% – The range of change on this report varies by elevation.  Along tjhe Tioga Road, some aspen are coloring lime-green to yellow, while no significant change is occurring in Yosemite Valley.  It could be said, because of the range of elevations in the national park, that Yosemite has a two month fall color season.  Plan on being in Yosemite Valley in the second week of Oct. to see the sugar maple turn red near the Yosemite Chapel.  Look for bigleaf maple and dogwood to color from late Oct through November in Yosemite Valley.

Shasta Cascade – 0-15% – Lassen Volcanic National Park will be among the first places in the Shasta Cascade  to show color, but give it two weeks before heading there.  A great drive is the Volcanic Legacy Scenic Byway.  Base your trip in Redding (nice fall color- mostly oaks and riparian brush/grasses – surrounds Sundial Bridge).

5 replies
  1. M. D. Vaden says:

    Any chance you have it in mind to showcase the small color spots this autumn like the liverworts and lichens?

    Athough green is green, its still a color, and becomes more intense on redwood trunks during autumn and winter. Almost florescent green in some groves. Lichens look rather premium too.

    Liked your poison-oak post earlier. Its a favorite of mine for leaf color.



    • John Poimiroo says:

      MDV, I report what I get from my color spotters… and anyone can be one. Liverworts and lichens are gorgeous and particular favorites of photographers, though often overlooked by leaf peepers. Often, folks miss the little things like those, looking at the big picture.

  2. Marie says:

    What’s the latest info of the fall foliage. Is it still worth going to see it in the eastern sierra or has it been washed away with the last storm?

    • John Poimiroo says:

      The color remains spectacular and has probably another two weeks. Above 9,000 ft the aspen are past peak, but the color is descending nicely below that elevation. The snow two days ago provided a spectacular backdrop for color, with white coating the upper peaks and color below. Rain and snow spots the leaves, however, so any extended weather will reduce the show.

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