Halloween Colors from the Shasta Cascade

With bigleaf maple turning at 3,000′ and color descending in the High Sierra, color spotter Katie Shaw reports where color can now be seen in the vast Shasta Cascade region of northeast California.

Butte County:

15-30%- Butte County- Expect some changes this week as high wind is predicted this week along with rain on Thursdayto bring some dramatic change. With warm sunny days and cold nights, the trees have turned brilliant shades of orange and red, despite beginning to drop their leaves!

Shasta County:

30-50% – Whiskeytown National Recreation Area- The place to be this week in the park to see fall’s change is around the waterways and waterfall. Brilliant reds, yellows, and purple leaves are surrounding the park’s proud waterfalls, and providing a welcome sight for all who see. This change is expected to continue for while, but don’t forget to catch this part of the show while you still can!

100%- Burney Falls State Park– Make sure to catch the peak of fall color change happening this week at Burney Falls State Park! The Oaks are magnificent yellow and brown, and the Maples are beginning to shed their leaves in wondrous form. See the park in full fall color!

Tehama County:

50-75%- Lassen Volcanic National Park– The Oaks, Cottonwoods, and Aspens are all a radiant shade of yellow, and are simply coloring the park. Don’t miss out on this brilliant show of color, because with colder temperature and even snow projections, the transition into the winter season will be a quick one!

Lassen County:

75-100%- Bizz Johnson Trail- The trail and surrounding areas are radiating vibrant colors of red, yellow, and orange as the fall season is brought to its peak! This brilliant display of nature’s creativity is expected to last for another week or two, so whether you bike, walk, or drive make sure to check out the show. 

Siskiyou County:

75-100%- Mt. Shasta- Multiple colors of Oaks and Maples line the roadways around Mt. Shasta, displaying a cornucopia of rustic reds, dazzling oranges, and golden yellows. While some trees reach their peak, others are still fighting to hold onto their spring colors. However, storms and high winds at the end of the week are expected to bring all color change to a halt and produce a shower of multihued leaves.

Trinity County:

15-30%- Weaverville- Fall is still in beginning to show in Trinity County. The Oaks and Locusts are starting their shift into a subdued yellow, while the Maples are turning a scarlet red.  No big weather changes predicted in the near future so the trees are expected to continue their unhurried shift to their fall crest.

Plumas County:

75-100% Plumas County- The Oak and Dogwood trees are beginning to really reach their peak with warm oranges and vivid yellows. The Cottonwoods and Maples are beginning to embrace their winter coats this week, while the creek beds are still rich with Indian Rhubarb in wondrous shades or red and orange. Over on the north side of the county, the Aspens are in full bloom with tones of yellow, and the rest of the forest is still alive with autumn color.

Modoc County:

75-100% Modoc County- The drive through Modoc County is a true feast for the eyes. With the Aspens and Cottonwoods changing into a lush golden yellow, and low lying shrubs a brilliant red, the view is pretty remarkable.

Tahoe Gold

The downward march of fall color in California was made apparent by driving U.S. 50 from El Dorado Hills to South Lake Tahoe on Saturday.  This route, once part of America’s first transcontinental highway- the Lincoln Highway, shows the change of color by elevation from the early turn of non-native trees in suburbia to the yellow glow of bigleaf maple (the first to change), to dogwood, black oak and aspen.

50 – 75% – U.S. 50 – The western slope of the Lincoln Highway between 3,000 and 4,000 feet in elevation is dressed in bright yellow bigleaf maple with pockets of color seen along the American River.  Further up the canyon (5,000′) dogwood are pink and green, and black oaks are beautifully tinged with orange leaves in time for Halloween.

75 – 100% – South Lake Tahoe – A brilliant stand of yellow aspen is seen at 7,000 ft in elevation on the Lake Tahoe side of Echo Summit.  Yellow bigleaf maple, orange willows and rust ferns dress the edges of forests and meadows at South Lake Tahoe.

Autumn Lodging Specials


The Yosemite Resorts in El Portal are offering two special autumn packages.  CLICK HERE for more information or reservations.

At Cedar Lodge, stay two nights and your third night is free on any stay through Nov. 20.  Optional rooms include rooms with an in-room spa tub for two, or one with a four-poster King Bed, or perhaps a room that will fit the entire family.   Regardless of the type room, Cedar Lodge offers affordability and is minutes from Yosemite Valley.

Mountain View King Spa Room, Yosemite View Lodge

On Nov. 12, the Yosemite View Lodge holds its Fall Wine and Dine event, a four-course banquet with wine pairings for $85 per person.  Includes reception, appetizers and the banquet.  The View is known as being the best value for lodging in the Yosemite area, with deluxe rooms at reasonable cost.

50 – 75% – Yosemite Valley/Merced River Canyon – Dogwood are at 50% of color in Yosemite Valley, with black oak still coloring up.  Bigleaf maple and cottonwood have turned.  Autumn color has been running two weeks late, so – barring a turn in weather – fall color should still be seen in Yosemite Valley into the first couple of weeks of November.


Big Basin Tent Cabin, Big Basin Redwoods State Park

Beginning December 1, through January 31, Big Basin Tent Cabins at Big Basin Redwoods State Park is offering accommodations for “an all time low price of $49.95 per night!”  There’s no coupon to redeem or anything else you need to do.  Just CLICK HERE to book a tent cabin and you’ll receive the reduced rate.

The lower rate does not apply to cabins with the Deluxe Camping Package or Deluxe Cabins. The lower rate applies to new reservations only.  Lower rate prices is available 7 days a week, through December and Janaury. The lower rate does not apply to Holiday weekends. Offer expires January 31, 2012.

30 – 50% – Santa Cruz Mountains – Deciduous trees in the Santa Cruz Mountains are glowing nicely.  Look for color in riparian areas and meadows.

Sorensen’s Resort Reports

Snowshoe Thomson Cabin, Sorensen's Resort (10/20/11) © 2011Patty Brisenden

Past Peak – Hope Valley – John and Patty Brisenden report theirs was a “beautiful, long fall this year.”  The secret is out, that stunning video posted on California Fall Color earlier this autumn (look back in the archives) was produced by their daughter, Elizabeth.  And, their other daughter Annie, with her husband PJ and Elizabeth produced a winter video for the Hope Valley resort.  Though, it is now past peak at Sorensen’s spots of color are still to be found in and around the resort, though we couldn’t leave the Hope Valley without posting these shots taken last week.  Now, though it’s mostly gone from the Hope Valley, read previous articles here to see where you can still see the color at peak, as peak has now dropped to 6,000 ft in elevation.

Sorensen's Resort (10/20/11) © 2011 Patty Brisenden

The resort is offering a winter special.  Stay four nights for the price of three (Sun-Thurs) or three nights for the price of two (Monday-Thurs). Valid:  Oct. 23 – Dec. 15, Jan. 7 – Feb. 9 and Feb. 26 – Jun. 14, during non-holiday periods. Cannot be combined with other Sorensen’s programs or specials. Mention you saw this offer on CaliforniaFallColor, when making reservations. Regular weekend rates charged on Sunday when using 4-for-3 special.


Hope Valley (10/17/11) © 2011 Patty Brisenden

CLICK HERE for information on these holiday workshops and festivals: Nov. 24 – Thanksgiving Feast; Dec. 3 and 4, Holiday Wreath-making Workshop; Dec. 5 – 9, Wood-block Holiday Card Printing; and Dec. 10, Winter Survival Class.

Plumas Experiences Extended Peak

Backcountry Road, Plumas County (10/27/11) © 2011 Richard McCutcheon

Backcountry Road, Plumas County (10/27/11) © 2011 Richard McCutcheon

Backcountry Road, Plumas County (10/27/11) © 2011 Richard McCutcheon

Northern Sierra backcountry color spotter Richard McCutcheon says, “It is funny how the trees are turning.  Some have peaked, some are half turned and still half green, some are still green and some are all blown off to the ground, so you are going to find some very pretty areas yet when you hit the right spot.”

La Porte Road, Plumas County (10/27/11) © 2011 James Hsieh

Suzi Brakken agrees, saying, “It’s been a unusual year, with different species showing up at different times. We expect the color in North County to continue gradually changing into early November.”

Hwy 70, Quincy (10/27/11) © 2011 James Hsieh

75 – 100% – Plumas County – Suzi writes that her county is experiencing an extended peak, with dogwoods, aspens and oak (finally) kicking into color. The best spots include the Bucks Lake Road and U.S. Forest Service roads that lead from it, the La Porte Road and the Indian Valley area, Hwy. 89 between Quincy and Chester. For aspen, the best spots now are in the Sierra Valley, which include the Genesee Beckwourth Road and roads to Lake Davis and Frenchman Lake.  Also, Lassen Volcanic National Park is reporting aspen are looking good there.

Silver Maples, Quincy High School (10/27/11) © 2011 James Hsieh

Silver Maple, Quincy (10/21/11) © 2011 James Hsieh

50 – 75% – Feather River Canyon – Hwy. 70 from Oroville to Quincy, is coming in last with Indian Rhubarb and dogwood still only approaching 75 percent. Most of the cottonwoods along the Middle Fork Feather in Graeagle and Portola are past peak with bigleaf maple also somewhat past peak.   Non-native silver maples in Plumas county towns are looking great, but will be past peak by next week.

Images from the East Side


These wonderful pictures are provided to us by Chris Murdock who visited the Eastern Sierra a week ago (10/21/11).  Click on image to enlarge.




Yosemite Valley Approaches Peak

Fern Spring, Yosemite Valley © 2006 John Poimiroo

50 – 75% – Yosemite Valley – Kari Cobb, a public information officer for the National Park Service in Yosemite Valley confirms what other color spotters have reported: that bigleaf maple have mostly turned, though many of the park’s other principal species remain in the midst of change.  Dogwood are a mix of rose and green; black oak are mostly yellow and transitioning to their trademark orange and black.  The exotic sugar maple planted by early settlers near the Yosemite Chapel has completely turned with its red leaves now dry.

Redding Shows First Tints

Diestelhorst Bridge, Redding (10/27/11) © 2011 Jenny Zink

0 – 15% – Redding – With color descending throughout California (now peaking at 6,000′), we begin to get reports from our urban forests.  From Redding, color spotter Jenny Zink reports that color is appearing two weeks later than normal – which we’ve noticed across the country.  She attribute’s Redding’s clear skies and warm daytime temps (second sunniest city in America) as helping to keep the trees green so far, this autumn.  However, the first signs of yellow are now appearing in riparian areas long the Sacramento River.  Here, you see people walking across the historic Diestelhorst Bridge in downtown Redding as trees glow with the first tints of gold.  Autumn for Redding cannot be far behind.  If heading north, you’ll find color in the higher areas surrounding Redding: Hwy 299 between Redding and Weaverville, Whiskeytown National Recreation Area and MacArthur Burney Memorial Falls State Park.  Plan on this area coloring up over the next two weeks, weather permitting.

Kids Hike to Plumas Color

Bigleaf Maple Hat (10/25/11) © 2011 Suzi Brakken

Mountain Ash (10/25/11) © 2011 Suzi Brakken

Indian Rhubarb (10/25/11) © 2011 Suzi Brakken

Color spotter Suzi Brakken took her son’s grade school class on a hike near Quincy and what did they see?  Lots of autumn color!

Check out Maple leaf hat, the Mountain Ash berries and the season’s first photo of Indian Rhubarb, seen near Nelson Creek on the way to LaPorte.

Though Past Peak, lots of Color Remains

Convict Lake, Dawn Light (10/21/11) © 2011 Rob Bohning

Rob Bohning is one of several talented photographers whose work has graced this blog.  Rob was out and about the east side and proves through these beautiful images that even though an area is being reported as past peak, there’s still a lot of beauty to be seen.

Aspen Leaves, Eastern Sierra (10/21/11) © 2011 Rob Bohning

Past Peak – Bishop Creek Canyon – There’s still a lot of great color with golden aspen at peak.  Intake II off Hwy 168 had awesome orange and gold around the lake.  Also, Aspendell was a great surprise and the aspen there was peak.

Silver Lake (10/22/11) © 2011 Rob Bohning

Past Peak – McGee Creek Canyon – Though past peak, there’s still lots of nice color along the hike with about 70-80% remain

Lake Sabrina Road (10/21/11) © 2011 Rob Bohning

Past Peak – Convict Lake – About 50-60% remain

Lundy Lake (10/22/11) © 2011 Rob Bohning

Past Peak – June Lake Loop – This is a mixed bag. Grant  Lake has the most color. As you drive towards Silver lake, there is some great color on the right side, some has not begun to change, and some is full peak.  Near Silver Lake, most color around the lake is now past peak, though about 70% remain. Driving further along Hwy 158 towards Gull Lake there is some nice color on both sides of the road. June Lake color is also past peak, about 50-60% remain.

June Lake Loop (10/22/11) © 2011 Rob Bohning

75 – 100% – Lundy Canyon was gorgeous and at peak, now. Some vibrant oranges and reds speckled throughout. Lundy Lake is gorgeous, though past peak.. about 70% remain.  Color spotter Alicia Vennos adds, “From Lundy Lake, drive a one-lane dirt road for about  1.4 miles to the trailhead – you will see lots of photographers at the first beaver pond.   From the trailhead to the Lower Lundy Falls (most popular viewpoint) is .5 miles uphill.  After that, it levels out for about a ¼-mile to the Beaver Pond, another popular destination especially if you’re hiking with younger kids.  From the Beaver Pond  to the second set of beautiful falls, it’s about another mile of fairly steady uphill, through a couple of wonderful aspen groves, across a stream, past an old mining cabin.  The final giant falls coming down from Twenty Lakes Basin is approximately another ¾ miles, again a steady climb.  The whole trail is 6 miles, round-trip, and worth every step!

Lundy Canyon (10/26/11) © 2011 Victor Cooper

Victor Cooper’s photograph of Lundy Canyon (seen at left) shows the most recent state of color change.  Many of the leaves have fallen or are now falling, though bright color still remains.  Alicia Vennos confirms this, writing, “the aspen groves are a mix of still-vibrant color along with trees that have already lost their leaves… Lundy Canyon, June Lake Loop, McGee Creek and Lower Rock Creek along the bike trail, are the best bets.”

Past Peak – Conway Summit – Though the summit is past peak, some great color, about 80%, remains

75 – 100% – Sonora Pass – Dazzling with color.. lots of color left

Past Peak – Virginia Lakes – Carolyn Webb reports that leaves are off the aspen and that there’ll be no more reports for this season, though plan to travel to the Virginia Lakes next year for more summer fun and early autumn fall color.  CLICK HERE for more about the Virginia Lakes Resort.

CLICK HERE to see photo updates on Mono County Tourism’s Facebook page.