California’s First “Go Now!” Alert

Right on schedule, Bishop Creek is reporting the first color in California to near peak. Color spotter Jared Smith of Parchers Resort sends this report with color nearing peak a week later than reported last year.  We consider that to be right on schedule.

Groves Above Cardinal Village 9/16/14 Jared Smith

Groves Above Cardinal Village 9/16/14 Jared Smith

Bishop Creek Canyon Overall Conditions 
Above 8,500′ – Near Peak – GO NOW!

There’s been an explosion of color over the past week above 8,500′ in elevation, with many of the best views in Bishop Creek Canyon (along U.S. 395, west of Bishop) rapidly progressing from patchy color to near peak. The higher groves on the mountainsides are showing the most yellow and orange with the lower lying aspen along the road a mix of brilliant yellow and lime green. It’s impossible to know how long the color will stick around but Jared Smith reports he’s hopeful that we have a few more weeks of spectacular color to enjoy.

7,000′ to 8,500′ – Patchy (10 – 50%)

The lower reaches of Bishop Creek Canyon are showing a bit of color, patchy at best, but deep or lime green still dominates the landscape. Jared reports, “It will be interesting to see if the lower lying aspen turn as quickly as the trees higher in the canyon. Either way, there is still a lot of color to come over the next few weeks if the weather holds out.”

Wier Pond 9/17/14 Jared Smith

Wier Pond 9/17/14 Jared Smith

GO NOW! – Near Peak ( 50 – 75%) Wier Pond (9,650′) Still some green along the road and stream but the hillside above the pond and many of the aspen along the far side of the pond are turning very fast. I’d wager that peak color will happen here sometime in the next week.

Parchers Camp 9/17/14 Jared Smith

Parchers Camp 9/17/14 Jared Smith

GO NOW! – Near Peak (50 – 75%) Parchers Camp (9,260′)
The color has really come on strong the past week with about half of the aspen and willow around the camp turned or turning.

Willow Campground  9/17/14 Jared Smith

Willow Campground 9/17/14 Jared Smith

Patchy (10 – 50%) – Willow Campground  (9,000′)
Although the campground is now closed, the color is just now starting to pop in this area. The aspen on the hillside are turning fast while the aspen along the beaver pond, road, by the Tyee bridge and in the campground are just now starting.

Sabina Campground  9/17/14 Jared Smith

Sabina Campground 9/17/14 Jared Smith

GO NOW! – Near Peak (50 – 75%) Sabrina Campground (9,000′) The aspen within the campground are just starting to turn but the aspen along Hwy 168 are near peak color with some gorgeous red and orange showing. The groves just around the corner from the North Lake turnoff, which are just on the other side of the campground, don’t typically exhibit any orange or red but the yellow is pure and bright and is showing big time.

Table Mountain Camp  9/17/14 Jared Smith

Table Mountain Camp 9/17/14 Jared Smith

Comparison, Table Mountain Camp a week ago

Comparison, Table Mountain Camp a week ago

GO NOW! – Near Peak (50 – 75%) Table Mountain Camp (8,900′) Still some green mixed in but the aspen are really popping here with the groves turning or already turned all the way down to the stream. The view from South Lake Road is exceptional just below the campground. Within the campground itself there isn’t a ton of color yet but the best views are of the mountain above it which is really looking nice.

Surveyors Meadow 9/17/14 Jared Smith

Surveyors Meadow 9/17/14 Jared Smith

GO NOW! – Near Peak (50 – 75%)

Comparison, Surveyors Meadow a week ago

Comparison, Surveyors Meadow a week ago

Surveyor’s Meadow (8,975′) There is still some green along the road here but the peak color on the mountain to the west of South Lake Road is flat out stunning already and likely to peak within the next week to 10 days.

Lake Sabrina  9/17/14 Jared Smith

Lake Sabrina 9/17/14 Jared Smith

Lake Sabrina 9/17/14 Jared Smith

Lake Sabrina 9/17/14 Jared Smith

GO NOW! – Near Peak (50 – 75%) Lake Sabrina (9,150′) As expected the color at Lake Sabrina went off this week with many of the groves at or near peak. Despite some of the lake showing peak color, I rated the color here as near peak as there is still enough green yet to change to allow for more color over the next week or so. Weather, most importantly wind, is the enemy here so if conditions stay calm the color should remain spectacular for some time yet.

North Lake  9/17/14 Jared Smith

North Lake 9/17/14 Jared Smith

North Lake  9/17/14 Jared Smith

North Lake 9/17/14 Jared Smith

Comparison, North Lake a week ago

Comparison, North Lake a week ago

GO NOW! – Near Peak (50 – 75%) North Lake (9,255′) While aspen-lined dirt road on the east side of the lake is still mostly green, the aspen covering the mountain directly above the lake, the trees around the first parking area and the aspen all along the west shore have started to turn or already turned and the views are amazing.

Patchy (10 – 50%) Steiny Loop &  Mt. Glen Camp (8,600′) Quite a bit of color has started to develop along the old road referred to as the Steiny Loop. Lime green is most prevalent but some beautiful yellow patches are showing.

Mist Falls  9/17/14 Jared Smith

Mist Falls 9/17/14 Jared Smith

Patchy (10 – 50%) Mist Falls and the groves above Bishop Creek Lodge (8,350′) A few touches of yellow just to the right of the waterfall is about all that is going on at this location, by far one of the most popular stops on any fall color tour of the Bishop Creek area.

Aspendell  9/17/14 Jared Smith

Aspendell 9/17/14 Jared Smith

Just Starting – 0 – 10% – Aspendell (8,400′) Lime green is all that we’re seeing in Aspendell despite brilliant color just a half mile above the small community.

Comparison, Groves Above Cardinal Village last week

Comparison, Groves Above Cardinal Village last week

GO NOW! – Near Peak (50 – 75%) Groves Above Cardinal Village (8,550′) One of the best views in the canyon right now is from Hwy 168 looking up canyon where gorgeous color has turned from Cardinal mine all the way down to Cardinal Village Resort.

Four Jeffries  9/17/14 Jared Smith

Four Jeffries 9/17/14 Jared Smith

Just Starting – (0 – 10%) – Four Jeffries A few branches have turned but for the most part the aspen here are just now starting to lighten from a deep dark summer green to a lime green.

Intake II  9/17/14 Jared Smith

Intake II 9/17/14 Jared Smith

Just Starting – (10 – 50%) – Intake II There is some color on the mountain above the lake but most of the aspen around the lake are just now a lime green.

Big Trees Campground  9/17/14 Jared Smith

Big Trees Campground 9/17/14 Jared Smith

Just Starting – (0 – 10%) – Big Trees Campground Very little color is visible at this lower elevation campground. The aspens are huge here and can be quite spectacular during peak color. I’m guessing we’re at least a couple weeks from seeing much here.

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