Inyo County: Color Descends to the Owens Valley

North Lake Road (9/30/15) Jared Smith/Parcher's Resort

North Lake Road (9/30/15) Jared Smith/Parcher’s Resort

With the seasonal closing of Parchers Resort, we lose a reliable color spotter in Jared Smith.  This was not a stellar year for Bishop Creek Canyon, as drought and weather stripped 2/3 of the aspen early in September.

North Lake (9/27/15) Elliott McCucken

North Lake (9/27/15) Elliot McCucken

By October, much of the color was gone. What remained, had glorious and intense color (including some spectacular reds at North Lake), but the show was not as big as in past years.

So, we’re now officially declaring Bishop Creek to be past peak, though some lower areas are still showing color.

We recommend exploring the Owens Valley for interesting color.  In and around Bishop are many stands of cottonwood and some oaks, as well as urban landscaped trees that show bright color.

And, Bishop is a great place to stop, refresh or regroup. Our favorite stops in Bishop include Mountain Light, Galen and Barbara Rowell’s studio; Schat’s Bakkery (home of the original sheepherder’s bread and all kinds of baked goodies) and Mahogany Smoked Meats on N. Sierra Hwy (US 395), though from now through early November, the fall color pleasantly surprises.

Past Peak YOU MISSED IT! – Mist Falls and the groves above Bishop Creek Lodge (8350ft)

Past Peak YOU MISSED IT! – Aspendell (8400ft

Peak GO NOW! (50-75%%) – Four Jeffreys (8000ft) – Four Jeffreys is showing the last of its color.

Peak GO NOW! (75-100%) – Intake II (8000ft) – Very few groves near the dam and along the shoreline have peak color.

Near Peak GO NOW! (50-75%) – Big Trees Campground (7800ft) –Nice color remains in this past to peak area of the canyon.

Near Peak (50-75%) – Bishop (4,150ft) – The upper Owens Valley has developed beautifully and has such a mix of patchy to peaking trees, that we’re calling it Near Peak and issuing an alert to go now. Beautiful gold can be found along Pacific St. in Bishop, while some areas in the Owens Valley are still early. Ornamental pear and other deciduous exotic landscaped trees in Bishop and other Owens Valley towns are coloring up, depending on their specie.

Patchy (10-50%) – Lower Owens Valley – Independence and Lone Pine are developing spots of color along streams and in lower Eastern Sierra canyons.