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Bishop Creek Canyon: More Yellow Every Day

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Weir Pond, South Fork, Bishop Creek (9/14/16) Jared Smith

Weir Pond, South Fork, Bishop Creek (9/14/16) Jared Smith

Jared Smith from Parcher’s Resort near South Lake up Bishop Creek Canyon rates Bishop Creek as “Patchy” with “a lot of color starting to show in the higher reaches of the canyon with more yellow popping up every day.”

This week, Bishop Creek experienced its “first true cold snap since May… with a few snow flurries and evening temps dipping into the high 20s. It definitely feels like Fall, all of a sudden.”

Jared’s first report each autumn is highly anticipated by CaliforniaFallColor.com readers. He’s holding his breath writing, “It will be interesting to see how this cooler weather affects the color over the next week.”

Overall Conditions Between 7500ft & 8500ft Elevation

Just Starting (0% – 10%)

Noticeable lightening of the aspens is occurring in many of the lower reaches of the canyon, but very little color is showing.

Sabrina Camp, Bishop Creek Canyon (9/14/16) Jared Smith

Sabrina Camp, Bishop Creek Canyon (9/14/16) Jared Smith

Above Parcher's Resort, South Fork Bishop Creek (9/14/16) Jared Smith

Above Parcher’s Resort, South Fork Bishop Creek (9/14/16) Jared Smith

Table Mountain, Bishop Creek Canyon (9/14/16) Jared Smith

Table Mountain, Bishop Creek Canyon (9/14/16) Jared Smith

Lake Sabrina, Bishop Creek Canyon (9/14/16) Jared Smith

Lake Sabrina, Bishop Creek Canyon (9/14/16) Jared Smith

Mist Falls, Bishop Creek Canyon (9/14/16) Jared Smith

Mist Falls, Bishop Creek Canyon (9/14/16) Jared Smith

Middle Fork Bishop Creek (9/14/16) Jared Smith

Middle Fork Bishop Creek (9/14/16) Jared Smith

Patchy (10 – 50%) – Weir Pond (9650ft)

The hillside above the Weir is showing quite a bit of yellow but the foliage surrounding the pond itself is still a week or more off from showing anything too impressive.

Patchy (10 – 50%) – Sabrina Campground (9000ft)

There was little surprise here as the first solid patches of brilliant orange hues popped up along Hwy 168 just below Sabrina Campground. This is almost always the earliest place to truly develop, but thankfully within the campground itself the aspen are still very green with just a few yellow leaves here and there.

Patchy (10 – 50%) – Parchers Resort (9260ft)

Brilliant yellows are developing on the canyon walls all around the resort, and even a few of the aspen on the resort grounds are beginning to turn or have turned.

Patchy (10 – 50%)  – Willow Campground (9000ft)

This barely deserved this  rating but there is just enough yellow to consider this area patchy.

Patchy (10 – 50%) – Table Mountain Camp (8900ft)

There is a bit of color showing within the campground but the best of it, which is pretty impressive for this early on, is just below the campground on the eastern canyon wall just above the So. Fork of Bishop Creek.

Patchy (10 – 50%) – Surveyors Meadow (8975ft)

There is a lot of color showing here, but there’s plenty of green too. Still, there are some photo-worthy views right now. Look for this to really go off in the next week to 10 days.

Patchy (10 – 50%) – Lake Sabrina (9150ft)

Patchy color on the eastern shore and near the back of the lake but we’ve got a ways to go before the lake shows it’s best fall  color display.

Patchy (10 – 50%) – North Lake (9255ft)

Most of the color at North Lake is on the approach to the lake with the road and western slope still mostly green. This area tends to change quick so we’re anxious to see how things look a week from now.

Just Starting (0 – 10%) – Mist Falls and the groves above Bishop Creek Lodge (8350ft)

Just a couple early bloomers around this famous waterfall. I don’t expect much out of this area until near the end of September depending on how the weather ends up.

Just Starting (0 – 10%) – Aspendell (8400ft)

Very few signs of color here right now.

Patchy (10 – 50%)  – Groves above Cardinal Village (8550ft)

The canyon slope from above Cardinal Village up to Cardinal Pinnacle has tons of yellow showing already, it was actually quite surprising. Still, the color is pretty localized and will no doubt get much better in the coming weeks.

Just Starting (0 – 10%) – Four Jeffries (8000ft)

Nothing but a few yellow branches showing right now.

Patchy – (10 – 50%) – Intake II (8000ft)

The aspen surrounding the lake are still hosting their summer shade of green although the scrub aspen growing up the mountainside are showing a little yellow.

Just Starting – (0 – 10%) – Big Trees Campground (7800ft)

Nothing but green here right now.

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2 replies
  1. Kevin says:

    Thanks again for such wonderful information!

    I’ve not had the chance to really see fall colors up in the Mammoth Lakes area before, as the Sept-Oct time period was always busy with work/school. But this year I am making it a goal!

    I’m currently scheduled to be in Mammoth from Sept 30-Oct 2, and I am just curious how you think that time frame might look. I’m trying to hit the real WOW spots when I go, so I’ve been hoping to catch the Lake Sabrina/North Lake/South Lake area at its most beautiful.

    Will the 30th-2nd be a good time? I would hate for things to flare up and wind down in the next two weeks.

    I could perhaps jump my trip up to Sep 23-25, but just curious.

    Thank you so much for all the help and information!

    • John Poimiroo says:

      It should be fabulous along the Eastern Sierra that week. It’s impossible to predict what will happen on any given day, but given the historical record (which you can confirm simply by looking back in our archives – late September/ early October posts) you’ll be able to see what’s happened historically.

      Actually, you’re planning better than some who wait until mid to late October to see Bishop Creek Canyon. Mammoth Lakes is a great base, as you can drive south or north to where the color is showing. Bishop is perfect for concentrating on Bishop Creek.

      Before you leave, keep tabs on our reports and you’ll be able to focus exactly where it’s peaking.

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