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Mono County Posts California’s First “Go Now!”

Rock Creek Lake (9/19/18) Jeff Simpson/Mono County Tourism

Lobdell Lake Rd. (9/19/18) Jeff Simpson/Mono County Tourism

Sagehen Summit (9/19/18) Jeff Simpson/Mono County Tourism

Rock Creek Lake (9/19/18) Jeff Simpson/Mono County Tourism

Rock Creek Lake (9/19/18) Jeff Simpson/Mono County Tourism

Jeff Simpson of Mono County Tourism is exclaiming, “What a difference a week makes!”

He has the enviable job of touring his Eastern Sierra county each week during autumn to report on the state of fall color and was thrilled to declare the first Near Peak color for California forests.

While fall color has been developing gradually elsewhere and some Peak and Near Peak color has been reported for grasses and shrubs, Mono County’s Sagehen Summit and Rock Creek Lake are the first forest areas suddenly Near Peak and predicted to fully peak within a week.

Jeff attributes the emerging peak color to colder night temperatures in the Eastern Sierra.

The perimeter of Rock Creek Lake is splashed with lime, yellow, orange and red Quaking Aspen. Follow trails around the lake and toward Hilton Creek  and the Little Lakes Valley to be immersed in it.

The lower sections of Rock Creek Canyon remain Just Starting, though Jeff says a few yellow trees are found around the East Fork Campground area.

Last autumn, Sagehen Summit was a big “wow” and it appears the show has returned to Sagehen with a gradient colors to be seen, from red atop the summit, to deep orange down slope, to deep green at the base of the road.

Jeff admits that Sagehen is “still a little ripe,” but forsees  improvement over this weekend.

Simpson scores a First Report (the first report posted on this site about any given location) by recommending continuing to drive Sagehen Meadows Road to “Johnny Meadows for additional groves of aspens and fall color viewing.”

Still developing are Monitor Pass, Sonora Pass, Lobdell Lake Road, Virginia Lakes and Tioga Pass. Jeff writes that “Each of these areas have great sections of color but are still too patchy for a full endorsement.” 

Rock Creek Lake (9/19/18) Jeff Simpson/Mono County Tourism













From north to south along US 395 in Mono Çounty, here’s what you’ll see.


  • Monitor Pass (8,314′) Patchy (10-50%)
  • Lobdell Lake Road (8,600′) – Patchy (10-50%) – Burcham Flat Rd. is now open to through traffic only, with no stopping in the Boot Fire burn area.
  • Walker Canyon (5,200′) – Just Starting (0-10%)
  • Towns of Walker & Coleville- Just Starting (0-10%)
  • Sonora Pass (9,623′) – 10-50% Patchy

Bridgeport/Virginia Lakes

  • Twin Lakes (7,000′) – Just Starting (0-10%)
  • Virginia Lakes (9,819’) – Patchy (10-50%)  – Approaching Near Peak.
  • Conway Summit (8,143)- Just Starting (0-10%)
  • Summers Meadow (7,200′)- Just Starting (0-10%)

Lee Vining

  • Tioga Pass (9,943′) Patchy (10-50%)
  • Lee Vining Canyon (6,781′) – Just Starting (0-10%)
  • Lundy Lake & Canyon (7,858′) – Just Starting (0-10%)

Benton & 120 East

  • Sagehen Summit (8,139’) – Near Peak (50-75%) Go Now! – Peak color at the top with vibrant reds with yellows and greens abundant at the lower levels around the road.

June Lake Loop

  • June Lake Loop/Hwy 158 (7,654′) – Just Starting (0-10%)
  • Parker Lake (8,000′) – Just Starting (0-10%)

Mammoth Lakes

  • Mammoth Lakes Basin (8,996′) – Just Starting (0-10%)

Crowley Lake/McGee Creek/Convict Lake

  • McGee Creek Canyon (8,600’) – Just Starting (0-10%)
  • Around Crowley community (6,781′) – Just Starting (0-10%)
  • Convict Lake (7850′) – Just Starting (0-10%)

Rock Creek Canyon

  • Rock Creek Road (9,600’) – Near Peak (50-75%) Go Now! – Full peak color around the lake and in the trail heads of Hilton Creek and Little Lakes Valley. Patchy below Rock Creek Lodge and green below East Fork Campground.

3 replies
  1. Sonny Acosta says:

    Planning on heading up to Mcgee Creek the weekend of 10/06 for a fall color shoot. I noticed this hasn’t been updated since 9/16 anything new? traveling from the high desert here in in California. Sounds like Bishop Creek might be done by then. Any suggestions would be helpful. Thanks for the info.

    • John Poimiroo says:

      We have gotten no reports from McGee Creek, but will likely have them this week. McGee is often a little later than Rock Creek, but before June Lake.

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