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Last Call Above 9,000′

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That 395 House (10/2/18) Liz Grans/Mono County Tourism

It’s last call above 9,000′ feet in Mono County, and what a way to close out fall color viewing at those elevations!

Snow dusted the mountain tops above 10,000′ today, though this didn’t damage fall color. In fact, it improved it, providing a spectacular backdrop for the color and rainbows.

Virginia Lakes (10/2/18) Jeff Simpson/Mono County Tourism

Virginia Lakes (10/2/18) Jeff Simpson/Mono County Tourism

Virginia Lakes (10/3/18) Liz Grans/Mono County Tourism

Virginia Lakes (10/3/18) Liz Grans/Mono County Tourism

Conway Summit (10/2/18) Jeff Simpson/Mono County Tourism

Conway Summit (10/2/18) Jeff Simpson/Mono County Tourism

Conway Summit (10/3/18) Liz Grans/Mono County Tourism

Silver Lake, June Lake Loop (10/2/18) Jeff Simpson/Mono County Tourism

McGee Creek (10/3/18) Josh Wray/Mammoth Lakes Tourism

Convict Lake (10/3/18) Josh Wray/Mammoth Lakes Tourism

Mono County is tracking exactly as it has in past years, so check this site for peak color previously and make your plans to see favorite areas, accordingly.

This is likely the last week to enjoy peak color at the Virginia Lakes, Upper Rock Creek, Lobdell Lake Road, Sagehen Summit, Sonora Pass and Tioga Pass. Jeff Simpson of Mono County Tourism reports. “All of these areas are at full peak and looking spectacular right now but will be rapidly approaching past peak as the week goes on.”

There are too many great trails peaking right now to name one as Hike of the Week. So, we’re suggesting this package of choices for inspirational hiking. Be advised, they climb to high elevations. So, be prepared with plenty of water, hiking sticks, a backpack holding extra layered clothing, sun screen, a hat, sunglasses and your camera or mobile device, of course.

Now that you’re forewarned, be prepared for fair beauty along the Upper Rock Creek, McGee Canyon, Parker Lake, Lundy Canyon and  Molybdenite trails with quaking aspen at higher elevations that will be perfect, this weekend.

For a driving tour, start at Conway Summit (US 395) and drive up Virginia Lakes Road to Dunderberg Meadows Road, then to Green Creek and down through Summers Meadows road exiting back at US 395 on Green Creek Road. This loop has incredible color right now and you’ll be able to see five of Mono County’s premiere fall color destinations at once. AWD recommended.

East Bay color spotter, Darrell Sano was one of the photographers who headed to Mono County this past week in search of color. His route took him over Tioga Pass and through Yosemite National Park, before descending Lee Vining Canyon into Mono County, reporting “incredibly intense” rain during today’s storm and crawling at 30 mph in what appeared to be nightfall at 2 p.m.

Now you know why the National Park Service closes Tioga Pass once it snow accumulates. Fortunately it didn’t and CA-120E remains open to Mono County as peak color spreads across it. 

Walker/Coleville/Topaz

  • Monitor Pass (8,314′) – Near Peak (50-75%) GO NOW! – The pass is gilded with yellow and lime on the way up/down.
  • Lobdell Lake Road (8,600′) – Peak (75-100%) GO NOW! – Fantastic color is hanging on, though this is likely the last Peak week for this elevation. AWD recommended.
  • Walker Canyon (5,200′) – Just Starting (0-10%)
  • Towns of Walker & Coleville- Just Starting (0-10%)
  • Sonora Pass (9,623′) – Near Peak to Peak (50-100%) GO NOW! – Another week of strong color with Peak color over the pass and lime and yellow in Leavitt Meadow.

Bridgeport/Virginia Lakes

  • Twin Lakes (7,000′) – Patchy (10-50%) – Will be Near Peak next week.
  • Virginia Lakes (9,819’) – Peak (75-100%) GO NOW! – Wow. Virginia Lakes has had two solid weeks of peak color, but this is likely its last, as some stands are Past Peak near the lake, but still strong going up the road. AWD recommended.
  • Conway Summit (8,143) – Patchy (10-50%) – We like Conway best when it’s a mix of green, lime, yellow and orange … like, right now. This broad area should hold for another two weeks of Near Peak and Peak color.  Though technically Patchy, GO NOW!
  • Summers Meadow (7,200′) – Patchy (10-50%) – Green along the road, but with emerging color yellow, orange and red higher up. In some years, Summers Meadow is one of the most beautiful areas of the Eastern Sierra. A definite must-see.

Lee Vining

  • Tioga Pass (9,943′) – Peak (75-100%) GO NOW! – There’s lovely color near Tenaya Lake and spots of it through Tuolumne Meadows and over the pass. Saddlebag Lake Road is worth a sidetrip.
  • Lee Vining Canyon (6,781′) – Patchy (10-50%)
  • Lundy Lake & Canyon (7,858′) – Patchy (10-50%)

Benton & 120 East

  • Sagehen Summit (8,139’) –Peak to Past Peak GO NOW as YOU ALMOST MISSED IT! – Still beautiful and worth the detour, but approaching Past Peak.

June Lake Loop

  • June Lake Loop/Hwy 158 (7,654′) – Patchy (10-50%) – Still early.
  • Parker Lake (8,000′) – – Patchy (10-50%) – Best bet.

Mammoth Lakes

  • Mammoth Lakes Basin (8,996′) – Peak (75-100%) GO NOW! – Colors in the Mammoth Lakes Basin are still bright and vibrant. Definitely worth stopping by Lake George, then making your way back through Twin Lakes. 

Crowley Lake/McGee Creek/Convict Lake

  • McGee Creek Canyon (8,600’) – Patchy (10-50) – McGee is dragging its feet, but then it’s always been later than other canyons. Look for it moving to Near Peak next week and Peak the following week.
  • Around Crowley community (6,781′) – Just Starting (0-10%)
  • Convict Lake (7850′)- Patchy (10-50) – Color is appearing around the lake, but it’s got another week before it truly gets electric.

Rock Creek Canyon

  • Rock Creek Road (8,500’+) – Peak (75-100%) GO NOW! – With snow coating peaks above Rock Creek Lake, this is definitely the Peak of the Week above 8,500′.

Conway Summit (10/2/18) Jeff Simpson/Mono County Tourism

Rock Creek, Mono County (10/3/18) Josh Wray/Mammoth Lakes Tourism

Conway Summit (10/3/18) Liz Grans/Mono County Tourism

Carson Iceberg Wilderness (10/2/18) Jeff Simpson/Mono County Tourism

Virginia Lakes (10/2/18) Jeff Simpson/Mono County Tourism

Sonora Pass (10/2/18) Jeff Simpson/Mono County Tourism

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rock Creek, Mono County (10/3/18) Josh Wray/Mammoth Lakes Tourism

McGee Creek (10/3/18) Josh Wray/Mammoth Lakes Tourism

Rock Creek, Mono County (10/3/18) Josh Wray/Mammoth Lakes Tourism

Rock Creek, Mono County (10/3/18) Josh Wray/Mammoth Lakes Tourism

Carson Iceberg Wilderness (10/2/18) Jeff Simpson/Mono County Tourism

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Siesta Lake, Yosemite National Park (10/3/18) Darrell Sano

Warren Fork, Lee Vining Canyon (10/3/18) Darrell Sano

Warren Fork, Lee Vining Canyon (10/3/18) Darrell Sano

Mono Lake Lookout, Lee Vining Canyon (10/3/18) Darrell Sano

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