Fall events: Mono County

June Lake Autumn Beer Festival (file photo) Mono County Tourism

Each autumn, events bring together opportunities to see fall color and have fun at inexpensive gatherings. They vary from car shows, to brewfests, to nature walks, to history talks, to photo and art classes, to runs, rides and banquets with local legends.

To help add some of this fun to your fall color wanderings, CaliforniaFallColor.com will be publishing lists of California’s best autumn events. We begin in the Eastern Sierra.

For those unfamiliar with Mono County, it’s from where the sun rises over Yosemite National Park.

Mono County is best known as home of Mammoth Lakes and Mammoth Mountain, June Lake and its famous loop, Tioga Pass, Mono Lake, Bodie Ghost Town State Historic Park, cattle rangeland that spreads across the Bridgeport Valley, the Owens River, Walker River and Antelope Valley, but it also has many precious surprises.

Mono County is reached by US 395, Monitor Pass (CA-89), Sonora Pass (CA-108) and Tioga Pass (CA-120E).

Fall color can be seen first near tree line (10,000′) at Rock Creek Lake by mid-Sept. Then, it descends at a rate of about 500′ a week, before it’s gone. During the show, these events add flavor and fun to a Mono County fall (Click bold titles for links):

  • Sept/Oct. – Field Seminars by the Mono Lake Committee, including such topics as: fire ecology, geology, fall color, arborglyphs, watercolor painting and photography.
  • Sept. 3 – Nov. 15 – Ambush at the Lake, a renowned fishing derby at Convict Lake, with Morrison’s Bonus Derby occurring Oct. 26 – 28.
  • Sept. 6 – 8 – Graniteman Challenge, combine three athletic feats into what is considered to be one of the most challenging triathlons on Earth.
    • Sept. 6 – Granite to Granite Swim, 2.4-mi on June Lake.
    • Sept. 7 – Mammoth Gran Fondo, 102-mi bike ride.
    • Sept. 8 – Tioga Pass Run, a 12.4-mi run up Tioga Pass.
  • Sept. 6 – 8 – June Lake Jam Fest at Gull Lake, a jammin’ concert benefitting the Mono Arts Council.
  • Sept. 20 – 21 – Mammoth Oktoberfest, beer, wine, family-friendly games and mouth-watering food.
  • Sept. 21 – Bodie Hills Stewardship Day, by Friends of the Inyo. Give back with other outdoor enthusiasts at a volunteer project then celebrate your good work with new-found friends.
  • Sept. 24 – 28 – Eastern Sierra ATV & UTV Jamboree in Coleville and Walker, ride your OHV on guided trail rides through gorgeous backcountry.
  • Sept. 28 – Ridge Rambler Half Marathon in Twin Lakes. Run downhill from Twin Lakes (7,100′) to Bridgeport (6,600′), past alpine lakes and over rolling hills. End up at the Bridgeport Autumn Festival & Wrecks and Rods Car Show.
  • Sept. 28 – 7th June Lake Autumn Beer Festival at Gull Lake. Brewers will present their craft brews in a music and fun-filled family-friendly beer garden.
  • Sept. 28 – National Public Lands Day – Free admission to Yosemite National Park. Voluntourism projects.
  • Sept. 28, Oct. 12 and Oct. 26 – Historic Benton Hot Springs Fundraising Dinners. History-focused dinner talks provide fascinating insights to: Scandalous Women of Benton, Restless Spirits of the Old Stone Store, and Warren Davis, Gentleman Horse Thief.
  • Oct. 5 – 55th Deer Hunter BBQ. Dine with local legends on a legendary secret BBQ recipe with all the fixin’s and dessert at the Walker Community Center.
  • Oct. 6 – Crowley Lake Trail Run. 5k, 10k and kids 1k trail runs along scenic Crowley Lake and past Beaver Cove and Crooked Creek with views of the Sierra Nevada and Glass Mountains.
  • Oct. 10 – 13 – Mammoth Photo Festival. Learn from professional landscape photographers in panel sessions, keynote addresses and photo walks.
  • Oct 12 – Bodie Fall Photo Day, apply for access to photograph Bodie Ghost Town at this special photographer’s event.
  • Oct. 10 – 15 – Annett’s Mono Village Fall Fishing Derby. This is an ideal fishing event for kids and kids at heart.
  • Oct. 12 – Ducks Unlimited Dinner in Bridgeport. Support waterfowl protection at an evening of camaraderie and good food.
  • Oct. 18 – 20 – Leaves in the Loop at June Lake. A fall color focused festival that features photography and painting classes, contests, a history tour and “Taste of the Town,” restaurant sampling.
  • Oct. 25 – 27 – Eastern Sierra History Conference at the Sierra Nevada Aquatic Research Laboratory Page Center (10 mi south of Mammoth Lakes). Historian-led discussions on the people, cultures and traditions of the Eastern Sierra.