It was shocking to read “YOU MISSED IT!” in Jeff Simpson’s report from Mono County (Eastern Sierra), today.
He’d just visited Virginia Lakes, expecting peak color, but instead found that wind and cold had wiped out aspen groves near 9,819′.
That’s always a possibility, though it was an unexpected one.
Peak color still abounds near the Virginia Lakes at lower elevations, and elsewhere in Mono County similar elevations remain good.
Though, there is not the expected consistency this year that we saw in past years. Fall color conditions throughout Mono County vary wildly, depending on location and elevation. Only at the Virginia Lakes have you missed it entirely.
“Traditional fall favorites like Conway Summit, Lundy Canyon and Rock Creek are still trying to get going with mostly green and light green leaves,” though they should be popping next week.
Yet, beautiful peak color can still be seen at Rock Creek Lake, McGee Creek Canyon, Sagehen Summit, Upper Summers Meadow, Lobdell Lake and in the Sweetwater Mountains.
As always, when we advise to “GO NOW!”, please go. We get often get responses to our entreaty, pleading, “but I’d planned to visit next week,” or “will it still be peaking the first week of November?”
Yes it will, but not at the place we’re reporting is peaking now.
Fall color is perishable. It has a two week appearance from Near Peak to Peak … at most. Sometimes it will be near peak and a day or two later, full peak, then drop. And, by the time we get a photograph (whether provided to us or we take it) and post it, a day or two has passed.
So, please. When “GO NOW!” is posted, we mean it. GO NOW! or YOU MISSED IT!
Hikes of the Week: Molybdenite Canyon, McGee Creek, Parker Lake and Lundy Canyon.
Here’s Mono County from south to north along US 395 (reverse, if you’re heading south).
Rock Creek Lake (9,600’) – Peak (75-100%) GO NOW! – Aspen are peaking at lake level.
Rock Creek Road (below 9,600’) – Just starting to Patchy (0-50%)
Crowley Community (6,781’) – Just Starting (0-10%)
McGee Creek Canyon (8,600’) – Near Peak (50-75%) GO NOW! – A tribute to the Oakland A’s with lots of yellow and green. Super hike.
Convict Lake (7850′) – Patchy (10-50%) – Color is developing slowly at the far end of the lake. Nice hike.
Mammoth Lakes Basin (8,996′) – Patchy (10-50%)
Devil’s Postpile National Monument (7,556’) – Patchy (10-50%)
June Lake Loop/Hwy 158 (7,654′) – Just Starting (0-10%) – Plan on Oct. 15 for peak. Coming up a new event: Leaves In The Loop.
Sagehen Summit (8,139’) – Peak (75-100%) GO NOW! – This is last call for Sagehen. Some groves are still orange, while others are near Past Peak. Should be over by next week.
Tioga Pass (9,943′)– Patchy (10-50%) – Green, except along the road to Saddlebag Lake.
Lee Vining Canyon (6,781′) – Just Starting (0-10%) Green.
Lundy Lake & Canyon (7,858′) – Patchy (10-50%) – Colorful at the Beaver Ponds, but green around the lake. Still a week from peak along the road.
Virginia Lakes (9,819’) – Past Peak YOU MISSED IT!–
Twin Lakes (7,000’) – Just Starting (0-10%) – Small changes are noticeable. Should be good about Oct. 15.
Molybdenite Creek Trail (7,865’) – Patchy (10-50%)
Dunderberg Meadows (7,200’) – Just Starting (0-10%)
Summers Meadow (7,146’) – Just Starting (0-10%) – It’s showing at high elevations, but hasn’t run downhill, yet.
Upper Summers Meadow (10,300’) – Peak (75-100%) GO NOW!
Lobdell Lake Road (8,600′) – Near Peak (50-75%) GO NOW! – Lovely mix of green, red, yellow and orange, though will peak slowly.
Sonora Pass (9,623′) – Patchy (10-50%) – Turning nicely near the Levitt Meadows Pack Station.
Walker Canyon, Walker, Coleville and Topaz (5,200′) – Patchy (10-50%) – This is a surprising start for the Antelope Valley with nice color along the West Walker River, and still green to turn ahead. Some trees have lost all leaves (early). Though Rodriquez Flat, Little Walker River Rd and Mill Canyon will be Near Peak this weekend
Sweetwater Mountains (5,000 to 11,654’) – Near Peak (50-75%) GO NOW! – The East Walker River is doing the same on the east side of the Sweetwaters … showing early color though intensively.
Monitor Pass (8,314′) – Just Starting (0-10%) – Still very green on top. Waiting patiently, but patience wears thin.