Last Call: Parchers Resort

North Lake Rd., N Fork Bishop Creek (10/16/19) Jared Smith

Of all the years that CaliforniaFallColor.com has reported fall color from the Bishop Creek Canyon, 2019 sets a record for lasting to mid October with NO Past Peak areas.

Today’s is the fifth weekly report of autumn from Jared Smith of Parchers Resort. It is his last for this season. However, that does not mean color is past peak in Bishop Creek Canyon. It isn’t.

Bishop Creek Canyon (10/13/19) Pete Axcell

We estimate a week to two more of peak fall color up Bishop Creek, conditions permitting.

CaliforniaFallColor.com will continue to post reports and photographs from Bishop Creek, as received. We encourage all color spotters who visit the canyon to send reports and photos to editor@californiafallcolor.com.

To this master hospitalitarian and fall color expert, we extend best wishes to Jared for a winter on a beach somewhere, with a cold one in hand and a beautiful sunset lighting the horizon.

Here are Jared’s last words on this durable autumn, “What a wonderful stroke of luck we’ve had with the weather this year! The early cold snap at the end of September and the wind that came with it, only dulled the earliest of the fall color and the last couple windy days haven’t done much damage leaving the majority of the aspen and willow leaves to sit in glowing splendor about as long as one could hope.

“Rarely are we taking pictures of vistas with this much fall color this late into October. Many areas have groves which have already peaked and are losing leaves but wherever the early color fades, more yellow and occasional orange or red seems to fill our views to take it’s place.

“It is still absolutely spectacular out there right now and we’re in the zone where both the upper and mid elevations of the canyon are bursting with color.

For those who can get up to Parchers before it closes this coming weekend, there are still three cabins and two RV sites unsold (2-night minimum). Call 760-873-4177 to book a cabin.

Bishop Creek Canyon Summaries

  • Above 8,500′ – Peak (75%-100%) GO NOW! – Bishop Creek Canyon is still extremely impressive in the higher reaches of the canyon. Table Mountain Camp and Surveyor’s Meadow were at their best last week, but there is still so much color along the road and canyon walls that the canyon can still be considered very much at Peak. Some high points are the road between Parchers & South Lake, the east facing canyon walls near Willow camp, Sabrina and the North Lake Road. 
  • Below 8,500′ – Patchy (10-50%) – Pretty much the whole drive up from the South Lake turnoff up South Lake Road or Hwy 168 towards Sabrina is at Peak. Some areas are still too green to be peak, but enough peak color dominates in the 8,000′ to 8,500′ elevation that now is about as good as it gets for this zone. The falls, Mt. Glen campground, Cardinal Village & pond and Bishop Park group campground just below Aspendell are looking exquisite. 
Mist Falls, S Fork Bishop Creek (10/16/19) Jared Smith

South Fork Bishop Creek

  • Weir Pond (9,650′) – Peak (75%-100%) GO NOW! – The canyon wall to the west is mostly naked, but the foliage surrounding the pond is a show stopper, especially in the morning hours or mid day.
  • Parchers Resort (9,260′) – Peak (75%-100%) GO NOW! – The hillsides all around the resort are epic. Rosy orange hues and plenty of yellow. 
  • Willow Campground (9,000′) – Peak (75%-100%) GO NOW! – Some of the aspen lining the road are past peak, but the canyon walls beyond the campground and the large trees lining the So. Fork of Bishop Creek are amazing. Some really nice orange hues can be seen from here.
  • Surveyors Meadow (8,975′) – Peak (75%-100%) GO NOW! – Another area that was probably better last week, but there is a lot of peak color to see.
  • Table Mountain Camp (8,900′) – Peak (75%-100%) GO NOW! – Some of the aspen are now naked here, but there’s enough color to make it worth a stop.
  • Mist Falls and the groves above Bishop Creek Lodge (8,350′) – Peak (75-100%) GO NOW! – The aspen surrounding the waterfall are at the pinnacle of their fall color brilliance. 
  • Four Jeffries (8,000′) –– Peak (75%-100%) GO NOW! – Lots of color variance here…gold, yellow, orange, red, green and brown.
  • Big Trees Campground and Forks Campground (7,800′) – Near Peak (50-75%) GO NOW! – Lots of trees turning here but the color is a little bronzey for my taste. It will be interesting to see if we get any intense yellow from here this year.
Cardinal Pond, M Fork Bishop Creek (10/16/19) Jared Smith

Middle Fork Bishop Creek

  • Lake Sabrina (9,150′) – Peak (75%-100%) GO NOW! – The color is really lasting at Sabrina this year. Simply stunning.
  • Sabrina Campground to Sabrina Dam (9,000′) – Peak (75%-100%) GO NOW! – Brilliant gold and yellow all the way from the North Lake turnoff to Sabrina. The area by the entrance of Sabrina campground was earlier to peak and first to fade, but everywhere else is loaded with color.
  • Groves above Cardinal Village (8,550′) – Peak (75%-100%) GO NOW! – The scrub aspen are mostly toast, but the more mature aspen along the middle fork of Bishop Creek are amazing right now.
  • Aspendell (8,400′) – Near Peak (50-75%) GO NOW! – This was tough to grade because the aspen in the neighborhood along hwy 168 aren’t all that special, but  the groves just below at Bishop Park Group Camp are amazing, as is the color at the south end of Aspendell near Cardinal Village Resort
North Lake, N Fork Bishop Creek (10/16/19) Jared Smith

North Fork Bishop Creek

  • North Lake (9,255′) – Peak (75%-100%) GO NOW! – One shoreline is pretty devoid of color, but the more popular views looking up canyon from the outlet are still in the peak zone. The quaint dirt road, one of my favorite spots in the canyon because the light is basically dummy proof, is peaking and provides the post card photo op everyone wants to get.