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Heading Toward Epic

Summers Meadow (10/13/20) Jeff Simpson | Mono County Tourism

Anywhere you look in Mono County this week, you’ll see fall color peaking.

One of the most beautiful landscapes to be seen in the county is Summers Meadow, near Bridgeport. Presently, a blend of Patchy, Near Peak and Peak color decorates its slopes. Though beautiful now, there’s so much developing color that this area will remain good for another week.

Lundy Canyon is this week’s CaliforniaFallColor.com Hike of the Week.

The fabled June Lake Loop is nearing peak, but not yet there. Smoke and haze have diminished the scene over the past two weeks, and hopefully it will lift in time for peak there, as locals describe this year as heading toward epic.

CLICK HERE to see air quality where you live and where you’re going.

Walker / Coleville / Topaz

  • Monitor Pass (8,314′) – Peak to Past Peak, GO NOW, You Almost Missed It. – The summit of Monitor Pass and along the sides of the pass are fully yellow. Mono County is predicting it to be perfect through the weekend and shortly thereafter, though the eastern groves are dropping leaves.
  • West Walker River, Walker, Coleville and Topaz (5,200′) – Near Peak (50-75%) Go Now. – Most of the peak color is along the river. The Antelope Valley (Walker, Coleville and Topaz) is mostly green with patchy color.

Sonora Pass / Lobdell Lake Rd.

  • Sonora Pass (9,623′) – Peak (75-100%) GO NOW! – Peak color is still seen near the top of the pass, but it’s not predicted to last much longer. Now, the best color is seen among the aspen groves at Leavitt Meadows. They should remain good for a week. 
  • Lobdell Lake Rd (9,274′) – Peak to Past Peak – GO NOW, You Almost Missed It. – 2020 has been a truly amazing year for Lobdell Lake Rd. This AWD dirt road still carries  great yellows and oranges in most places. Some are now past peak. This could be the last week of peak for Lobdell, so if you want to test your off-roading skills, GO NOW! 

Bridgeport / Virginia Lakes

  • Twin Lakes (7,000′) – Near Peak (50-75%) Go Now. – There’s a mix of green, lime and yellow around both lakes, predicted to peak over the weekend and through the coming week. Full peak at Honeymoon Flat Campground and trails leading up into the Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest. 
  • Virginia Lakes (9,819’) – Peak to Past Peak (75-100%) GO NOW or You Missed It! – This has to rank as one of Virginia Lake’s longest lasting peaks. Color there has moved down the road to the lakes toward Conway Summit, but it’s still at peak.
  • Conway Summit (8,143) – Near Peak (50-75%) Go Now. – Conway has a blended peak of Patchy, Near Peak, Peak and … wait a minute … Just Starting. We’re sure there’s a bit of past peak aspen to provide geometric lines to a photograph, as well.
  • Summers Meadow (7,200′) – Peak (75-100%) GO NOW! – Similar to Conway Summit, Summers Meadow is a blended peak with lots of varied color. The area remains Patchy along the road, but it should move toward perfection in the coming week. The road leads to stunning vistas of rolling fall color.

Lee Vining

  • Tioga Pass (9,943′) – Past Peak – You Missed It.
  • Lee Vining Canyon (6,781′) – Near Peak (50-75%) Go Now. –  The canyon is patchy in sections, peaking in others and still green in some places. It’s worth the drive, though will be peaking next week.
  • Lundy Lake & Canyon (7,858′) – Near Peak (50-75%) Go Now. – Lundy Canyon is this week’s Hike of the Week. No trail in California has more beautiful fall color displays at peak. It’s still green along the road and campground and approaching peak past the resort and up around the beaver ponds.

Benton & 120 East

  • Sagehen Summit (8,139’) – Past Peak – You Missed It.

June Lake Loop

  • June Lake Loop/Hwy 158 (7,654′) – Near Peak (50-75%) Go Now. – It is still slightly early for the June Lake Loop, but colors are changing rapidly. Light green and yellow aspen predominate around the loop with some orange. Plan on visiting in the next two weeks. The smoky photo at top left was captured five days ago. Photos beside it were taken two days later. Today, the air quality is crystal clear. Always check, as conditions are changing constantly.

Mammoth Lakes

  • Mammoth Lakes Basin (8,996′) Near Peak (50-75%) Go Now! – The Mammoth Lakes Basin, Sherwin Creek and Mammoth Rock Trails are at peak. It’s Near Peak in town.

Crowley Lake/ McGee Creek Canyon / Convict Lake

  • McGee Creek Canyon (8,600’) – Peak (75-100%) GO NOW! – It’s full peak along the trail, still Near Peak at the Campground. A lovely setting, this year.
  • Around Crowley community (6,781′) – Patchy (10-50%) – Last week, the Crowley community had just edged out of Just Starting, now it’s approaching Near Peak. Next week should be perfect.
  • Convict Lake (7850′) – Near Peak (50-75%) Go Now. – From now through the coming week, it will be beautiful at Convict Lake. The color is just into the 50%, but that can change quickly. The hike around the lake or paddling on the lake are great ways to see the color. Plan next week or weekend for peak color.

Rock Creek Canyon

  • Rock Creek Rd (9,600′) – Peak to Past Peak – GO NOW, You Almost Missed It. – It’s now past peak at the lake and above in the Little Lakes Valley, though the color is brilliant along Middle Rock Creek Rd.
  • Lower Rock Creek Rd. (7,087′) – Patchy (10-50%)
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