Be-Leaf It! Fall Has Arrived.

Virginia Lakes Resort (9/9/21) Jeff Simpson | Mono County Tourism

While most California National Forests will remain closed until Sept. 17, Nevada’s National Forests are open and one of them – the Bridgeport Ranger District of the Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest – overlaps the Eastern Sierra in Mono County. Presently, Patchy fall color (10-50%) is appearing near the Virginia Lakes (Mono County) inside the Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest.

That means emerging fall color can now be seen and photographed at 9,819′ near Virginia Lakes. Most of the color is being seen at the top of Virginia Lakes Rd. with some trees topping 50%, reports Mono County color spotter Jeff Simpson. At lower sections along the road, the change is just starting with most trees green to lightly tinted.

Other areas of the Humboldt-Toiyabe NF include areas north of Conway Summit on US 395 and CaliforniaFallColor.com has adjusted its Fall Color Map to show Just Starting conditions (0 – 10%) in Topaz, Walker, Coleville, Bridgeport, Twin Lakes, Summers Meadow, Dunderberg and Conway Summit.

Areas to the south of Conway Summit are within the Inyo National Forest and remain temporarily closed through Sept. 17.  Jeff writes that “There’s no predicting, at this point, whether Inyo National Forest will reopen on Sept. 18 or if the closure will be extended, so stay tuned.” Any change in forest closure status will be shared as soon as we know it.

There is no doubt, however, that fall has arrived above 9,500′ in the Eastern Sierra. In past drought years, color has arrived early and been short-lived. So, when this site reports that conditions are Patchy, as they are at Virginia Lakes, be prepared to head to forests that are open and please respect all forest closures.

As an early season reminder, whenever this site reports GO NOW!, we mean it. Go immediately to that location, as peak color is imminent or ongoing and could be gone within days.

Virginia Lakes (9/9/21) Jeff Simpson | Mono County Tourism

Virginia Lakes (9,819’) – Patchy (10-50%) – This is the only spot in California that’s open this weekend with fall color to be enjoyed. So, if you can get over to the Eastern Sierra, now’s the time to get bragging rights that you were there at the beginning of the 2021 season. Virginia Lakes is open for day use only, no overnight camping outside of developed campgrounds. See USFS closure information page for more information. 

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