Deans Valley Dogwood and Oaks Fired Up

Oak Leaves - Deans Valley (10/29/09)

Oak Leaves - Silver Lake (10/29/09)

Richard McCutcheon of Quincy says the nearby Deans Valley and Silver Lake are on fire with red dogwood and oaks and yellow aspen.

75-100% — Plumas County (3,000’). There has been an explosion of color in the past week with yellow, orange, red and colors in between, like pinks and purples.  The bigleaf maple, cottonwood, aspen, oaks and even the dogwoods are glowing… a beautiful sight to behold.

Aspen - Deans Valley (10/29/09)

Aspen - Silver Lake (10/29/09)

75-100% — Deans Valley. Take the road to Meadow Valley from Quincy and head to the Deans Valley for a bit of rosy dogwood.

75-100% — Silver Lake. Aspen are glowing bright yellow-orange in the pines and the oaks are a beautiful mix of yellow, orange and auburn at Silver Lake, near Quincy.

Photo Credit: © 2009, Richard McCutcheon

Redding to Weaverville, Subtle Beauty

Weaverville (10/27/09)

Weaverville (10/27/09)

CA-299 between Redding and Fortuna is subtly washed with shades of orange and gold.

75-100% — Whiskeytown NRA to Weaverville (2,500’). There are some truly lovely areas of color on SR 299 between Whiskeytown National Recreation Area to Weaverville.  Orange oaks predominate.  Bigleaf maple add bright yellow.  An occasional poison oak flashes orange-red. For most of the year, California’s ridiculed digger pines are the gangly eyesores of the forest, but at this time of year, their green-grey needles contrast beautifully with the oranges and yellows of their deciduous neighbors and the forest’s deeper green conifers, making the diggers stand out beautifully.

75-100% — Trinity River Canyon. Morning fog provides Halloween drama as it mixes with the starkly empty branches of trees that have dropped their leaves along the banks of the Trinity River.  The foliage glows pink-orange in the morning making forest colors come alive.  Morning mist adds a soft greyness to the air, that is missed later in the day, as wisps of fog hang among the canyons.  Large, heart-shaped wild cucumber spot the forest floor with yellow, orange and auburn at 1,300’ along the river canyon.  Use a long lens to get shots from the highway side of the river.

15-30% — Junction City. A road canopied with tall trees winds through this country town past old wooden buildings.  The trees’ color still has a week or two before peak, as which time it will make a memorable photograph.

Past Peak — Hay Fork. Sorry, you had to be there.  A few flashes of yellow and red are all that remain.

75-100% — Mt Shasta (3,500’). Though the oaks are now showing gold and maples and dogwood flame red, get there quickly as they say the color turns quickly in the town of Mt Shasta.  Best viewing places are the Everett Memorial Highway and Old Stage Rd.

30-50-% –Willow Creek. A boulevard of sycamores that line CA-299 in Willow Creek are turning yellow with a tinge of orange.  To the west of Willow Creek, bigleaf maple are turning orange with tinges of lime green and yellow along the banks of the Trinity River in Six Rivers National Forest.

75-100% — Paradise Ridge (1,500’). Not many native trees provide seasonal change of color, though exotic liquidambar, dogwood and maples are at peak.

30-50% — Trinity County (2,188’). Native oaks and lotuses are just turning, though you’ll see bright yellow and red throughout the county.

75-100% to Past Peak — Lassen Volcanic National Park (5,600’). Lassen VNP is at peak to past peak, depending upon elevation.  The Devastated Area, Hat Creek and areas of aspen between 5,000 and 6500’ are where it’s best.

75-100% — Lassen County (4,255’). The color is at peak throughout Lassen County, which includes Lassen Volcanic National Park.  Look for bright yellow, orange and red, particularly in riparian areas.

10-15% — McArthur-Burney Falls State Park (3,000’). Mostly orange and yellow with a sprinking of red among the predominant evergreen forest.

0-15% — Shasta Lake Ranger District (900’). Colors are just beginning to change with yellow dominating.  Exotic liquidambar and chinese pistache at the USFS offices should turn orange and red in the next two weeks.

30-50% — Weaverville (2,000’). It’s still early for the large elms in historic Weaverville.  Give it a week or two and this distinctive gold rush era town will come alive with golden color.  Beyond Oregon Mountain there is little color until you return to the river canyon.

15-30% — Weaverville Ranger District (2,500’). Native oaks are changing in the forest with different shades of yellow, orange and brown, but not much red.

0-15% — Lower Trinity Ranger District (Willow Creek – 4,000’). The leaves are turning at 4,000’, visible from the lookout.  You$B!G(Jll see oranges from the oaks, bits of yellow from bigleaf maple and bright red from the poison oak.

75-100% — Fall River (3,000’). The oaks are ablaze with color, showing shades of orange, red and yellow, especially along roads.

50-75% — Surprise Field (5,000’). Over the past three weeks, this area has shown off and on, exhibiting colors ranging from light yellow to deep red, which can be seen just about anywhere in the area.  The Surprise Field area is expected to peak within a week to a week and a half.

75-100% — Eagle Lake BLM Field Office (5,000’). There is a beautiful array of orange, yellow and red just about anywhere you look, as the forests appear to have reached peak.  Aspen and bigleaf maple are at peak.

30-50% — Oroville (1,000’). Just beginning to see color change in the Sierra foothills near Oroville.

0-15% — Red Bluff (300’). Still early.  Look to the river bank foliage along the Sacramento River for the best color and photographs.

Shasta Cascade Erupting With Color

Dunsmuir (stock photo)

Dunsmuir (stock photo)

Dunsmuir (stock photo)

Dunsmuir (stock photo)

The Shasta Cascade region of northeast California is erupting with color as reported by the Shasta Cascade Wonderland Association.  Here’s the latest:

10-15% — McArthur-Burney Falls State Park (3,000′). Mostly orange and yellow with a sprinking of red among the predominant evergreen forest.

0-15% — Shasta Lake Ranger District (900′). Colors are just beginning to change with yellow dominating.  Exotic liquidambar and chinese pistache at the USFS offices should turn orange and red in the next two weeks.

15-30% — Weaverville Ranger District (2,500′). Native oaks are changing in the forest with different shades of yellow, orange and brown… not much red.

0-15% — Lower Trinity Ranger District (Willow Creek – 4,000′). The leaves are turning at 4,000′, visible from the lookout.  You’ll see oranges from the oaks, bits of yellow from bigleaf maple and bright red from the poison oak.

75-100% — Fall River (3,000′). The oaks are ablaze with color, showing shades of orange, red and yellow, especially along roads.

50-75% — Surprise Field (5,000′). Over the past three weeks, this area has shown off and on, exhibiting colors ranging from light yellow to deep red, which can be seen just about anywhere in the area.  The Surprise Field area is expected to peak within a week to a week and a half.

75-100% — Eagle Lake BLM Field Office (5,000′). There is a beautiful array of orange, yellow and red just about anywhere you look, as the forests appear to have reached peak.  Aspen and bigleaf maple are at peak.

75-100% — Plumas County (3,000′). There’s been an explosion of color in the past week with yellow, orange, red and colors in between, like pinks and purples.  The bigleaf maple, cottonwood, aspen, oaks and even the dogwoods are glowing… a beautiful sight to behold.

75-100% to Past Peak — Lassen Volcanic National Park (5,600′ – 10,500′). Lassen VNP is at peak to past peak, depending upon elevation.  The Devastated Area, Hat Creek and areas of aspen between 5,000 and 6500′ are where it’s best.

30-50% — Hay Fork (2,300′). Hay Fork has had a disappointing show this year, compared to the previous year.

75-100% — Mt. Shasta (3,500′). Now’s the time to head to Mt. Shasta.  The color is beautiful and won’t last much longer.

30-50% — Oroville (1,000′). Just beginning to see color change in the Sierra foothills near Oroville.

0-15% — Red Bluff (300′). Still early.  Look to the river bank foliage along the Sacramento River for the best color and photographs.

Wow!

Walker Canyon (10/25/09)

Walker Canyon (10/25/09)

Walker Canyon (10/25/09)

Walker Canyon (10/25/09)

“Wow!” is all Tim Fesko had to say to describe color in the Eastern Sierra which is at peak.  Tim reported that fall colors are to be seen “just about everywhere you look.”  He says, “Just a tad of lime green, the yellows and oranges are bountiful and striking!” Here’s how it looked this past weekend:

75-100% — Walker Canyon (5400′ – 6000′). Aspen, Cottonwoods and Willows are turning yellow and the oranges are really starting to pop!

50-75% — Antelope Valley (Walker, Coleville & Topaz, 5000′ – 5300′). Cottonwoods are turning from the lime green to yellows. Most are 50/50 with some completely yellow. Some oranges are starting.

75-100% — Monitor Pass (7000′ – 8300′). Monitor Pass, 8314 ft, is at peak.  In areas around the pass, partial to full yellows, some oranges!

Sonora Pass (10/25/09)

Sonora Pass (10/25/09)

75-100% — Sonora Pass (7000′ – 9200′). On the hillsides higher up, groves of yellow and oranges abound. About a third of trees have lost their leaves due to some colder nights and high winds last week. Colors are soon to be done up at these elevations.

Photo Credit: © 2009, Tim Fesko

Monitor Pass/Antelope Valley Near Peak

Monitor Pass (10/23/09)

Monitor Pass (10/23/09)

Monitor Pass (10/23/09)

Monitor Pass (10/23/09)

Monitor Pass (10/23/09)

Monitor Pass (10/23/09)

Monitor Pass (10/23/09)

Monitor Pass (10/23/09)

Walker Canyon (10/23/09)

Walker Canyon (10/23/09)

EASTERN SIERRA

30-50% — Antelope Valley (Walker, Coleville & Topaz 5000′ – 5300′). Mark Fesko of the Meadowcliff Resort reports that the cottonwoods in the Antelope Valley are turning from the lime green to yellows. Some at completely yellow while others are half & half.

50-75% — Monitor Pass (7000′ – 8300′). Mark’s run up to Monitor Pass, reported partial to full yellow aspen leading up to the summit at 8314′ which is now 75-100% of peak.  This is a good weekend to travel over Monitor Pass to  the Antelope Valley.

50-75% — Walker Canyon (5400′ – 6000′). Aspen, Cottonwoods and Willows are turning.  Mark says lots of yellows and some oranges are starting to pop!

Photo Credit: © 2009, Mark Fesko

Eastern Sierra at Full Peak

Silver Lake, June Lake (10/18/09)

Silver Lake, June Lake (10/16/09)

75-100% — Crowley Lake to June Lake. Greg Newbry reports that the Eastern Sierra is ablaze with color from Crowley Lake north to June Lake.

Photo Credit: © 2009, Greg Newbry

McGee Creek (10/16/09)

McGee Creek (10/16/09)

June Lake (10/16/09)

June Lake (10/16/09)

June Lake (10/16/09)

June Lake (10/16/09)

June Lake Drive (10/18/09)

June Lake Drive (10/16/09)

Reverse Creek, June Lake (10/18/09)

Reverse Creek, June Lake (10/16/09)

Topsy Turvy in Lake County

Salmina Road (10/20/09)

Salmina Road (10/20/09)

An unusual switch has been happening in Lake County, where fall colors developed first at Clear Lake (el 1,600′) than in the higher terrains on Cobb Mountain (4,700′) reports Terre Logsdon.

75-100% — Forest Lake. At Forest Lake (el. 2,700′), the cottonwoods are a riot of gold, backgrounded by dogwoods and oaks.

75-100% — Salmina Rd. Terre says that Salmina Rd, off CA-175 near Loch Lomond at 2,500 feet where Salmina’s Resort was at the turn of the 19th century, the trees are at their prime color – oaks and cottonwoods are golden with the dogwoods casting a warmer glow.

Amber Knolls Vineyard (10/20/09)

Amber Knolls Vineyard (10/20/09)

15-30% — Red Hills. The vineyards in the Red Hills AVA, especially the red varietals, are turning yellow and orange, with hints of burgundy veining the leaves. Pear and walnut orchards in the Big Valley bordered by Hwy. 29, along Soda Bay Road, and in Upper Lake on CA-20 are continuing to show yellow and golden.  With Lake County weather predicted to be in the 40s at night and days in the 70s and 80s, there are continued prospects for good color.

Photography: © 2009, Lyle Madeson

Monarch Butterflies Return to Monterey Bay

Monarch Butterflies (1/16/06)
Monarch Butterflies (1/15/06) © John Poimiroo

The seasonal show of fall color in California is not limited to falling leaves.  Every autumn, beautiful orange and black Monarch butterflies return to the Monterey Bay area to mate.  One of the best places to see the display is at Natural Bridges State Beach in Santa Cruz.  Jodi Apelt of the California State Parks reports that on every Saturday and Sunday at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. through Feb. 14 (or until the migratory Monarchs depart), Monarch Butterfly Tours will occur.  Natural Bridges is located at the end of West Cliff Drive.   To know that the Monarchs are there when you plan to visit, call (831) 423-4609 in advance.

Monarch Butterfly (1/16/06)
Male Monarch Butterfly (1/15/06) © John Poimiroo

Other colorful California State parks fall events in the Santa Cruz area include a program on Mushrooms of the Santa Cruz Mountains, Nov. 7 from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. at Ranche del Oso Nature and History Center near Waddell Creek Bridge (16 mi. north of Santa Cruz off CA-1).  A mushroom taxonomist will describe where to find them, how to be sure they’re “the right ones,” and tips on gourmet preparation of wild mushrooms.

On the Sunday of the Thanksgiving Day Weekend (Nov. 29), a “Creeping Forest Ramble” will leave at noon from Park Headquarters at Big Basin Redwoods State Park.  Docent Doreen Devorah will lead a three-hour, 2.5 mi hike up and down the “creeping” terrain, along creeks, through fire-scarred redwoods and over log bridges.   Bring water, a snack and good hiking shoes.

Photo Credit: © 2006, John Poimiroo

Peaking in Plumas

Bigleaf Maple, Plumas County (10/17/09)

Bigleaf Maple, Plumas County (10/17/09)

Photographs just sent from Plumas County show that fall is peaking across the Sierra, from Bishop in the Eastern Sierra, up through Mammoth and June Lakes, at Lake Tahoe to Plumas County at the northern end of the Sierra Nevada.

Bigleaf Maple, Plumas County (10/17/09)

Bigleaf Maple, Plumas County (10/17/09)

75-100% — Plumas County.  Bigleaf Maple are glowing yellow in the forests and towns of Plumas County.

Eastern Sugar Maple, Quincy (10/17/09)

Eastern Sugar Maple, Quincy (10/17/09)

75-100% — Quincy.  Exotic and native trees are dazzlingly bright yellow, orange, pink and crimson.

Photo Credit: © 2009, Christie Brawley

Murray House, Quincy (10/17/09)

Murray House, Quincy (10/17/09)

At Peak from Mammoth Lakes South to Bishop

Snowcreek, Mammoth Lakes (10/17/09

Snowcreek, Mammoth Lakes (10/17/09

75-100% — Mammoth Lakes.  Beautiful color surrounds the Lakes Basin at Mammoth Lakes.

75-100% — US 39 between Mammoth Lakes and Bishop.  The color is at peak.  The town of Crowley in the Eastern Sierra is ablaze in yellow, gold, orange and red.  Lower Rock Creek is now at peak and, Sarah McCahill reports, “would have been great for a mountain bike ride this past weekend.”

75-100% — Bishop.  All along US 395, yellow to auburn color is showing from the grade south of Crowley Lake to the town of Bishop.

Photo Credit: © 2009, Sarah McCahill