, ,

Valley of the Moon

Valley oak, Valley of the Moon, Kenwood (11/29/20) David Laurence Sharp

Jack London loved the Sonoma Valley. He called it the Valley of the Moon. It’s where London planned his dream home, Wolf House, which burned to the ground days before the great outdoor adventure novelist was to occupy it in 1913.

The ruins remain on Sonoma Mountain, above Glen Ellen where Jack London State Historic Park memorializes the California author’s fabled life.

Below, arcing through the crescent-shaped Valley of the Moon, vineyards are now mostly past peak, reports wine country photographer David Laurence Sharp, “though the trees are looking great.”

Blending fascinating history and glorious nature, Jack London State Historic Park offers more than 29 miles of back-country trails that roam through mixed forests, redwood groves, oak woodlands, and grassy meadows.

The four-mile Ancient Redwood Trail loops from the parking lot to a 14-foot wide old growth redwood affectionately known as “the Grandmother tree.”  Two scenic and relatively short historic trails lead to the Wolf House ruins and a tour of London’s Beauty Ranch.

Jack London was one of the most prolific and popular authors of his time, the first to earn a million dollars at his trade.   Many of his books are considered classics, including “Call of the Wild,” “White Fang,” “The Sea Wolf,” and “Martin Eden.” Jack’s Shop offers more than 50 of Jack London’s titles as well as writings about his life, and books by and about his wife, Charmian London.  

While the Park’s indoor facilities – the Museum and Cottage – are currently closed, Jack’s Shop, the park’s gift store, is open outdoors adjacent to the Cottage on weekends from noon to 4 p.m. Park admission fees apply.

Jack London State Historic Park will remain open for holiday shopping and outdoor recreation through the holiday season, Jack London Partners has announced. JLP is the first non-profit organization to manage a state park on behalf of the people of California. For more about visiting the park, CLICK HERE.

  • Sonoma Valley (423′) – Peak to Past Peak, GO NOW, You Almost Missed It!
, , ,

Holy Trinity!

Black oak, Trinity Alps (11/1/20) Leor Pantilat

No sooner had I posted a disappointing report about Trinity County than I opened the next email to find Leor Pantilat’s vibrant study of peak color in the Trinity Alps. I herewith retract everything I wrote in the previous post.

Turns out, we were looking in the wrong place. Leor was in the right place at the right time. Peak fall color does exist in Trinity County and it’s gorgeous. GO NOW!

Black oak, Trinity Alps (11/1/20) Leor Pantilat

Leor sends back images – in this First Report – of some of the most colorful examples of yellow, orange and red black oak we’ve seen. At first glance, their orange-yellow fall color and the size of the plant resembles Brewer oak (Q. garryana var. breweri), which is rarely posted on CaliforniaFallColor.com and is widely distributed throughout the Klamath and southern Cascade ranges, including the Trinity Alps, but Leor identified them as “scrub black oak.” On closer inspection, their lobes are more spiky than rounded, a clue that these shrubbery-sized oaks are, indeed, black oak.

There are all kinds of color spotters. Those whose biggest effort is to step out of a vehicle and set up a tripod to … well, Leor.

Over the years, Leor and his wife, Erica Namba, have blazed trails finding peaking fall color in the most remote corners of the Eastern Sierra, Central Coast, High Sierra, Marble Mountains and now, the Trinity Alps. This hike climbed into the Trinity Alps Wilderness on trails not previously shown here.

Ferns, Trinity Alps (11/1/20) Leor Pantilat

On this trek, he photographed more variety than we’ve seen in many other regions, varieties of golden and vermillion ferns, brilliant crimson knotweed, rosy dogwood, yellow bigleaf maple and the oh, so beautifully rusty-orange toned black oak.

Leor reported that the dogwood are on their “way out,” while Indian rhubarb are “coming in.” Leor relates, “most of my photos were taken above 5,000′ which explains the discrepancy of the reports from Hwy 3 which is below 3,000′.  That said, I thought the color in the Lewiston area (cottonwood and willow) was coming along so it will probably peak there in the next week or two.

“Perhaps some areas in Trinity County won’t be as vibrant this year since it was a dry winter and big leaf maple prefer wet years for an ideal color show.  That’s in contrast to the Sierra where it seems like the aspen and cottonwood do better in dry years (less leaf fungus in dry years?),” Leor observed.

California fall color is not just hanging from branches in the Trinity Alps, it decorates the edges of mountain trails and is reflected in sky-blue lakes. On this sojourn, Leor found it all.

Click to enlarge and scroll through the beauty he found.

Trinity Alps (11/1/20) Leor Pantilat

The Trinity Alps wilderness is declared CaliforniaFallColor.com’s Hike of the Week. CLICK HERE for a variety of moderate to difficult-rated routes.

  • Trinity Alps (5,000′) – Peak (75-100%) GO NOW!
, , , ,

Statewide Summary

Courthouse Square, Quincy (10/28/20) Philip Reedy

Now that the skies have cleared of haze almost entirely across the Eastern Sierra, wouldn’t you know it? Fall color is mostly past peak.

There is peak color to be seen along US 395, but it no longer compares with the overwhelming beauty photographed two weeks ago. Now to appreciate autumn’s display, in the Eastern Sierra, you need to be inspired by the contrast of bare limbs beside others laden with deep color.

The best remaining color in Inyo County is found at the bottom of Bishop Creek Canyon, in Pine Creek Canyon where lush stands of black cottonwood are found, in the Round Valley where old cottonwood shade decaying shepherd’s shacks and at the Buckley Ponds near Bishop where soaring trees reflect their golden boughs upon still waters.

North along US 395 in Mono County, Twin Lakes is the last great remaining holdout still to peak fully. The legendary June Lake Loop is now capped with a cerulean sky (wildfire smoke has cleared away), though its long boulevards of aspen are a shattered mix of still-green, peaking gold and brown leaves and, of course, barren branches. Hikers trekking to Lundy Lake still enjoy color at the start of the trail, but as they reach the beaver ponds, it dwindles and a chill breeze alerts them that winter is approaching.

Peak has ended over Tioga Pass, Sonora Pass, Ebbetts Pass, Monitor Pass and Carson Pass. Only Echo Summit, Donner Pass and Yuba Pass have yet to peak fully. The Hope Valley is officially past peak and this is likely the last week of peak at Lake Tahoe. 

Even in Plumas County at the northern end of the Sierra, peak fall color is disappearing. The county’s famous sugar maples are now denuded, their orange leaves spin behind passing cars. Downtown Quincy remains a hold out with big color surrounding the Plumas County Courthouse.

Increasing numbers of Past Peak reports does not mean the show has ended. Peak has just dropped in elevation to between 3,500 and 6,000′, depending on location. Also, different species are now peaking.

Gone are the Pacific aspen. Arriving are the black oak, which display black limbs and deep orange leaves from Halloween into November. Bigleaf maple continue to dazzle with their gigantic gamboge leaves. And soon the vineyards, orchards and foothills will be dressed. While, long, undulating Vs of squawking geese indicate it’s time to head to the rice fields to see crane, heron, egrets, ducks and stilts posturing and preening. 

Throughout Plumas County’s Indian Valley a decided air of final harvest remains as gold and orange dominate. Peak fall color has moved to the northern end of the Sierra and southern Cascades, to embrace Lake Almanor, Susanville and arc through the Shasta Cascade toward the Trinity Alps, Marble Mountains and north coast.

We’ve heard little from color spotters in that part of California. They’ve been dealing with wildfires and Covid closures and only now are sending back photos of plants that had no idea the rest of the world had stopped. While we were focused on fighting fires and a virus, they’ve been turning color.

In Southern California, the exotics in the San Bernardino Mountains (notably Big Bear Lake and Lake Almanor) have been peaking for a week. Aspen are now past peak. Near Peak are black oak. Native trees at Oak Glen are between Patchy and Near Peak, with lots of color and activity among the U-pick orchards and farm stands.

Hike of the Week is a walk through downtown Quincy. CLICK HERE for the route.

Bike of the Week is the Lake Almanor Recreation Trail near Chester. An 18.9-mile lightly trafficked, dog-friendly bike/foot path connects Almanor West with Canyon Dam. The trail has a 830′ gain. This is a pine and fir forest with fall color mostly consisting of willows. Though, good color is found around the lake in Chester, along the south east shore and down CA-89 through the Indian Valley.

Indian Valley, CA-89 (10/19/20) Jeff Luke Titcomb

Peak of the Week and Drive of the Week is the Indian Valley (CA-89) between Quincy and Lake Almanor in Plumas County (northern Sierra). Orange black oak are brightening the route. Visit the Plumas County Courthouse in Quincy to look up into towering fully peaking trees at Courthouse Square.

, ,

Steppin’ Out in Quincy

Keds, boots and mountain maple, Quincy (10/25/20) Vishal Mishra

This week’s Hike of the Week doesn’t involve a long walk; it’s an urban hike. Vishal Mishra did it this past weekend, when he and his lady put their Keds to the pavement in Quincy.

Plumas County Courthouse, Quincy (10/25/20) Vishal Mishra

Take CA-89 to Quincy, county seat of Plumas County. Park behind the Plumas County Courthouse on Jackson St. and begin your walk by circling the courthouse (Court St., Main St, Bradley St.), enjoying the trees as you go.

When you get back to Jackson, turn west (right). There’s an inn and homes along Jackson with great color. Turn left at Lee. At the intersection of Lee and High is Judge Theilor’s sugar maple. Continue uphill to Monte Vista, then walk east (left) to Coburn. Continue down to Jackson, then right to Fillmore.

Community United Methodist Church is at the intersection of Jackson and Filmore. From the middle of Fillmore or along the north side of Jackson, nice photographs of the church can be taken with fall color surrounding it.

Main St., Quincy (10/25/20) Vishal Mishra

Continuing north on Fillmore, you reach Main St. Quincy’s downtown has one of the prettiest Main Streets in California with charming stores, restaurants, pubs and lots of fall color.

That completes the walk, though if you’d like additional places to explore in the area, drive east on CA-89 to La Porte Rd to photograph a landmark sugar maple at a bend near the Thompson Ranch. Or, drive west from Quincy on 89, then north on CA-70 to the Old Highway Rd. which leads to a trail to lush fall color along Spanish Creek.

  • Quincy (3,342′) – Peak (75-100%) GO NOW!
, ,

Tahoe’s Salmon Spawn

Kokanee salmon, Pope Baldwin Bike Path, Lake Tahoe (10/19/20) Clayton Peoples

Lake Tahoe is unquestionably beautiful, though its displays of fall foliage are limited to a few areas. What Tahoe lacks in wide swaths of bright color, as seen nearby in the Hope Valley, it has made up for with fall wildlife viewing opportunities … until this autumn.

Too many people came to see bear fish for spawning Kokanee salmon in Lake Tahoe’s Taylor Creek, causing the USDA Forest Service to issue Forest Order 19-20-10 that has outlawed “going into or being within the Taylor Creek Closure Area” including being on trails and National Forest roads within 400 feet of the creek, from Fallen Leaf Dam to Lake Tahoe.

That’s the prime area to see spawning salmon at Lake Tahoe. The stated reason for the closure was that too many people were climbing over fences and walking though the forest to take selfies as bear fished for salmon in the creek, thus creating damage and threatening the wildlife. The Forest Service also referenced trail maintenance and health safety issues as contributing factors though, fundamentally, too many people were acting inappropriately.

Fortunately, Kokanee can still be seen from the Pope Baldwin Bike Path that crosses the creek and from which the above photo was taken (legally). As such, the Pope Baldwin Bike Path is CaliforniaFallColor.com’s Hike/Bike of the Week. Please stay on the bike path.

Parking is found at a turnoff 100 yards north of the creek and a side street across from the turnoff. Walk back to the creek and the bridge that crosses it. Do not walk into the closed area or you can be fined.

During the spawn, Kokanee salmon are fluorescent red. They swim upstream from the lake to lay and fertilize eggs in tributaries beyond Fallen Leaf Lake. Their distinctive vermillion color makes them particularly vulnerable to predation by American black bear and eagles.

“The Kokanee, landlocked cousins of the sea-going Sockeye Salmon, were introduced to Lake Tahoe in 1944 by biologists working on the lake’s north shore.” a USDA Forest Service website states, “These predecessors of today’s inhabitants quickly adapted to the alpine environment, joining brown trout, rainbow trout and Mackinaw among the most prominent game fish in Lake Tahoe. However, no other species in Lake Tahoe offers such a spectacular show during their mating season.

“Each autumn, nature calls mature Kokanee to return to the streams from which they were hatched, select a mate, spawn and die.  As that time approaches, adult males develop a humped back and a heavy, hooked jaw, equipping them for the inevitable battles over both mates and territory, and both sexes turn from their usual silver/blue color to a brilliant red.  Then, en masse, the fish make one mad dash to their mating grounds, fighting their way up the shallow stream, displaying their colors to attract a mate, then battling to protect the small patch of gravel stream bed where they make their ‘redds’ or nests.

“Along the stream banks, the autumn aspens, willows and grasses will be as brilliant as the display in the creek below.  Almost as dramatic as the story of life and death being played out in the water are the colorful combinations of orange, gold and red as the vegetation prepares to shed their foliage in anticipation of winter,” states the Forest Service website.

A violation of the Forest Closure is punishable by a fine of not more than $5,000 for an individual or $10,000 for an organization, or imprisonment for not more than six months, or both (16 U.S.C. § 551 and 18 U.S.C. § 3559, 3571, and 3581).

, , , ,

Bullseye – Lobdell Lake Road

Lobdell Lake Rd (9/28/20) Jeff Simpson | Mono County Tourism

If you’re seeking to target California’s best fall color this week, focus on Lobdell Road in northern Mono County (US 395) as your bullseye. It is both our Peak of the Week and Driving Tour of the Week.

Lobdell Lake Rd. is a dirt road. As such, a sport-utility vehicle (SUV), an AWD passenger car like a Subaru, or pickup truck is recommended. Only if you attempt to drive up to the summit might a high-clearance 4WD be required. Here’s what Buzzards on the Road experienced in 2018.

Video courtesy of Buzzards on the Road (10/10/18)

The route begins on US 395, a short distance southeast of Sonora Junction. Take Burcham Flat Rd. from US 395 north to Lobdell Lake Rd. From there, it winds, dipping down beside the south fork of Cottonwood Creek and through lush groves of aspen as it climbs into the Sweetwater Mountains of the Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest. At times, the aspen line the road in one of the prettiest fall color boulevards in California.

This weekend and coming week it will be at Peak and fabulous. Considering that there are few alternatives as good and that – therefore – it’s likely to be a busy road, please drive courteously, cautiously and take time to enjoy the scenery.

Good places to fuel up and refresh are Bridgeport from the south and Walker from the north (US 395). A favorite stop is the Walker Burger for one of the best roadside hamburgers in California (not gourmet, but satisfying).

Elsewhere in Mono County, Jeff Simpson reports the colors are looking fantastic at upper elevations of Mono County. Unlike last year, the leaves are bright, vibrant and colorful across all elevations and locations. 

For a Hike of the Week, head out on the Green Creek Trail or Molybdenite Creek Trail for colors you won’t be able to see from a car. This completes the first CaliforniaFallColor.com Triple Crown: Peak of the Week, Driving Tour of the Week and Hike of the Week for Mono County!

Sonora Pass just edged into the Near Peak designation and will be best by the end of the weekend or early next week.

WALKER / COLEVILLE / TOPAZ

  • Monitor Pass (8,314′) – Patchy (10-50% – Still around 50% for most areas and especially at the summit. Some good yellows and peaking trees on the east side but still a good week away from peak color. 
  • West Walker River, Walker, Coleville and Topaz (5,200′) – Just Starting (0-10%) – Still just getting started with a few yellow and lime-green leaves.
Sonora Pass (9/28/20) Jeff Simpson | Mono County Tourism

SONORA PASS / LOBDELL LAKE

  • Sonora Pass (9,623′) Near Peak (50-75%) Go Now! – Just barely made the list, as some groves are just starting to turn along the road south of the summit and as low as Leavitt Meadows Pack Station. Just approaching peak color and would be best over the weekend or early next week. 
  • Lobdell Lake Rd (9,274′) – Near Peak (50-75%) Go Now! – This drive is both Peak of the Week and Driving Tour of the Week. It should be spectacular this weekend. Some areas are still green while others are past peak but this is the week for the most coverage of peak colors. Go now before slamming your palm against your forehead and muttering, “Why didn’t I listen?” 

BRIDGEPORT / VIRGINIA LAKES

  • Twin Lakes (7,000′) – Just Starting (0-10%) – Just getting started, mostly green trees with some yellow leaves along the Twin Lakes Road. Nice color is seen up the Robinson Creek Trail at the end of Twin Lakes Rd. 
  • Virginia Lakes (9,819’) – Peak to Past Peak (75-100%) GO NOW or you’ll have missed it! – Golden yellows, oranges and reds are being seen along the road below Virginia Lakes Resort. Some areas are past peak at the parking lot of Upper Virginia Lakes. 
  • Dunderberg Meadows Road – Peak (75-100%) GO NOW! – Take Dunderberg Meadows Road toward Green Creek for full groves of peak color.
  • Conway Summit (8,143) – Just Starting (0-10%) One good patch of yellow trees way up on the hill but mostly green/lime green everywhere else.
  • Summers Meadow (7,200′) Just Starting (0-10%) – Just starting in the highest of elevations.

LEE VINING 

  • Tioga Pass (9,943′) – RESERVATION REQUIRED TO TRAVEL TIOGA RD.
  • Lee Vining Canyon (6,781′) – REOPENING OCT. 3 – Patchy (10-50%)
  • Lundy Lake & Canyon (7,858′) – REOPENING OCT. 3 – Patchy (10-50%)

BENTON & 120 EAST 

  • Sagehen Summit (8,139’) – REOPENING OCT. 3 – Peak (75-100%) GO NOW!

JUNE LAKE LOOP

  • June Lake Loop/Hwy 158 (7,654′) – REOPENING OCT. 3 – Just Starting (0-10%)

MAMMOTH LAKES

  • Mammoth Lakes Basin (8,996′) – REOPENING OCT. 3 – Patchy (10-50%)

CROWLEY LAKE/McGEE CREEK/CONVICT LAKE

  • McGee Creek Canyon (8,600’) – REOPENING OCT. 3 – Patchy (10-50%)
  • Around Crowley community (6,781′) – REOPENING OCT. 3 – Just Starting (0-10%)
  • Convict Lake (7850′) – REOPENING OCT. 3 – Patchy (10-50%)

ROCK CREEK CANYON

  • Upper Rock Creek Rd (10,300’) – REOPENING OCT. 3 – Peak (75-100%) GO NOW!
  • Middle Rock Creek Rd (8,500′) – Patchy (10-50%)
  • Lower Rock Creek Rd. (7,087′) – Just Starting (0-10%)
, , ,

Hike to Potem Falls

Potem Falls, Montgomery Creek (10/23/19) Laura Jean

Hike of the week takes you to Potem Falls, an impressive 60-foot drop along Montgomery creek in Shasta-Trinity National Forest near CA-299.

AllTrails.com describes the trail as a .4-mile, lightly trafficked out & back along Montgomery Creek (Trinity County) that features a waterfall and is good for all skill levels.

The trail is primarily used for hiking, walking, nature trips, and birding and is best from March through October. Dog-friendly.

For directions, CLICK HERE.

Bigleaf maple, Potem Falls, Shasta-Trinity NF (10/23/19) Laura Jean

Laura Beeson scores a First Report and Hike of the Week, plus the above maple is red, a rarity for bigleaf maple. We’ll have to see more.

  • Potem Falls (1,246′) – Peak (75-100%) GO NOW!
, ,

Hike of the Week: Mt Tallac

California Fall Color Hike of the Week is the Mt. Tallac at Lake Tahoe.

The trail starts at lake level (6,225′) and varies from easy to strenuous, depending on how high up you’d like to climb. There’s a 3,500′ gain if you summit out.

BearfootTheory.com recommends, “If you aren’t sure you can make it all the way to the summit you can hike 1.7 miles (one-way) to Floating Island Lake or also 2.3 miles (one-way) to Cathedral Lake. The stretch of trail from the trailhead to Cathedral Lake is great for beginners. After Cathedral Lake the trail gets more strenuous & steep.”

Michelle Pontoni sent photos of the lower section of the trail which is lined with peak aspen, bigleaf maple and willows.

Mt.Tallac is one of the taller and most prominent peaks in the Tahoe basin. It’s so lofty that fit adventurers will climb its snowfields for Independence Day ski runs.

  • Mt. Tallac Trail, South Lake Tahoe (6,225′) – Peak (75-100%) GO NOW!
, ,

YOU MISSED IT!

Sagehen Summit (10/1/19) Donna Mercer

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.

Aspen, Lobdell Lake Rd. (10/1/19) Jeff Simpson/Mono County Tourism

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.

Sagehen Summit (9/30/19) Dakota Snider

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!

Parker Lake Trail (10/1/19) Jeff Simpson/Mono County Tourism

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!
  • Conway Summit (8,143’) – Patchy (10-50%) – Mostly green.
  • 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.
  • Topaz (5,033’) – Just Starting (0-10%)
, ,

Hike to Faery Falls

Faery Falls, Mt. Shasta (10/21/18) Laura Jean

Trail to Ney Springs, Mt. Shasta (10/21/18) Laura Jean

Ney Springs Creek, southwest of the town of Mt. Shasta, was the site of a busy resort in the 19th century. A series of springs there attracted patrons in search of rest and recuperation, writes HikeMtShasta.com.

“Today, the resort is gone and nature is reclaiming what little of it remains,” the site explains.

A short distance from the site of the old resort is idyllic Faery Falls. “The falls are easily accessed on an old road that is, like the resort, slowly being taken over by the surrounding forest.”

Color spotter Laura Jean hiked the old road to Faery Falls through a forest of Peak bigleaf maple.

Maple leaves lie floating upon a clear pool at the base of the falls, which is surrounded by emerald green moss, qualifying this beautiful trail as Hike of the Week

  • Faery Falls, Mt. Shasta – Peak (75-100%) GO NOW!