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Peak of the Week: Chico

Chinese pistache, Pistacia chinensis, Bidwell Park, Chico (11/3/18) Laura Jean

This is the week to visit Chico.

This forested college town in the northwest Sacramento Valley is one of California’s cities of trees.

Red maple, Acer rubrum, Bidwell Park, Chico (11/3/18) Laura Jean[/caption]The best places to be immersed in Chico’s fall color are downtown and along the Esplanade (a boulevard north of Chico State University that is lined with landmark plane trees, oaks and elm), in Downtown Chico whose streets are shaded with big trees and in Bidwell Park, the third largest municipal park in California (3,670 acres).

Within the park, best bets for fall color are: Sycamore Pond, Cedar Grove (home to the second tree experimentation farm in the U.S., where California pioneer John Bidwell planted trees from around the world), the Hooker Oak (now dead, though a massive Valley oak when living that was found to be two oaks that had grown together) and the Chico Creek Nature Center’s native plant garden. 

  • Chico (132′) – Peak (75-100%) GO NOW!
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What Matters Most

June Lake Loop (10/18/18) Josh Wray/Mammoth Lakes Tourism

So what if:

  • It’s your daughter’s wedding.
  • You have 50-yard-line tickets to the big game.
  • Your big retirement dinner happens Saturday and everyone will be there.
  • After flirting for months, you finally got asked out by the hot barista at the coffee shop.
  • The Nobel Prize committee just called and would like to meet you on Sunday.
  • It’s your tenth wedding anniversary and you have tickets to Paris.
  • Your doctor called and you’re finally scheduled for open-heart surgery.

Don’t get tunnel vision (unless it’s what you see, above).

All that matters is that fall color surrounding Mammoth Lakes in Mono County is peaking and that’s EPIC! 

Cancel all plans and GO NOW! Here’s why:

June Lake Loop (10/18/18) Josh Wray/Mammoth Lakes Tourism

June Lake Loop (10/18/18) Josh Wray/Mammoth Lakes Tourism

June Lake Loop (10/18/18) Josh Wray/Mammoth Lakes Tourism

June Lake Loop (10/18/18) Josh Wray/Mammoth Lakes Tourism

June Lake Loop (10/18/18) Josh Wray/Mammoth Lakes Tourism

June Lake Loop (10/18/18) Josh Wray/Mammoth Lakes Tourism
























June Lake Loop (10/18/18) Josh Wray/Mammoth Lakes Tourism

June Lake Loop (10/18/18) Josh Wray/Mammoth Lakes Tourism

June Lake Loop (10/18/18) Josh Wray/Mammoth Lakes Tourism

June Lake Loop (10/18/18) Josh Wray/Mammoth Lakes Tourism

June Lake Loop (10/18/18) Josh Wray/Mammoth Lakes Tourism

June Lake Loop (10/18/18) Josh Wray/Mammoth Lakes Tourism

June Lake Loop (10/18/18) Josh Wray/Mammoth Lakes Tourism

June Lake Loop (10/18/18) Josh Wray/Mammoth Lakes Tourism

Gull Lake, June Lake Loop (10/18/18) Josh Wray/Mammoth Lakes Tourism

Gull Lake, June Lake Loop (10/18/18) Josh Wray/Mammoth Lakes Tourism

June Lake Loop (10/18/18) Josh Wray/Mammoth Lakes Tourism

Beaver Ponds, Lundy Canyon (10/18/18) Josh Wray/Mammoth Lakes Tourism

Beaver Ponds, Lundy Canyon (10/18/18) Josh Wray/Mammoth Lakes Tourism

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Peak of the Week: Mono County

Conway Summit, US 395 (10/12/18) Jeff Simpson/Mono County Tourism

June Lake Loop (10/12/18) Jeff Simpson/Mono County Tourism

Convict Lake (10/12/18) Jeff Simpson/Mono County Tourism

California Fall Color has refrained from declaring a peak of the week this autumn, though if there is a week to do it, this is it.

Along US 395 in Mono County (Eastern Sierra), fall color will be peaking for the next week and a half at: Crowley Lake, McGee Creek, Convict Lake, the June Lake Loop, Lundy Canyon, Conway Summit, Summers Meadow, Twin Lakes Bridgeport and Monitor Pass.

Green areas remain in some of these areas, but the vast majority of locations are showing brilliant yellow and orange.

Lundy Canyon (10/12/18) Jeff Simpson/Mono County Tourism

Crowley Lake (10/12/18) Jeff Simpson/Mono County Tourism

Near Peak areas include Lee Vining Canyon, the West Walker River and the big cottonwood trees in the towns of Walker, Coleville and Topaz. Beautiful color can be seen now and in a week, it’ll be spectacular.

Now, the bad news. YOU MISSED IT in Mono County at: Sagehen Summit, Lobdell lake Road and the upper sections of Tioga Pass, Sonora Pass and Virginia Lakes and Rock Creek Rd. There’s a little at lower elevations and in scattered groves, but generally it has fallen. 

June Lake Loop (10/12/18) Jeff Simpson/Mono County Tourism

Here’s the blow by blow:


  • Monitor Pass (8,314′) – Peak (75-100%) GO NOW! – Peaking colors along the top sections of the pass will only hang around for another few days. This section will be past peak next week.
  • Lobdell Lake Road (8,600′) – Past Peak – YOU MISSED IT!
  • Walker Canyon (5,200′) – Near Peak (50-75%) GO NOW! – Patchy in sections with full peaking trees in others. Still another 7 days for the full display.
  • Towns of Walker & Coleville – Near Peak (50-75%) GO NOW! – A few cottonwoods are peaking but very patchy still in most sections. This will be the last place to peak in Mono County.
  • Sonora Pass (9,623′) – Past Peak – YOU MISSED IT! – Color lingers in shivering bunches at Leavitt Meadow.

Green Creek Rd., Mono County (10/12/18) Kirsten Liske

Bridgeport/Virginia Lakes

  • Twin Lakes (7,000′) – Near Peak (50-75%) GO NOW! -Still a little patchy in sections but worth the drive. Take the dirt road around lower twin lakes great angles of the Sawtooth Mountains.
  • Virginia Lakes (9,819’)- Past Peak – YOU MISSED IT!
  • Conway Summit (8,143′) – Peak (75-100%) GO NOW! – Sections with brilliant color and others with some green still hanging around. This will be spectacular for the next 10 days.
  • Summers Meadow (7,200′) – Peak (75-100%) GO NOW! – We love Summers Meadow. It has one of the great long stretches of brilliant color in the state at peak. Presently, the color has worked down, though has a wonderful mix of red, orange, yellow and lime

Green Creek Rd., Mono County (10/12/18) Kirsten Liske

Lee Vining

  • Tioga Pass (9,943′) – Past Peak – YOU MISSED IT!
  • Lee Vining Canyon (6,781′) – Near Peak (50-75%) GO NOW! – Still green in some sections, while others have 80% yellow leaves with some trees past peak. Take Log Cabin Mine road for colors that will be good for the next two weeks.
  • Lundy Lake & Canyon (7,858′) – Peak (75-100%) GO NOW! – Lundy Canyon Trail should be perfect right now but might be past peak as we get closer to the weekend. Lundy Lake and Lundy Campground will be fantastic this weekend.

Benton & 120 East

  • Sagehen Summit (8,139’) -Past Peak – YOU MISSED IT!

June Lake Loop

  • June Lake Loop/Hwy 158 (7,654′) – Peak (75-100%) GO NOW! – This is the week to visit the June Lake Loop. It won’t get better than it is now. There are so many great spots along Grant, Silver, Gull and June Lakes. Make this destination a priority for the weekend.

Mammoth Lakes

  • Mammoth Lakes Basin (8,996′) – Past Peak – YOU MISSED IT!

McGee Creek (10/14/18) Benjamin Vu

Crowley Lake/McGee Creek/Convict Lake

  • McGee Creek Canyon (8,600’) – Peak (75-100%) GO NOW! – Still fantastic color up the canyon with great color now located along the campground and US 395 level.
  • Around Crowley community (6,781′) – Peak (75-100%) GO NOW! – Great color around the town and the surrounding hills. Take the old US 395 road to Toms Place for the best views.
  • Convict Lake (7850′) – Peak (75-100%) GO NOW! – Great color along Convict Lake Campground and the shores around the lake. Still green in some sections but make sure to take the quick and flat hike around the lake for the best viewing opportunities!

Rock Creek Canyon

  • Rock Creek Road (8,500’+) – Past Peak – YOU MISSED IT!  – It’s Past Peak up the canyon, though near Tom’s Place and in lower sections of the canyon spots of nice color are still found.

Silver Lake, June Lake Loop (10/12/18) Jeff Simpson/Mono County Tourism

Lundy Canyon (10/12/18) Jeff Simpson/Mono County Tourism

Silver Lake, June Lake Loop (10/12/18) Jeff Simpson/Mono County Tourism










Convict Lake (10/12/18) Jeff Simpson/Mono County Tourism

Rock Creek Rd. (10/12/18) Jeff Simpson/Mono County Tourism

Rock Creek Rd. (10/12/18) Jeff Simpson/Mono County Tourism

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Parade of Roses and Autumn

Tournament of Roses, Pasadena (1/1/18) Frank McDonough

Tournament of Roses, Pasadena (1/1/18) Frank McDonough

Each New Year’s Day, the world marvels at the amazing floral floats made for the Tournament of Roses in Pasadena.

What often isn’t seen in the worldwide coverage of the parade is the lingering fall color to be seen along the streets of Pasadena.

Los Angeles County color spotter Frank McDonough captured some of it and shares it with us.

Pasadena – Peak to Past Peak – You Almost Missed It.

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Happy New Year!

Los Angeles County Arboretum and Botanic Garden, Arcadia (12/26/17) Frank McDonough

LA County Arboretum (12/26/17) Frank McDonough

Gingko biloba, LA County Arboretum (12/26/17) Frank McDonough

Frank McDonough’s photograph of tiles at the Los Angeles County Arboretum and Botanic Garden reminds us of the festive color to explode on New Year Eve and makes us look forward to 2018 and the end of 2017.

This past year was filled with tragedy for many. Wildfires, hurricanes, floods and heartache delivered by the worst side of humanity made it so.

Even on the fall color front, the show was disappointing, but not so the photographs taken by those tracking fall color across California.

Frank’s images of everlasting gingko biloba at the LA County Arboretum provide hope for a new year of everlasting color, joy and good things.

Happy New Year.

LA County Arboretum and Botanic Garden – Peak to Past Peak – You Almost Missed It.

Gingko, LA County Arboretum (12/26/17) Frank McDonough

Bamboo, LA County Arboretum (12/26/17) Frank McDonough










Gingko, LA County Arboretum (12/26/17) Frank McDonough

LA County Arboretum (12/26/17) Frank McDonough










Gingko, LA County Arboretum (12/26/17) Frank McDonough

LA County Arboretum (12/26/17) Frank McDonough










Gingko, LA County Arboretum (12/26/17) Frank McDonough

LA County Arboretum (12/26/17) Frank McDonough










To the north near Durham, Ferruginous hawks are in search of squirrels out gathering nuts among the orchards and the last spots of fall color (berries still clinging to Dogwood branches) are seen in these images captured by Robert Kermen.

Ferruginous Hawk, Durham (12/29/17) Robert Kermen

Gray Squirrel, Durham (12/29/17) Robert Kermen

Dogwood, Durham (12/29/17) Robert Kermen










Central Valley – Past Peak – You Missed It.

Mountain View Cemetery, Oakland (12/29/17) Darrell Sano

Oakland color spotter Darrell Sano, who holds the distinction of being the first and last to post on this site in 2017, sent these closing shots of peak color seen in at Mountain View Cemetery in the Oakland Hills.

Darrell writes that, “The balmy weather we’ve been experiencing around the bay area led to many people enjoying the afternoon scenery–walking, jogging, groups of people having conversations, dogs happily being walked, and of course families paying respects to loved ones. It’s an extremely serene and introspective place. Walking the hills always makes me think about time, and the passage of it. No better appropriate place to be in the last weekend of the year. And the colors persist into 2018!”

Oakland – Peak to Past Peak – You Almost Missed It.

Mountain View Cemetery, Oakland (12/29/17) Darrell Sano

Mountain View Cemetery, Oakland (12/29/17) Darrell Sano








Mountain View Cemetery, Oakland (12/29/17) Darrell Sano

Mountain View Cemetery, Oakland (12/29/17) Darrell Sano

Mountain View Cemetery, Oakland (12/29/17) Darrell Sano

Mountain View Cemetery, Oakland (12/29/17) Darrell Sano

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Give Thanks, The Bay Area is Peaking

Fall color and Palm Trees, Berkeley (11/18/17) Darrell Sano

In the early 1960s, Burlingame and San Mateo High Schools held “The Little Big Game” – their long-standing rivalry – on Thanksgiving Day.

I know, because I attended those games each Thanksgiving Day (Yes, I am that old).

Walking to the games (held at BHS) was a memory-searing experience. Cars, decorated with crepe paper ribbons of red, white, orange and black – the competing schools’ colors – rolled past, their passengers shouting cheers through open windows.

The distant sounds of bands, each trying to outdo the other with a louder fight song, was carried through the crisp autumn air across Burlingame parks and streets.

Those streets and parks are still forested with the same ancient trees. Their thick branches, during Thanksgiving Week, are laden with heavy loads of auburn, crimson, orange, ginger, yellow, gold, emerald and tawny-colored leaves.

Their crowns are supported by massive trunks rising from feet so gnarled that they unearth and twist sidewalks into tilting slabs of concrete.

Following the game, I’d return along those uprooted paths, my chilled hands stuffed deeply into my jacket’s felt-lined pockets, to a warm home in Hillsborough and Thanksgiving dinner.

Those days influenced a lifelong affection for autumn. I still associate vibrant Peak color and a football game played on a dewy field with Thanksgiving Day.

Today, a reporter from the Santa Rosa Press Democrat called to ask if the fall color is unusually vibrant everywhere or just in Santa Rosa (north of the Bay Area). I couldn’t say with certainty, as this has been an autumn when nothing seems to follow what’s happened historically.

Early this autumn, stands of aspen were still green near 10,000′ in elevation, while others at 8,000′ were peaking. Some groves had levels of color change, from Just Starting to Past Peak, all at once.

From across the state, anxious calls and emails arrived, asking why 2017 was so different. I had begun to question  everything I’d come to expect about fall color.

Then, proof arrived that this is not the end of times. Photographs from Bay Area color spotters Sandy Steinman and Darrell Sano renewed my faith in the traditions of autumn by reminding me of the lustrous hues I saw in my salad days.

The San Francisco Bay Area is again peaking on time for Thanksgiving Day. Give thanks.

San Francisco Bay Area – Peak (75-100%) GO NOW! – The best color can be seen in the urban forests of Santa Rosa, Rohnert Park, Petaluma, Novato, San Rafael, San Francisco, Danville, Walnut Creek, Corte Madera, Lafayette, Berkeley, Oakland, San Leandro, Burlingame, Hillsborough, Menlo Park, Atherton, Palo Alto, Los Altos, Saratoga, Los Gatos, Campbell and San Jose. Peak of the Week.

California Grape, Berkeley (11/19/17) Sandy Steinman

Chinese pistache, Berkeley (11/19/17) Sandy Steinman

Persimmon, Berkeley (11/19/17) Sandy Steinman

California Grape, Berkeley (11/19/17) Sandy Steinman

Fall color and palm trees, Berkeley (11/18/17) Darrell Sano

Berkeley (11/18/17) Darrell Sano

Telegraph Ave., Berkeley (11/18/17) Darrell Sano

Near Telegraph Ave., Berkeley (11/18/17) Darrell Sano

Mountain View Cemetery, Oakland (11/18/17) Darrell Sano

Mountain View Cemetery, Oakland (11/18/17) Darrell Sano

Mountain View Cemetery, Oakland (11/18/17) Darrell Sano

Japanese maple, Mountain View Cemetery, Oakland (11/18/17) Darrell Sano

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Grass Valley Glows

Black oak, Grass Valley (11/8/17) Robert Kermen

Bigleaf maple, Grass Valley (11/8/17) Robert Kermen

Red maple, Grass Valley (11/8/17) Robert Kermen

Black oak, bigleaf maple, red maple and gingko biloba were at peak today in Grass Valley, color spotter Robert Kermen reports, a sure sign that the Gold Country is a Peak of the Week destination for this weekend.

Grass Valley (2,411′) – Peak (75-100%) GO NOW!

Gingko biloba, Grass Valley (11/8/17) Robert Kermen

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Time to be Outside on the Eastside

Lobdell Lake Rd. (10/10/17) Jeff Simpson | Mono County Tourism

Lobdell Lake Rd. (10/10/17) Jeff Simpson | Mono County Tourism

Whoa, if ever there were a weekend to get Outside on the Eastside, this is it in Mono County.

Peak color can be found anywhere you go and whichever direction you drive. We’ll be posting an update on Lake Tahoe and the Hope Valley, after returning to scout those locations (Oct. 12) and fully expect the color to be great, just as it is in Mono and Inyo Counties right now.

Part of the reason this autumn is so good is why it is so confusing. On the exact same day for the same location we’ve received conflicting reports stating, “It’s gone” or “it’s spectacular” or “not yet there.”

What’s happening is that the aspen forest, for the first time in anyone’s memory, is turning by grove. Stands of aspen are different genetically, and they’re demonstrating their individuality this autumn. In past years, the genetic differences between the groves seemed to make little difference, as the trees at least acted as if they were on the same clock. Not this year.

What that means for fall color viewing is that the show is lasting longer, but not as uniformly at any given location.

The big change this past week occurred at the highest elevations, which for the most part went Past Peak. Places like Upper Rock Creek (10,300′), Tioga Pass (9,943′) and Sagehen Meadows (8,139′ – High Desert, so it’s drier there) are now Past Peak.  Though, that’s not universally true. Some of the groves at “you’ll-get-winded walking there” heights are still green.

Lobdell Lake Rd. (10/10/17) Jeff Simpson | Mono County Tourism

Some spotters began declaring calamity after seeing stripped stands at some locations, posting on Facebook and elsewhere that high winds had stripped the color. So, I called Mono County fall color guru Jeff Simpson (Yes, you’ve now achieved guru status in your life, Jeff).

Jeff lives on the eastside and has been reporting autumn color for years. He seemed to be offended by the suggestion that fall had ended, saying, “in no way have all the leaves blown off.”

OK, Jeff, OK. I believe you, especially since you’re now a guru and after seeing your photos, taken as late as yesterday.

So, count on it.

This weekend, there’ll be lots of gorgeous color to be seen at: Twin Lakes Bridgeport, Lundy Canyon, Convict Lake, Rock Creek Road, McGee Creek Canyon, Conway Summit, Summers Meadow Road, Lobdell Lake Road, Lee Vining Canyon, Monitor Pass and the June Lake Loop, even if a few leaves have fallen, as seen at right.

Here’s a detailed report from Mono County, a go-to destination for great fall color this week:


Monitor Pass (8,314′) – Peak (75-100%) – Aspen on the summit are perfect, right now. Look for the large grove of trees on the east side of the summit to have the best display of color. GO NOW!

Lobdell Lake Road (8,600′) – Peak (75-100%) – This area has never looked as good. Lots of peaking trees with deep reds and yellows. Get here fast, as some stands are past peak or will not last much longer.  Note: Burcham Flat Road to Lobdell lake Road are dirt roads – AWD or 4WD vehicles are recommended. GO NOW!

Lobdell Lake Rd. (10/10/17) Jeff Simpson | Mono County Tourism

Walker Canyon (5,200′)- Patchy (10-50%) – Walker canyon has slowed since last reported. There are stands with great yellows and lime greens while others are just getting started. Give it a week and it’ll be rating “Go Now!”, but not just yet.

Towns of Walker & Coleville – Just Starting (0-10%) – A few cottonwoods have started to turn but this is traditionally the last place to peak in Mono County. Look to go here in the 3rd or 4th week in October. Nevertheless, there are spots where the tall cottonwood are crowned with yellow in the midday sun.

Sonora Pass (9,623′)- Peak (75-100%) – It’s a fall color inversion here, as colors are looking nice around Leavitt Meadows Pack station and the lower sections of Sonora Pass, whereas aspen near the summit never seemed to get going. You’ll find peak to past peak groves along the road and is still worth the trip this weekend. See our earlier report about Obsidian Campground – glorious! GO NOW!

Twin Lakes, Bridgeport (10/9/17) Jeff Simpson | Mono County Tourism


Twin Lakes (7,000′) -Peak (75-100%) – The biggest change in Mono County this week has occurred at Twin Lakes near Bridgeport. Wonderful color has appeared along the upper and lower lakes, and up the mountainside toward Horse Creek. GO NOW!

Virginia Lakes (9,819’) –Peak (75-100%) to Past Peak – The leaves never got going at Virginia Lakes, this year. Though, there’s still some great color along Lower Virginia Lakes Road. GO NOW! as You’re About to Miss It.

Conway Summit (8,143′)- Near Peak to Peak (50-100%) – There is lot’s of great color at Conway Summit right now. A few stands are a little green while most of the mountainside is at full peak. Tip: visit in the late afternoon, as shadows make this difficult to photograph in morning light. GO NOW!

Summers Meadow (7,200′) – Peak (75-100%) – – Simply spectacular. Entire groves of peaking aspens make this location a must stop.  NOTE: The Summers Meadow bridge sustained significant damage during the spring runoff. The bridge has been reduced to one lane traffic but is currently open to visitors traveling to Summers Meadow. GO NOW!

Conway Summit (10/11/17) Jeff Simpson | Mono County Tourism


Tioga Pass & Lee Vining Canyon (9,943′) – Near Peak to Peak (50-100%) – There is great color to be found in Lee Vining Canyon, especially along Log Cabin Mine Road. Higher up, Tioga Pass and Saddlebag Lake are past peak. GO NOW!

Lundy Lake & Canyon (7,858′)- Peak (75-100%) – Be prepared for brilliant color up Lee Vining Canyon at the first set of waterfalls. Color along the road and campground is our peak as Peak of the Week. GO NOW!


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


Silver Lake, June Lake Loop (10/11/17) Jeff Simpson | Mono County Tourism

June Lake Loop/Hwy 158 (7,654′) – Near Peak to Peak (50-100%) – There is lots of bright lime, yellow and orange in the aspen around the June Lake Loop. There are peak trees just about everywhere. And yet, the June Lake Loop will last another week or two. We do not recommend delaying, but if you only can visit in two weeks, you should still find spots of good color. GO NOW!

Parker Lake (8,000′) – 50-100% Go Now!  – Wow. From Parker Bench to Parker Lake be prepared to drop your jaw. You will find a mix of color from Patchy to Near Peak, to Peaking, to Past Peak, but overall it’s lovely. GO NOW!


Mammoth Lakes Basin (8,996′) – Near Peak to Peak (50-100%) – Mammoth has come into its own, with good color along Mammoth Creek Road and Sherwin Creek Road and among bright orange willows at the Mammoth Lakes Basin. GO NOW!

Summers Meadow Rd. (10/9/17) Jeff Simpson | Mono County Tourism


McGee Creek Canyon (8,600’) – Near Peak to Peak (50-100%) – – McGee Creek Canyon is at full peak and has wonderful color right now while the road is still a bit patchy. GO NOW!

Around Crowley Community (6,781′) – Near Peak to Peak (50-100%) – Poke around the community and you’ll find bright color there and along the hillsides beside U.S. 395. Take the “old US 395” road from McGee Creek to Tom’s Place for great views of the color change that’s occurring up the mountain. GO NOW!

Convict Lake (7850′) – Peak (75-100%) – Convict Lake is a “must” stop this week. Colors are at their peak along the lake and up Convict Canyon. Take the 2.5 mile “Convict Lake Loop Trail” around the lake for a close up view of the leaves and different angles of Mt. Morrison. GO NOW!


Rock Creek Road (9,600’) –Near Peak to Peak (50-100%) –  – Wonderful color along the lower section of Rock Creek Road from Tom’s Place. There are sections of great Yellows and Oranges while other areas above the lake may be past peak. GO NOW!

Lower Rock Creek Road(7,087′) – Patchy (10-50%)

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Lundy’s Looking Luscious

Lundy Canyon (10/8/17) Dylan Ren

Lundy Canyon (10/8/17) Dylan Ren

Jean Pan reports that she and her husband, Dylan Ren, visited Bishop, the June Lake loop and Lundy Canyon this past weekend. And, “It was really nice!”

Of these areas, they chose to linger in Lundy Canyon, because of its luscious color. They stopped at a day use area, about a mile or two up the canyon, where they entered an aspen grove that was cloaked in golden and red leaves.

Jean reported that the Lundy Canyon Campground had the best color she saw and estimates Lundy Canyon to be at peak, so we’re gonna declare it Peak of the Week.

However, please note that these photographs were taken before this week’s wind event. Today, winds gusting to 30 mph are predicted for the Eastern Sierra and days will remain breezy for the rest of the week.

So, we caution that areas that have turned color will lose some color, but those in the process of turning will continue to hold color. Jeff Simpson from Mono County affirms this reporting that while higher elevations (Sagehen, Virginia Lakes, Sonora Pass) have lost some of their leaves, lower elevations – including areas like the June Lake Loop and Lundy Canyon are still prime for a big show this weekend.

The June Lake Loop is nearing peak and should peak this weekend. Some locations, like Gull Lake, are already at Peak.

Lundy Canyon (7,858′) – Peak (75-100%) GO NOW!
June Lake Loop (7,654′)- Near Peak (50-75%) GO NOW!

Gull Lake, June Lake Loop (10/8/17) Dylan Ren

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California Roundup

Green Lake (9/23/17) Naresh Satyan

Color spotters from across California have been contributing their observations.  Here’s a roundup of what they’re seeing.

Eastern Sierra

Groves Above Cardinal Village (9/24/17) Clayton Peoples

Clayton Peoples spent Sunday in the upper reaches of Bishop Creek Canyon and reports, “Although I agree with color spotter Will Ridgeway on rating the high elevations above Lake Sabrina as “Near Peak” (50-75%), much of Bishop Creek Canyon is still “Patchy” (10-50%)–but that doesn’t mean there isn’t still beautiful color to be found.

“For instance, the upper portion of the groves above Cardinal Village have turned mostly orange. Given a few more days, this subset of aspens will likely be at peak color. Likewise, some of the aspen around Lake Sabrina have begun to turn yellow and/or orange–but will likely need a week or more to reach peak color.

Nevertheless, Clayton predicts there will be “numerous weeks of good color to come in Bishop Creek Canyon as color fills in more fully in the high elevations, then works its way down.” Clayton would assess Bishop Creek Canyon as “Peak of the Week” worthy… and we agree.

South Lake Rd, near Parchers, Bishop Creek Canyon (9/23/17) Naresh Satyan

Naresh Satyan hiked from South Lake in Bishop Creek Canyon to Green Lake (up to 12,400′) before snow turned him back, yesterday. He reports that aspens along South Lake road are still mostly green and healthy), though he found a few stands surrounding the Parchers Resort that are turning nicely.

The color appears to be best at or above 10,000′ which coincides with a Near Peak (GO NOW!) report we received this past week from Sabrina Lake.

You will, however, find peak color among the willows, grasses and ground covers. That is evident in the photo of Green Lake (11,260′) which Naresh described as “spectacular and well worth the hike to get there.” Of course, be prepared for cold temperatures. A light dusting of snow on the mountains and some lupines still blooming made for an unforgettable hike.


Shasta Cascade

Ruth Hartman reports from Coffee Creek in Trinity County (Shasta Cascade) that color this past week’s cold snap got dogwood turning red and varigated green along Hwy 3 in Trinity County at 3000′. You’ll find it while heading north along the Slate grade, two miles before Tannery Gulch campground. Odd, but we’re seeing the same with planted dogwood at 800′ in elevation, east of Sacramento in El Dorado Hills.

Southern California

Gingko Biloba, Long Beach (9/23/17) Trent Vierra

Liquidambar, Long Beach (9/23/17) Trent Vierra

Trent Vierra interrupted his morning bike ride, yesterday, to snap a couple of shots of gingko biloba and liquidambar brightening up along 1st St. in the Bluff Heights neighborhood of Long Beach, and commented that he’s been noticing change in color among these exotic species.

That’s typical of liquidambar, though the gingkos tend to keep to a more regular schedule. Still, Trent scores the first “First Report” for Long Beach. While doing that, he also got a shot of a Maine license plate beside emerging California Fall Color… double score.