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Eastern Sierra Fall Festivals and Events

Here are some of the festivals and events that coincide with trips to see fall color.  Boy, they sure love their barbecue in Mono County!

Links to these events are found at monocounty.org.

Ambush_at the LakeSeptember

All Days – Ambush at the Lake Fishing Derby, Convict Lake

4 – 7 – Founder’s Day, Bridgeport  (celebrating Bridgeport’s history, high plains culture with ranch roping, team branding, live theater, courthouse tours, music, quilt displays and more)

4 – 6 – Mammoth Rock N Rye (30 distilleries, 14 breweries, 8 bands in Mammoth Village)

5 – Fishin’ Mission Foundation (BBQ & Concert – benefits local students)

5 – Horseshoe Tournament & BBQ – Silver Lake Resort, June Lake

5 – June Lake Loop Big Trout Tournament

5 – Free Fishing Day (throughout Mono County – licenses required, but no fees on county waters)

5 – Tom’s Place Classic Car Show & BBQ

11 – 13 – Graniteman Challenge (Graniteman swim, Mammoth Gran Fondo and Tioga Pass Run – compete in one or all three to be named a Graniteman)

19 – 20 – Hiking the Valley, Walker/Coleville (join locals on hikes of the best trails in northern Mono County)

19 – 20 – Birding the Valley, Walker/Coleville (join an expert for two days of guided field trips on the West Walker, Sonora Pass and Antelope Valley areas)

25 – 27 – Inspired by Nature: A Writer’s Retreat, June Lake

October

All Days – Ambush at the Lake Fishing Derby, Convict Lake

3 – Deer Hunter BBQ – Walker/Coleville (Join locals to help the local chamber and get their tips on local hunting and a taste of their secret recipe BBQ)

10 – June Lake Autumn Beer Festival – Gull Lake (12+ award-winning craft brewers, food, games, live music, surrounded by fall color)

17 – Duck’s Unlimited Dinner – Bridgeport

30 – Morrison Bonus Derby Weekend – Convict Lake

November

1 – Morrison Bonus Derby Weekend – Convict Lake

1 – 15 – Ambush at the Lake Fishing Derby, Convict Lake

15 – Last Day of Regular Fishing Season – Mono County

16 – Year-round Fishing Season Begins – at designated locations on the West Walker, East Walker, Upper Owens Rivers and Hot Creek. Catch and release regulations may apply.

 

 

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Hike of the Week: Gull Lake Trail

Gull Lake (10/22/14) Elizabeth Erdelyi

Gull Lake (10/22/14) Elizabeth Erdelyi

Located a few blocks north of June Lake Village (Hwy. 158) in Mono County, this lovely, scenic trail begins at Gull Lake Park (across from the June Lake Library) and loops around the shoreline of Gull Lake for an easy 2-mile jaunt. The trail meanders through glowing aspen groves at the west end of the lake, up a rocky bluff, and through the peaking aspens of Gull Lake campground.  Peaking now with some sections past peak and some still lime green!   CLICK HERE for more information.

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Pies, Pastry, Pack Trips and Pubs… Patchy, too

Patchy aspen at Rock Creek Lake (9/5/14) Alicia Vennos

Patchy aspen at Rock Creek Lake (9/5/14) Alicia Vennos

Mono County Color Spotter Alicia Vennos sends these photos of locations throughout Mono County whose fall color varies from Just Starting to Patchy.  While the color is – at best – patchy, there’s still plenty to do if you prefer pies, pastry, pack trips or pubs.

Rock Creek Lake Resort (9/9/14) Alicia Vennos

Rock Creek Lake Resort (9/9/14) Alicia Vennos

Patchy (10 – 50%) – Rock Creek
Aspen are beginning to brighten to lime and yellow.  Don’t let the limited color depress you.  Stop by the Rock Creek Lakes Resort for a slice of one of their famous fruit and cream pies. They’ll stay open until Oct. 12.

Convict Lake (9/9/14) Alicia Vennos

Convict Lake (9/9/14) Alicia Vennos

Just Starting (0 – 10%) – Convict Lake
Aspen near the Convict Lake Resort restaurant are a beautiful combination of flickering lime and yellow.

Patchy (10 – 50%) – McGee Creek
The color and elevation are about the same as Rock Creek, brightening to lime and yellow.  Early visitors still have lots to do with hiking, horseback rides and pack trips from the McGee Creek Pack Station and a new bakery at McGee Creek Lodge.  What! More pie?

Just Starting (0 – 10%0 – June Lake
June Lake is a few weeks away from color change, and the color should be glorious when the June Lake Autumn Beer Festival happens on Oct. 11 at Gull Lake Park.  OK, pubs, pies, pastry and peeping.  We’re pumped!

Just Starting (0 – 10%) – Lee Vining Canyon/Hwy 120
Still early, though the drive up Hwy 120 to Yosemite National Park’s east entrance is exhilarating.

Greenstone Lake, Twenty Lakes Basin (9/7/14) Alica Vennos

Greenstone Lake, Twenty Lakes Basin (9/7/14) Alica Vennos

Just Starting (0 – 10%) – Saddlebag Lake/Tioga Pass
There’s a little color along the shore of Saddlebag Lake.  People often overlook the beauty of ground cover and shrubbery

Just Starting (0 – 10%) – Lundy Canyon
This is one of those beautiful places that you have to catch close to peak.  Stay tuned for their reports.

Virginia Lakes (9/1/14) Carolyn Webb

Virginia Lakes (9/1/14) Carolyn Webb

Just Starting (0 – 10%) – Virginia Lakes
Similar to Convict Lake, the Virginia Lakes area is just beginning to show color.  The Aspen near the lakes are deformed by wind and weather and endlessly fascinating.

Conway Summit (9/3/14) Alicia Vennos

Conway Summit (9/3/14) Alicia Vennos

Just Starting (0 – 10%) – Conway Summit
It’s just starting on the north side with a patchy area to the south.

Twin Lakes (9/9/14) Alicia Vennos

Twin Lakes (9/9/14) Alicia Vennos

Just Starting (0 – 10%) – Bridgeport/Green Creek/Twin Lakes

A little yellow high up above Twin Lakes, otherwise still in summer.  Upcoming events:

  • Sept 20 and Oct. 18 – Bodie Foundation Photographer’s Day – photograph Bodie SHP from sunrise to sundown.  To register CLICK HERE.
  • Sept 25 – 28 – Hiking the Valley – Join locals on guided hikes of the Antelope Valley.  CLICK HERE for more info.
  • Oct. 4 – Deer Hunter BBQ – A secret recipe is tasted, but not revealed at the Antelope Valley Community Center. For details, CLICK HERE.
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Red Appearing in the Shasta Cascade – Still Early

Red has been the theme of this autumn’s show so far, across California.  The Shasta Cascade is no different, reporting ruby as well, in the north state.  Here’s the latest from color spotter Grace Smith.

Chinese pistache (exotic), Chico State University (10/2/13) Stephany Fernandez

Chinese pistache (exotic), Chico State University (10/2/13) Stephany Fernandez

15 – 30% – Butte County- A majority of the trees in Butte County are still mainly green, with a slight appearance of lime and yellow. As happens, some trees are progressing quicker than others. Locals recommend visiting Bidwell Park in Chico, Chico State University campus, and the Highway 99 and Highway 32 corridors.  As previously reported (See Special Events Category), several events are planned  in the Chico area.  More about them can be obtained by calling 530-891-5556 or visiting www.chicochamber.com.

30 – 50% – Plumas County – Most of the color to be found is at lower elevations of  the Indian Valley.  Richard McCutcheon reports dogwoods are starting to flush above Round Valley Lake.  He says it’s become “very pretty up in the woods, now. Oaks are turning yellow but not red, yet.” Bigleaf maples are changing rapidly in the Indian Valley, more quickly than at higher elevations. Exotic specimens are coloring up in Quincy and Taylorsville, as captured by color spotter Jeff Titcomb. Special Event: Indian Valley Leaf Peepers’ Ride occurs Oct. 5.  Visit www.indianvalley.net.

Bigleaf maple, Taylorsville (10/2/13) Jeff Titcomb

Maple, Taylorsville (10/2/13) Jeff Titcomb

0 – 15% – Shasta County – Not much has changed in Shasta County. The leaves are slowly starting to show light green.  Winds have blown some early changers from branches and stems. The change is predicted to intensify in the coming two weeks.  Look for the Sacramento River Trail near the Sundial Bridge in Redding and at Anderson River Park in Anderson to show beautifully this season. More info on Shasta County events is found at  www.shastcascade.com

Bigleaf maple, Taylorsville (10/2/13) Jeff Titcomb

Maple, Taylorsville (10/2/13) Jeff Titcomb

0 – 15% – Tehama County – The home of Red Bluff and the upper Sacramento River Valley is hovering  just below 15%, this week, with trees beginning to show change.  This area is exhibiting lovely shades of burnt orange and red, tinging mostly green leaves. Expect the change to rapidly progress within two weeks.  Special Event: Harvest Dinner Under The Stars takes place Oct. 5. Find more at www.landconservation.org/.

Taylorsville (10/2/13) Jeff Titcomb

Taylorsville (10/2/13) Jeff Titcomb

15 – 30% – Siskiyou County  – Not much has been reported as changing in Siskiyou County, at the far northern end of California. If heading there, check out Bike-toberfest in McCloud: www.mccloudchamber.com/bike-tober.

Indian Creek seen from CA-89 (10/2/13) Richard McCutcheon

Indian Creek seen from CA-89 (10/2/13) Richard McCutcheon

Western dogwood, Round Lake Valley (10/2/13) Richard McCutcheon

Western dogwood, Round Lake Valley (10/2/13) Richard McCutcheon

30 – 50% – Lassen County –  The leaves in Lassen County are changing rapidly.  Bigleaf maples are coloring up with beautiful shades of red. A lot of them and cottonwood are showing yellow. Special Event: Rails to Trails Festival, Oct. 12: www.lassenlandandtrailstrust.org/rails-to-trails.html.

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Big Bear Colors Up for Photo Contest

Oaks are approaching peak at Big Bear Lake (10/2/13) Dan McKernan

Oaks are approaching peak at Big Bear Lake (10/3/13) Dan McKernan

GO NOW! – 30 – 50% – Big Bear – Color spotter Dan McKernan reports the color at Big Bear Lake has jumped dramatically this week to near 50%.  We alerted in our last posting that Big Bear has this tendency and even though it hasn’t yet reached 50%, we’re issuing a Go Now! Alert for the San Bernardino Mountains.

Big Bear 1

Big Bear is approaching peak (10/3/13) Dan McKernan

Big Bear Photo Contest – Another reason to head to the San Bernardinos is Big Bear Lake’s photo contest.  Entry is easy.  Just post a photo of Big Bear’s fall colors on select social media and your shot could get published in 400,000 visitor guides, distributed in more than 3,600 locations throughout Southern California, Nevada and Arizona and at BigBear.com.

Photos of Big Bear’s fall foliage must be posted with the hash tag, #FallForBigBear, on Instagram, Twitter or Facebook between Oct. 4, and Nov. 1, 2013.  The winner will be selected on Nov. 4.

Bear Lake has some of the most spectacular displays of fall foliage to be seen in Southern California. This happens because of the San Bernardino Mountain’s ideal conditions for generating  bright color: evening temperatures in the 30s and 40s and sunny, warm days, creating intense gold, crimson, amber and yellow on Big Bear’s cottonwood, aspen and oaks.

Black Oak, Big Bear (10/2/13) Dan McKernan

Black Oak, Big Bear (10/3/13) Dan McKernan

This year’s peak can be seen in the next two weeks at: Big Bear Village, Mill Creek Road, The Pine Knot Trail, Grout Bay Trail, Castle Rock Trail and the Aspen Grove, a picture-perfect grove of quaking aspen.  Directions to these locations are found at BigBear.com.

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Shasta Cascade Reports First Color

Red is starting to appear in  Shasta Cascade urban forests (9/27/13) Shae Garrett

Red is starting to appear in Shasta Cascade urban forests (9/27/13) Shae Garrett

Color spotter Shae Garrett provides this roundup of  color for the Shasta Cascade Region.  Some areas of this vast region of northeast California are beginning to show color, though it’s still two to three weeks from significant displays.  As in other areas of the state, red seems to be the theme of this autumn.

A number of special events and festivals are coming up.  Links to them are listed below for planning trips when color is showing.
The Shasta Cascade includes three different ecosystems: the Cascades, the Sierra Nevada and the Coastal Range.  Each has its own dominant fall foliage.  Look for orange-red Indian Rhubarb, yellow Bigleaf Maple, yellow Aspen, orange oaks, golden cottonwood, crimson poison oak and chartreuse wild cucumber.
Indian Rhubarb, Cascade Trail, Spanish Creek, Plumas County (9/27/13) Richard McCutcheon

Indian Rhubarb, Cascade Trail, Spanish Creek, Plumas County (9/27/13) Richard McCutcheon

Spanish Creek, Plumas County (9/27/13) Richard McCutcheon

Spanish Creek, Plumas County (9/27/13) Richard McCutcheon

0 – 15% – Plumas County – Color spotter Richard McCutcheon recommends following the Cascade Trail along Spanish Creek for spots of orangey-red Indian Rhubarb.  Other spotters in Plumas County predict the color will begin appearing in mid October.  Here’s a link to upcoming events: http://plumascounty.org/Events/October.htm

15 – 30% – Lassen County – The annual “Rails to Trails Festival” and Susanville Symphony Swing Band Concert occurs Oct. 12.  Follow these links to more info: http://www.lassenlandandtrailstrust.org/rails-to-trails.html http://www.susanvillesymphony.com/pages/2013-2014-concert-season
15 – 30% – Siskiyou County – A bit of yellow is begining to appear in this far northern California county.
0 – 15% – Modoc County – Enjoy free admission to all federal public lands in Modoc County on Sept. 28, Public Nation Land Day http://www.fs.usda.gov/detail/modoc/news-events/?cid=STELPRDB5436220n
0 – 15% – Shasta County – Historic Hawes Farms Presents Civil War Days (reenactment)  http://historichawesfarms.com/civil-war/
0 – 15% – Trinity County – World’s Longest Tie-Dye Sept 25th – Oct 5thhttp://www.trinitycounty.com/
0 – 15% – Tehama County – Lassen Volcanic National Park’s annual Art & Wine Festival occurs Sept. 28 at the Kohm Yah-mah-nee visitor center (southwest entrance) and features local artists, craftsmen and wines.  Park admission is free that day due to National Public Lands Day.  The Tehama County Fair  occurs Sept 26 – 29 http://www.tehamadistrictfair.com/fair.htm
Bidwell Park, Chico (9/27/13) Shae Garrett

Bidwell Park, Chico (9/27/13) Shae Garrett

15 – 30% – Butte County – It’s still too early to make a trip to Chico for fall color, though it is always a great place to visit.  For the moment, Chico is mostly green as seen in this photo taken at Bidwell Park.  The best color in Chico will be seen there, on the Chico State University campus, along the Highway 32 corridor, and up the Highway 99 corridor in mid October.  Chico is known as a city of trees with a spectacular mature canopy in its parks and along its boulevards.  The agricultural fields and orchards surrounding Chico have impressive displays of nut and fruit trees in mid October.  Here are some upcoming Chico events:

  • 19th Annual Window Art Project, Oct. 1 – 31.  Downtown businesses collaborate with Chico artists, who display original work in store windows.  This is a walking art show.  Free admission.
  • Chico State Canopy (9/27/13) Shae Garrett

    Chico State Canopy (9/27/13) Shae Garrett

    The Fourth Annual Chico Experience Week, Oct 4 to Oct 13.  Chico Experience Week brings Chico State students, alumni, parents, and friends together for 10 days of fun, education, and re-connection on the campus and in Chico.

  • 4th Annual Sierra Nevada Oktoberfest, Oct 4 and 5.   Sierra Nevada Brewery, Hop Field, 1075 E 20th St.  Admission $47.50.  This popular event sells out in advance, so plan ahead.  It is Oktoberfest revelry at the Sierra Nevada Brewery with live music, food and drink.  Starts at 4 p.m. each day. http://www.sierranevada.com
  • Harvest Sidewalk Sale, Oct 12, downtown Chico. Rake in fall savings and celebrate the season at this Harvest Sidewalk Sale. Some incredible deals are offered. Free admission. http://www.downtownchico.com
  • Forest Ranch Fall Festival, Oct 12, 15522 Nopel Ave, Chico. Free admission. Enjoy local crafts and unique purchases, a farmer’s market, free children’s bounce house and face painting at this family-focused event. Music and food for purchase.  www.mountainjoybible.com
  • Sierra Oro Farm Trail Passport Weekend, Oct 12 and 13. Sample farm-fresh food and award-winning wines at stops along the Sierra Oro Farm Trail. Meet farmers and winemakers while taking this self-guided tour of Butte County’s countryside. $25 admission. www.sierraoro.org
  • Chico Parade of Lights “Dancin’ thur’ the Decades”, Oct 12, 7:30 p.m., Downtown Chico.  Create a rolling entry for this parade and light up the route by sharing your take on the parade’s theme “Dancin’ thru’ the Decades.” Parade participants wear decade-themed costumes, decorations and lights (e.g. 1920s flappers, 1950s sock hop, 1970s disco, etc).  Parade Route: 3rd St. and Salem, to Main St., 6th St. and ending at 4th St. and Broadway. 7:30 p.m.
  • Open Studios Art Tour, Oct 19 and 20,  and Oct. 26 and 27 – On two weekends each year, artists throughout the Chico area open their art studios for public visits.  Begin at the Chico Art Center (450 Orange St., Suite 6) and plan your tour itinerary to include stops at your favorite artists. www.chicoartcenter.com
  • Treat Street, Oct 31, 2-5 p.m., downtown Chico, Free admission.  Kids (12 and under) are sure to have a safe and fun Halloween each year at Treat Street in downtown Chico, organized by local merchants.  It’s simple, kids… wear a costume, bring a parent and get ready to stroll Halloween-style. More than 60 businesses are listed on the Treat Street route, follow the map and look for special posters in store windows. Costume contest – $5 entry with prizes to the top 3 finalists: Child 0-3, Child 4-7, Child 8-12, Themed family or group, and canine.
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Mono County’s Colorful Fall Festivals

Rock Creek Pack Station 1

Rock Creek Pack Station (9/12/13) © Alicia Vennos

 

Mono County color spotter Alicia Vennos reports that colors are “starting to brighten the landscape with gold, russet, orange and red, particularly in the Rock Creek Canyon, 20 minutes south of Mammoth Lakes.

 

Rock Creek Road (9/12/13) Alicia Vennos

Rock Creek Road (9/12/13) © Alicia Vennos

Rock Creek Road (9/12/13) Alicia Vennos

Rock Creek Road (9/12/13) © Alicia Vennos

15 – 30% – Rock Creek – Color spotter Donna Mercer, says about 20% of the trees along Rock Creek Road have turned to varying hues of gold, yellow, orange, with some red. If you’re heading there and have a sweet tooth, Pie in the Sky Café remains open daily through October 13.  They’re world-famous for fresh, fruit, home-baked pies.  The Café is located at Rock Creek Lake Resort near the top of Rock Creek Road (exit US 395 at Tom’s Place) – drop by and get your slice any time from 10:30 a.m. – 2:30 p.m.

0 – 15% – June Lake Loop – Aspen are turning lime green and yellow.

June Lake Beer Festival

June Lake Beer Festival

On Sat., Oct., 5, the community of  June Lake plans its first June Lake Autumn Beer Festival.  Festivities include a craft beer garden, live music by the Kalifornia Krauts, Eastern Sierra Master Chili Cook-off, pie-baking and photography Contests, food, crafts, games, raffles and more autumn fun.  It all happens at the June Lake Community Center at Gull Lake Park from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and is sponsored by the June Lake Loop Chamber of Commerce. For more info, visit JuneLakeLoop.org or call 213-364-3989. Cost:  $25 for 6 beer tastes, one meal, and various discounts from the vendors.

15 – 30% – Lee Vining, Lundy, Virginia Lakes and Twin Lakes Canyons – It’s still early for color up the canyons that stem from US 395 in northern Mono County.  Though, aspen are showing signs of  approaching brilliance.

0 – 15% – Walker/Coleville/Topaz – If barbecue is your fancy, the annual Deer Hunter’s Deep Pit Family BBQ in Walker/Coleville also  occurs on Sat., Oct. 5.  Just by attending, you’ll be welcomed as a member of these friendly communities.  It begins at 5 p.m. at the Walker Community Bldg., just off U.S. 395.  Be prepared to taste fabulous BBQ, prepared by the Lion’s Club using a secret recipe, plus dessert and all the trimmings.  Dinner is $12 for adults, $5 for children 12 and younger.  There’s a raffle, too, benefiting the Lions Club which does a lot of good work in these isolated communities.  CLICK HERE for more info.

Free map/guides to Eastern Sierra Fall Color are available by calling 800-845-7922 or online at www.MonoCounty.org/fall-color.