Posts

,

The Fire Keeps Burning in the Shasta Cascade

Chico (11/14/13) Stephany

Esplanade Ave., Chico (11/14/13) Stephany Fernandez

This long season of fall color keeps glowing in the Shasta Cascade with most of the region almost or past peak.  Still, there’s lovely color to be seen in Tehama County (Red Bluff), Shasta County (Redding), Trinity County (Weaverville) and in Butte County (Chico).  Here’s the latest from color spotter Grace Smith.

GO NOW! – 75 – 100% – Tehama County – In its second week of full peak, Tehama County is showing varied color with some trees now dropping leaves. Maples are bright red and orange. Oaks are still short of peak, though deep amber to brown.  Bright yellow and burnt orange can also be seen on many trees throughout the county.

Citrus St., Chico (11/14/13) Stephany Fernandez

Citrus St., Chico (11/14/13) Stephany Fernandez

GO NOW! – 75 – 100% – Shasta County – Now in its third week of reported peak, Shasta County still has more color to give, though leaves are dropping rapidly. Oaks are yellowish to amber with some brown, and are about half there. Maples are at peak, with bright red and orange and some remaining yellow. Many are shedding color.  Top places to view the color are: The Sacramento River Trail, McConnell Arboretum, Whiskeytown National Recreation Area, Shasta Lake, Clear Creek, the Battle Creek Wildlife Area near Coleman Fish Hatchery, and Anderson River Park.

Fall color at Chico State (11/14/13) Liliana Navia

GO NOW! – 50 – 75% – Butte County – Butte County is finally approaching peak with things starting to change rapidly. Many trees have lost a lot of their color, though there are broad splashes of brilliant yellow, orange and red at Bidwell Park, Chico State, the Hwy 32 Corridor, the Hwy 99 corridor, Esplanade Ave, Manzanita Ave., and Mangrove Ave in the Chico area.

GO NOW! – 75 – 100% – Trinity County – Trinity County is bordering on past peak, though color spotter Grace Smith reports glimpses of fall color remaining along the drainages.  This, however, should be past peak within the week.

, ,

Hope Springs Eternal in So Cal

Black oak, Palomar Mountain State Park (11/9/13) Jim Beau

Black oak, Palomar Mountain State Park (11/9/13) Jim Beau

Pacific dogwood, Palomar Mountain State Park (11/9/13) Jim Beau

Pacific dogwood, Palomar Mountain State Park (11/9/13) Jim Beau

GO NOW! – 75 – 100% – Palomar Mountain State Park – Color spotter Jimbo reports from Southern California that black oaks are peaking at Palomar Mountain State Park, adding that a few dogwoods have also changed.  “Unless there’s a windstorm, they should last at least thru next weekend. Heck, I’ve seen a few of them with yellow leaves after the first snow in December.”

That’s the spirit, Jimbo.  So. Cal. holds our record for the best late fall color in California.  Because of California’s varied elevations and foliage, there isn’t another place in the good ole U.S. of A. that has a longer lasting or a more varied fall color season. Considering the stunning photos color spotters have shared this autumn, we challenge any state in the Union to show more variety or beauty.

 

,

Amador County Looks/Tastes Delicious

Bray Vineyards, Amador County (11/10/13) Dotty Molt

Bray Vineyards, Amador County (11/10/13) Dotty Molt

Grape leaf, Amador County (11/10/13) Dotty Molt

Grape leaf, Amador County (11/10/13) Dotty Molt

Bray Vineyards, Amador County (11/10/13) Dotty Molt

Bray Vineyards, Amador County (11/10/13) Dotty Molt

GO NOW! – 75 – 100% – Amador County – Color spotter Dotty Molt forwards these lovely photos taken in the vineyards of Amador County and reports that thanks to Robin Bray of Bray Vineyards, Dotty was allowed to “wander in and around beautiful multi-colored vines.”  She adds, “The colors are at peak, and if you’re headed that way, try to get there soon as the weather is changing.  And make sure you stop in for a tasting. Yum!”

Grape Leaves. Bray Vineyards, Amador County (11/10/13) Dotty Molt

Grape Leaves. Bray Vineyards, Amador County (11/10/13) Dotty Molt

Oaks, Gold Country (11/10/13) Dotty Molt

Oaks, Gold Country (11/10/13) Dotty Molt

,

Hwy 50 Magical At Day’s End

American River, U.S. 50 (11/10/13) Kimberly Kofala

American River, U.S. 50 (11/10/13) Kimberly Kofala

GO NOW! -75-100% – U.S. 50 (Lincoln Highway) – Color spotter Kimberly Kofala reports she drove U.S. 50 yesterday and “the corridor from Placerville to just below Strawberry was gorgeous with golden oaks, grasses and bushes. The banks of the American River are showing beautifully now.  If you are returning in the late afternoon, around 4:30,  be sure to stop in at the Strawberry Market turn arou’nd and watch the alpenglow of Lovers Leap behind Strawberry Lodge – you will think you are in Yosemite for a moment!”

Redbud, El Dorado Hills (11/9/13) John Poimiroo

Redbud, El Dorado Hills (11/9/13) John Poimiroo

GO NOW! – 75 – 100% – El Dorado Hills / Folsom – The Sierra foothills communities of El Dorado Hills and Folsom were beautifully colored this past weekend, with a variety of exotic trees dressed in brilliant yellow, red, orange and Sienna.  Threatened rain and wind will likely strip some trees by week’s end.

,

Redwood Nat’l & State Parks – Final Weekend of Peak

Red alder, Redwood National Park (11/7/13) Grant Roden

Red alder, Redwood National Park (11/7/13) Grant Roden

GO NOW! 75 – 100%  – Redwood National & State Parks – Color spotter Grant Roden says that if you don’t get to Redwood National & State Parks in Humboldt County this weekend, you’ll miss the last of its fall display.  And, with rain predicted next week, it’ will surely be gone by next weekend.  A few bigleaf maple and red alders are still carrying color, but losing leaves each day, as seen above.  Though, he notes that once the leaves have fallen, the forest views open up, making it easier to see the coastal redwoods and wildlife within the forest.  He recommends Miners Ridge and James Irvine Loop at Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park as having the best remaining display of fall color.

GO NOW! 75 – 100% – Oregon Oaks – The Oregon Oak is most spectacular when, according to Oaks of California (Pavlik, Muick, Johnson and Popper, Cachuma Press), “days become shorter and cold northern air masses return to the Pacific Coast.” The book continues, “rust-colored canopies of Oregon oak appear dappled against evergreen hillsides of the inner North Coast and Klamath Ranges.”

The Oregon Oak is one of five deciduous species of oak trees in California.  It, along with the low-growing, spreading Engelmann Oak (found near Santa Barbara in a few remnant groves of ancient trees that grew prolifically across the southwest, millennia ago) is viewed only if you make the effort to travel out of the way to see it.

The three most common deciduous oaks in California are the massive Valley Oak which populates the central valley,  magnificent Black Oak in the mountains (Yosemite) and prolific Blue Oak which populate the foothills and lower elevations.

California’s evergreen species are the Coast Live Oak, Interior Live Oak, Canyon Oak and Island Oak (found only at Channel Islands National Park).

 

,

It Hasta be Shasta

CA-299 Roadside Bigleaf Maple (11/3/10) - John Poimiroo

CA-299 Roadside Bigleaf Maple (File Photo) – John Poimiroo

Grace Smith reports from the vast Shasta Cascade region of northeast California that fall color is at full peak across most of the region.

GO NOW! 75 – 100% – Trinity County – The show has been beautiful throughout Trinity County for the past two weeks and probably only has one more week before being past peak.  Weaverville is a painter’s palette of pastel pink, yellow and orange liquidambar, yellow bigleaf maple, rosey dogwood, and golden mountain ash. To see the best last spurts of color in the county, take C A-299 to Weaverville, then drive north on CA-3 to Trinity Lake.

GO NOW! 75 – 100% – Shasta County – Shasta County is at peak. Oaks are yellowish to amber with some brown.  While there’s still a lot of color to develop, half of the county’s deciduous trees have peaked. Maples are at peak and have bright red and orange with some yellow left, though many of their leaves have fallen.  Though there are still many trees with leaves still to turn, rainy weather is on its way and will likely take many of the turned leaves, early next week. That will reduce the show, thereafter.  Top places to see fall colors  include: The Sacramento River Trail, McConnell Arboretum, Whiskeytown National Recreation Area, Shasta Lake, the Battle Creek Wildlife Area near Coleman Fish Hatchery, and the Anderson River Park.  On Sat., Nov. 9, the Second Wintu Audubon Saturday Bird Walk will leave from Turtle Bay Exploration Park. For more information, visit Redding.com/events/

GO NOW! 50 – 75% – Tehama County – Tehama County is very close to reaching its peak. The cooler weather has arrived, bringing in some winds and knocking quite a few of the leaves off the trees. Bigleaf maples are bright red and orange, and are almost at peak. Oaks are slowly reaching  peak with deep amber to brown.  Riparian areas along the Sacramento River in and around Red Bluff have the best fall color.  Thousands of migratory birds are foraging in fallow fields, marshes and refuges near I-5 and the Sacramento River.

GO NOW! 50 – 75% – Butte County –  The shift in autumn color will move to Butte County in the coming week, with woodlands now approaching peak. Butte should peak within the next two weeks, providing lovely color leading up to Thanksgiving Day. There is still a lot of lime among the trees, though increasing splashes of yellow and red. Go to Bidwell Park, Chico State University, the Hwy 32 Corridor, the Hwy 99 Corridor, Esplanade Ave, Manzanita Ave., and Mangrove Ave to see fall colors in and around Chico.

Past Peak – Plumas County – You Missed It.

Past Peak – Siskiyou County

Past Peak – Modoc County

,

Yosemite Valley at Peak

Fern Spring, Yosemite Valley (File Photo) © 2006 John Poimiroo

Fern Spring, Yosemite Valley (File Photo) © 2006 John Poimiroo

Color spotters visiting Yosemite Valley have been reporting black oaks at peak, with cottonwoods, bigleaf maple and dogwoods slightly past peak.

The reflections of bright yellow and orange in the near-still Merced River (seen posted on the national park’s Facebook page) have been lovely.  Fern spring has been cluttered with fallen bigleaf maple leaves as autumn peaks in the national park.

The National Park Service posted in late October that “Bears eat as many as 10,000 to 20,000 calories every day at this time of year as they fatten up for hibernation. Acorns are probably the best food source right now, but a bear would have to eat several hundred if not a few thousand acorns every day to meet this requirement. Luckily, black oaks are producing lots of acorns this year.”  The NPS advises that because oaks are attracting bears, deer and other animals in search of acorns, please be mindful of the speed limit (35 mph in the park) and be observant while driving on park roads.

GO NOW! 75 – 100% – Yosemite Valley (5,000′) – This is likely the last weekend to see fall color at peak in Yosemite Valley, as a storm will arrive on Monday.

, , ,

Exotic Species Color Up in LA & Orange Counties

Crepe myrtles, Bauer Lawn, LA County Arboretum  (11/4/13) Frank McDonough

Crepe myrtles, Bauer Lawn, LA County Arboretum (11/4/13) Frank McDonough

California Fall Color has observed over the years that species change color according to their own internal clock.  That’s certainly occurring at the Los Angeles County Arboretum and Botanic Gardens in Arcadia, where Frank McDonough reports the color change there “has been sporadic and uneven.”

Crepe myrtle, lagerstroemia indica (11/4/13) Frank McDonough

Crepe myrtle, lagerstroemia indica (11/4/13) Frank McDonough

The most reliable species, Ginkgo biloba and Liquidambar, “have yet to reach full color.”

Color spotter Son H. Nguyen posted the following montage on Facebook and commented, “Liquidambar is amazing in Orange County right now. I’ve never seen them this beautiful before. I’ve only seen them mostly turn yellow. But this year, there are many different hue from orange, yellow, red, deep red and even pink.”

Liquidambar (11/4/13) Son H Nguyen

Liquidambar (11/4/13) Son H Nguyen

Though, McDonough cautions that Liquidambars “have been under attack” from a combination of a  new pest, the Polyphagous shot hole borer, and a new disease to Southern California, Bacterial Leaf Scorch, “that may eliminate them from the Southern California landscape.”

Tulip tree, liriodendron tulipifera (11/4/13) Frank McDonough

Tulip tree, liriodendron tulipifera (11/4/13) Frank McDonough

Liquidambar have one of the more dramatic displays of flame orange, yellow and red and are a favorite of landscapers.  Sadly, due to pests and diseases, Frank opins that “this may be one of the last years to see them turn color, here.”  Until that happens, head to Southern California’s arboretums for the best in So. Cal.

Japanese birch, betula maximowicziana and Japanese fountain grass (11/4/13) Frank McDonough

Japanese birch, betula maximowicziana and Japanese fountain grass (11/4/13) Frank McDonough

California wild grape (11/4/13 Frank McDonough

California wild grape (11/4/13 Frank McDonough

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Honey locust, Gleditsia triacanthos (11/7/13) Frank McDonough

Honey locust, Gleditsia triacanthos (11/7/13) Frank McDonough

Japanese birch, betula maximowicziana and crepe myrtle (11/7/13) Frank McDonough

Japanese birch, betula maximowicziana and crepe myrtle (11/7/13) Frank McDonough

Honey locust, LA County Arboretum (11/7/13) Frank McDonough

Honey locust, LA County Arboretum (11/7/13) Frank McDonough

GO NOW! – 50 – 75% – LA County Arboretum and Botanic Gardens – Crepe myrtle are at peak; tulip tree are 30 – 50% of peak near the tram stop; Japanese birch are magnificent near the turtle pond; California wild grape near the tule pond are now yellow and will soon be brilliant red.

GO NOW! – 75 – 100% – Los Angeles County – Exotic Sweet Gum (liquidambar) are at peak in gardens and along streets throughout Los Angeles County.  Pests and disease are afflicting the trees, however, which may not survive another year.  So, go now to enjoy their display of varied color.

,

Breezy Beginnings

Red oak, Sierra foothills (11/4/13) John Poimiroo

Red oak, Sierra foothills (11/4/13) John Poimiroo

Following a calm weekend, the first full week in November begins with breezy conditions as fall color continues to descend through the Sierra foothills to California’s urban forests.  This red oak is typical of the change happening at 1,000′ in elevation, with red, orange, yellow and Sienna mixed with lime and unchanged green.

GO NOW! 50 – 75% – Sierra Foothills – Lower elevations of the Sierra foothills are approaching peak, with lots of exotic trees already peaking.

,

Shasta Cascade – Peaking Everywhere

Black oak, Plumas County (10/30/13) Jeff Titcomb

Black oak, Plumas County (10/30/13) Jeff Titcomb

With this past week’s storm stripping many trees above 5,000′ in elevation, California’s Fall Color has moved down to mid and lower elevations.

GO NOW – 75 – 100% – Trinity County – Bordering on being past peak, Trinity County is at full peak along CA-299 near Weaverville with bigleaf maple, dogwood, mountain ash and exotic Chinese pistache coloring up this fascinating lumber and gold rush era town.  While there, be sure to include a visit to the Josh House Chinese temple, which is one of the most amazing and beautiful historic structures in the state.  Weaverville was, historically, a site of the Tong Wars, though locals quickly settled the dispute and established a climate of acceptance and welcome that continues today.

Indian Head, Plumas County (10/30/13) Jeff Titcomb

Indian Head, Plumas County (10/30/13) Jeff Titcomb

Past Peak – Plumas County – Snow has fallen to the 4,600′ elevation, taking most of the leaves with it. There is still color to be seen in the Greenville area with dogwood, bigleaf maple, and oak all at or just beyond peak.  The combination of the last of autumn’s fall color beside a dusting of fresh white snow, makes for great viewing.

GO NOW! – 50 – 75% – Tehama County – It has taken a while, though Tehama County is finally approaching peak. As we have seen so far this year, there’s lots of red and orange appearing with bigleaf maple and various species of California oaks exhibiting amber and Sienna.

GO NOW – 50 – 75% – Shasta County – Shasta County is just below peak this week. The oaks are halfway there, with a lovely mix of green, yellow to amber color with some burnt Sienna and brown. California bigleaf maples are at full peak with bright red, orange and still some yellow. There has been a noticeable change to far northern California’s weather pattern with days now considerably cooler. Local color spotter Grace Smith advises to go now, as all areas of Shasta County should peak within the week.  Top places to see the color are along the 16-mile Sacramento River Trail (a National Recreation Trail), McConnell Arboretum and Gardens at Turtle Bay, Whiskeytown National Recreation Area, Shasta Lake, and Anderson River Park where the NovemBeer Festival will occur on Nov. 2.  CLICK HERE for more about it.

CSU Chico (10/31/13) Stephany Fernadez

CSU Chico (10/31/13) Stephany Fernadez

Chinese pistache, CSU Chico (10/31/13) Stephany Fernadez

Chinese pistache, CSU Chico (10/31/13) Stephany Fernadez

GO NOW! – 50 – 75% – Butte County – Chico is a conundrum.  While many trees have not yet turned, others are shedding their leaves.  This occurs because of the wide variety of trees to be seen in this, one of California’s cities of trees.  Species tend to turn around the same time and because Chico has so many exotic species along its boulevards and on the campus of Chico State, at Bidwell Park, in its orchards and in surrounding wild areas, the change occurs over a longer period.  Many trees are still showing lime green, though others are bright yellow, orange and red, such as the exotic Chinese pistache, pictured here.

Top places to see the color include Bidwell Park, Chico State University, the Hwy 32 Corridor, the Hwy 99 Corridor, Esplanade Ave, Manzanita Ave., and Mangrove Ave.  For fascinating side trips, visit an 800-year-old gothic monastery chapter house rebuilt at the Abbey of New Clairvaux, roughly 10 miles north of Chico in Vina, and in Chico: Orient and Flume Art Glass where glass blowers create art, numerous quality art galleries and Sierra Nevada Brewery known for its excellent tour and restaurant.