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Eastern Sierra reporting early Yellow, Orange and Red

South Lake with view of Hurd Peak

South Lake with view of Hurd Peak

0 – 15% — South Lake in Inyo County at 9,768 ft. is one of the first areas of California to show fall color.  Jared Smith of Parchers Resort and South Lake Landing is one of our most reliable and consistent color spotters.  He provides the first report of the season that while South Lake is still a few weeks from peak, it is beginning to show yellow.  Most of the color is accessible by boat towards the back end of the lake, still there is come excellent color there, right now.

0 – 15% — One of the most popular spots for photographers in the canyon is Weir Pond at 9,592 ft. in elevation.  A large grove of quaking aspen on the west wall of the canyon is beginning to turn yellow.  There is still plenty of green, but this spot is a bit ahead of the rest of the canyon.

Poplars - North Lake Road

Poplars - North Lake Road

0 – 15% — North Lake at 9,255 ft. has little showing as yet.  The dark greens, Jared Smith reports, have turned to light green, but there isn’t much yellow to be found near the poplar road, or in the large groves that line the west shore.  The best color to be found is on the drive approaching North Lake above Cardinal Mine.  However, color changes fast in the Eastern Sierra so it could break big in the next ten days, depending on conditions.

0 – 15% — Lake Sabrina at 9,150 ft is looking the best of all these reports, with quite a bit of yellow showing.  The back of the lake is still nearly all green with the exception of a little patch in the back right corner of the lake that is bright red.  Jared says, “things are moving along nicely, but we’re still a ways from the best stuff.”

Sabrina Campground - CA-168

Sabrina Campground - CA-168

0 – 15% — At Sabrina Camp (9,000 ft), a few separate groupings of aspen in the campground are already showing.  Yellows, oranges and reds are visible in the grove.  The majority of aspen along the creek and campground are still very green and a ways from peak.  Aside from the one grove, the show is still very low at present.

0 – 15% — Willow Camp (9,065 ft) is beginning to look very nice in some places, but it still has a way to go before peak.  The hillside above Willow Campground, but below Parchers Resort, is the furthest along and is showing quite a bit of yellow.  This area seems to be progressing faster than other areas.

Table Mountain Group Campground

Table Mountain Group Campground

15 – 30% Table Mountain Group Campground (8,845 ft) is really begin to light up with color, according to Jared Smith.  There is a lot of green, so overall the color is low, but it’s already photo worthy in quite a few areas.  This area is turning so fast, it could peak as early as next week (weather dependent).

0 – 15% — Mist Falls (South Fork Bishop Creek) is always a late bloomer and presently is “as green as green can be.”  Won’t peak for at least two more weeks.

0-15% — The Sherwin Mountains overlooking the Snowcreek Golf Course in Mammoth Lakes are flickering with spots of yellow according to color spotter Sarah McCahill of the Mono County Tourism Commission.  Give it a week or two and you’ll have added reason to explain why you missed the putt.

California Fall Color also recommends visiting Carol Leigh’s superb blog for photographers (see links).  On Carol’s Fall Color in California page, Kahlee Brighton wrote about the Eastern Sierra, “…more color is appearing at higher elevations. Willows and smaller aspens are turning gold around Mosquito Flat above Rock Creek Lake. Aspens north of Lee Vining are also lightening in color. Rabbit Brush is in peak bloom in various locations, adding its golden beauty to the overall sense of impending Autumn. Things are still pretty green overall, but no question, Fall is in the air throughout the Eastern Sierra. With respect to Southern California, I’m so surprised to see more trees turning yellow. This morning, I noticed liquidambar with touches of gold — even orange and red — in several areas. Ivy and a few other noted autumnal delights were also changing. This is VERY early for Southern California.”

Kahlee Brighton brings together beautiful pictures of fall color in the Eastern Sierra at http://www.flickr.com/photos/kahlee/3819123586/ and Greg Boyer waxes poetic about shooting great photographs in California at http://www.onehorsestudio.com/weblog/.

Photo Credit: Jared Smith

First Signs – Look to the Drainages

The first signs of fall color change in California are being seen along drainages where brush and grasses are glowing with internal fire.  Near Marshall Gold Discovery State Park in Coloma (California Gold Country), it was appropriate this past weekend that early gold was being discovered along stream beds.

Doubletree offers 30 Reasons to Enjoy California Fall Color

There are 30 reasons in California to take a Fall Weekend Getaway… the Doubletree hotels.  As, just announced, Doubletree is offering fall getaways at affordable prices in its new Fall Weekend Getaway Package.  Available Sept. 8 to Dec. 27, the package includes a deluxe room (up to two adults and two children with no double occupancy charge), “Blissful Sweet Dreams by Doubletree” sleep experience and a $50 food and beverage credit.

For California fall color spotters, California Fall Color recommends these Doubletree locations as nearest fall color: Ontario (Inland Empire), Bakersfield, Modesto (Central Valley and Western Sierra), Sacramento (Gold Country and Central Valley) and Rohnert Park (Sonoma County Wine Country).

To make a reservation, visit Doubletree’s Fall Weekend Getaway website at www.doubletree.com/fall, contact a travel professional or call 1-800-222-TREE in the U.S. or Canada.   Rates vary and some restrictions apply.

Labor Day Report

Fall color is not yet showing at California high elevations along I-8 and CA-89 in the High Sierra.  From Truckee north to Portola on CA-89 and CA-49, the only color seen over the Labor Day weekend were grasses beside streams and creeks.  At this point, color should begin to show in mid September.  The earliest to show will be quaking aspen (populus tremuloides), some living as high in elevation as 10,000 ft.

Announcing California Fall Color

Black Oak, Upper Yosemite Fall (file photograph) – John Poimiroo

Some people believe there’s no change in season in California.  They don’t know where to look.

California has a beautiful and varied seasonal change, as this blog will attest.

Following Labor Day and continuing to Thanksgiving Day, CaliforniaFallColor.com will report where it’s peaking, what’s peaking, where to stay and lead readers to fall color resources.

To comment on any report or add your own, just click on a headline or email editor@californiafallcolor.com.