California Fall Color Looks Back at 2015

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On this Thanksgiving Day, is indebted to every color spotter and photographer who contributed photographs and reports in 2015.

They include (from first turned leaf reported): LA Leaf Peeper, Alicia Vennos, Jon Klusmire, Alena Nicholas, Trapper Felt, Carol Waller, Christine Osborne, Julie Yost, Crys Black, Nikhil Shahi, Misti Sullivan, Kevin Lennox, Ashley Hollgarth, Jen Heger, Kimberly Kolafa, Julie Kirby, Aditi Das, Jeff Hemming, Erick  Castellon, Shanda Ochs, Jackson Frishman, Cuong Diep, Maddie Noiseaux, Leor Pantilat, Lara Kaylor, Jeff Simpson, Clayton Peoples, Lisa Wilkerson-Willis, Phillip Reedy Ruth Hartman, Charles Porter, Greg Newbry, Elliot McGucken, Jared Smith, Dotty Molt, Sherry Gardner, Jill Dinsmore, Josh Wray, Mike Nellor, Ivan Alo, Pushkar Gejji, Mariusz Jeglinski, Gary Young, Patricia Costa, Lisa May, Laurie Baker, Shuo Li, Dylan Ren, Brian Patterson, David Olden, Gabriel Leete, Jeri Rangel, Jim Beaux, Cory Poole, Walter Gabler, Max Forster, Jim Adams, Jeff Luke Titcomb, Nancy Wright, Bonnie Nordby, Kathy Jonokuchi, Linnea Wahamaki, Sarah Showalter, Vera Haranto Fuad, Jas E Miner, Susan Taylor, Santhakumar V A, Darrell Sano, Frank McDonough, Anson Davalos, Sandy Steinman, Anirudh Natikar, Jennifer “JMel” Mellone and Ron Tyler, who produced the above video.

We’re also grateful to the many hundreds of readers who posted comments and photos to our Facebook page and retweeted our Twitter posts. If we missed thanking you here, please know it wasn’t intentional.  We we are indebted to every color spotter, photographer and commenter. Thank you all.

Additional thanks are expressed to Inyo County Tourism, Mono County Tourism, Mammoth Lakes Tourism, Redding Convention & Visitors Bureau, Shasta Cascade Wonderland Association, and The California Parks Company for underwriting California Fall Color. And, to the many reporters and media who carried our reports and gave attention to what we have shown about California’s fall color.

This thank you list is incomplete without mentioning Joan, my wife, who has: humored my recording of color percentages, species and elevations; pointed out particularly beautiful color; and driven the car and pulled it over to the shoulder, at my whim, so that I could jump out to photograph a particularly beautiful location.

Of course, our deepest thanks go to the many tens of thousands of people who have followed and our Facebook and Twitter pages.  You are, after all, the reason we do this.

Autumn doesn’t end on Thanksgiving Day. It has 26 more days to go.  We’ll continue to post photos and reports as received and plan a Special Report on San Diego County. Though today, we begin to dial back our reports, posting them less frequently. We also stop sending weekly reports to California TV meteorologists, travel and outdoor writers.

So, enjoy Thanksgiving Day, and we’ll see you next autumn, dude.

California (Peak 75-100%) – In our hearts, California is always peaking. GO NOW!

Seeing From A New Perspective

Little Walker Lake (10/19/14) Alicia Vennos

Little Walker Lake (10/19/14) Alicia Vennos

“This could be the best fall ever. Why not?,” Los Angeles Times columnist Chris Erskine poses, while musing over whether a splash of leftover coffee in his onions made them better.

His random tome challenges us to see life from a new perspective, and that autumn is the season that forces introspection.  CLICK HERE to read his column.

Back to Brilliance in the Eastern Sierra – First Peak!

What a difference a week makes… Fall Color Spotter Jared Smith of the Parcher’s Resort reports that “It’s officially fall color time in the Bishop Creek Canyon with brilliant color in many areas of the canyon. There are still several areas in the canyon which have yet to peak but there is a lot of color to be found anywhere over the 8500ft elevation mark.”

Wier Pond (9/28/2011) © 2011 Jared Smith

50-75% – Weir Pond (9,592 ft) – While not peaking yet, the g

Cardinal Mine Grove (9/28/2011) © 2011 Jared Smith

ve above the pond is showing brilliant yellow which contrasts beautifully with the remaining lime green aspen. The aspen at the shore of the pond are starting to turn but aren’t quite peaking yet. Still, the view from the dam side of the pond is stunning.


Parcher's Camp (9/28/2011) © 2011 Jared Smith

50-75% – Parchers Camp (9,260 ft) – The hills to the south, west and east are beginning showing a lot of color, especially to the west where lots of yellow, orange and a little red are visible. Still a bit longer before we see peak color but it’s getting really good

North Lake Road (9/28/2011) © 2011 Jared Smith

30-50% – North Lake (9,255 ft) – This is a difficult area to put a rating on right now because some areas are still completely green while others are actually at peak color. The grove on the west shore and the famous dirt road are both still pretty green but the approach to the lake by the first parking lot is absolutely on fire with bright yellow, orange and some red. Great photo ops available here right now and that will continue if the weather holds out.

Lake Sabrina (9/28/2011) © 2011 Jared Smith

30-50% – Lake Sabrina (9,150 ft) – Lake Sabrina is changing fast but is still a ways away from full blown fall color. The east shore has a lot of gorgeous foliage at present. Look for things to really pop in the next week.

Sabina Camp Groves (9/28/2011) © 2011 Jared Smith

75-100% – Sabrina Camp Groves (9,000 ft) – The grove adjacent to Sabrina Campground is incredibly beautiful right now and I would characterize it as peak color. Bright yellows, oranges and reds can be captured right along the roadside.

Surveyor's Meadow (9/28/2011) © 2011 Jared Smith

75-100% – Surveyor’s Meadow – Gorgeous contrast between the bright yellows, oranges and lime greens at this spot right now. It isn’t quite peaking yet but the view is stunning.

Surveyor's Meadow (9/28/2011) © 2011 Jared Smith

0-15% – Aspendell (8,500 ft) – No color developing here, yet.

50-75% – Cardinal Mine Grove (8,700 ft) – Lots of yellows and oranges to go along with some bright lime green. This vista is hard to beat with the peaks behind Sabrina in the background.

Table Mountain (9/28/2011) © 2011 Jared Smith

75-100% – Table Mountain Campground (8,900 ft) – This area went from nothing to near peak in seemingly no time. Tons of bright yellow and orange are visible from the road and the contrast with the redish rock and deep green pine is spectacular.

30-50% – Mountain Glen Campground – Bright yellow is steadily creeping down the mountain and along the creek. Some great photo ops to be had but the lower reaches of this area is still pretty green.


Alicia Vennos of Mono County reports that the high canyons (Virginia Lakes, Lundy and Rock Creek) are showing signs of color with about a fifth of the forest now transitioning from lime-green to yellow and orange aspen.  All across northern California, as here, the display is about a week behind normal schedule.

15-30% – Color spotter Carolyn Webb of the Virginia Lakes Resort reports the aspen around the Virginia Lakes are changing from lime green to yellow.

0-15% – Conway Summit – Still no sign of significant change.

0-15% – Convict Lake – Jen Heintzelman reports some coloring in the willows and ground cover around the lake a few aspen and cottonwood are now beginning to show, she’s predicting more action next week.


Rock Creek Canyon (9/29/2011) - © 2011 Amy King

15 – 30% – Rock Creek – Color spotter Alicia Vennos reports the aspen are coloring quickly with yellow and some orange starting even as low as Tom’s Place, though peak is still a week to two away.