Lassen Volcanic NP Erupts

Manzanita Lake (10/21/16) Shanda Ochs

Manzanita Lake (10/21/16) Shanda Ochs

Lassen Volcanic color spotter Shanda Ochs reports peak color at Manzanita Lake.

Ducks winging their way south are stopping at the lake, providing avian color to the willows and cottonwood near shore. Shanda says only the mountain alder are still lime.  So that means, conditions permitting, that color will continue to develop at Lassen Volcanic for the next couple of weeks.

Manzanita Lake (10/21/16) Shanda Ochs

Manzanita Lake (10/21/16) Shanda Ochs

Manzanita Lake (10/21/16) Shanda Ochs

Manzanita Lake (10/21/16) Shanda Ochs

Manzanita Lake (10/21/16) Shanda Ochs

Manzanita Lake (10/21/16) Shanda Ochs

Manzanita Lake, Lassen Volcanic NP – Peak (75-100%) GO NOW!




First Report: Hat Creek Meadow Peaks

Hat Creek Meadow, Lassen Volcanic National Park (9/25/16) Shanda Ochs

Hat Creek Meadow, Lassen Volcanic National Park (9/25/16) Shanda Ochs

Hat Creek Meadow, Lassen Volcanic National Park (9/25/16) Shanda Ochs

Hat Creek Meadow, Lassen Volcanic National Park (9/25/16) Shanda Ochs

Manzanita Lake, Lassen Volcanic National Park (9/24/16) Shanda Ochs

Manzanita Lake, Lassen Volcanic National Park (9/24/16) Shanda Ochs

Mountain Alder, Lassen Volcanic National Park (9/24/16) Shanda Ochs

Mountain Alder, Lassen Volcanic National Park (9/24/16) Shanda Ochs

Lassen Volcanic National Park color spotter Shanda Ochs recommends visiting Hat Creek meadow, where grasses and willows carpet it with “beautiful rusty orange, gold and yellow foliage.”

Meadow grasses provide an early show that doesn’t last long. Shanda believes the display at Hat Creek will wane, as leaves turn with approaching colder temperatures.

At Manzanita Lake, near the northwest entrance to Lassen Volcanic, lime-colored willow, alder and cottonwood ring the lake.

Hat Creek Meadow, Lassen Volcanic National Park (6,500′) – Peak (75-100%) GO NOW!

Manzanita Lake, Lassen Volcanic National Park (5,900′) – Just Starting (0-10%)

High Elevations at 30% in the Shasta Cascade

The best thing about a late start to fall color viewing is that if you hadn’t yet made plans to see the color, there’s still time.  That’s certainly true in the Shasta Cascade where few areas are showing much color.  Non-native trees are glowing first in urban forests, with some native aspen appearing in Lassen Volcanic National Park.  Here’s the latest from Shasta Cascade color spotter, Katie Shaw…

Butte County:

0-15%- Butte County- The area is still experiencing warmer weather and shouldn’t expect to see dramatic color changes for another few weeks. Trees starting to change are exotic varieties of Chinese pistachios, liquid ambers, and red oaks in the urban forests of Butte County.

Shasta County:

0-15% – Whiskeytown National Recreation Area- The park hasn’t experienced any further color changes. Visitors can hike along one of the many trails in the park to enjoy nature’s beauty and to catch a peek of the fall colors.

Tehama County:

15-30%- Lassen Volcanic National Park– There are a couple places in the park right now that are really showing some fall color including the road to Butte Lake and Manzanita Lake. The aspens along both roads are really changing into beautiful shades of yellow and gold. There are other faint hints of color here and there throughout the park that can also be seen.

Lassen County:

15-30%- Bizz Johnson Trail- A brilliant colorful landscape can be seen along the Bizz Johnson Trail with aspens, pines, oaks, and sagebrush showing off red to golden colors.

Lassen Lands & Trails Trust will also be hosting a “Take the Bus, Bike the Bizz” event, offering shuttle services to enjoy the beautiful fall colors while biking the trail.  Bikers must reserve a spot to shuttle their bike to and from the trail. Catch the bus at the Historic Sunsanville Railroad Depot (check-in at 8:00am) to Devil’s Corral. Bus fares range from $2-$3 depending on your destination to Devil’s Corral or Westwood. 530-257-3252

Siskiyou County:

0-15%- Mt. Shasta- The Mt Shasta area is just now starting to experience fall color changes, which can be seen in the aspens, birch, and maples. The trees are starting to show shades of yellow, orange and golden tones.

Trinity County:

15-30%- Weaverville- The trees are just starting to change, and are changing quickly! Most color can be seen from oaks, maples, and walnuts which are glowing yellow.

Plumas County:

30-50% Plumas County- Leaf peepers are busy exploring and recording their findings on the Plumas County Visitors Bureau website. Trees vary in color from yellow to vibrant reds, many including non-native maples, big leaf maples, and black oaks.

For those wanting to do a little fall color exploring with a little help, then join a FREE guided fall color tour, hosted by Lassen National Forest. Attendees can experience beautiful fall color, while learning how to best photograph the changing foliage. This event will take place Friday, October 21, from 8am-4pm. Sign-up at (530) 258-2141.

Modoc County:

15-30% Modoc County- The aspens are just starting to change yellowish to orange tones making for an incredible backdrop.

Mule Ears Never Looked So Good

Mountain Mule Ear and Arrowleaf balsamroot, Mills Creek Trail (9/24/2011) - Amanda Sweeny, © 2011 NPS

While visiting Lassen Volcanic National Park this past Friday and Saturday, I was struck by the beauty of the iridescent chartreuse Mule Ears growing in the park.  Today, color spotter Amanda Sweeny, a media specialist working for the National Park Service at Lassen Volcanic reported pretty much what I’d seen during my visit…

0-15% – Lassen Volcanic National Park – Overall, fall colors are really just beginning in the national park. The Mule Ear however, one distinctive park plant, the Mule Ear, is at peak which is actually later than normal, making the southwest area of the park particularly beautifully painted with yellow. Other subtle colors are also visible throughout the park, all while rabbitbush and lupine are still blooming!  This was a 20-year wildflower year, with various wildflowers all blooming at the same time. This also makes for some incredible contrasts of wildflowers mixing with fall colors.

California Corn Lily, Lassen VNP (9/24/2011) - Amanda Sweeny, © 2011 NPS

75%-100% – Mountain Mule Ear, Arrowleaf Balsamroot,  California

75 – 100% – Corn Lily are turning golden throughout the park.

0-15% – Quaking aspen and ferns are starting to turn near the Devastated Area.

Rubber rabbitbush, Lassen Peak (9/24/2011) - Amanda Sweeny, © 2011NPS

75%-100% – Late-blooming rubber rabbitbush is glowing roadside near Little Hot Springs Valley.

Douglas' knotweed and lupine at Lassen Peak (9/24/2011) - Amanda Sweeny, © 2011NPS

75%-100% – Douglas’ knotweed is turning red in Lassen Peak and Kings Creek areas.

California Fall Color Tip of the Day – New camping cabins at Manzanita Lake in the national park provide inexpensive, comfortable camping-styled lodging.  CLICK HERE for more details.


Shasta Cascade Erupting With Color

Dunsmuir (stock photo)

Dunsmuir (stock photo)

Dunsmuir (stock photo)

Dunsmuir (stock photo)

The Shasta Cascade region of northeast California is erupting with color as reported by the Shasta Cascade Wonderland Association.  Here’s the latest:

10-15% — McArthur-Burney Falls State Park (3,000′). Mostly orange and yellow with a sprinking of red among the predominant evergreen forest.

0-15% — Shasta Lake Ranger District (900′). Colors are just beginning to change with yellow dominating.  Exotic liquidambar and chinese pistache at the USFS offices should turn orange and red in the next two weeks.

15-30% — Weaverville Ranger District (2,500′). Native oaks are changing in the forest with different shades of yellow, orange and brown… not much red.

0-15% — Lower Trinity Ranger District (Willow Creek – 4,000′). The leaves are turning at 4,000′, visible from the lookout.  You’ll see oranges from the oaks, bits of yellow from bigleaf maple and bright red from the poison oak.

75-100% — Fall River (3,000′). The oaks are ablaze with color, showing shades of orange, red and yellow, especially along roads.

50-75% — Surprise Field (5,000′). Over the past three weeks, this area has shown off and on, exhibiting colors ranging from light yellow to deep red, which can be seen just about anywhere in the area.  The Surprise Field area is expected to peak within a week to a week and a half.

75-100% — Eagle Lake BLM Field Office (5,000′). There is a beautiful array of orange, yellow and red just about anywhere you look, as the forests appear to have reached peak.  Aspen and bigleaf maple are at peak.

75-100% — Plumas County (3,000′). There’s been an explosion of color in the past week with yellow, orange, red and colors in between, like pinks and purples.  The bigleaf maple, cottonwood, aspen, oaks and even the dogwoods are glowing… a beautiful sight to behold.

75-100% to Past Peak — Lassen Volcanic National Park (5,600′ – 10,500′). Lassen VNP is at peak to past peak, depending upon elevation.  The Devastated Area, Hat Creek and areas of aspen between 5,000 and 6500′ are where it’s best.

30-50% — Hay Fork (2,300′). Hay Fork has had a disappointing show this year, compared to the previous year.

75-100% — Mt. Shasta (3,500′). Now’s the time to head to Mt. Shasta.  The color is beautiful and won’t last much longer.

30-50% — Oroville (1,000′). Just beginning to see color change in the Sierra foothills near Oroville.

0-15% — Red Bluff (300′). Still early.  Look to the river bank foliage along the Sacramento River for the best color and photographs.