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Fall Color Survives in Mono County – GO NOW!

Silver Lake View (10/18/16) Jeff Simpson

Silver Lake View (10/18/16) Jeff Simpson

June Lake Loop (10/18/16) Jeff Simpson

June Lake Loop (10/18/16) Jeff Simpson

June Lake Loop (10/18/16) Jeff Simpson

June Lake Loop (10/18/16) Jeff Simpson

To all those photographers, color spotters and leaf peepers who were concerned about how this past weekend’s strong winds, rain and snow affected the High Sierra, rest easy and GO NOW!

Mono County color spotter Jeff Simpson reports that the storm and major wind event that occurred over the weekend has past, leaving the mountain peaks shining with snow, and providing for spectacular fall photo opportunities.

Conway Summit (10/18/16) Jeff Simpson

Conway Summit (10/18/16) Jeff Simpson

Summers Meadow (10/18/16) Jeff Simpson

Summers Meadow (10/18/16) Jeff Simpson

Ideal conditions for fall color are now to be found on the east side, with warm days and cold nights.  These conditions are predicted to persist until next week.

All areas above 8,500′ in the Eastern Sierra are now mostly past peak, though there’s way, way lots of color left to be enjoyed along the June Lake Loop, Walker Canyon, Twin Lakes and Lundy Lake. So, “GO NOW,” Jeff exclaims.

Photo tip: Fallen leaves that wash up beside creeks and on rocks accent the scene.  So, even though many leaves have fallen, good photographs remain to be taken. Shoot big waterfalls with a fast shutter speed, small waterfalls with a slow shutter speed and with camera mounted on a tripod.

These areas were affected by the storm, but still have groves of fantastic color: Conway Summit, Convict Lake, Summers Meadow, McGee Creek and Rock Creek.

As of posting this report, Tioga Pass, Sonora Pass and Monitor Pass were closed. However, road conditions change. CLICK HERE for the latest in California road road conditions and pass openings/closures. Simpson reports:

Twin Lakes, Bridgeport (10/18/16) Jeff Simpson

Twin Lakes, Bridgeport (10/18/16) Jeff Simpson

WALKER / COLEVILLE / TOPAZ

  • Monitor Pass – Past Peak YOU MISSED IT!
  • Lobdell Lake – Past Peak YOU MISSED IT!
  • Walker Canyon – Peak (75-100%) GO NOW! – The banks of the West Walker River are lined with gold! Plan your viewing for mid-day as the shadows will be out early in the morning and late afternoon.
  • Towns of Walker & Coleville – Near Peak (50-75%) GO NOW! Lots of great color in Antelope Valley. The cottonwood around Topaz Lane should be spectacular this weekend.
  • Sonora Pass – Past Peak YOU MISSED IT!

BRIDGEPORT / VIRGINIA LAKES

  • Twin Lakes – Peak (75-100%) GO NOW! – Still plenty of excellent color around both lakes and through Robinson Creek. Make sure to take the dirt round around Lower Twin Lakes for the best fall color experience.
  • Virginia Lakes – Past Peak YOU MISSED IT!

    Summers Meadow (10/18/16) Jeff Simpson

    Summers Meadow (10/18/16) Jeff Simpson

  • Conway Summit – Peak (75-100%) GO NOW! – A lot of leaves were blown off during the storm but around 35% of the leaves still remain. It’s a fantastic photo opp with the snowy mountains in the background.
    Green Creek – Past Peak
  • Summers Meadow – Peak (75-100%) GO NOW! – Still a few groves handing on with brilliant color with some sections being past peak. 

LEE VINING 

  • Tioga Pass & Lee Vining Canyon – Peak (75-100%) GO NOW! – Lee Vining Canyon has amazing color in all the campground down to US 395. Anything above Lee Vining Canyon is past peak with Tioga Pass currently closed.
    Twin Lakes, Bridgeport (10/18/16) Jeff Simpson

    Twin Lakes, Bridgeport (10/18/16) Jeff Simpson

    Twin Lakes, Bridgeport (10/18/16) Jeff Simpson

    Twin Lakes, Bridgeport (10/18/16) Jeff Simpson

    Twin Lakes, Bridgeport (10/18/16) Jeff Simpson

    Twin Lakes, Bridgeport (10/18/16) Jeff Simpson

    Mule deer, Twin Lakes, Bridgeport (10/18/16) Jeff Simpson

    Mule deer, Twin Lakes, Bridgeport (10/18/16) Jeff Simpson

    West Walker River (10/18/16) Jeff Simpson

    West Walker River (10/18/16) Jeff Simpson

  • Lundy Lake & Canyon – Peak (75-100%) GO NOW! – Brilliant oranges and reds along the campground and in the creek down to US 395.  Anything Lundy Lake and into Lundy Canyon is past peak.

OLD BENTON

  • Sagehen Meadows – Past Peak YOU MISSED IT!

JUNE LAKE LOOP

  • June Lake Loop/Hwy 158 – Peak (75-100%) GO NOW! – Groves of brilliant yellow, gold and red in some locations while others are past peak. Fantastic color around Gull Lake and in between Grant and Silver Lake.
  • Parker Lake -Past Peak YOU MISSED IT!
  • Little Walker Lake -Past Peak YOU MISSED IT!

MAMMOTH LAKES

  • Devil’s Postpile National Monument – Past Peak YOU MISSED IT!
  • Mammoth Lakes Basin – Past Peak YOU MISSED IT!
  • Mammoth Creek Rd. – Past Peak YOU MISSED IT!
  • Snowcreek Golf Course – Past Peak YOU MISSED IT!

CONVICT LAKE / LAUREL CANYON / ROCK CREEK / McGEE CREEK

  • Laurel Canyon – Past Peak YOU MISSED IT!
  • Convict Lake – Past Peak YOU MISSED IT!
  • Rock Creek – Peak (75-100%) GO NOW! – Pockets of bright color can still be found.
  • McGee Creek – Peak (75-100%) GO NOW! – Pockets of bright color can still be found.

CROWLEY / TOM’S PLACE

  • Crowley – Peak (75-100%) GO NOW!
  • Tom’s Place –  – Peak (75-100%) GO NOW! – Bold yellow aspen surround the community, though much has fallen.
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Hanging Out at McGee Creek

McGee Creek Canyon (10/1/16) Scott Turner

McGee Creek Canyon (10/1/16) Scott Turner

McGee Creek Canyon (10/1/16) Scott Turner

McGee Creek Canyon (10/1/16) Scott Turner

McGee Creek Canyon (10/1/16) Scott Turner

McGee Creek Canyon (10/1/16) Scott Turner

McGee Creek Canyon (10/1/16) Scott Turner

McGee Creek Canyon (10/1/16) Scott Turner

Sometimes you just want to hang out.  That’s what Scott Turner did this past weekend, opting to explore McGee Creek Canyon, “as opposed to a mad dash to different color spots.”

He reports McGee Creek Campground is just starting, but “Further up canyon from the trailhead to the bend in the canyon (about 1 mile), the color along the creek is patchy; most of the cottonwoods have turned, but the aspens are a mixture of orange, yellow, and lime.

“Along the trail, shrub aspen that climb the hillside and surround the creek crossing are Peaking or slightly Past Peak, following this weekend’s snow and wind.

“The color gets really good (at Peak, or slightly approaching Peak) at the beaver pond. The color up the hillsides and in the groves surrounding the pond are all at peak with a variety of warm shades turning the entire canyon gold.”

Scott added that the lower reaches of Lee Vining Canyon are just starting. Some aspen along the June Lake Loop look to be turning too, but are still Patchy – somewhere around 25%. Finally, he heard that Fern Lake is peaking.

McGee Creek (10/1/16) Becky

McGee Creek (10/1/16) Becky

Upper McGee Creek, Mono County – Peak (75-100%) GO NOW!

Middle McGee Creek, Mono County – Patchy (10-50%)

McGee Campground, Mono County – Just Starting (0-10%)

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Fall Color Hike: Lundy Canyon Trail

Fall color edges the Lundy Canyon Trial (9/28/14) Alicia Vennos

Fall color edges the Lundy Canyon Trail (9/28/14) Alicia Vennos

GO NOW! Near Peak (50 – 75%) Mammoth Lakes Basin – Twin Lakes in the Mammoth Lakes Basin is at peak with beautiful orange colors.  Other lakes in the basin either lack fall color or are still patchy. Color spotter Kevin Lennox reports erratic uniformity of color among the trees in the Lakes Basin.

Patchy (10 – 50%) – Laurel Canyon – Very little color showing at base, though about a fourth of trees have turned at the top of the canyon.

Patchy (10 – 50%) – Convict Lake – Convict has lots of yellow just appearing around the lake; Convict Canyon has a way to go.

GO NOW! Near Peak (50 – 75%) – McGee Creek Canyon – Gorgeous color above 8,500′

Patchy (10 – 50%) – Crowley Lake – Very little color is showing, as yet.

Lower areas of the Lundy Canyon trail are still green (9/28/14) Alicia Vennos

Lower areas of the Lundy Canyon trail are still green (9/28/14) Alicia Vennos

Peak color is found higher along the Lundy Canyon trail and near waterfalls (9/28/14) Alicia Vennos

Peak color is found higher along the Lundy Canyon trail and near waterfalls (9/28/14) Alicia Vennos

Lundy Canyon (9/28/14) Alicia Vennos

Lundy Canyon (9/28/14) Alicia Vennos

GO NOW! Near Peak (50 – 75%) – Lundy Canyon Trail – Color Spotter Alicia Vennos of Mono County picks Lundy Canyon as a peak hike for this weekend.  She reports color at peaking along the trail and in waterfall areas though the Lundy Lake Road and the lake itself are still green.  That means the color should be good not just this weekend, but for the following week (wind and weather permitting).

Patchy (10 – 50%) – June Lake Loop – A mix of green, lime and yellow color the aspen surrounding the June Lakes. Brush are painting surrounding mountainsides auburn and orange. June Lake has at least a week to two weeks before peaking.

GO NOW! Peak (75 – 100%) – Saddlebag Lakes – Upper Tioga Pass is at full peak.  There aren’t many aspen in this area, though riparian color is beautiful.

Patchy (10 – 50%) – Lee Vining Canyon – Similar to June Lakes, it has a way to go before full color.

YOU MISSED IT! Past Peak – Upper Virginia Lakes Road – Wind stripped turned trees at Virginia Lakes, last weekend.

Patchy (10 – 50%) Lower Virginia Lakes Road – Wind swept aspen surrounding Virginia Lakes lost their leaves this past week. Color spotter Steve Wolfe reported “The last half of Virginia Lakes Road at Conway Summit is past peak, with lots of leafless stands, but the first half… is still just this side of “patchy”, with green, lime and yellow stands.”

GO NOW! Peak (75 – 100%) – Sonora Pass – Most of the color to be seen along Sonora Pass is on the eastern side of the pass. Higher elevations are at full peak with lower groves of aspen a mix of yellow and green.

Patchy (10 – 50%) – Walker/Coleville – Very little yellow and orange color is showing among the willows and cottonwood.

Near Peak (50 – 75%) – Monitor Pass – Wind stripped some of the turned color this past week, but leaves that hadn’t turned are now coloring up.  Color Spotter Kimberly Kofala reports the white trunks of the aspen contrast nicely with the new color.

[weatherlayer country=”United States” city=”Lee Vining”]

Mono County Glows!

Scarlet Gilia and aspen leaves - 10/1/2011 - © 2011 Alicia Vennos

Fall color has arrived officially in Mono County (home to Rock Creek, Convict Lake, Mammoth Lakes, June Lake, Mono Lake, Lee Vining Canyon, Lundy Canyon, Virginia Lakes, Twin Lakes and Bridgeport).

Alicia Vennos send in this report and photos taken over the weekend.  An early winter storm is just arriving, but we predict it won’t have much effect on the fall color, other than to dust high mountain peaks with snow, making for even more spectacular photographs and fall color views along the Eastern Sierra.

15-30% – Rock Creek –Half-way between Bishop and Mammoth, “Rock Creek is leading the charge  with aspen about 5 miles up Rock Creek Road deep yellows, oranges and reds.  The hiking

Aspen at Rock Creek Lake (10/1/2011) © 2011 Alicia Vennos

trail from East Fork to Rock Creek Lake is highly recommended!

 

Lundy Falls (10/1/2011) © 2011 Alicia Vennos


Lundy Canyon (10/1/2011) © 2011 Alicia Vennos

0-15% – Lundy Canyon – Lundy is just begun to turn, with rich gold and some orange.  Along the Lundy Canyon hiking trail, the waterfalls are still amazingly full for October, and wildflowers continue to bloom, standing out against yellow aspen leaves – a rare photo opportunity.

Mono County Near Lundy Canyon (10/1/2011) © 2011 Alicia Vennos

15-30% — June Lake Loop is beginning to shift from yellow-green to orange.

30-50% – Parker Bench – Above June Lake, Parker Bench is showing a stunning blend of orange, red and yellow.

15 – 30% – U.S. 395 (Mono County) – Many of the aspen-lined creek beds (above Crowley, Laurel Canyon, just south of Mammoth and north of Lee Vining) along U.S. 395 are streaking the mountainside orange, red and yellow.  Locals predict colder temperatures now arriving from an Alaskan storm, forecast to arrive on Wednesday, may hasten the fall color peak throughout the region, though it’s been our experience that storms only affect currently changed leaves, not those that haven’t turned.  That means there’s lots of color yet to show throughout Mono County and the storm otherwise won’t reduce the color much.

30-50% – Virginia Lakes – High winds knocked turned leaves off the aspen surrounding Little Virginia Lake on Monday, color spotter Carolyn Webb reports.  However, there’s still lots of color to be appear or be seen in the Virginia Lakes area.  Carolyn writes, “Aspen are quite beautiful up and down the Virginia Lakes road to about 1 mile from the resort.  At nearby Conway Summit, “aspen in protected areas are still yellow with some gold going into rusts.”