All The Leaves Are Brown …

North Lake, (10/7/18) Jerry Sy

Sabrina Approach (10/7/18) Jerry Sy

As The Mamas & The Papas sang, “All the leaves are brown” above 8,500′ in Bishop Creek Canyon, “though the skies aren’t gray.”

This autumn, weather conditions were never better for viewing color in the Eastern Sierra. That resulted in a vibrant, long-lasting display.

However, if you delayed visiting South Lake, Lake Sabrina or North Lake, YOU MISSED IT and will have to do some California Dreamin’ to imagine them at Peak again.

That does not mean that you missed seeing peak fall color everywhere in California. It will continue to descend to lower elevations, well into December.

There’s also a lot of Peak color yet to be seen in Inyo County. Presently, Bishop Creek Canyon is peaking between 8,000 and 8,500′. That means you’ll see Peak aspen at the Mist Falls (8,350′), Aspendell (8,400′) and Four Jeffreys (8,000′) this week. Thereafter, Pine Creek Canyon (northwest of Bishop) and the Owens Valley will peak.

Though, the fall color captured by Jerry Sy in these pictures more than a week ago, can now only be imagined by “getting down on your knees and pretending to pray.” 

Markleeville, Alpine County (10/7/18) Jerry Sy

Sonora Pass, Mono County (10/7/18) Jerry Sy

  • Markleeville, Alpine County (5,531′) – Peak (75-100%) – GO NOW!
  • Sonora Pass (9,623′) – Past Peak, YOU MISSED IT!
  • Sabrina Approach (9,100′) – Past Peak, YOU MISSED IT!
  • North Lake (9,225′) – Past Peak, YOU MISSED IT!
  • Aspendell (8,400′) – Peak (75-100%) – GO NOW!

Aspendell (10/7/18) Jerry Sy


Fading Fast at North Lake

North Lake, Bishop Creek Canyon (10/13/18) Bruce Wendler

North Lake Rd., Bishop Creek Canyon (10/13/18) Bruce Wendler

North Lake (Bishop Creek Canyon) took a while to move toward peak, then got hot, hot, hot for a week. Now, it is fading fast.

Bruce Wendler said North Lake “still has some charm.” Further down the N. Fork of Bishop Creek, trees are at peak, as is the pond at Aspendell.

Roberto Ferido found the South Fork of Bishop Creek to carry Peak color below 8,500′.

The June Lake Loop is transitioning from Patchy to Near Peak, with lots of color now surrounding Silver Lake in Mono county. 

  • North Lake (9,225′) – Past Peak – YOU MISSED IT!
  • North Lake Rd. (9,000′) – Peak (75-100%) GO NOW!
  • Aspendell (8,400′) – Peak (75-100%) GO NOW!
  • Silver Lake (7,200′) – Patchy (10-50%)
  • South Lake Rd. (8,500′) – Peak (75-100%) GO NOW!

S. Lake Rd., Bishop Creek Canyon (10/13/18) Roberto Ferido

S. Lake Rd., Bishop Creek Canyon (10/13/18) Roberto Ferido

S. Lake Rd., Bishop Creek Canyon (10/13/18) Roberto Ferido

S. Lake Rd., Bishop Creek Canyon (10/13/18) Roberto Ferido


Aspendell, Bishop Creek Canyon (10/13/18) Bruce Wendler

Rabbitbrush and aspen, McGee Creek, Mono County (10/13/18) Bruce Wendler

McGee Creek, Mono County (10/13/18) Bruce Wendler

Silver Lake, Mono County (10/13/18) Bruce Wendler

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Eastern Sierra Portfolio

North Lake Fisheye (10/5/18) Elliot McGucken

Elliot McGucken has captured some of the most compelling images we’ve seen of Bishop Creek Canyon.

He was there on Friday and returned by way of Sonora Pass on Saturday, sending this selection of his favorites from that trip.

The intense color seen in these shots is no longer seen at the same locations. Though, there are still many great images to be captured in the canyon for another week to two weeks, at descending elevations. 

  • Bishop Creek Canyon – Past Peak (9,000’+) YOU MISSED IT.
  • Bishop Creek Canyon – Peak (8,500 – 9,000′) GO NOW!
  • Bishop Creek Canyon – Near Peak (below 8,500′) GO NOW!
  • Sonora Pass – Past Peak (above 9,000′) YOU MISSED IT!
  • Sonora Pass – Peak (below 9,000′) GO NOW!

North Lake Rd, Bishop Creek Canyon (10/5/18) Elliot McGucken

Twin aspen, Lundy Canyon, Mono County (10/6/18) Elliot McGucken

North Lake, Bishop Creek Canyon (10/5/18) Elliot McGucken

Sonora Pass (10/6/18) Elliot McGucken

Sonora Pass (10/6/18) Elliot McGucken



Gallimauphry: Inyo County

North Lake, Bishop Creek Canyon (10/7/18) Joe Pollini

North Lake Rd, Bishop Creek Canyon (10/7/18) Joe Pollini

Upper North Lake, Bishop Creek Canyon (10/7/18) Joe Pollini

“Gallimauphry” is a fun word. It means a confused jumble or medley of things.

While there’s little confusing about these wonderful photographs and reports, I love using the word when pulling together collections of shots from a given destination. As, when else would you use a word like gallimauphry?

In this case, the focus is on Inyo County, that long stretch of breathtaking scenery along US 395 from Lone Pine north to Topaz.

We begin with photos taken by Joe Pollini at North Lake in Bishop Creek Canyon, west of Bishop, this past Sunday.

Joe works at the Bishop Chamber & Visitor Center helping folks find fall color and arrange accommodations in the greater Bishop area. So, it was nice receiving Joe’s shots from his “busman’s holiday.”

Joe’s photos tell us what’s happening at North Lake. Areas near treeline are now Past Peak, though at lake level and along North Lake Rd, the aspen are bright yellow. However, North Lake only has another week at Peak.

Toru Takahashi reminds us why so many people enjoy Bishop and Bishops Creek Canyon in autumn, for the canyon’s great fishing.

Rainbow Trout, Bishop Creek Canyon (10/6/18) Toru Takahashi

Jennifer Cornell took a different angle at Lake Sabrina than we’ve seen previously … near the dock. She reported that on Saturday it was, “sunny and warm’ish, even up at the Sabrina campground.” Then, “Lo and behold, it began snowing in the early evening!” and continued off and on through the night. “We got up to freezing temps to shoot sunrise on Sunday morning at Lake Sabrina, even catching a dusting along North Lake Rd. 

Lake Sabrina (10/7/18) Jennifer Cornell


North Lake Rd. (10/7/18) Jennifer Cornell



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Catching Attention

North Lake, Bishop Creek Canyon (10/2/18) Phillip Reedy

Bishop Creek (10/2/18) Phillip Reedy

There’s one sure way to catch attention in Bishop Creek Canyon. Cast a fly rod at the east end of North Lake. That’s where photographers stand to get the classic shot of North Lake at peak.

Earlier this week, Phillip Reedy stood “shoulder to shoulder” with about 30 other photographers there, waiting for the right shot.

Then, because he photographs a lot of cover shots for fly fishing magazines and is always looking for good backgrounds, he put on waders, picked up a fly rod and began fishing. Soon, the other photographers there wanted to take pictures of him posing in his fly gear as he fished.

Phil joked to them that he could pay for his trip if they would each pay him a $5 modeling fee. All joking aside, Phil got his compensation another way. He found, “that North Lake is packed with eager brook trout so I caught a number of those during the day while waiting for the light to get better.”

Also, one of the fishing shots he took might eventually be purchased for use on the cover of an outdoor magazine.

North Lake (10/2/18) Phillip Reedy

Phil’s humorous story leads me to suggest that fall color photography can be revenue producing, in addition to being an entertaining avocation.

If you have professional equipment and solid skills at photography, consider combining a fall photo outing with taking photographs for possible magazine covers (RV, fishing, hunting, cycling, off-roading, backpacking, hiking, etc.). Here are some tips to successful magazine cover photography:

  • Before shooting, consider which magazines you intend to “pitch” your photos;
  • Know how the magazine (for whom you’re shooting) lays out its cover. Research past covers online and shoot to fit their style;
  • Consider how much space should be reserved for the magazine’s masthead (name/logo);
  • Know whether the magazine allows images to bleed behind its masthead or whether that space should be kept uncluttered;
  • Leave space in the photo to announce articles inside the magazine (often to the left and/or right of the image);
  • Shoot images that fit a specific magazine’s focus or that illustrate a potential topic;
  • All gear seen in the image should appear to be new or not easily recognized (magazines want to appear trendsetting);
  • Outdoor models should be attractive and real (they need not be professional models, but they should appeal and be believable to readers);
  • Magazine covers are vertical, so shoot with that in mind. Shoot both vertical images for covers and horizontal images for inside the magazine. Compose horizontal shots for possible additional use as cover photos;
  • Photograph with seasons in mind. Whatever appears in the photo should be natural to that season;
  • Shoot RAW or high resolution fine images. Magazines only use images of the highest quality for their cover;
  • Models should be outfitted in contemporary clothing, shoes or gear (you’ll never sell the photo if the backpack looks like it was a hand-me-down); and
  • Be prepared for rejection. Magazine editors choose images to illustrate a story that’s already been written (the cover story), to relate to the month of issue or season and to reflect events, trends and topics of interest to readers. Even the best photographs get turned down, when they lack relevance to the magazine and its readers. 

North Lake (9,225′) – Peak to Past Peak – GO NOW as YOU ALMOST MISSED IT!


Bishop Creek’s Over The Top

North Lake, Bishop Creek Canyon (10/1/18) Adam Potts

This has been a mind-boggling past week up Bishop Creek Canyon. You might say, “it was over the top!”

North Lake finally caught up with Lake Sabrina and South Lake, rushing from Patchy to Peak in a few days. Then, clouds, rain, snow, refreshing clear autumn air and rainbows filled the skies over Inyo County.

North Lake, Bishop Creek Canyon (9/30/18) Douglas Van Kirk

All that action attracted so many photographers that local color spotter Gigi de Jong described them as leapfrogging over one another for “the sweet spot and that great shot.””

What they saw, she described, were “soft clouds” sweeping across the sky “as the cumulus built in the late afternoon heat, then dissipated as the cool winds scattered them about.

“As the shadows played over the landscape, the colors seem to change from within. Sunlight brightened the yellows and shade deepened the oranges and reds.

North Lake Bishop Creek Canyon (10/1/18) Tracy Zhou

Every vista had something magical about it,” Gigi said, causing observers to see things they hadn’t noticed before, like an old log cabin opposite Weir Pond and lovers as in love with the scene as they were with each other.

So many images arrived, that it’ll take days to post a representative selection, here. We’ll do our best, but there are many repeats and we like to show variety. In the meantime, we’re over the top over what we received.

As for the outlook, color has almost peaked at the highest elevations, but there’s still great color to be seen up Bishop Creek Canyon for another two weeks. Presently, the color is peaking under 9,000′, and the storm just made it better. 

Autumn Storm, US 395, Independence (10/3/18) Ursula Esser

South Fork, Bishop Creek

  • South Lake (9,768′) – Peak to Past Peak (75-100%) GO NOW or YOU ALMOST MISSED IT!
  • Wier Pond (9,650′) – Peak to Past Peak (75-100%) GO NOW or YOU ALMOST MISSED IT!
  • Parcher’s Resort (9,260′) – Peak to Past Peak (75-100%) GO NOW or YOU ALMOST MISSED IT!
  • Willow Campground (9,000′)  – Peak (75-100%) GO NOW!
  • Surveyor’s Meadow (8,975′)  – Near Peak (50-75%) GO NOW!
  • Table Mountain Camp (8,900′) – Patchy (10-50%)
  • Mist Falls and the Groves Above Bishop Creek Lodge (8,350′) – Patchy (10-50%)
  • Mountain Glen Campground (8,200′) – Patchy (10-50%)
  • Four Jeffreys (8,000′) – Patchy (10-50%)
  • Big Trees Campground (7,800′) – Just Starting (0-10%)

Middle Fork, Bishop Creek

  • Lake Sabrina (9,150′)- Peak (75-100%) GO NOW!
  • Sabrina Approach (9,100′) – Peak (75-100%) GO NOW!
  • Sabrina Campground (9,000′) – Near Peak (50-75%) GO NOW!
  • Groves Above Cardinal Village (8,550′)- Near Peak (50-75%) GO NOW!
  • Aspendell (8,400′) — Near Peak (50-75%) GO NOW!
  • Intake II (8,000′)  – Near Peak (50-75%) GO NOW!
  • Bishop Park Group Campground (8,400′) – Patchy (10-50%)

North Fork, Bishop Creek

  • North Lake (9,225′) – Peak (75-100%) GO NOW!
  • North Lake Rd (9,000′) – Peak (75-100%) GO NOW!

Cardinal Village, Bishop Creek Canyon (10/1/18) Gigi de Jong

Log Cabin, Weir Pond, Bishop Creek Canyon (10/1/18) Gigi de Jong

Cardinal Village, Bishop Creek Canyon (10/1/18) Gigi de Jong

Bishop Park Group Campground, Bishop Creek Canyon (10/1/18) Gigi de Jong

Lake Sabrina, Bishop Creek Canyon (10/1/18) Gigi de Jong

North Lake Rd., Bishop Creek Canyon (10/1/18) Gigi de Jong










Mountain Glen Campground, Bishop Creek Canyon (10/1/18) Gigi de Jong

Grass Lake, Bishop Creek Canyon (10/1/18) Tracy Zhou

Grass Lake, Bishop Creek Canyon (10/1/18) Tracy Zhou

North Lake, Bishop Creek Canyon (10/1/18) Tracy Zhou

North Lake, Bishop Creek Canyon (10/1/18) Tracy Zhou










Sabrina Approach, Bishop Creek Canyon (10/1/18) Gigi de Jong

North Lake, Bishop Creek Canyon (9/30/18) Daniel Danzig

North Lake, Bishop Creek Canyon (9/30/18) Daniel Danzig

North Lake, Bishop Creek Canyon (9/30/18) Daniel Danzig

S. Lake Rd., Bishop Creek Canyon (10/1/18) Adam Potts









North Lake, Bishop Creek Canyon (9/29/18) Douglas Van Kirk

S. Lake Rd., Bishop Creek Canyon (10/1/18) Adam Potts

S. Fork Bishop Creek, Table Mountain Camp (10/1/18) Adam Potts

S. Lake Rd., Bishop Creek Canyon (10/1/18) Adam Potts

S. Lake Rd., Bishop Creek Canyon (10/1/18) Adam Potts










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Road Trip: The Big Loop

Dunderberg Meadow, Mono County (9/30/18) Phillip Reedy

Dunderberg Meadow, Mono County (9/30/18) Phillip Reedy

Dunderberg Meadow, Mono County (9/30/18) Phillip Reedy

Fall color junkies will go to any length to satisfy their craving for color, even if it means driving for three days straight.

Phillip Reedy proved that this past weekend when he took a road trip that we’ll call “The Big Loop.”

He began by crossing Carson Pass (CA-88), then Monitor Pass (CA-89), before heading down US 395 as far south as Bishop Creek Canyon (with numerous stops along the route).

Phil reports, “Carson Pass to Red Lake Creek is bursting with colors right now, but it ranges from all green to nearly past peak. The meadow by Red lake is just starting to turn, but heading down 88 from there to Red Lake Creek and the cabin the colors are brilliant yellow and oranges. In another week those trees will likely be losing their leaves.”

He continued, “At the Carson bridge 1/2 mile west of the 88/89 intersection the grove right above the river is looking great with green, yellow and deep reds. But just across the valley to the north, the trees are nearly all green. From the 88/89/ intersection to Sorensen’s Resort there are great colors but some groves near Sorensen’ are losing leaves fast. In another week this area will be getting bare.

West Carson River (10/2/18) Phillip Reedy

West Carson River (10/2/18) Phillip Reedy

Reedy continues that Monitor Pass has some nice yellow areas but still-green trees seem reluctant to change and estimates that in a week “this area will be looking nice.”

Mono County has been getting rave reviews so far this autumn, with Dunderberg Meadow southwest of Bridgeport “in full glory right now. Beautiful yellow, oranges and reds. Don’t wait for this one.”

North Lake, Bishop Creek Canyon (10/2/18) Phillip Reedy

North Lake, Bishop Creek Canyon (10/2/18) Phillip Reedy

North Lake, Bishop Creek Canyon (10/2/18) Phillip Reedy

Reedy was impressed by Bishop Creek Canyon, particularly South Lake, Lake Sabrina, and North Lakes as all looking great, as were the creeks near the lakes. North Lake is amazing right now. There are still some greens, but I would definitely go in the next week. Just downslope Aspendell is completely green so it will be a week or two before the colors look good there.”

Lake Sabrina (9/30/18) Mike Caffrey

North Lake (9/30/18) Mike Caffrey

Surveyor’s Meadow 10/1/18) Mike Caffrey

S. Fork Bishop Creek (10/1/18) Mike Caffrey

Mike Caffey also traveled a similar route this weekend, commenting that South Lake, Weir Pond and Parcher’s are nearly Past Peak. While there’s still color to be seen, it’ll be gone, soon. He was similarly pessimistic about how long peak would remain at North Lake and Lake Sabrina, though through the weekend it was “spectacular.”

I write this every autumn, but it never ceases to flabbergast me as to why people ask what they’ll see at North Lake in two weeks, when I’m reporting GO NOW! So, I answer, “bare branches.”

Remember, peak color lasts about two weeks. So, when you first see GO NOW! on a Near Peak destination, pack your bags. If you see it on a Peak destination, the car should be running and you should be heading out the door. If you don’t, YOU MISSED IT.

Red Lake Creek Cabin, Hope Valley (9/30/18) Mike Caffrey

Note that just because it’s Past Peak at one elevation, you haven’t missed it everywhere. If you’re truly in search of beauty, go to a lower elevation. For example, plan now to visit June Lake from Oct. 11 – 18. It should be gorgeous, then.  I can make no promises, however, how good June Lake will be on Oct. 20. 

  • Hope Valley (7,300′) – Peak (75-100%) GO NOW! – It’ll be great for maybe another week.
  • Monitor Pass (8,314′) – Near Peak (50-75%) GO NOW!
  • Dunderberg Meadows (8,609′) – Peak (75-100%) GO NOW! – This is a wow destination right now.
  • June Lake Loop (7,654′) – Just Starting to Patchy (0 – 50%) – Plan now to visit in mid October.
  • South Lake, Bishop Creek Canyon (9,768′) – Peak to Past Peak (75-100%) GO NOW or YOU MISSED IT! – There will still be great color down the canyon, but it’s almost past peak at the highest elevations.
  • Lake Sabrina, Bishop Creek Canyon (9,150′) – Peak (75-100%) GO NOW! – Are your bags packed?
  • North Lake, Bishop Creek Canyon (9,000′) – Peak (75-100%) GO NOW! – Is your motor running?

Red Lake Creek Cabin, Hope Valley (10/2/18) Phillip Reedy



Blonds or Redheads?

Dunderberg Rd., Mono County (9/29/18) Bruce Wendler

Sagehen Summit, Mono County (9/29/18) Bruce Wendler

Virginia Lakes, Mono County (9/29/18) Bruce Wendler

Do gentlemen prefer blonds or redheads?

When it comes to deciding between red or yellow autumn leaves, it’s a toss-up.

Bruce Wendler visited Sagehen Summit, the Virginia Lakes and Dunderberg Road, finding beautiful blonds, redheads and even  trendy orange-frosted trees.

Though, he cautions, Sagehen is now almost Past Peak, the same at Virginia Lakes.  Though still peaking, go immediately or you’ll miss it.

North Lake, Bishop Creek Canyon (9/29/18) Douglas Van Kirk

North Lake, Bishop Creek Canyon (9/29/18) Douglas Van Kirk

Douglas Van Kirk found the “fiery” redheads climbing the slope beyond North Lake to be “Absolutely beautiful.” While, their blond relations at lake level were “just starting.”

North Lake appears to be about what it did last year, getting hot upstairs while still warming downstairs.

On his return (Sunday), Bruce found Tioga Pass still open (it often remains open until November) with more red to be seen along the west shore of Tenaya Lake in Yosemite National Park. 

Dunderberg Rd (7,500′) – Peak (75-100%) GO NOW!

Sagehen Summit (8,139′) – Peak (75-100%) GO NOW!

Virginia Lakes (9,770′) – Peak (75-100%) GO NOW!

North Lake, Bishop Creek Canyon – Near Peak (50-75%) GO NOW!

Tenaya Lake, Yosemite National Park (8,150′) – Peak  (75-100%) GO NOW! – Shrubs and ground covers are at peak.

North Lake (9/28/18) Larry Salmi

North Lake (9/30/18) Bruce Wendler

Tenaya Lake, Yosemite National Park (9/30/18) Bruce Wendler

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Fall Color Detectives

Poison Oak, Briones Regional Park (9/4/18) Darrell Sano

I just love “Who Done Its.” Though, in fall color’s case, it’s more “Where Is It?”

Today, I received reports from Lance Pifer and Darrell Sano who uncovered more evidence that fall is approaching.

1000 Island Lakes, Pacific Crest Trail (9/1/18) Lance Pifer

North Lake, Bishop Creek Canyon (9/1/18) Lance Pifer

Lance visited the Eastern Sierra where he found spots of fall color lighting up the Pacific Crest Trail near 1000 Island Lake and at North Lake in Bishop Creek Canyon, where aspen remain  green and lake grasses are highlighted lightly with gold.

Darrell was a road warrior, exploring far and wide. On Friday (as previously reported) he drove across Sonora Pass, returning via Tioga Pass. About three to four miles after entering Yosemite National Park’s east entrance, he stopped to investigate “a scene that looks like it was planned, meaning so perfect–layered trees, leaves from pink to golden yellow, colors receding into the background, such depth. And it’s peaceful, quiet.” He continued that this area was severely damaged by fire, with at least half of it changed.

The following day, he drove north from the Bay Area to Cloverdale, then along CA 128 to the coast. As expected, there was no color to be seen other than a little in low shrubs, though reminds us that by driving the route he was reminded about how stunning Mendocino county is.

Poison Oak, Briones Regional Park (9/4/18) Darrell Sano

On Labor Day, he stayed near home, taking “a long hike in Briones Regional Park (one of the great East Bay Regional Parks – some of the best managed and most beautiful in California), hiking nine miles while criss-crossing trails. Along his route, he passed “vile poison oak” in toxic profusion, recalling the many times he’s suffered after having been covered in its sap, but noted, “When you see beds of its brilliant red in filtered light, you know 1) don’t go in there 2) enjoy the color from a distance.”

Darrell’s detective work included observing the afternoon light which due to skies, still tinted with wildfire haze, cast a yellow ochre tint that was accented by the lower angle of sunlight, dramatizing the shadows, and noted the dryness of the landscape, observing that despite their parched appearance, thistles and grasses remained beautiful remnants of summer. 

Dry thistles and grasses, Briones Regional Park (9/4/18) Darrell Sano

Briones Regional Park (9/4/18) Darrell Sano

Just Starting (0-10%) – Tioga Pass

Just Starting (0-10%) – 1000 Islands Lake
Just Starting (0-10%) – North Lake
Just Starting (0-10%) – CA 128 (Cloverdale to the Coast)
Just Starting (0-10%) – Briones Regional Park, SF Bay Area

Eastside Getting Hotter

Cardinal Village (10/7/17) Ryan Prawiradjaja

Convict Lake (10/7/17) Carol Novacek

Convict Lake (10/7/17) Dave Olden

It’s taken a while for fall color to develop on the Eastside, but signs are that it’s getting hotter, as seen in Ryan Prawiradjaja’s shot of aspen near Cardinal Village (Bishop Creek Canyon, Inyo County).

Carol Novacek hiked around Convict lake in Mono County on Saturday and found it not as far along as it was last year, though the difference in change in her photos indicate’s it’s getting close to peaking, since I was there on Wednesday.

At the time, only about 25% of the trees at the far end of the lake, below Mt. Morrison, had changed. In the three days since, more than half have turned yellow.

Convict Lake Trail (10/7/17) Herb Hwang

Color spotter Herb Hwang hiked beside Convict Lake to find the aspen 50/50 in lime and yellow. While, Dave Olden found the same, but noticed the lack of oranges and reds.

Convict Lake (7,850′) – Patchy to Near Peak (10-75%) – GO NOW!

Carol found Lundy Canyon, to the north in Mono County, Near Peak and “Glorious!”

Lundy Canyon (7,858′) – Near Peak (50-75%) – GO NOW!

Erick Castellon visited McGee Creek to return with these spectacular shots of peak color along the creek.  The peak color starts above the trailhead parking lot. Down canyon, Near Peak and Patchy conditions exist, meaning that the show will continue for another two weeks at McGee (conditions permitting).



McGee Creek (10/7/17) Erick Castellon

McGee Creek (10/7/17) Erick Castellon

McGee Creek (8,600′) – Near Peak – GO NOW!

Color spotter Clayton Peoples was among several who reported they traveled to the Eastside, “hitting key fall color spots in Inyo and Mono Counties. Most places–particularly those above 7,000′.”

Here’s what he found:

Upper Rock Creek (9,000′ to 10,300′) – Peak GO NOW! – Similar to what is happening elsewhere, there’s a varied mix of color in the groves, though Upper Rock Creek is a consistent Peak (75%-100%). The area around Rock Creek Lake is especially stunning right now, and a short hike on the Hilton Lakes Trail provides a great introduction to the beautiful color–with Bear Creek Spire and surrounding peaks serving as an awe-inspiring backdrop.

June Lake Loop (7,654′) – Near Peak GO NOW! – There is a lot more variation here than the aforementioned locations–some groves are still sporting lots of green, while others are brimming with yellow and orange glow. As such, Clayton rates the Loop in its entirety as “Near Peak” (50%-75%), but some groves are already Peak (75%-100%). For instance, the grove along the north shore of Silver Lake has peaked, but the aspen lining the south side of June Lake are Near Peak with probably a week to go before Peak.

Sonora Pass, CA-108 (10/8/17) Robert Cherenson

Sonora Pass (9,623′) – Near Peak to Peak (50-100%) GO NOW! – Sonora Pass (CA-108) is peaking reports Robert Cherenson. He traveled CA-108 finding peak color just west of the pass, two miles east of the pass, at the Leavitt Meadows Pack Station and the U.S. Marine Corps Mountain Warfare Training Center, near US 395. Spotty salmon-colored and yellow aspen grow along the West Walker River to the town of Walker on US 395.

Aspen, June Lake (10/7/17) Clayton Peoples

June Lake (10/8/17) Michael Brandt

Bishop Creek (8,000′ to 9,768′) – Peak GO NOW! – Most of the canyon has moved dramatically toward peak color, with “the Cardinal Village area is really popping right now. There is a beautiful pond on the property that is surrounded by white granite boulders and aspens–all of which are now peaking out in a vibrant yellow.”

North Lake (9,225′) – Near Peak to Peak (50-100%) – North Lake is the problem child of Bishop Creek Canyon. Some color spotters love it, while others say it is done… put a fork in it. As Xin Wang’s sunset photograph of North Lake shows, there are still many green aspen on the hillside above where the aspen are at peak. Though also in the photograph, some stands are now Past Peak. While, along the North Lake Road, it has been peaking, as seen in Peter Robbins’ shot (thumbnail below – click on thumbnail images to enlarge).

Bear Creek Lodge, S. Fork Bishop Creek (10/7/17) Kevin Gilligan

Quaking Aspen, Bishop Creek Canyon (10/7/17) Ryan Prawiradjaja

Cardinal Village, Bishop Creek (10/7/17) Ryan Prawiradjaja

Mist Falls, S. Fork Bishop Creek (10/7/17) Ryan Prawiradjaja







Pond at Cardinal Village (10/7/17) Clayton Peoples

Bear Creek Spire, Upper Rock Creek (10/7/17) Clayton Peoples

North Lake, Bishop Creek Canyon (10/7/17) Xin Wang

Table Mountain Group Camp, Bishop Creek Canyon (10/7/17) Ravi Ranganathan

Conway Summit (10/7/17) Ravi Ranganathan

Sagehen Meadows (10/7/17) Ravi Ranganathan

June Lake Loop (10/7/17) Ravi Ranganathan

Silver Lake (10/7/17) Ravi Ranganathan

South Lake Rd. near Parchers, Bishop Creek Canyon (10/7/17) Ravi Ranganathan

North Lake Turnoff (10/7/17) Peter Robbins