Making Mushroom Merry

Stereum hirsutum, Anderson River Park, Anderson (12/21/18) Gabriel Leete

As the last days of 2018 are waning, mushroom hunters are making merry where winter rains have fallen.

Shasta Cascade color spotter Gabriel Leete found these fungi while foraging along the Sacramento River in Redding at the McConnell Arboretum and Gardens and in Anderson at the Anderson River Park.


Private Waters

Bigleaf maple, Hat Creek Ranch (10/30/18) Martha Fletcher

The Fly Shop in Redding operates streamside fishing cabins on private waters. That might sound exclusive, but visiting them is as easy as staying at one of their lodges, whether you’re an angler or not.

Shasta Cascade color spotter Martha Fletcher was at The Fly Shop’s Hat Creek Ranch and found its two streamside vacation cabins shaded by yellow bigleaf maples.

Nearby, “the creek offers meadow fishing with undercut banks and willows that offer just enough cover to keep the fish happy, but not so overgrown that an angler can’t present a fly to one of the numerous trout that rise consistently throughout the day. PMD, BWO, Caddis, Stoneflies, Midges, Hoppers and other assorted Terrestrials and even streamer patterns, all have their time and place during the many seasons of Hat Creek.

“Hat Creek is noted for the vibrancy of its aquatic life. Top water action is prevalent every day of the season, and opportunities abound for nymph and streamer fishing as well. There are fish of all sizes in this stretch of river, and patient anglers, who take the time to stalk their quarry and make a good presentation, can sight-cast to some real bruisers,” The Fly Shop writes.

As for Hat Creek Ranch’s fall color, it appears to be dropping off. 

  • Hat Creek Ranch (3,422′) – Peak (75-100%) GO NOW!


Redding Reddens

Sweetgum, Liquidambar styraciflua, Shasta View Dr., Redding (10/18/18) Laura Jean

Redding saw a lot more red in late August than its residents wanted to see. The red was from the Carr Fire which burned 229,651 acres to the west and northeast of Redding, before it was contained. The fire devastated neighborhoods in the city’s northest corner and was the sixth-most destructive in California history.

So, it’s reassuring to see that a more welcomed type of red returning to Redding … fall color.

Redding is a central location from which to explore the Shasta Cascade (the northeast corner of UpStateCA). From Redding, roads spoke out to prime fall color viewing at Lassen Volcanic National Park, Plumas County, McArthur-Burney Falls State Park and Hat Creek, Coffee Creek and Scott Valley, Mt Shasta, Chester, Lake Almanor and Susanville, Weaverville, Red Bluff and Chico. Much of these areas are either now peaking or approaching peak.

Within its city limits, Redding is bisected by the Sacramento River which has beautiful riparian forests and wetlands. Across the length of California’s northernmost metropolis, Frémont cottonwood, black oak, Oregon ash California buckeye and blue oak grow beside the Sacramento River.

One of the best places to begin a Redding Fall Color adventure is at Sundial Bridge, Santiago Calatrava’s architectural masterpiece that spans the mighty Sacramento River, connecting Turtle Bay Exploration Park and the McConnell Arboretum and Gardens.

Many of Redding’s neighborhoods are forested with colorful exotic trees and several have breathtaking views of Mt. Shasta and the Sacramento River. Redding color spotter Laura Jean sends these pictures of the welcomed color that has reddened Redding’s boulevards.

More about Redding and its nine fall color driving tours is found at 

  • Redding – Near Peak (50-75%) GO NOW!

Chinese pistache, Shasta View Dr., Redding (10/18/18) Laura Jean

Shasta Cascade A Harvest of Events

Mt. Shasta, Upper Sacramento River (10/21/16) Philip Reedy

Patchy color is appearing early across the Shasta Cascade, providing opportunities to harvest an autumn drive with a car show, road race, trout derby and all sorts of festivals (music, food, and fun). Here are some of the events that will be happening up north on this coming and the following weekend.

Oct. 6

– Olive Festival, Corning Car Show


Oct. 7  

– Bizz Johnson Marathon  ( Susanville)

– Harvest Moon Liberty Fest ( Anderson River Park )

– Johnny Appleseed Days . ( Paradise )

– Manton Apple Festival ( Manton )

– Salmon Festival (Weaverville)


Oct. 14 

– Apple Harvest Festival . ( Mc Cloud) .

– Shasta Lake Trout Derby

Peak of the Week: Redding

Sacramento River Trail (11/1/16) Shanda Ochs

Sacramento River Trail (11/1/16) Shanda Ochs

Sacramento River Trail (11/1/16) Shanda Ochs

Sacramento River Trail (11/1/16) Shanda Ochs

Sacramento River Trail (11/1/16) Shanda Ochs

Sacramento River Trail (11/1/16) Shanda Ochs

Sacramento River Trail (11/1/16) Shanda Ochs

Sacramento River Trail (11/1/16) Shanda Ochs

Sacramento River Trail (11/1/16) Shanda Ochs

Sacramento River Trail (11/1/16) Shanda Ochs

Sacramento River Trail (11/1/16) Shanda Ochs

Sacramento River Trail (11/1/16) Shanda Ochs

Redding is unusual for a city, in that a major natural area passes through its center. That natural area is the Sacramento River.

Preserved green space flanks each side of the river to provide some flood protection to the city, preserve the riparian environment and provide a corridor of recreation.

The Sacramento River Trail is this week’s Hike of the Week.

It is a National Recreation Trail with miles of biking, walking and running path, Turtle Bay Exploration Park with its children’s discovery museum, museum of art, history and nature, wildlife discovery museum, a riparian forest tree walk, the McConnell Arboretum and Gardens (that focuses on California native plants) and lots of natural fall color.

The trail travels from scenic Shasta Dam at Shasta Lake, 17.4 miles to Sundial Bridge in Redding.

Sundial Bridge is one of three scenic and historic bridges that cross the river. Designed by world-renowned architect Santiago Calatrava, Sundial Bridge is an actual working sundial, casting its towering shadow across an arc from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. It is not accurate in winter, however, as its shadow is too far into the adjacent arboretum to be seen.

When the bridge’s shadow is visible, it moves at a rate of one foot per minute. The remarkable, steel, glass and granite structure evokes a sense of weightlessness, and its translucent glass deck glows blue green at night.

The bridge’s cable-stayed, 217-foot pylon supports the bridge, allowing spawning grounds for salmon beneath the bridge to remain untouched.

Other bridges along the trail include the 1915 Diestelhorst Bridge – first to cross the Sacramento River – and a 418-foot stress ribbon bridge, the first of its kind in America.

Snow has curtailed color spotter Shanda Ochs’ reporting from Lassen Volcanic National Park, but encouraged her to explore the Sacramento River Trail and return with this report.

Shanda notes that some remaining fall color can be seen at Manzanita Lake in Lassen Volcanic, though the park is mostly past peak.  Nevertheless, she found lots to enjoy along the Sacramento River Trail in Redding’s Caldwell Park.

Most of the trees there are non-native, though there are Frémont cottonwood, bigleaf maple, Oregon ash and willow among them. The color ranges from bold red-orange to splashes of yellow and gold. The river bank is inhabited mostly by native oak woodland and though we rate Redding as peaking, the color should continue develop for a week or two more.

Redding – Peak (75-100%) GO NOW!

Autumn Spore-t: Mushroom Hunting

Chicken of the Woods, Anderson (10/31/16) Gabriel Leete

Chicken of the Woods, Anderson (10/31/16) Gabriel Leete

A favorite northwest autumn sport is mushroom hunting.

Gabriel Leete of Redding sends these photographs of mushrooms found exploring the Lower Sacramento River, in Anderson and Redding.

Caution and expert knowledge is required, as some species are both poisonous and edible. You don’t want to make a mistake, by thinking you have the edible variety, when in fact it’s poisonous.

Chicken of the Woods (seen above) [Laetiporus] is “a very brilliant spp. of fungi,” Gabriel reports, “As the nomenclature indicates, it is bright yellow & orange (sulphur colored).  And the common name is due to the whitening of the flesh when cooked and has somewhat of a chicken and mushroom flavor.  It is used by vegans and vegetarians in lieu of chicken.”

Agaricus, Anderson (10/31/16) Gabriel Leete

Agaricus, Anderson (10/31/16) Gabriel Leete

Unidentified, Anderson (10/31/16) Gabriel Leete

Unidentified, Anderson (10/31/16) Gabriel Leete

Earth Star, Anderson (10/31/16) Gabriel Leete

Earthstar, Anderson (10/31/16) Gabriel Leete

The common Agaricus genus contains some 300 members, both poisonous and edible.  Caution is advised.

Earthstar  [Astraeus hygrometricus] is a fascinating mushroom that resembles a globe over a star. They are too tough to be edible, so don’t bother.












Earthstars have, however, been used by native Americans and Asians medicinally as a salve against burns. The Blackfoot people called them “fallen stars,” considering them to be stars that fall to Earth during supernatural events.

It’s amazing what color you find in autumn, when looking down.


Redding Pops Along Its Accessible Trails

Cottonwood, Redding (11/15/15) Cory Poole

Cottonwood, Redding (11/15/15) Cory Poole

Sacramento River, Redding (11/15/15) Cory Poole

Sacramento River, Redding (11/15/15) Cory Poole

Cottonwood, Redding (11/15/15) Cory Poole

Cottonwood, Redding (11/15/15) Cory Poole

Exotic Flowering Pear, Redding (11/15/15) Cory Poole

Exotic Flowering Pear, Redding (11/15/15) Cory Poole

Exotic Liquidambar, Redding (11/15/15) Cory Poole

Exotic Liquidambar, Redding (11/15/15) Cory Poole

Shasta Cascade color spotter Cory Poole’s fall color reporting has been limited by a leg injury for much of this autumn, but that didn’t stop him from getting out this weekend.

He acquired an all-terrain knee scooter so that he could get back to photographing fall color and sends these captures of today’s outing along the Sacramento River and in downtown Redding.

Now, that’s dedication!

Cory reports much of Redding is peaking, with the cottonwoods and willows beside the Sacramento River as good as they get.

Most importantly, he said he was “… happy to say the fact that there are lots and lots of accessible trails in Redding is really nice!”

They don’t call Redding the Trails Capital of California, without reason.

Peak (75-100%) GO NOW! – Redding.




Shasta Cascade Rapidly Approaching Past Peak

Color spotter Grace Smith sends the last report of autumn from the Shasta Cascade.

Please note: the GO NOW! Alerts posted here are only valid through today.  As, the Shasta Cascade region of Northeast California is expected to be lashed by gusting, high winds.  The Shasta Cascade region will almost surely be Past Peak after it stops blowing.

GO NOW! – 75 – 100% –  Tehama County – The Red Bluff area is at peak, with Sacramento Valley oaks mostly burnt orange, though that won’t last much longer, and with winds predicted should be past peak by the weekend.

GO NOW! – 75 – 100% – Shasta County – Remnant fall color is found at spots throughout Shasta County at Anderson, near Whiskeytown National Recreation Area, and in Redding.  The last of it – given that it isn’t blown all the way to the coast, will provide harvest glow to the Thanksgiving Day week.

GO NOW! – 75 – 100%  – Butte County – Chico and Butte County are finally at full peak. There is still quite a bit of color left on the trees, despite many of them littering the landscape with yellow, orange, red and brown confetti this past weekend. The best color remains along the boulevards of Chico and at Bidwell Park, Chico State University, the Hwy 32 and Hwy 99 corridors, Esplanade Ave, Manzanita Ave., and Mangrove Ave.

It Hasta be Shasta

CA-299 Roadside Bigleaf Maple (11/3/10) - John Poimiroo

CA-299 Roadside Bigleaf Maple (File Photo) – John Poimiroo

Grace Smith reports from the vast Shasta Cascade region of northeast California that fall color is at full peak across most of the region.

GO NOW! 75 – 100% – Trinity County – The show has been beautiful throughout Trinity County for the past two weeks and probably only has one more week before being past peak.  Weaverville is a painter’s palette of pastel pink, yellow and orange liquidambar, yellow bigleaf maple, rosey dogwood, and golden mountain ash. To see the best last spurts of color in the county, take C A-299 to Weaverville, then drive north on CA-3 to Trinity Lake.

GO NOW! 75 – 100% – Shasta County – Shasta County is at peak. Oaks are yellowish to amber with some brown.  While there’s still a lot of color to develop, half of the county’s deciduous trees have peaked. Maples are at peak and have bright red and orange with some yellow left, though many of their leaves have fallen.  Though there are still many trees with leaves still to turn, rainy weather is on its way and will likely take many of the turned leaves, early next week. That will reduce the show, thereafter.  Top places to see fall colors  include: The Sacramento River Trail, McConnell Arboretum, Whiskeytown National Recreation Area, Shasta Lake, the Battle Creek Wildlife Area near Coleman Fish Hatchery, and the Anderson River Park.  On Sat., Nov. 9, the Second Wintu Audubon Saturday Bird Walk will leave from Turtle Bay Exploration Park. For more information, visit

GO NOW! 50 – 75% – Tehama County – Tehama County is very close to reaching its peak. The cooler weather has arrived, bringing in some winds and knocking quite a few of the leaves off the trees. Bigleaf maples are bright red and orange, and are almost at peak. Oaks are slowly reaching  peak with deep amber to brown.  Riparian areas along the Sacramento River in and around Red Bluff have the best fall color.  Thousands of migratory birds are foraging in fallow fields, marshes and refuges near I-5 and the Sacramento River.

GO NOW! 50 – 75% – Butte County –  The shift in autumn color will move to Butte County in the coming week, with woodlands now approaching peak. Butte should peak within the next two weeks, providing lovely color leading up to Thanksgiving Day. There is still a lot of lime among the trees, though increasing splashes of yellow and red. Go to Bidwell Park, Chico State University, the Hwy 32 Corridor, the Hwy 99 Corridor, Esplanade Ave, Manzanita Ave., and Mangrove Ave to see fall colors in and around Chico.

Past Peak – Plumas County – You Missed It.

Past Peak – Siskiyou County

Past Peak – Modoc County

Shasta Cascade – Peaking Everywhere

Black oak, Plumas County (10/30/13) Jeff Titcomb

Black oak, Plumas County (10/30/13) Jeff Titcomb

With this past week’s storm stripping many trees above 5,000′ in elevation, California’s Fall Color has moved down to mid and lower elevations.

GO NOW – 75 – 100% – Trinity County – Bordering on being past peak, Trinity County is at full peak along CA-299 near Weaverville with bigleaf maple, dogwood, mountain ash and exotic Chinese pistache coloring up this fascinating lumber and gold rush era town.  While there, be sure to include a visit to the Josh House Chinese temple, which is one of the most amazing and beautiful historic structures in the state.  Weaverville was, historically, a site of the Tong Wars, though locals quickly settled the dispute and established a climate of acceptance and welcome that continues today.

Indian Head, Plumas County (10/30/13) Jeff Titcomb

Indian Head, Plumas County (10/30/13) Jeff Titcomb

Past Peak – Plumas County – Snow has fallen to the 4,600′ elevation, taking most of the leaves with it. There is still color to be seen in the Greenville area with dogwood, bigleaf maple, and oak all at or just beyond peak.  The combination of the last of autumn’s fall color beside a dusting of fresh white snow, makes for great viewing.

GO NOW! – 50 – 75% – Tehama County – It has taken a while, though Tehama County is finally approaching peak. As we have seen so far this year, there’s lots of red and orange appearing with bigleaf maple and various species of California oaks exhibiting amber and Sienna.

GO NOW – 50 – 75% – Shasta County – Shasta County is just below peak this week. The oaks are halfway there, with a lovely mix of green, yellow to amber color with some burnt Sienna and brown. California bigleaf maples are at full peak with bright red, orange and still some yellow. There has been a noticeable change to far northern California’s weather pattern with days now considerably cooler. Local color spotter Grace Smith advises to go now, as all areas of Shasta County should peak within the week.  Top places to see the color are along the 16-mile Sacramento River Trail (a National Recreation Trail), McConnell Arboretum and Gardens at Turtle Bay, Whiskeytown National Recreation Area, Shasta Lake, and Anderson River Park where the NovemBeer Festival will occur on Nov. 2.  CLICK HERE for more about it.

CSU Chico (10/31/13) Stephany Fernadez

CSU Chico (10/31/13) Stephany Fernadez

Chinese pistache, CSU Chico (10/31/13) Stephany Fernadez

Chinese pistache, CSU Chico (10/31/13) Stephany Fernadez

GO NOW! – 50 – 75% – Butte County – Chico is a conundrum.  While many trees have not yet turned, others are shedding their leaves.  This occurs because of the wide variety of trees to be seen in this, one of California’s cities of trees.  Species tend to turn around the same time and because Chico has so many exotic species along its boulevards and on the campus of Chico State, at Bidwell Park, in its orchards and in surrounding wild areas, the change occurs over a longer period.  Many trees are still showing lime green, though others are bright yellow, orange and red, such as the exotic Chinese pistache, pictured here.

Top places to see the color include Bidwell Park, Chico State University, the Hwy 32 Corridor, the Hwy 99 Corridor, Esplanade Ave, Manzanita Ave., and Mangrove Ave.  For fascinating side trips, visit an 800-year-old gothic monastery chapter house rebuilt at the Abbey of New Clairvaux, roughly 10 miles north of Chico in Vina, and in Chico: Orient and Flume Art Glass where glass blowers create art, numerous quality art galleries and Sierra Nevada Brewery known for its excellent tour and restaurant.