Posted by: Sandy Steinman | September 19, 2012

Sierra Nevada Fall Color 9/19/12

California Fall Color posted a new fall color report for the Sierra Nevada for 9/19/12;

The most colorful display will likely be up the Bishop Creek Canyon (west of Bishop) toward South, North and Sabrina Lakes, though bright yellows will be seen at elevations above 9,000′ throughout the Sierra.  Pockets of great color can be found below 9,000′, if you know where to look.  Here’s a guide:

U.S. 50

  • 0 – 15% – (2,000 – 3,000′) – Bracken fern has turned yellow-orange.  (6,000′) quaking aspen are liming with some yellow.  From Strawberry Lodge to Sierra at Tahoe, willows have turned yellow to gold with lots of the drainage plants having turned.

CA – 89/88

  • 0 – 15% – Luther Pass – Quaking aspen lining the edge of Grass Lake are showing the slightest change in color.
  • 0 – 15% – Hope Valley – Several stands of quaking aspen have turned yellow near the Sorenson’s Resort, though peak appears to be two weeks away.
  • 0 – 15% – Monitor Pass – There is some lime showing among the several stands of aspen along the pass, but very little yellow yet showing.

U.S. 395

  • 0 – 15% – Conway Summit – Groves of aspen to the west of the highway, approaching the summit are liming and tinged with yellow and gold, particularly at sunset.
  • 15 – 30% – Virginia Lakes Canyon (9,200′) – Aspen not near water are showing signs of stress.  Several naturalists commented that they believe the previous dry winter has parched the trees and will lead to disappointing color in areas not near water sources.  The leaves on aspen near water sources are deeply green and appear healthy.  Color spotter Carolyn Webb of the Virginia Lakes Resort believes it’s too early to tell whether the show will match previous years, though there’s still plenty of time for the trees to color up.  The weather at Virginia Lakes has been ideal.  The color should be good this weekend and for the next two weeks.
  • 0 – 15% – June Lakes Basin – Too early.  Plan for color to be near peaking in two to three weeks.  In the meantime, the fishing is great!
  • 0 – 15% – Mammoth Lakes Basin – Too early.  Plan for color to be near peaking in two to three weeks.  More great fishing here and nearby.
  • 0 – 15% – U.S. 395 – The upper reaches of the Hilton Creek drainage (south of Mammoth Lakes) seen from U.S. 395 are aglow with orange, yellow and lime aspen.
  • 15 – 30% – Laurel Lakes Canyon – Lots of lime and yellow are beginning to show among the aspen lining Laurel Creek.  This is a rock and boulder strewn Jeep road that should be driven only with a 4WD vehicle.  Only a couple of turnouts exist, so it’s a long drive uphill to get to one, once you pass the color.

CA 168

  • 15 – 30% – Bishop Creek Canyon – editor Janet Fullwood provided this photo from the Bishop Creek Canyon.  This area is prime to be full of color this weekend and for the next couple of weeks.

CA – 108

  • 15 – 30% – Marine Corps Mountain Warfare Training Center – An impressive stand of quaking aspen is beginning to glow.
  • 30 – 50% – Leavitt Meadows Pack Station – A spectacular stand of quaking aspen is seen on the eastern side of Sonora Pass at the Leavitt Meadows Pack Station.
  • 0 – 15% – Sonora Pass (8,000′) – Clusters of robust aspen are seen at 8,000′, a dried out stand of aspen is found at 9,000′.
  • 0 – 15 – Stanislaus National Forest – California is one of the few fall color destinations where wildflowers continue to bloom as trees turn color.  This is seen at the entrance to the Eureka Valley Campground where a mullein grandmother plant and Yosemite aster bloom near stands of brightly yellow and lime Fremont Cottenwoods.  Black oak are still three weeks away from showing their deep orange color.

CA 49

  • 0 – 15% – The only gold to be found along Hwy 49 is in the Gold Country’s stream beds, as cottonwood, maple and oaks are still dressed in green.  Find of the day, “The Big Cheese” sandwich served at Tahlula’s Restaurant in Sonora… a grilled combo of bacon, mac ‘n’ cheese, chedder, mozarella and parmesan.  It’s worth the drive, even if there’s little fall color yet to be seen.

Go to website at: California Fall Color to see photos and all  past reports.


  1. […] Sierra Nevada Fall Color 9/19/12 ( […]


  2. […] Sierra Nevada Fall Color 9/19/12 ( […]


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: