California Fall Color reports that snow and wind have started to change the fall color landscape in the Eastern Sierra. Some trees have lost leaves due to wind and snow has created new backdrops. Below are the highlights of his report. Go to “Changes Are In The Wind” to see full report and photos.
- Past Peak – Virginia Lakes (above 8,300′) – Wind has stripped areas in Virginia Lakes Canyon.
75 – 100% – Conway Summit (8,138′) – Areas of beautiful color remain, with a range of color from lime to brilliant yellow, to orange to rust.
- 50 – 75% – Mammoth Lakes – The lakes basin is approaching peak, as is the Mammoth Scenic Loop.
- 50 – 75% – June Lakes – The June Lakes basin is approaching peak, with still a lot of lime in the aspen. This week and next should be spectacular. Sunset magazine just ranked June Lake as among the top five places to see fall color. We don’t disagree, but then we’d place all five in California.
- 75 – 100% – Monitor Pass – Now peaking. For those in Northern California, the most scenic route is to take Hwy 88 east to Hwy 89, then south through Markleeville and over Monitor Pass to US 395.
- Past Peak – Rock Creek – While there are areas of color up Rock Creek at lower elevations, the upper end of Rock Creek Canyon is past peak.
- McGee Creek – 75 – 100% – At peak.
- Convict Lake – 75 – 100% – Convict Lake is peaking this week, with color intensifying as you hike along the canyon trail.
- Lundy Canyon – 75 – 100% – At peak.
- Walker River Area – 75 – 100% – Aspen and cottonwood along the Walker River area are providing spots of color.
- 75 – 100% – Sonora Pass – Good locations to see color are from the west near Chipmunk Flat and between 8,500’ and 9,000’ on the east side, there’s still good color from the Marine Corps Mountain Warfare Training Center to the foot of the eastern side of the pass, though the past dry winter has had its effect. Many trees turned early in this stretch or lost leaves.
- Past Peak – Hope Valley – Half the aspen in the Hope Valley (Hwy 88 and Hwy 89) have dropped their leaves. A local color spotter said this has been an unusual year for the Hope Valley with an early change that’s peaked quickly.
Inyo County, Bishop Creek Canyon – Go Now!
- 75 – 100% – Table Mountain Camp (8,900’) – Still some color to be seen here however many of the aspen in this grove have given up their color until next year. Certainly some good shots are available though, like the one pictured here.
- 75 – 100% – Surveyors Meadow (8,975’) – While the aspen along the creek and on the west side of the road have already peaked and many of the aspen have lost their leaves, the east side of the road still looks beautiful.
- 75 – 100% – Willow Campground (9,100’) – The willows are fading and some of the aspen along the road near the Tyee bridge are looking a bit naked but there are some great areas of color in this area, especially for those walking into the campground or taking photos from near the road looking west. The bright yellows and oranges can be beautifully captured with the stark granite background of the hillside. The whole west side of the road between Willow Campground and Parchers Resort is brilliant.
- 75 – 100% – Lake Sabrina (9,150’) – Lake Sabrina proper is past peak now but the aspen just below the dam around the bridge and pond are still absolutely stunning – this is still a can’t-miss in the canyon right now.
- 75-100% – North Lake (9,255’) – North Lake has peaked however there are still some good shots to be had for the photographer with skill. The best views in this area are actually along the creek near the North Lake turnoff or looking up canyon from the road on your way down from North Lake.
- 75 – 100% – South Lake Rd above Mt. Glen Camp (8,600’) – Mostly past peak but still a lot of nice creek shots with some yellow, orange and a little red to be found.
- 75 – 100% – Mountain Glen Campground (8,400’) – Although closed to vehicle traffic, there are some spectacular shots of brilliant color available in and above this little creekside camp. Ample turnouts along the road provide some great shots too without too much work.
- 75 – 100% – Mist Falls and the groves above Bishop Creek Lodge (8,350’) – Some of the aspen have peaked here but there is still plenty of bright yellow and lime green spicing up the scenery. The groves just above the waterfall are really starting to pop.
- 75 – 100% – Groves above Cardinal Village & Aspendell (8,550’) – One of the most spectacular views in the canyon is from the road just above Aspendell looking south towards the crest, the middle fork Bishop creek and the gorgeous groves of aspen snaking their way up canyon in full fall color.
- 50 – 75% – Intake II, Big Trees Camp, Four Jeffries Camp (8,000’ – 8,300’) – Color has is developing in an uneven fashion at present making for some interesting photographic opportunities in these areas. Some stands of aspen are in full color while others only a few yards away appear to still be hanging on to summer. There is very cool grove on the far side of Intake II that is showing very bright orange and red hues.
- Sierra Nevada Fall Color Updates 10/10/12 (naturalhistorywanderings.com)