Posted by: Sandy Steinman | September 30, 2017

California Fall Color Reports 9/30/17 Updated


California Fall Color has the following new reports

Lassen National Park

  • Panther Meadow (8,000′) – Peak (75-100%)  Shasta knotweed have carpeted the meadow with peak crimson leaves, though the remainder of the meadow was just beginning to change color, and Shanda saw some late blooming wildflowers in the meado
  • McCloud River Falls Trail (3,000′) – Just Starting  (0-10%) – Indian Rhubarb is just beginning to promise giant flame orange fan leaves along the McCloud River. A quarter of the Pacific Dogwood growing beside the river are giving off intense ruby and lime.

See photos at Way Up North Two Firsts


Hope Valley – the valley’s photogenic cabin (2 miles east of Red Lake on CA88 at 7,400′) surrounded by a few of the aspen that are changing in the valley. The rest along the highway and on the mountainside above the cabins are still green.

  • At 7,200′ in elevation the old California Trail, Reedy wrote, “cuts across 88 right there which was used back in the 1840s.  That was the only place along the entire trip from Silver Lake to Tahoe with bright yellow color.”
  • Phillip said last year at this time, the route was peaking and anticipates it will be Near Peak to Peak by next weekend, in time for the Alpine Aspen Festival. It is likely to stay at peak for the next two weeks.

See photos at Hope Valley Begins to Happen

Tahoe – fall color is turning at the lake with aspen and maples developing quickly, yet a week away from peak color. The weather is glorious.

  • North Lake Tahoe (6,250′) – Patchy (10-50%) See photos at Tahoe Turns

Shasta Cascade –  we’re getting early reports of fall color from the Northern Sierra and Cascades.

Admittedly, the color is at the starting to patchy phase, but still, the photos don’t lie. Even valley locations in the northern Central Valley, like Colusa, are showing early color.
We’re not close to issuing a GO NOW! alert, as too few photos have been received to indicate a trend, though will be watching closely. What a weird year!

  • Westwood (Lassen County) – Patchy (10-50%) – Chris Gallagher, Lassen County District 1 Supervisor, sent a photo of patchy cottonwood near a Westwood barn to score a First Report. Westwood was a lumber mill town, east of Lake Almanor and beside the lovely (bring your kayak) Mountain Meadows Reservoir and Dyer Mountain, the northernmost point in the Sierra Nevada.
  • Fall River – Patchy (10-50%) – Martha Fletcher reports that the Fall River area, particularly Upper Fall River near the Spinner Fall Lodge remains Patchy with the color at 50% and showing shades of yellow, gold, some reds and green from willow, black oak and river grasses.
  • Colusa – Patchy (10-50%) – Mountain ash have brightened in Colusa (Central Valley), Nancy Hull reports. Several National Wildlife Refuges are located near Colusa, which is a great location for wildlife viewing in autumn.


Mammoth/South –  ortunately, none of the areas south of Mammoth Lakes have neared peak, though all of them moved from Just Starting to Patchy. Here’s what he reported on Wednesday:

  • Mammoth Lakes Basin (8,500′) – Patchy (10-50-%) 
  • Lake George (9,000′) –Patchy (10-50-%) 
  • Mammoth Rock (9,100′) –Patchy (10-50-%) 
  • Laurel Meadow (9,000′) –Patchy (10-50-%) 
  • Convict Lake (8,500′) – Patchy (10-50-%) – Convict Lake is gorgeous right now. Golden willows have ringed the lake with lime-yellow color. Some of the smaller groves near the backside of the lake have turned orange. Convict Lake is on the edge of transitioning to Near Peak.
  • McGee Creek (9,000′) –Patchy (10-50-%) – Aspen near the pack station have begun turning. It’s best around late afternoon. Look for lots of lime and yellow.
  • Rock Creek  (9,000′) – Patchy (10-50%) –  Like many of the upper areas, Rock Creek is off to a late start. The color begins at level 7,500′, but is just starting there. The best color is seen above the Rock Creek Resort.


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