Posted by: Sandy Steinman | October 13, 2017

California Fall Color Reports 10/13/17

California Fall Color has a number of new reports . There are detailed reports for Hope Valley and South Tahoe as well as information about Apple Hill, Newton Road in Pleasant Valley and  LaPorte Rd. in  Quincy Here are the highlights with photo links.

Apple Hill – My route took me through Pleasant Valley (great wine tasting) down Newtown Rd. toward Placerville, US 50 and Camino.
Newtown is a lovely, winding road canopied by huge black oak and bigleaf maple, that now are speckled with huge bright yellow and lime-colored maple leaves.
Apple Hill, Camino (3,133′) – Near Peak (50-75%) GO NOW!
Newtown Road, Pleasant Valley – Patchy to Near Peak (10-75%) GO NOW!
See photos at Apple Hill – Ripe for Picking

Hope Valley – still has lots and lots of peak color, though it’s all below 7,400′.
A scouting trip through the Hope Valley (CA-88, Carson Pass) found peak color at Sorensen’s Resort at the top of Woodford’s Canyon and in the Hope Valley below Red Creek Cabin.
Aspen high on the ridge behind the cabin have moved from Just Starting to Patchy.
Those directly behind the cabin, that were peaking previously, are now Past Peak and those that were Patchy to Near Peak are peaking.
Above the cabin, Red Lake and Caples Lake have peaked. Only spotty color remains. Similarly, at Sorensen’s, stands at the resort are at full, glorious peak, while those across the road and along the West Fork of the Carson River are Past Peak.

Nevertheless, you haven’t missed it. This weekend will still be spectacular in the Hope Valley with great color to be seen along CA-88 between Red Creek Cabin and Woodford’s Canyon (Sorensens). Haze from Northern California wildfires softened the scene, slightly, but as seen in these photos, could be corrected.
If you are attentive, a few dirt and gravel US Forest Service roads lead from points along the north side of CA-88 to the color. They are marked with USFS tags. Do not, however, drive on any private roads, which usually are marked “No Trespassing.”
At Sorensen’s and in the lower Hope Valley, there continue to be large groves of aspen with peak color that will likely hold for another week or more.
Hope Valley (7,300′) – Peak (75-100%) GO NOW!
Luther Pass (7,740′) – Peak to Past Peak (75-100%) GO NOW as you almost missed it! – Big Meadow on the north side of Luther Pass is the only area along this section of CA-89 that has any color.  Large aspen on the east side of the meadow are peaking and add romance to a hike along the meadow trail. Though, the color is an added benefit to the hike, not a reason in itself to visit the meadow.
See photos at Losing Hope? Not Quite Yet

South Tahoe–  The City of South Lake Tahoe has spots of planted dogwood and aspen near downtown businesses and hotels, and in its residential  neighborhoods, but to see spectacular stands of native aspen, cottonwood and bigleaf maple, you have to head out of town and search for  drainages.
On the west side of SLT, CA-89 winds north toward Emerald Bay and continues eventually to Tahoe City. Pockets of fall color can be seen all along the route, but if you look for creeks and streams on your nav or map, you’re likely to find ribbons of bright color climbing up into the Sierra Nevada.
Taylor Creek and the road to the Tallac Trailhead are two of them, not far from South Lake Tahoe. They’re not far from SLT by car or bike.
A paved bike path runs from Stateline to Taylor Creek, and bikes can be rented in SLT, just after the “Y.”
Don’t expect to see much color along the path until you reach Taylor Creek, as the pine forest has almost none. There’s a little color beside the Camp Richardson Hotel, but otherwise the route is pretty brown, as it’s in the drainages where the best fall color is found.
At Taylor Creek, a hiking trail winds beside the creek, with bigleaf maple and aspen lighting it. Parking is at the trailhead and at turnouts along CA-89.
The road to Tallac Trailhead crosses a winding band of brilliant yellow aspen, at several points. There are narrow shoulders at points at which to pull your vehicle to the side, so that you can get out and explore the aspen.
South Lake Tahoe (6,237′) – Peak (75-100%) GO NOW!
See photos at South Lake Tahoe – Find The Drainages

Quincy – The LaPorte Road, just out of Quincy, “is ripe for color drives, all along the road,” reports Plumas County color spotter Jeff Luke Titcomb.
Yellow bigleaf maple, rosy dogwood and black oak, their big leaves splotched with orange, yellow and lime, “are just stunning right now,” Jeff writes, “It’s a great drive, especially when the sun changes direction and just makes the yellow glow.”
LaPorte Rd., Quincy (3,432′) – Peak (75-100%) GO NOW! 
See photos at  Weekend Drive – LaPorte Road, Quincy


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