Posted by: Sandy Steinman | November 2, 2017

California Fall Color Updates 11/2/17

California Fall Color Updates


Peak fall color has descended to elevations below 2,000’. That means the best fall color can now be seen in the Sierra foothills, Gold Country and, increasingly, in the Central Valley.

Splashes of peak color can still be seen at higher elevations, though they are not sufficiently widespread to paint an entire region as peaking. For example, areas of North Lake Tahoe have cottonwood and aspen still full of bright yellow and gold leaves, but travel a mile or so and the trees have been stripped.

In the Northern Sierra, Plumas County was in the final stages of peak color this past week, though again, the color is at risk of being stripped. The same is true of other areas above 3,000’ in the Shasta Cascade that had peak color.

The Eastern Sierra, with the exception of Bishop and the Owens Valley are now Past Peak.

The Central Sierra (Yosemite and Kings Canyon Sequoia) are nearing Past Peak. Black oak continue to show bright color, but almost all the dogwood, bigleaf maple and cottonwood are past peak. The Wawona Road in Yosemite is still speckled with bright red, yellow and orange color, though it is falling, increasingly.

In Southern California, all mountain communities are past peak above 2,000′.

With a winter storm predicted for the weekend, fully peaked color will likely be stripped from mountainous areas.

Peak Fall Color has now descended to from 500 to 2,000’ in elevation. This includes California’s vineyards which filling the vineyards with burgundy, red, orange, yellow and lime grape leaves, by type of grape variety. From now to Thanksgiving Day, Napa, Sonoma and Mendocino Counties and northern San Diego County vineyards should have successive shows of bright color by grape variety.

North Coast Redwoods – despite recent rain (perhaps until this weekend), stormy weather has not “truly returned to the North Coast, extending fall color into November.”
peak color has continued and the Roosevelt elk “are still very active”
Redwood National Park and Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park – Peak (75-100%) –Bigleaf maple along Drury Parkway near the Big Tree are the finest Max recalls having seen in years.  “Almost all of the trees are peaking together.” GO NOW!
Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park – Peak (75-100%) – “The drive through the park along Howland Hill Road will be very colorful this week, with the forest carpeted in golden vine maple,” Max reported. He hiked the entirety of Mill Creek through the park over this past weekend and found bigleaf maple in top form. GO NOW!
See photos of  Redwood Highway – Glimpses of Brilliance

San Rafael – Each autumn, maidenhair coifs the streets of San Rafael with bright yellow.
The maidenhair of which we speak are the gingko biloba trees, a good choice to be planted along city streets, not just for their dazzling autumn color, but also because the trees don’t uproot sidewalks and roadways.
gingko biloba the first two weeks of November they provide lovely color and form along the streets of San Rafael.
San Rafael – Near Peak (50-75%) – Maidenhair have coiffed the streets of San Rafael. GO NOW!
See photos at San Rafael’s Maidenhair

Mendocino County vineyards to be full of color and Near Peak.  As is typical of vineyards, some vines are past peak, others patchy and still others near or at peak.
Walt visited the Nelson Family Vineyards and Saracina Vineyards between Hopland and Ukiah along Highway 101, then traveled the Old River Road along the Russian River between Hopland and Ukiah and near Talmadge along Old River Road, just outside Ukiah.
Hopland/Ukiah – Near Peak (50-75%) GO NOW!
See photos at Fires Out, Color Begins to Appear

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