provides the following summary of autumn colors from reporting areas of California.

Alicia Vennos hiked to Walker Lake for this photo of aspen at its peak.

Alicia Vennos hiked to Walker Lake for this photo of aspen at its peak.

A small selection of the best fall color photos of the week is sent to media who requested to be on a list to receive photos.  If you would like to see them, please email [email protected].


Peak of the Week, again this week, is Plumas County in the Shasta Cascade where hillsides and streams are flush with crimson, pink, yellow, gold, orange and lime leaves, shrubs and grasses.

Quincy (Plumas County – CA-89), with its classic white-steeple’d Methodist Church backed by tall oaks full of orange leaves is the quintessential image of a fall destination.  Other areas near peak in the Shasta Cascade include Siskiyou County with its views of Mt. Lassen framed with fall color and Lassen County, whose Bizz Johnson Trail and streams are splashed with color.

The Eastern Sierra and Lake Tahoe areas are now mostly past peak with a few pockets of brilliant color still found at Aspendell, along the June Lake Loop and at Lower Rock Creek Trail.  These areas will be past peak momentarily.

Yosemite Valley in the Western Sierra is Near Peak and a little late in turning.  Yosemite locals call this an off year for fall color with many trees turning quickly and dropping brown, desiccated leaves.  Still, Yosemite Valley’s large black oak are becoming dressed in their Halloween colors of orange and black.  Yosemite’s high country is now past peak.

The Gold Country’ s rivers have spots of bright color edging them at about 3,000’ in elevation.  Along US 50, east of Pollock Pine the American River is lined with bright yellow with color moving down into the Gold Country to elevations below 3,000’.

One of California’s great cities of trees, Sacramento, has piles of London Plane Tree leaves building along the Fabulous 40s (avenues in east Sacramento numbered in the 40s) and surrounding William Land Park.  Walnut groves off CA-99 from Valley Spring north to Red Bluff are beginning to carry yellow leaves.

Chartreuse wild cucumber are climbing beside US 101 between Willits and Laytonville along The Redwood Highway.  The North Coast’s Eel River is edged with gold.

In Southern California, Lake Gregory in the San Bernardino mountains is peaking with orange and gold black oaks; Lake Hemet’s yellow and gold cottonwood are near peak; and San Diego County’s Laguna Mountains are a mix of peaked and patchy black oaks. The Los Angeles County Arboretum in Arcadia submitted its first report of fall color and it often is the last area in California to report peak.


This will likely be the last week for any significant color in the Eastern Sierra.  “Crazy” winds this past Friday and Saturday stripped many leaves, though – remarkably – left many stands of aspen with their leaves, in what color spotters Nick and Alena Barnhart call “pockets of resistance.”

Inyo County

Lone Pine (US 395) – (Peak to Past Peak) – Stands of color are seen high up in the Eastern Sierra. GO NOW!

Aspendell, Bishop Creek Canyon (Peak to Past Peak) – Brilliant color continues to survive, despite winds above 20 mph.  For the past couple of weeks, we’ve been reporting the color would last only a few days.  Reports of its death are beginning to sound “Twainian.” GO NOW!

Mono County

Lower Rock Creek Rd (Peak – 75-100%) – HIKE OF THE WEEK: Drive about 2.5 miles down Lower Rock Creek Rd. to the first major pull-out (west side of the road),  park and then cross the road to hike back up the trail.  Aspens along the beautiful rushing creek are at peak now. Look for the beaver dam which has stilled the water surface to afford mirror-like reflections of the trees.  The trail is multi-use, so mountain bikers, hikers and anglers.  Alicia warns, “Please watch out for one another!” GO NOW!

Mammoth Lakes (Peak to Past Peak – Sections of Mammoth Creek Rd. (off Old Mammoth Road in Mammoth Lakes) still offer brilliant red and orange on the trees.
June Lake Loop/Hwy. 158  (Past Peak) – Even though the June Lake Loop moves to being past peak, a few stands remain vibrant, particularly around Gull Lake, at the base of June Mountain and just north of Silver Lake. YOU MISSED IT!

Lee Vining Canyon (Peak to Past Peak) – The lower section of Tioga Pass Rd. and Lee Vining Canyon are peaking beautifully, with some trees definitely past peak. GO NOW!

Conway Summit, Green Creek Road and Twin Lakes (Past Peak) – Again, though spots of color appear in the groves surrounding Bridgeport, comparative photos now show the haunting contrast between most of the trees that are completely bare and those few with bright patches of color still on them.  Overall, it’s past peak and one good gust from being stripped.  YOU MISSED IT!

West Walker River and Walker/Coleville (Peak 75-100%) – Grand cottonwood flanking the northern stretch of US 395 and along the West Walker River are bright yellow at peak. GO NOW!

Bishop (Peak 75-100%) US 395 from Lone Pine to Bishop is at peak with cottonwood and sage brush golden. GO NOW!