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Friday, 08 October 2021 15:06

California Fall Color Report

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Family stroll on Lobdell Lake Road in Mono County Family stroll on Lobdell Lake Road in Mono County Photo: Jeff Simpson

TASTE News Service, October 8, 2021  --  Editor’s note:  Following is a summary of reports on autumnal change across California as of October 7, 2021.

\It is compiled from reports and photographs submitted by a network of volunteer observers.

All reports are substantiated by dated photography.


To view and use the best photographs taken this week: CLICK HERE

Statewide Summary

From 8,500' to 9,000' in elevation in the Eastern Sierra, autumn color is peaking. Above 9,000' the color now varies from Peak to Past Peak.

Peak areas include:

  • Bishop Creek Canyon (CA-168): (South Fork) - Willow Campground, Surveyor's Meadow and Table Mountain Campground; (Middle Fork) - Lake Sabrina, Sabrina Approach, Sabrina Campground and the Groves Above Cardinal Village; (North Fork) - North Lake and North Lake Rd.
  • Mono County, (from the north) Peak areas include: Monitor Pass (CA-89), Sonora Pass (CA-108), Lobdell Lake Rd (AWD/4WD recommended), Conway Summit (US 395), Summers Meadow Rd (AWD/4WD recommended), Tioga Pass (CA-120E) and Upper Rock Creek Rd. Now Past Peak are the Virginia Lakes and Sagehen Summit.
  • In Yosemite Valley, one tree, the Pioneer Sugar Maple located near the Yosemite Chapel is peaking. This tree, planted by early park residents, has an early and short-duration peak. No other foliage in Yosemite National Park is showing significant color, as yet.
  • At Lake Tahoe, Martis Creek Meadow (CA-267) is at Peak with orange and yellow aspen surrounding a decaying cabin on public land, a favorite of photographers and artists.

Nearing Peak along CA-88, south of Lake Tahoe, is the Hope Valley where stands of aspen are vibrant yellow and orange, while others remain Patchy. Groves on the hills behind and surrounding Red Lake Creek Cabin, a picturesque ranch house near CA-88, are Near Peak and could be pushed to peak with predicted cold overnight temperatures. This cabin is on private ranch land and persons taking pictures and selfies are cautioned not to cross fence lines or they risk being arrested.

A dusting of snow in the High Sierra is expected today through Saturday. It is expected to close Tioga Pass, Sonora Pass and Monitor Pass temporarily. Visit roads.dot.ca.gov for updates. The light snowfall will contribute to spectacular fall color pictures.


These are awarded to locations that will have California's best fall color overall, the best fall color drive and the best hike in the coming week.

  • Peak of the Week is Lake Sabrina in Bishop Creek Canyon (Inyo County).
  • Drive of the Week is Summers Meadows Rd near Conway Summit (Mono County) - AWD/4WD vehicle recommended.
  • Hike of the Week is the trail around North Lake in Bishop Creek Canyon (Inyo County).

CaliforniaFallColor.com uses the following scale in judging the percentage of change: Just Starting (0 - 10%), Patchy (10 - 50%), Near Peak (50 - 75%), Peak (75 - 100%) and Past Peak.

These assessments are made by local fall color spotters who are experienced at assessing the overall change for a given location. We judge change by location and elevation. In California, autumn color appears at the highest elevations first (above 9,500'), then descends at an approximate rate of 500 to 1,000 feet a week.

The following conditions were accurate as of 10/7/21 and are subject to rapid change. For a comprehensive picture of the state’s fall color visit https://www.californiafallcolor.com/

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