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October 28, 2011

Fall Foliage Update - Friday, October 28th


Fall Foliage - Lundy Canyon
Caption: Lundy Canyon
Credit: Victor Cooper

Fall Foliage - Chyanne Morrison
Caption: Chyanne Morrison wears a bigleaf maple hat near Quincy
Credit: Suzi Brakken

A mild autumn with few storms or wind has resulted in sustained fall color across the Eastern Sierra.  Leaves remain brightly colored at 7,000’, although peak is now down to 6,000’ throughout much of California.  The Eastern Sierra should continue to be beautiful for another week, weather permitting.  Yosemite National Park is reporting mixed color by specie, with the bigleaf maple already turned.  Dogwood and black oak are still colorful and promise great leaf peeping into early November in Yosemite Valley.  Hwy 299 from Arcata to Redding is showing good color, particularly near Weaverville.  Modoc County, Plumas County and the Bizz Johnson Trail near Susanville are all at peak.  Redding is just beginning to show signs of color, as are many of the state’s urban forests.

Here’s what’s been reported this week by region:

0 – 15% – Redding - With color descending throughout California (now peaking at 6,000′), color spotter Jenny Zink reports from Redding that color is appearing two weeks later than normal.  She attribute’s Redding’s clear skies and warm daytime temps (second sunniest city in America) as helping to keep the trees green so far.  However, the first signs of yellow are now appearing in riparian areas long the Sacramento River and autumn for Redding cannot be far behind.  If heading north, you’ll find color in the higher areas surrounding Redding: Hwy 299 between Redding and Weaverville, Whiskeytown National Recreation Area and MacArthur Burney Memorial Falls State Park.  Plan on this area coloring up over the next two weeks, weather permitting.

Butte County:
15-30%- Butte County- Susan at the Oroville chamber reports that about 30% of Butte County’s trees have begun shifting from summer yellow to deep autumn red, a few are beginning to lose leaves.

Shasta County:
0-15% – Whiskeytown National Recreation Area- Sheila of Whiskeytown NRA says the national park is beginning to experience peeks of fall color changes. The tips of leaves are beginning to show signs of a rust color, but they seem to still enjoy their brilliant green. The wind is beginning to pick up, so if sailing/boating is a passion of yours, check out this transform from the lake.

30-50%- Burney Falls State Park- According to the Burney Falls Chamber, there are vibrant oranges and reds being seen on the maple trees in town. On Main Street near Cal Trans the trees change is in full peak. Also, on 299 there are trees showing their spots here and there. There is more change to come in the town of Burney.

Tehama County:
30-50%- Lassen Volcanic National Park- Melani at Lassen Volcanic reports the autumn shift is in full swing with everything from the top tips of the Aspens to the lowly ferns shifting into brilliant shades of yellow, gold, and chocolate brown. There is still some green to be seen, but not for much longer.  Melani found Hat Creek and the Devastation Area  to be inspirational with the aspens and ferns changing from green to yellows, golds, and browns.

Lassen County:
50-75%- Bizz Johnson Trail- “Gorgeous” is the word Stan from the Eagle Lake Field Office  used to describe the landscape that can be seen along the Bizz Johnson Trail. This week is said to be the peak of the color change with the Aspens in full transformation into a rich gold and yellow. Along the river pines, oaks, and sagebrush are flaunting brilliant yellows and oranges, while in town Maple trees are displaying vibrant reds.

Saturday, Oct. 29 is the last day to catch Lassen Lands & Trails Trust’s “Take the Bus, Bike the Bizz” event, offering shuttle services to enjoy the beautiful fall colors while biking the trail.  Bikers must reserve a spot to shuttle their bike to and from the trail. Catch the bus at the Historic Susanville Railroad Depot (check-in at 8:00am) to Devil’s Corral. Bus fares range from $2-$3 depending on your destination to Devil’s Corral or Westwood. They also recommend parking at the junction of A-21 and hwy 36 in Westwood, parking your vehicle and riding the trail, then taking the shuttle back to Westwood. However you decide to “Bike the Bizz” Don’t miss out on this fall beauty! 530-257-3252

Siskiyou County:
30-50%- Mt. Shasta- The Mt Shasta Ranger Station reports the area is just now starting to experience fall color changes, which can be seen in the aspens, birch, and maples, located in the mid-elevation, mainly around Lake Siskiyou and Castle Lake. The trees are just starting to show shades of yellow, orange and golden tones, with the suspected peak of the color beginning within the next few weeks.  But all that could change overnight with a cold spell, so they are in a limbo place. The dogwood, oaks and ferns will be coming in red soon, and the maples a bright yellow.

Trinity County:
15-30%- Weaverville- Cindy at the Weaverville Ranger Station reports the trees are just starting to change along Hwy 299 near Weaverville between Arcata and Redding, but they are being stubborn to give up their summer glow.  Most color can be seen from oaks, maples, and locusts which are turning yellow with a hint of red.

Plumas County:
75-100% Plumas County- The waterways and surrounding areas around the county are overflowing with dynamic fall colors.  Dogwoods, Aspens, and Maples are reaching their color peak with bright yellows and deep oranges. Even the Indian Rhubarb is showing up and displaying itself in shades of red and orange. Want to see the true colors of fall? Recommendations are to stick to the off-road forest service trails to see some true surprises of nature. These colors are sure to go about another week or two.   Susie Bracken says colors are just exploding with Quincy, Antelope Lake, and the entire off road forest service routes in full color. The oaks are a little slow but the maples are displaying a bright yellow and the Indian Rhubar a vibrant deep red. There are many surprises to be found and it should last for another few weeks.

Modoc County:
75-100% Modoc County- The aspens have been changing yellowish to orange tones making for an incredible backdrop. Most of the fall colors have changed.  As far as the high country goes, autumn is on its way to winter.

Photographer Rob Bohning was out and about the east side and reports though many of the areas are past peak, there’s still a lot of beauty to be seen.

Past Peak – Bishop Creek Canyon - There’s still a lot of great color with golden aspen at peak.  Intake II off Hwy 168 had awesome orange and gold around the lake.  Also, Aspendell was a great surprise and the aspen there was peak.

Past Peak – McGee Creek Canyon - Though past peak, there’s still lots of nice color along the hike with about 70-80% remain

Past Peak – Convict Lake - About 50-60% remain

Past Peak – June Lake Loop - This is a mixed bag. Grant  Lake has the most color. As you drive towards Silver lake, there is some great color on the right side, some has not begun to change, and some is full peak.  Near Silver Lake, most color around the lake is now past peak, though about 70% remain. Driving further along Hwy 158 towards Gull Lake there is some nice color on both sides of the road. June Lake color is also past peak, about 50-60% remain.

75 – 100% – Lundy Canyon - Some vibrant oranges and reds speckled throughout. Lundy Lake is past peak, though still gorgeous with 70% of leaves remaining.  At Lundy Canyon many of the leaves have fallen or are now falling, though bright color still remains.  Alicia Vennos describes the aspen as, “a mix of still-vibrant color along with trees that have already lost their leaves… Lundy Canyon, June Lake Loop, McGee Creek and Lower Rock Creek along the bike trail, are the best bets.”

Past Peak – Conway Summit – Though the summit is past peak, some great color, about 80%, remains

75 – 100% - Hope Valley – Mike Coutney, a photographer posting on CalPhoto.com wrote, “I went up to Hope Valley on 10/22. I've never seen the amount of aspen color there that I saw this trip. I think it was just about at peak. I'd estimate the color at about 95% peak in the area. Saw aspens that I never knew were there before.”


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