California fall, 2018

Here’s an update on the fall colors in the Eastern Sierra, Mammoth and points north.

I drove up 395 on Saturday September 29, 2018, starting at Convict Lake, finishing at South Lake Tahoe. I also took a couple detours away from 395, notably east on the 120 to Sagehen Summit, Virginia Lakes, and finally the ‘back route’ to South Lake Tahoe via Monitor Pass. The day was quite windy, so I wouldn’t be surprised if a lot of leaves are gone after the weekend. My guess is that the high peaks were exceptionally windy, so I don’t feel too bad about cancelling my planned hikes today.

At present, the cluster of aspens around Sagehen Summit are at peak, with a nice amount of red color, but also mixed in with trees that went from yellow to black. This won’t last too long, maybe 2-3 days at the most.

Convict Lake is still at least a week from peak, the color change is 40 % or so with still plenty of green. I’d aim for the first or second weekend of October.

Virginia Lakes are at peak, but again it’s been quite windy. Below, closer to Conway Summit, the color is maybe at 30 % and will look better in a week.

Further north, Monitor Pass is near peak, as is Hope Valley. Luther Pass is changing unevenly, with some groves still all green and others yellow. I’m not sure how all this compares to previous years.

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