Early Signs of Fall Color on the East Side

Layers of Aspens, Green Creek, Eastern Sierra, October 2011

Shauna, her dog Roo, and myself went to check out the progress of fall color on the east side this weekend.  It was a great weekend with excellent weather.  Traveling along the Tioga Pass Road (Hwy. 120), we noticed a fair amount of people still visiting Yosemite’s high country – something that neither of us has seen in the past.  Usually, the high country has slowed some, but maybe with all this great weather, people are still trying to get that last backpack trip, or climb in, before it starts getting cold.

I wanted to show Shauna the June Lake Loop because she hadn’t been there yet.  As we drove around, early signs of fall in the aspens are showing.  Mostly, there is a slight yellowing to the leaves at this point, but there were a few trees in full fall color.  Sorry- didn’t get pics of that.

We then headed north to Lundy Canyon.  Similar Aspen conditions exist here, with the exception of one fairly large grouping of trees turning color up an eastern Sierra slope near Hwy. 395.  It’s been my experience that higher altitude aspens turn before the lower ones and I’ve seen them turn in mid to late September in the past.

Fall Color & Lundy Falls, Lundy Canyon, October 2011

It was fairly cold during the night at Lundy Creek Campground, but not freezing.  Theories suggest that really cold temps help to turn the leaves.  If that’s the case, it may be a couple more weeks before full color happens (perhaps 1st week of October – earlier than usual).  I’ll be returning in a few weeks in hopes of an early fall on the east side!

Kirk’s disclaimer:  I’m new at this prediction stuff, so in no way am I responsible for mis-predicting fall color.  Think of me as you would a weather person…  Check other east side fall color sites as October gets closer for more recent observations.  I’ll certainly update my blog the next time I’m on the east side!

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