Fall colors in Eastern Sierras
I am planning for a weekend to check out the fall colors in the Eastern Sierras.
Planning to drive from Bay area early fri eve(Sep 29) and stay overnight at Lee Vining/Mammoth Lakes(any cheap accomodations?) Plan to cover Rock creek area where there are apens. Maybe Devil's postpile as well. Is it a good time to see Rainbow falls? I mean, do they have water in fall?
I've heard so much abt Bishop as well. So, Sat night, plan to stay there overnight.
Any important places to see?
Any help on where to stay, what to see & where to see the best fall colors???
will be greatly appreciated.
Our plan is not finalised. So, we can still change it, if need be.
Last edited by Mark Sedenquist; 09-16-2006 at 07:33 AM.
Reason: Added navigational link to fall colors poll thread
Learning New Things
One of the joys of serving as a Moderator on these forums is that I get to poke my nose into new destinations and to learn a few new things. I must admit that I have not been to this neck of the woods at this time of year, but from what I could learn, early to mid October is the peak foliage time in that area, with peak coming earlier around Mammoth lakes and a little later around Owens Valley. Flow in the San Joaquin River over Rainbow Falls should continue through the fall right up until it freezes.
If I were making this trip, I'd make a point of asking my waitresses, inn-keepers, convenience store clerks, librarians, visitor center staff and any other local resident I could find, where they go when they want to get away from it all. Ask nicely and they might even tell you their favorite "secret" place.
Looks like I'll have to resort to that. I am unable to figure out much from the internet.
The lodging seems to be very expensive.
When I get back, probably can give others some info.
Sierra Fall Colors
I did a trip last year to the Eastern Sierra in search of
fall colors, and additionally spent a couple nights in Yosemite.
The canyons along the eastern Sierra are loaded with
fall colors. Timing varies from year to year. Check out
the CalPhoto fall foliage report for the latest reports. Also stop by
the Inyo National Forest Ranger Station and Visitor Center
off of Hwy 203 in the town of Mammoth Lakes (before your
reach Old Mammoth Rd), they can inform you on places to
Last year I explored Lee Vining Canyon, Lundy Canyon
McGee Creek, Convict Lake, and June Lake Loop.
All of these locations have fall colors and are accessible
from Hwy 395.
I also made a trip to the Bristlecone Forest. Take Hwy 168
east out of Big Pine then White Mountain Road.
Roadtrip America has some information about the Bristlecone Forest.
I would expect the San Joaquin River to have water going
over Rainbow Falls, but I don't know how much.
You can visit Devils Postpile National Monument while walking
to Rainbow Falls.
During the summer a shuttle bus is required to get to the
trailhead to hike to Rainbow Falls and Devils Postpile,
but that may not be the case in late September.
Pictures from last year's trip are here.
Have fun exploring.
Beautiful pictures Roadie!
Very artistic eye for the beauty in the simple things.
We get maybe a couple of weeks of semi-fall foilage, but mostly it just goes from green to brown overnight around here. I'm going to have to take a weekend and maybe go explore the Ozarks in north Arkansas for some fall foilage some time.
Contrary to some beliefs, California does have fall colors. It may not be
as dramatic as the east coast and you may have to drive somewhere
to see it, but it's there.
The Sierra is loaded with fall colors, October is probably the best month
to catch the aspen changing colors.
Thank you Laura for viewing my images and your nice words. I enjoy
photography and wish I had more time to explore and take photos.
Your pics are too good.
After your post, I'm sure I will not be lost.
I will sure check the visitor center.
How long is the hike to rainbow falls?
I am going to try to squeeze as much as I can in a weekend, since we are driving 300 miles for it.
Also, I heard Owens valley is good. I've made reservations at Bishop for saturday.
Last edited by cool; 09-14-2006 at 06:34 PM.
Hike to Rainbow Falls
Here's a link with a description of the hike.
The Owens Valley stretches from the southern edge at
Owens Lake to the north at Sherwin Summit, just north
of Bishop. Most of it is high desert country.
Places of interest in addition to previously mention include:
was a WWII internment camp for Japanese.
Whitney Portal, near Lone Pine, which is the trailhead to
Mount Whitney (highest peak in the contiguous U.S.)
Alabama Hills, also near Lone Pine that has some interesting
If you have an interest in photography, visit the Mountain
Light Gallery in Bishop. The Mountain
Light Gallery was started by the late Galen Rowell.
Check it out, his work is amazing.
North of Lee Vining is the ghost town of Bodie, which
is worth visiting.
Look at a map and explore any of canyons west of
Hwy 395, there are many places to explore.
Just wondering if a normal sedan would do. Will I be missing something just bcos I don't have a 4wd?
The main canyon roads that go to the west of
Hwy 395 are paved.
Alabama Hills near Lone Pine are decent off highway
roads, though it's been about 10 years since I've
The road to the ghost town of Bodie is paved, then
turns to dirt, but is drivable by 2wd vehicles.
The road to the main tufa area at Mono Lake is dirt
as well, but drivable with 2wd.
If you are a member of AAA auto club, they print a nice
Eastern Sierra map.
Have fun and safe trip.