Eastern Sierra Fall Color Guide

Without a doubt, places along highway 395 are the most beautiful destinations for fall color in California. Every year, I spend countless hour searching for new locations along this highway. Then, it just hits me that you cannot find a lot of information online or people just want to keep this place a "secret" forever. So, I decide to make a short guide for everyone to enjoy autumn in California.

NOTE: This guide is intended for casual travelers; thus, all of the locations are easily accessible or just off the road. Please check the local weather and road condition before traveling. And last but not least, please share this page if you find it useful. Thank you.

Fall color varies from year to year so it's always good to check the condition before you head out. Check out California Fall Color and Sandy Steinman's Blog for up to date information.

1. Bishop Area (Inyo County) - Generally, first to peak in Late September to early October.

The place to view fall color in Inyo county is Bishop Creek about 13 miles from town. When talking about Bishop Creek area, I generally divide it into 2: South Lake Road and Lake Sabrina Road.

South Lake Rd turn off is about 15 miles from Hwy 395 intersection. You can find numerous aspen grooves along the road. It can take a whole day to explore this section of Bishop Creek.

The other section is continuing on Hwy 168 until you reach lake Sabrina. There are three famous locations that everyone should stop which is North Lake (famous for its tree tunnel, but be careful because the road is unpaved and really steep), Bishop Creek Intake and Cardinal Resort.

2. Mammoth Area (Mono County) - Peak in early to mid October.

I haven't had a chance to travel a lot of places in Mammoth area, but Convict Lake and McGee Canyon are really beautiful in Autumn.  

3. June Lake Loop (Mono County) - Peak in mid to maybe late October.

June Lake loop has everything Eastern Sierra can offer: lake, stream, creek, waterfall. The best thing is everything is right on the road; you don't even have to get out of your car to see it (but please do get out). One warning though, there are a lot of people walk out in the middle of the road to take pictures so drive slowly.

4. Lee Vining - Lundy Canyon & Conway Summit (Mono County) - Peak in early to mid October

These areas are less crowded but they're still amazing.   In Lee Vining, take Hwy 120 Tioga pass to Ranger station, you can park there and explore the area.

Lundy Canyon is an amazing place to explore. There are many small but beautiful grove along the road toward Lundy Lake. At the end of the road, you'll find hug aspen groves. You can drive on but it's an unpaved road; so be careful.

If you are already here, drive a little bit up North on 395 and you'll not regret. There are 2 vista points: Mono Lake vista point and Conway Summit. Conway summit is amazing. There is large meadow with beautiful groves of aspen.

5. South Lake Tahoe & Hope Valley Area (Eldorado County & Alpine County) - Peak in early to mid October sometimes to late October.

Hope Valley is THE place to view fall color if you're in Tahoe area. It's especially beautiful along Carson River and Luther Pass. In addition, be sure to stop by Sorensen's Resort. They have great sandwiches, and beautiful cabins in the middle of aspen grove.

You can find fall color at almost every corner in South Lake Tahoe. So much that you'd never think that you're in California.
As they say "a picture is worth a thousand words", I let them do all the "talking" for me. Eastern Sierra is really beautiful year round but it is the best in Autumn. The weather is much cooler and it is less crowded also. That's all for now. I will continue update this page as I travel to more places.
Feel free to contact me and thank you for reading. Forgive me for any grammar mistake.

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