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Fall Colors hike, seeking recommendations

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Fall Colors hike, seeking recommendations

Postby FentonForche2 » Thu Sep 06, 2012 6:11 pm

Hi Everyone,

I was hoping I could solicit some recommendations for a good fall Aspen hike. I know we're probably still a month away from having any decent color but I am trying to plan a trek that meets the following criteria:

-Proximity to Napa. I'm hoping we can find something decent within a 3 1/2 hour drive of our house in Napa, so I'm looking for options in the Sierras east of Sac or perhaps up north toward Shasta?
-Relatively short distance from trailhead. I'll be hiking with my son on my back, who's 16 months old. He's good for about four miles round trip before he starts to get fussy.
-Class 1 or Class 2 the whole way, for the same reason.

Thanks in advance for any suggestions!
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Re: Fall Colors hike, seeking recommendations

Postby Carbo » Thu Sep 06, 2012 11:03 pm

This site is always good to look at to find the fall colors.
http://www.calphoto.com/fall.htm
Personally I head to eastern Sierra around Bishop creek drainage and Rock creek area.
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Re: Fall Colors hike, seeking recommendations

Postby SeanReedy » Fri Sep 07, 2012 12:48 am

-Head up HWY 50 to Fallen Leaf Lake, just south of Tahoe.

-Visit Hope Valley, a bit further south near Carson Pass/HWY 88.

-This site might help with ideas farther north (Tahoe, Plumas, Lassen), and with timing all over CA: http://www.californiafallcolor.com/

-Although not quaking aspen, you could take in fall colors on a hike to Carlon Falls near the HWY 120 northwestern entrance to Yosemite. If you have more time, head into Yosemite Valley.

- http://www.summitpost.org/lundy-canyon/420082
If you have more than a day, then head over Tioga Pass to check out the plentiful aspens in Lundy Canyon near Lee Vining. You will find easy hikes there, and also at Green Creek and Virginia Lakes a bit farther north. If you want to loop home, you could head up HWY 395 to HWY 108 (Sonora Pass), HWY 4 (Ebbetts Pass), or HWY 89 (Monitor Pass) and HWY 88 or HWY 50.

-Farther from home, south of Tioga Pass/120, you could check out the June Lake loop, McGee Creek, and Convict Canyon. There are easy hikes from Rock Creek Canyon/Little Lakes Valley (mentioned above) a bit farther south.

http://www.summitpost.org/sierra-nevada/176773
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Re: Fall Colors hike, seeking recommendations

Postby David Senesac » Fri Sep 07, 2012 4:58 am

Most well known aspen groves along the Eastern Sierra may be viewed without taking trail hikes but rather wandering short distances from roadside pullouts. There are also many places where one can hike crosscounty to both near and remote groves.

One exception that is an excellent fall aspen hike along a trail is Spooner Lake reservoir to Marlette Lake reservoir in Lake Tahoe Nevada State Park. The route climbs through North Canyon where there are aspen groves mixed in with conifer forest much of the way so one can turn at any convenient point without hiking the full 4.5 miles out then 4.5 miles back.

http://www.rei.com/guidepost/detail/nev ... rail/23781

All significant aspen groves are east of the Sierra Crest. The closest large aspens groves to Napa would be those in Hope Valley. They generally peak in color later than areas further south. Don't plan a trip weeks ahead of time for specific dates as peak color varies year to year and may be brief. Also early storms may suddenly denude trees of leaves and mute color in remaining leaves. So check reports and be flexible.

http://www.davidsenesac.com/Fall_2006/fall_2006.html
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Re: Fall Colors hike, seeking recommendations

Postby npsimons » Fri Sep 07, 2012 4:11 pm

I know you were looking for CA, but if you're ever in NM in the Fall, the aspens on the Sandias are beautiful. There's one place in particular that gives a wondrous view, but I can't ever recall its name.
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Re: Fall Colors hike, seeking recommendations

Postby Palisades79 » Fri Sep 07, 2012 4:20 pm

Carson Pass -Hope Valley -Blue Lakes Road & eat a fruit cobbler at Sorensen's Resort .Camp at Grover Hot Springs State Park in Markleeville and also check out Ebbets and Monitor Passes.Big Meadows at Luther Pass also has some scenic Aspen groves.
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Re: Fall Colors hike, seeking recommendations

Postby Bubba Suess » Fri Sep 07, 2012 4:33 pm

Up here in Shasta, there are a several places to catch the fall color. My favorite is along the Sacramento River. One of the best spots is to hike the Sacramento River Trail in Castle Crags State Park. Beautiful river, swinging bridge, lots of color. This is topped only by the trip to Mossbrae Falls (also along the Sac), which is a little more challenging these days but still doable:

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Re: Fall Colors hike, seeking recommendations

Postby butitsadryheat » Wed Sep 26, 2012 11:01 pm

^^^nice pic^^^

why is the hike more challenging now?


I understand that Bishop Creek (SF) and Sabrina are peaking right now for color? Can anyone in the area confirm?
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Re: Fall Colors hike, seeking recommendations

Postby Scott M. » Thu Sep 27, 2012 4:31 am

Bishop Creek above Cardinal Lodge is coming in to some good color including Sabrina Basin.Still pretty green down in Aspendell. North Lake area is looking nice, too. The normally colorful orange grove above the lake was setting good color last week. The tripod crowd is out and about.
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Re: Fall Colors hike, seeking recommendations

Postby SeanReedy » Fri Sep 28, 2012 8:11 am

^^^^Pictures I've been seeing of the Eastern Sierra make me regret that it is hard for me to travel much between Labor Day and Veterans Day.
My visit to Mossbrae Falls was a quick stop off of I-5 to walk along the railroad tracks several years ago. More recently, I read about the issues there and the trail plans. It looks like fall would be a nice time to visit there and the Crags. I'm hoping there isn't much early wind and snow this year so I can take in the end of the color show and easily tag some nearby peaks in November. I'll be somewhat close to there in a few weeks too, but will probably stick closer to Chico.

It looks like the link I previously posted (http://www.californiafallcolor.com/) is getting some mainstream media attention along with some additional tips:

http://www.mercurynews.com/travel/ci_21638317/fall-color-where-see-californias-changing-leaves

http://www.mercurynews.com/travel/ci_21637929/fall-color-why-california-best-autumn-display-nation
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Re: Fall Colors hike, seeking recommendations

Postby Bubba Suess » Fri Sep 28, 2012 4:13 pm

butitsadryheat wrote:^^^nice pic^^^

why is the hike more challenging now?

Until a couple of years ago, one could park right along the railroad tracks and hike the tracks along the Sacramento River to the falls. This was the case for decades. The railroad finally thought liability was too much and blocked access to the parking areas. Upset fisherman something fierce too. Now the challenge is finding a good place to park. The hike is longer because of this but the parking is the issue. There is a trail in the works but, as to be expected, money is an issue. The Union Pacific ought to donate a bit to help fund the trail. It would show goodwill and cost less than the hypothetical lawsuit that scared them. If the trail is done right and linked to the Hedge Creek Falls Trail, it could actually be a really neat hike.
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Re: Fall Colors hike, seeking recommendations

Postby tadman » Sat Sep 29, 2012 1:01 am

Rock Creek, The hike behind Convict, Bishop Pass trail...Just beautiful this time of year

Tad
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Re: Fall Colors hike, seeking recommendations

Postby butitsadryheat » Tue Oct 02, 2012 9:24 pm

Just got back from a weekend in the area

Virginia Lakes was almost at peak by the lakes, and spotty below, coming up from 395. Weird. Some spots lower were at peak, while a couple hundred yards away, some were still dark green. Several areas had slopes that had already been stripped by wind/cold

Convict was almost at peak, but the willows and such had not yet turned, only the aspen. Mostly golds, no oranges or reds to speak much of

McGee Creek Canyon was still lime green and dark green in the lower canyon, but up around the bend the colr was ablaze, with yellows oranges, and a few reds coming in. The slopes above were still yellow, but windblown already as well

North Lake was on fire, at peak, with the hill on the backside all orange. Not much wind damage to be seen

Sabrina has already passed peak around the lake, and the slopes near the dam have been stripped already. Coming up the canyon though, above Aspendell is blazing, but mixed with green. Again, odd mix. At and below Cardinal village is still largely green, as are the areas below, with only a few really nice clumps of yellow.

South Lake road is still green up until the waterfall, where it starts to turn. Up around weir pond and parchers it is almost peak.

I think this weekend (October 6/7) will be peak for most or many of these areas. They are changing fast, and there is a change in weather coming. Get up there soon or you might miss it! (and remember the film festival in Lone Pine and the big car show is this weekend, so rooms will be non-existent. Bring your tents (as if most of you wouldn't do that already!))

http://www.californiafallcolor.com/ has the best updates so far that I have seen
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Re: Fall Colors hike, seeking recommendations

Postby Bubba Suess » Mon Nov 05, 2012 4:27 am

The fall colors are finally hitting their peak up here in Mount Shasta. There is a lot of color in town and further south in the Sacramento River Canyon:
Image
Right now, there is a lot of color a little higher up too. My family went hiking today in the large meadow behind our house, which is at about 4,000 feet.
Image
The colors of the oaks is absolutely awesome right now. Contrasted against the green conifers and gold grass, it was a gorgeous display of color.
Image
Of course, there were a few other things worth looking at:
Image
Last edited by Bubba Suess on Fri Nov 09, 2012 5:10 am, edited 2 times in total.
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