Yes, California has some spectacular fall colors in Sierra Nevada. Sierra Nevada is a mountain range in the eastern part of California. Autumn here might not be as dense, vibrant, and spanning acres like some places on the East coast, Canada, and parts of Europe, but it’s admirable.
It is recommended to check online for fall reports; a number of factors can change the timing. You see, mother nature is quite moody, which to some extent we are responsible for (read – global warming). California is facing severe drought conditions for a few years now, warmer temperatures, and less snowfall in the Sierras. This is evident once you get here—water levels have dropped considerably in most of the lakes in the Sierra Nevada; a sad state. Ok, let me not digress from the topic. Here’s a good place to find the latest fall color update.
So, in October 2013 we took the road to Mono county, to the small town of Mammoth lakes. We drove through Sonora pass, and on the way back we took the route through Tioga pass in Yosemite. Both routes are beautiful during autumn. The first carpet of Aspens we came across was after Bridgeport – Conway Summit, just before reaching the Mono lake vista point.
My personal favorite is the June lake loop, a gorgeous drive which links the four lakes – June, Gull, Silver, and Grant. We also hiked a short distance to McGee creek; it’s desolate and beautiful.
While here, explore these places – Mammoth mountain and Mono lake.
In the autumn of 2015, we decided to camp near one of the lakes in Inyo county, close to the city of Bishop. We chose Sabrina campground which is next to Bishop creek and around 2 to 3 miles to lake Sabrina. Colors around lake Sabrina had already reached its peak and was fading away, but we were in luck around North lake. North lake can be reached by a gravel road.
Owing to its popularity, be ready to share the space with hikers, photographers, and fishers. North lake also has a campground nearby.
List of other campgrounds in the area can be found here. Closest town with limited accommodation is Aspendell. The next big town with many hotels is Bishop.
One thing to remember while camping here —temperatures drop considerably at night in the mountains, as much as 6 degrees lower compared to Bishop temperatures.
All said, in 2015 I was lucky to see some colors in the beautiful city of Prague. Wish I could stay there longer and see the colors peak.
Are you a leaf peeper? Which is your favorite place to see fall colors?
(We have explored the places in Eastern Sierras in October)