Bishop Creek Canyon Fall Color Report
Report & Photos
Overall Conditions Above 8500ft Elevation
Peak – (75 -
100% - Go now!)
It is absolutely go-time for fall color chasers in the upper
reaches of the Bishop Creek Canyon. While it was difficult
to grade the color this week as some areas are slightly past
peak, many areas are at peak, other areas are near peak and
a few areas are just patchy, but with some of the best and
most popular views in at the higher elevations are peaking
now or getting close or are at peak. Because of this I went
with a peak grade for the overall conditions. The roadside
aspen are just now yellowing while the red, orange and
yellow hues are now dominating the canyon walls to the east
and west of South Lake Road and Hwy 168 at the higher
elevations. One thing that concerns us is that the forecast
is calling for 3 straight days of sustained wind followed by
2 days with a chance of rain/snow showers so it will be
interesting to see how well the existing color holds up to
the elements. Having said that, with us finally having some
season appropriate cooler weather, it should really set off
the color down canyon which could make next week a real
Overall Conditions 7000ft to 8500ft Elevation
The lower reaches of the canyon are still mostly patchy with
small yellow patches and bright lime green hues the
prevalent colors. With cooler weather ahead, I wouldn't be
surprised if some of the better views below the 8500ft level
start to really pop next week and develop some more
Saturday Update 9-27-14
foretasted wind showed up big time Wednesday night and all
day Thursday with top gusts estimated at 60 mph in the high
country. It's now died down to a breeze in most areas so we
went out this morning to make sure the color wasn't stripped
from the canyon walls. Thankfully, it looks like most of the
color persists and weathered the wind storm quite well on
the South Fork of Bishop Creek. With a dusting of snow
expected above 8500ft over the weekend, the next 3 - 5 days
could be that perfect combination of snow and color. Time
will tell. Stay posted for another report next Wednesday
with highlights from around the canyon.
Peak (75 - 100% - Go Now!) - Weir Pond (9650ft)
The hillside to the west of the pond is fully turned now
with a few aspens giving up for the season. The aspen on the
west side of the pond have really progressed quickly making
for some exceptional reflection shots with green grass
contrasted with gorgeous yellow, orange and touches of red.
The view from the outlet is stunning with a great view of
the Sierra Crest and the grass-lined pond below with color
on either side of the small lake. There is still some green
yet to turn, especially along the road, but I would guess
that the next week will be the best of the best for this
location weather permitting.
South Lake Road just
above Weir Pond
Near Peak (75 - 100% - Go Now!) - Parchers Camp (9260)
Parchers Camp is probably closer to the 75% mark with
some lower lying aspen yet to turn, but the hillsides
surrounding the resort are on fire to both the east & west.
The color here at the resort tends to stick around a while
so we're hoping to get at least another week of good color
here if Mother Nature can behave herself, a tall order in
late September and early October. Fingers crossed.
So. Fork Bishop Creek
at Parchers Camp
(50 - 75%) - Willow Campground (9000ft)
There is still enough green along the road and in the
campground to keep this location at the near peak level but
things are moving quickly with select trees showing nothing
but green last week now showing peak color. Especially
brilliant are the trees on the right hand side of South Lake
Road just past the campground with a nice dark granite
backdrop behind them.
Near Peak (50 - 75% - Go Now!) - Sabrina Campground (9000ft)
The aspen along Hwy 168 are at peak color with lots of red
and orange to go along with yellow and some green from the
pine. Inside the campground however things are not quite
there yet. There is a lot of yellow near the entrance to the
campground and some red/orange hues on the hwy side of the
campground but there is still quite a bit of green yet to
turn along the middle fork of Bishop Creek. Let's hope the
wind, which can be especially strong here, doesn't strip the
friendly aspens of their foliage too early.
Peak (75 - 100% - Go Now!) - Table Mountain Camp
Our favorite views from this area are on the canyon walls
above and around the campground, both of which are as
brilliant as they're likely to get this season. Still quite
a bit of greenery within the campground but it's changing
incredibly fast. This is certainly a "go now" spot.
Peak (75 - 100% - Go Now!) - Surveyors Meadow (8975ft)
Some green is still hanging tough along the road but most of
the aspen in this area have turned. One of the better areas
in the canyon to spot some orange and red, the mountain to
the west of South Lake Road and the trees along the creek
are especially brilliant.
Peak (75 - 100% - Go Now!) - Lake Sabrina (9150ft)
Color towards the back of the lake near the main inlet is
going off in a big way right now with lots of orange to go
along with yellow, some patchy red and a bit of green. The
east shore, especially the aspen lining the high mark of the
reservoir are also showing some orange and red. We're hoping
the color sticks around a bit here but this location is the
susceptible to wind so we'll have to wait and see.
Thankfully just below the dam there is plenty of color yet
to change and the slow moving stream and pond below the lake
can be nearly as spectacular as the reservoir when the color
Peak (75 - 100% - Go Now!) - North Lake (9255ft)
This was a difficult area to grade with some significant
green lining the famed road just past the lake and along the
shoreline of the lake, but the vast majority of the fall
color is here now with the hillside directly above the lake,
the road approaching the lake, and the campground really
looking spectacular. Some red, orange and yellow all found
here. The outlet creek is a great place to view North Lake.
9-23 & 9-24-14
Patchy (10 - 50%) - Steiny Loop above Mt. Glen Camp (8600ft)
It's safe to say that about half of the color has started to
go between Mt. Glen campground and the end of the Steiny
Loop below Table Mt. Camp, possibly a touch more, but with
the amount of green dominating the hillside at and below the
campground, I'm still calling this patchy. The roadside
aspen are really starting to turn making for a most scenic
drive up canyon. More to come from this area.
Mt. Glen Camp 9-24-14
Patchy (10 - 50%) -
Mist Falls and the groves above Bishop Creek Lodge (8350ft)
The color at the falls is a bit of the ordinary this year as
just a few trees turned and are now losing their leaves
while the vast majority of the color isn't showing at all
yet, just some lime green. This is a really good thing as
regardless of what weather we see this weekend, this area
should maintain its leaves allowing for the transformation
to continue in the coming weeks.
Mist falls and the groves above
Bishop Creek Lodge
Just Starting (0 - 10%)
- Aspendell (8400ft)
Pretty much the same report as
last week although the lime green hue is lightening
somewhat. Very few yellow branches within this small
community as of now.
Peak – (75 - 100% - Go now!)
- Groves above Cardinal Village (8550ft)
The color above Cardinal Village is in full effect with
yellow painting the mountain from Cardinal Peak down to the
mine. There is still quite a bit of green at Cardinal
Village and below to Aspendell so I would expect more good
stuff to come from this beautiful area.
Just Starting – (0 - 10%) -
Not much change this week, which again is probably a good
thing with the weather coming. The more green we have, the
safer we are in expecting good fall color well into October.
Just Starting – (10 - 50%) -
Some nice color developing below the spillway at the Intake
and some decent yellow on the mountain east of the lake, but
the aspen surrounding the lake itself remain primarily
green, although lightening somewhat over the past week.
Just Starting – (0 - 10%) -
Big Trees Campground
A few early-bird trees are starting to go but barely any
color here yet. This is another late blooming color location
which hopefully will pop come October.
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5001 South Lake Rd
Bishop, CA 93514
Call Parchers at: 760-873-4177