|Fantastic Fall Colors in Eastern Sierra
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The picture perfect Red Lake along Highway 88 in Hope Valley, as a mountain lake in Eastern Sierra, the
gorgeous views of surrounding Eastern Sierra peaks with contrasting beauty。
加州 Eastern Sierra 地區的秋景相當美，白楊樹的金黃橘紅，搭配壯麗的山景與湖景，加
上加州名產 — 晴空萬里的藍天與豐足日光，形成獨樹一格，亮麗麗又金燦燦的活潑秋
候 A 處不是高峰期，那也有 B 處、C 處，甚至 D 處讓你大飽眼福。這裡還是釣客的天
When mother nature shows off spectacular fall colors in Eastern Sierra in California, it is the best time of the
year to visit. The Eastern Sierra gets painted gold, crimson and orange plus green background. The principal
players in this spectacular display of color are aspen, cottonwood and willow trees with green pine trees in the
background to enhance the color contrast. You'll discover why fall in Eastern Sierra is one of California's best-
kept secrets. Fall season is long in the Eastern Sierra. The topography of the region and varied elevations from
5,000 to 10,000 feet mean the trees peak in color at different times and provide a slow shift into winter that
starts first at the higher elevations and descends slowly over the open plains of the valley, canyons, creeks and
mountain lakes below.
The color change begins high too. Over the course of many weeks, often well into November, the color tumbles
down the mountain and out across the plain like spilled buckets of paint.
We drove from San Francisco Bay area to Reno, Nevada on Monday October 1, 2018 and stayed in Reno for
one night, enjoyed the delicious buffet dinner with 50% discounted price (for Monday only) in Atlantis Casino
Resort Hotel. We stayed in Reno for one night at elevation of 4,500 feet to give our bodies some time to
adjust to the high elevation in Eastern Sierra to be explored next day.
On the next morning of October 2, 2018, we drove south from Reno, Nevada to Hope Valley in California at
elevation of 7,300 feet in high Eastern Sierra in California to enjoy fantastic fall colors in Hope Valley which is
a pristine area about 20 miles south of Lake Tahoe. From Hope Valley Outdoors at Pickett's Junction which is
the junction of Highway 89 (Luther Pass Road) and Highway 88 (Carson Pass Road), we drove on Highway
88, Highway 89 and Blue Lake Road to enjoy the fantastic fall colors of grand alpine scenery. The elevation of
the winding mountain roads ranges from 7,300 feet to 8,500 feet.
At the Pickett's Junction, we saw several cars parked on roadside and some people were fishing on the river
well-stocked with rainbow trout. Please see the pictures and stories of trout hatcheries that supply lots of
trout for the lakes and streams in Eastern Sierra on my web page at:
The aspens take on a deep golden glow for a gorgeous autumn drive.
The huge Sierra Nevada fills the background like a staged setting for an epic drama.
Awesome view of golden stands of aspen cluster!
The large groves of aspen surrounding Sorensen’s Resort in Hope Valley seem to herald the holiday
season. Every view and image is picture postcard perfect.
Beautiful display of roadside aspen groves.
Dense aspen groves that turn deep orange and crimson.
Fall color spills abundantly down all the canyons of the Eastern Sierra. Fall is the golden season in Eastern
Eastern Sierra 的雄偉高峰， 危岩嶙峋，高山頭，氧氣稀薄，寸草不生。
Mountain peak in Eastern Sierra along Highway 89.
Relax in the setting of charming quiet rustic houses surrounded by lovely fall colors.
Exploration on foot from any of the turnouts and trailheads will take you deep into the explosion of color.
Brims with glowing brilliant gold.
A wonderful scenic drive to enjoy the spectacular fall colors.
了， 一派 Eastern Sierra 的風光！
The wild & scenic road glows with thick orange-gold hues of aspen groves on both sides.
Autumn in Eastern Sierra:
Drops of yellow splatter the stands of aspen that grow near the tree line, around 12,000ft ASL (above sea
level). Soon it spills into the groves and luminous yellow swaths appear with dribbles of bright orange and
deep crimson. A blush spreads across the mountainside spreading a golden trim along the shores of sparkling
blue mountain lakes, alongside streams, and tracing contours down the canyons. The dark green of evergreen
trees mixes with the bright colors and the silvery grey granite crags rise above the surge of color.
Often large clouds gather and billow over the mountain peaks during the day. Then as evening approaches
strong winds aloft lift, smooth and shape them into lenticular wave clouds and the setting sun creates a fiery
display that rivals the show on the ground.
This spectacle in the sky is brief and unpredictable, but the colors on the landscape follow an established
pattern in time and place that is almost as predictable as the nightfall after the sunset.
Go for an easy walk, Hope Valley will leave you breathless for its beauty.
Eastern Sierra fall colors.
Welcome to brilliant and thick aspen groves in Eastern Sierra.
Experience a magical blend of autumnal color in Hope Valley.
You find yourself enclosed under a shining arbor of fall colored aspens. It feels quite ceremonious to drive
through this glowing tree tunnel and emerge from this short passage with your heart lightened and spirit
秋葉泛黃，氣度醇美，色彩富麗， 金黃的艷色， 煞是撩人。
A slow drive, or leisurely walk will show off an assortment of fall color in Hope Valley.
Swaths of brilliant color on mountain slope. In Eastern Sierra, fall color descends by elevation at a rate of
500 to 1,000′ a week, continuing to December. Eastern Sierra is one of the most photographed areas in
California, and is quite likely the very best location for fall color spotting and photography in California.
Natural solitude on the broad valley in Hope Valley.
絢麗的“金秋畫廊”已隆重開啟， 那微妙的顏色之差異， 細細碎碎地塗描在蓊鬱蒼翠的綠
Multi layered canvas of beautiful autumn color.
Lake Tahoe has a salmon run to spawn in every October:
Every October, hundreds of crimson-hued kokanee salmon are swimming from Lake Tahoe to go upstream
and to spawn in Taylor Creek, on the south shore of Lake Tahoe. In past years, as many as 80,000 salmon
are estimated to have spawned in this creek. There is a 0.5-mile hiking trail loop with boardwalk that threads
around the Taylor Creek for visitors to enjoy watching the salmon run on the creek. The hiking trail starts at
the Taylor Creek Visitor Center located at 35 Visitor Center Rd, South Lake Tahoe, CA 96150.
So, on our one-day tour of Hope Valley, we also came to Taylor Creek Visitor Center and walked along the
0.5-mile trail loop to enjoy watching many crimson colored kokanee salmon in action in this creek.
這裡超過 8,500 英呎高度的部分路段的樹木是不一樣的。
Special pine tree that grows on the rocks on high Sierra mountains.
In addition to salmon run, several mergansers were also in action on the beaver pond along Taylor Creek on
October 2, 2018. They dive frequently to eat something in the water.
I took a movie clip of several mergansers in action on Taylor Creek as shown in the following YouTube
In addition to salmon and mergansers, we also saw a craw fish in Taylor Creek.
Breathtaking view of the beautiful Donner Lake with clear deep blue crystal water surrounded by Sierra
Nevada mountains of California as viewed from Donner Lake Vista Point parking lot on Interstate Highway 80
(I-80) eastbound near Donner Summit with elevation of 7,230 feet. On October 1, 2018, we drove from San
Francisco Bay Area to Reno, Nevada on I-80 which climbs up and crosses the Sierra Nevada high
mountains. Donner Lake Vista Point, a scenic photo opportunity, is about 6 miles west of the town of
Zoom in on the famous Rainbow Bridge (Donner Summit Bridge) on Donner Pass Road as viewed from
Donner Lake Vista Point on I-80 eastbound. My compact super-zoom camera has 65X optical zoom.
Zoom in on the edge of the Parking Lot of Donner Lake Overlook on Donner Pass Road as viewed from
Donner Lake Vista Point on I-80 eastbound.
A view from Emigrant Gap Historical Marker and Vista Point on Interstate Highway 80 (I-80) westbound in
California, another scenic photo opportunity.
Emigrant Gap is a gap in a ridge on the historical California Trail as it crosses the Sierra Nevada, to the west
of what is now known as Donner Pass. Here the cliffs are so steep that, back about 170 years ago in the
1840s, the pioneers (emigrants) on their west bound emigration way to California had to lower their wagons
on ropes in order to continue going west. It was part of the historical Truckee Route, a portion of the
historical California Trail by which pioneers, heading west, emigrated from the United States to California,
which was part of Mexico until it was captured by the United States in the Mexican–American War (1846–
There is a California historical marker (number 403) here on Interstate 80 commemorating this brave and
The spring of 1845 saw the first covered wagons surmount the Sierra Nevada Mountains. They left this valley,
ascended to the ridge, and turned westward to old Emigrant Gap. The wagons were lowered by ropes to the
floor of Bear Valley. Hundreds followed before, during, and after the gold rush. This was a hazardous portion
of the historical overland emigrant trail.
Emigrant Gap is located near the town of Emigrant Gap, California.
One corner of the large parking lot at Emigrant Gap Historical Marker and Vista Point of I-80 westbound in
California. On our return trip from Hope Valley/Lake Tahoe in Eastern Sierra to San Francisco Bay Area on
October 3, 2018, we stopped at this Vista Point on I-80 to enjoy the fantastic panoramic view at this historical
I took a movie scan of the panoramic view from this Vista Point as shown in the following YouTube website:
Mount Tallac, with summit at 9,735ft above sea level, as viewed from the hiking trail loop and the meadow
around Taylor Creek. It is the jewel in the crown of mountains which ring Lake Tahoe. The willows, grass,
scrub and sage are also showing fall colors.
The meadow and the reeds are a shimmering copper color as viewed from the hiking trail loop around Taylor
Taylor Creek meanders through this meadow and grassland with fall colors into Lake Tahoe which is hiding
behind the beautiful meadow.
The photos of Lake Tahoe, especially the spectacular Emerald Bay, can be seen from my previous trip in 2012
on my web page at:
Charming fall colors along the street (Highway 50) in the town of South Lake Tahoe.
黃樹秋意濃， Hope Valley 是 賞秋景必訪的地方。
Hope Valley is only a small portion of the vast Eastern Sierra. Our one day tour of fall colors in Hope Valley
can be considered only as a "preview" of the spectacular fall colors in Eastern Sierra. More spectacular fall
colors can be seen at many more beautiful locations: several roads branching out and going west from the
main Highway 395 and follow glacier-carved canyons, streams and creeks to climb up to valleys, meadows,
and glacier fed emerald blue lakes providing a perfect contrast to bright gold aspens in Eastern Sierra
mountains. The fantastic tourist map and tourist guide in PDF are on the following website:
"California's Eastern Sierra Fall Color Guide & Map"
The following YouTube websites provide more amazing views of fall colors at many beautiful locations in
Bishop Creek, Rock Creek, Virginia Lakes and Green Creek typically turn color first (mid-to late September),
with Mammoth Lakes, McGee Creek, Bridgeport, Conway Summit, Sonora and Monitor passes peaking next
(late September), and finally June Lake Loop, Lundy Canyon, Lee Vining Canyon, Convict Lake and the
West Walker River offering a grand finale from the first to third week of October. The City of Bishop shows
color into early November.
Therefore, our one-day tour of Hope Valley on October 2, 2018 is certainly not enough. We probably will
come back again and spend multiple days to experience everything there is to see, to do and to photograph
in a future year. In addition to fantastic fall colors, other nearby must-see attractions include ancient
Bristlecone Pine Forest, Alabama Hills, October salmon spawning run on Taylor Creek, Death Valley
National Park, Trona Pinnacles National Natural Landmark, Mammoth Lakes Basin, Devils Postpile, Rainbow
Falls, Bodie ghost town, Buckeye and/or Travertine hot springs, Mono Lake South Tufa, Tioga Pass Road,
Yosemite National Park plus various festivals and attractions for hiking, camping, fishing and boating.
Furthermore, in the summer to early fall, millions of migratory birds and ducks come to Mono Lake in Eastern
Sierra for weeks to feast on trillions of brine shrimps and alkali brine flies in and near Mono Lake as
described on these websites:
In Late spring, about 65,000 California Gulls arrive to breed on islands on Mono Lake as shown in the
following YouTube movie:
These California gulls chase and eat alkali brine flies on the shore of Mono Lake as shown in the following
These spectacles attract many bird watchers to Eastern Sierra during suitable seasons.
The fall season is yet another reason why US Highway 395 is designated a Scenic Byway by the State of
California. The 395 corridor through the Eastern Sierra offers jaw-dropping views right from the windshield
and should be on all epic road trip bucket lists, especially in the autumn. The best time to see the
spectacular array of color is usually mid-September to mid-October. Savor the drive, pull over often, park
and explore…and prepare to be astonished!
From parking lot of Donner Lake Vista Point, zoom in on the famous Rainbow Bridge (Donner Summit Bridge)
on Donner Pass Road.
From parking lot of Donner Lake Vista Point, zoom in on concrete snow sheds of the historical railroad track at
Donner Summit as part of the transcontinental railroad over Donner Summit.
Donner Summit gets 35 to 40 feet of snow a year and sometimes 60 or 70 feet. Snow drifts can be dozens of
feet high. And then there are avalanches. In January, 1870, just a few months after the Golden Spike was
pounded into place completing the first transcontinental railroad, an avalanche covered and tore away
hundreds of feet of railroad track. A blizzard followed. Miles of railroad track were blocked and it kept
snowing. The snow shovelers and buckers (engines with plows) could not make headway. Workers cleared for
six days and still there were 7 miles of snow covered track to go. California was cut off from the nation in
1870 by such heavy snow.
Therefore about 40 miles of wooden snow sheds were constructed in subsequent years to protect the railroad
track in Donner Summit and nearby high Sierra area. They used 65 million board feet of lumber and 900 tons
of bolts and spikes.
However, the wooden sheds, sitting in the summer sun, were terrible fire hazards acting sometimes like flues.
The mountains of accumulating winter snow could also collapse them. So, the wooden snow sheds were later
replaced by concrete snow sheds.
The road becomes steep with sharp curves up to rugged high country and sheer magnitude of the crags in
Wonderful autumn vistas along the road.
Highway 89 and Highway 88 offer lovely fall color vistas due to stands of aspen along the highway.
The golden aspen groves that line the roads in Hope Valley.
Driving through a grove of willow and aspen that shake and shimmer like suspended gold confetti.