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Leaf Peeping on the East Side of the Sierra

We were on the hunt for fall colors on the eastern side of the Sierra. We discovered gold, yellow and a few reds along the way but white puffy clouds and reflective lakes kind of stole the show. I was ok with that! The fall color show on the eastern side of the Sierra was winding down and I wanted to get one last look at some of my favorite areas before it was too late.

We headed through Tioga Pass then south on Hwy 395. Our first stop was Convict Lake where the air was perfectly still and ready for amazing reflections.

We started at the lake’s outlet, walking on the trail counterclockwise around the lake.

Laurel Mountain framed our first glimpses of the color at the top of the lake.

Very pretty yellows and oranges.

As we reached a more shaded area, creative reflections began to appear.

The trail took us through an aspen grove on the west side. Many of the trees were in their yellow phases, but some were still green and some were in the downhill phase.

A few white puffy clouds began to appear.

As we continued along the trail on the south side, I took a look back at that section with the color in it. Just beautiful!

Want to check out the current conditions at Convict Lake?  Here is a link to the Convict Lake Webcam. We hopped back in our car and headed north to the June Lake Loop, making our first stop at Gull Lake.

Our next stop was Silver Lake. The wind had come up so we didn’t have any reflections and for me, the big event was the yellow and the mountains.

We drove on, making stops when we saw beautiful color.

Grant Lake, framed by clouds and rabbitbrush.

We stopped at a small aspen grove beside the road. I stayed in the car until Gail came back and told me I just had to see it in person. She was so right!

We headed north on Hwy 395 to Lundy Lake Road, cruising the Lundy Canyon Campground.

We then drove up the road , checking out color along Lundy Lake.

What a surprise to find a lone dogwood showing off its red fall color.

We decided to head up the road a little farther to check out the beaver pond. I had been up there 3 weeks ago and the pond was almost dried up with no reflections, so I sure didn’t expect anything fantastic but boy, was I surprised. The pond had filled up!  And it was full of reflections.

We headed back through Lee Vining where Gail picked up nectarine pie to take home from Epic Cafe. This was their last week that they were open, closing for the season this week and she was pretty happy that she was able to get one more food stop in there before they closed. We had a long drive but were glad we did it. We never know when a trip to the east side might be our last one because sometimes Tioga Road closes pretty quick for the winter. The next leaf peeping will be much closer to home as our drive through Yosemite Valley showed us color getting closer to prime and Nelder Grove should be getting some nice color.

Maps, Doarama and Profile:

Where: Inyo National Forest, John Muir Wilderness
Distance: 2.57 Miles
Difficulty: Easy
Elevation Range: 7,584’ – 7,664’
Date: October 22, 2018
Map: Bloody Mountain
Dog Hike? Yes

Convict Lake Doarama

Convict Lake Hike Topographic Map

Convict Lake Hike Profile

June Lake Loop Map

Lundy Map


Convict Lake Campground Reserve America

Convict Lake Resort

Inyo National Forest Dog Rules

Epic Cafe

Prior Blogs in this Area:

Hiking with Sally from Convict Lake to Mildred Lake (Almost) October 4, 2017

Leaf Peeping with Sally at Convict Lake October 3, 2017

Escape with Sally to Convict Lake June 2, 2017

Leaf Peeping on the East Side: Convict Lake, June Lake Loop, Lundy Canyon October 13, 2015

Adventure to Convict Lake with Mom and a Horseback Ride up McGee Canyon July 16, 2015


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Sierra News Online

Sierra News Online