Yellow aspens were leading the charge at the Fall color parade on the east side of the Sierra, not as magnificent of a display in the past, but still beautiful and well worth the drive. We did a bunch of driving with stops at Tioga Pass area, Virginia Lakes, Lundy, and June Lake Loop. Just in case you might like to skip the 13 hours that we spent on our car adventure, I would like to invite you to join me via the blog instead.
Where: Inyo National Forest
Difficulty: Easy to Moderate
Elevation Range: 7,200’ – 9,800’
Date: October 10, 2017
We loaded up my rig with gals and their cameras, headed east over Tioga Road, then wandered around to check out the fall color. Our conditions were not ideal. The wind had recently blown hard and many trees were naked as a result of this. Smoke from the many fires hazed the skies, but we still found some beautiful colors along our route. Our first stop was at the 9,000′ elevation marker at Warren Canyon as you drop off east of the Tioga Pass.
We headed north on Hwy 395, then up Virginia Lakes Road to the end to check out Big Virginia Lake (9,820′ elevation).
On out way back down, color along Virginia Creek (9,191′ elevation) caught our eye.
We drove south on Hwy 395, then headed up Lundy Lake Road, mading a stop at Mono County’s Campground (7,600′ elevation). There is something about those aspens that border the dirt road in this stretch that is magical.
We didn’t drive too far up the road until we reached Lundy Lake (7,808′ elevation).
Heading through the town of Lundy and just above, we reached the Beaver Ponds (8,040′ elevation) but had a surprise to see that the water was lower than we had seen in these ponds so we didn’t have as amazing reflections as we have had in the past.
We hopped drove on up to the end of the road and the Lundy Canyon Trailhead parking area, heading up that trail. We only hiked a total of 1.36 miles roundtrip, but wanted to get to a viewpoint to see the waterfalls and shoot down Lundy Canyon toward Lundy Lake (high point of 8,360′ elevation).
We hopped back in the car and continued south on Hwy 395 to June Lake Loop. We could spot the “streams” of yellow and orange aspen on the hillsides long before we reached Grant Lake. We made our first good stop at Silver Lake (7,224′ elevation).
As we were heading back to the car, we saw this man land a fish and the paparazzi (us) couldn’t resist taking his picture.
Our last stop was Gull Lake (7,621′ elevation).
Leaves were in a wide variety of fall color on our trip. The wind had stripped some trees bare and some had yet to turn. They were all beautiful and well worth our gal’s leaf peeping road trip. Later this week one of the gals headed up near Bridgeport to Twin Lakes where the color was amazing and reports from Lundy and June Lake continue to get even better. With a possible storm coming in the end of this week, colorful leaves could be stripped off of the trees, but that color will hopefully continue to move down in elevation and closer to home. There are already some beautiful trees in people’s yards in the Oakhurst area showing off for us.
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