For the interactive 360° VR experience, go to https://www.virtualyosemite.org/virtual-tour/#node302
Fall color comes to Yosemite in many ways, beyond just the changing leaves of the cottonwood, maple, dogwood, oak, and aspen trees here.
In the fall of 2020, leaf colors in Yosemite Valley have been far more muted than usual. Subtle pastels have been the norm, rather than brilliant yellows, oranges, and even reds. One ranger explained it as a combined result of two months of consistent smoke throughout the park due to numerous California wildfires and warmer-than-normal fall temperatures. She explained that the usual triggers for changing leaf colors are the arrival of colder temperatures with diminished daylight as days grow shorter.
Park naturalists believe that the heavy smoke coverage for two months noticeably diminished the amount of daylight on the trees, but the warmer temperatures combined to give mixed signals, likely disrupting the trees’ usual fall progression.
The beauty of Yosemite persists, however. It’s simply different.
Visiting the park in different seasons offers a variety of scenery, even when viewed from the same location. Click on the nearby red “targets” in this image to see other perspectives from within El Cap Meadow in different seasons, and compare the views.
©2020 Photography by Scott Highton
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