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10 Lovely Fall Foliage Trails within the Sierra Nevada

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Though the climate remains to be heat in lots of elements of California, you will have seen our seasonal coffees and nearly all the things they promote at Dealer Joe’s placing on their “pumpkin spice” outfits (for sheer audacity, we’re BIG followers of the Pumpkin Spice Pumpkin Seeds over right here at Trendy Hiker HQ). And meaning we’re heading into fall — and California fall foliage, too!

For those who’re a customer or newcomer to the West Coast from different elements of the nation, you is perhaps shocked to find that we even have a very beautiful fall foliage season right here — and like our spring wildflower blooms, they have a tendency to final for weeks or months. You simply must know the place to look and one of the best time to go to.

By way of planning, for years we have now heartily beneficial the high quality of us at California Fall Colour. Higher than anybody else, they keep on prime of the present situations based mostly on person experiences and do an amazing job of forecasting when areas are prone to hit their peak coloration, too. 

Right here’s their regularly-updated situations map, which is a must-check earlier than you head out in search of some coloration:

Fall coloration does often seem all around the state, however among the most beautiful locations to get your fall on are in one of the vital reliably beautiful areas of the state — the Sierra Nevada Mountains. Listed below are a few of our favorites:

Parker Lake

The just-under 4 mile out-and-back to Parker Lake is a ravishing hike even with out the autumn coloration. You’ll rise in view of the shores of Mono Lake, then drop down right into a densely wooded canyon the place creeks dance alongside your toes. After which, the forest clears on the shores of Parker Lake, which just about completely displays the Sierra Nevada in entrance of you. It’s an unforgettable view, and it received’t take up your total day or be too powerful in your legs, both.

Lundy Canyon

OK, so stunning fall foliage and the backdrop of among the most beautiful mountains in the US aren’t sufficient for you. High-quality. How about including some waterfalls to the combo? Lundy Canyon has all of it — you’re deep in aspen forest for nearly the complete four.2 mile spherical journey, you’ll get some lake views, and then you definitely’ll find yourself at a collection of three cascading waterfalls that tie all the things collectively.

Sherwin Lakes

For those who’re up close to Mammoth Lakes this fall and desire a native foliage hike that’s a bit harder and fewer crowded than the (admittedly beautiful) stroll across the lakes to the southwest of city, head simply east to Sherwin Creek and comply with the path as much as the dual Sherwin Lakes. This 5.2 mile hike has a little bit of a climb to it, however that simply means you’re extra prone to have the aspen-ringed lakes all to your self while you arrive.

Convict Lake


For those who’re on a fall foliage tour of the Japanese Sierra and also you skip Convict Lake, you’re sort of doing it improper. This can be a reliably excellent spot to picnic or fish, and a simple, mostly-flat three mile loop path, offering spectacular views of towering Mount Morrison and the lake itself. While you’re not being surprised by the expanse, you’re being enveloped by dense aspen groves on peaceable boardwalk trails.

McGee Creek

Actual speak: McGee Creek Canyon is without doubt one of the most stunning locations I’ve ever hiked. It additionally helped that it was in peak foliage season with good firm and crisp fall climate, however even with out these issues, this place is an actual stunner. To the north, McGee Mountain. To the south, the looming mastiff of Mount Morgan and Nevhabe Level. And straight forward? An attractive path that parallels (and hops) a babbling creek working by way of thick forest and dense aspen groves. You may backpack into the John Muir Wilderness on this one if you would like, or simply do a stable day hike so far as your legs will take you. Both means, it’s good.

Rock Creek Lake

Rock Creek Lake has loads of infrastructure for guests — campgrounds, lodges, piers for fisherman. Which means there may be lots of people round right here, however that shouldn’t put you off from climbing the comparatively straightforward unofficial loop path across the lake shore. This route stitches collectively some entry roads, trails, and user-trails anglers use to entry the shoreline and is only one.6 miles in whole … which implies loads of time to soak within the surroundings or dip your toes within the water.

North Lake Street

It’s true — among the finest locations for fall foliage is slightly grime street resulting in a trailhead that can take you deeper into the Sierra towards Piute Lake or the Lamarck Lakes. If simply taking a brief stroll alongside North Lake Street right here doesn’t put you into Full Autumn Mode, I don’t know what is going to. Additionally an ideal spot for all of your “street not taken” picture caption wants.

Emerald Lakes

A lot of the fall coloration you see on this hike will likely be down close to the trailhead at Lake Sabrina, however that doesn’t imply this hike isn’t value doing. This 7.2 mile trek takes you previous the mirror-perfect Blue Lake to the collection of smaller Emerald Lakes, and the surroundings is totally gobsmacking the complete means. You may head deeper into the John Muir Wilderness right here and even camp (with the correct wilderness allow), however at the same time as a day journey that is one you’ll bear in mind for a protracted, very long time.

Lengthy Lake

Simply on the opposite aspect of Desk Mountain from Lake Sabrina, South Lake presents up a picturesque trailhead with tons of phenomenal fall foliage choices. You may trek all the way in which as much as (and over) Bishop Go if the autumn air has you additional feisty, however the 5.5 mile out-and-back to Lengthy Lake ought to scratch that autumnal itch fairly properly for you. It’s excessive elevation, however not too powerful for many hikers to take pleasure in!

Large Pine Lakes

For those who’re in search of lakes, it is a good path for you. There are seven lakes right here (numbered First by way of Seventh to your comfort) in addition to Summit Lake and Black Lake. And the hike to them is not any slouch, both. You’ll hike alongside some glacier-fed waterfalls, by way of stunning and dense forests, and even previous a log cabin that used to belong to Lon Chaney, the ‘man of a thousand faces.’ You may camp in a longtime campground close to the trailhead to Large Pine Lakes, or backpack deeper on the path with a wilderness allow. Within the fall, many of the mosquitoes ought to be gone, too — so win, win!

What are your favourite fall foliage trails?

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