Mountain Gold: June Lake October

Call it Foliage Central, or one center, at least, for the Eastern Sierra.

HIGHER ELEVATION FALL: People who love June Lake Loop sing its charming praises year-round, but a certain urgency enters the conversation around late September. That's because one of the most fall-a-riffic places in all of the Eastern Sierra is starting to do its spectacular foliage thing. And it is indeed spectacular: Tree go golden and yellow and occasionally crimson, and with a lake backdrop, and a mountain peak-laden backdrop to boot, the whole shimmery scene makes quite the impact. The California Fall Color blog is reporting that the loop is starting to take on some lime-y leaves, meaning that the peak of color'll soon be on its way for the Highway 395-close town, and the Mono County Fall Colors report gives similar information. Mid-October is a really good bet to go leaf-peeping in the area, but count on much of the tenth month of the year to deliver on the photogenic front.

AND... June Lake will deliver on the craft beer front, too. Saturday, Oct. 5 is the Autumn Beer Festival in the community, meaning that fancy foams (complete with a beer garden), bowls of chili, and pies will be filling foliage fans right up.

NEARBY: Up the road a piece there's Mono Lake with its otherworldly tufa; Bodie, the pristine, much-photographed historic ghost town; and the eastern entrance to Yosemite National Park, the Tioga Road. Just check current conditions for the mountain road before venturing (but if you do venture, considering making Tuolumne Meadows, another autumn-perfect place, a stop).

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