Fall Foliage

It's ‘Go Now!' Time for Fall Foliage in the Eastern Sierra

Cottonwoods, aspens, and oaks are putting on their grand show as we reach mid-October, but don't dally if you'd like to behold this beautiful (and brief) sight.

Patrick Griley

What to Know

  • June Lake, Conway Pass, and Virginia Lakes are all nearing their peak fall colors
  • Trees are yellow, gold, and red around Mammoth Lakes as the middle of October arrives
  • Free to see in most spots; Mono County Tourism has suggestions on where to go, as do the tourism sites for Mammoth Lakes and June Lake

AUTUMN WITH AN EXCLAMATION POINT: Fall in New England earns plenty of adoration, but so does the spectacular October scene around the Eastern Sierra. True, you can't say the two events are too much alike: You're bound to see plenty of gorgeous reds and deep oranges around Vermont, while the stands of shimmery aspens seen in the canyons off Highway 395 boast dramatic peaks in the background, including Mt. Whitney. But one thing every leaf peeper instantly understands, whether they're peeping in the Northeastern part of the U.S. or the craggy parts of the Golden States, is the exclamation point. When you see one, you know that fall colors are likely near their pretty peak, and that moment won't last for long.

THE TOWN OF MAMMOTH LAKES... sent out the "Go Now!" call on Oct. 13, 2022, with the note that the seasonal show is about to hit its zazzy zenith. That means you'll want to get up to the Mammoth area, Conway Pass, Virginia Lakes, or the June Lake loop within the coming days if you'd like to admire the leaves at their very brightest. Soon, very soon, the show-stopping leaves will begin their predictable drift to the ground, leaving branches bare (and, yes, sometimes an early snowfall can hasten the process). Need some fast inspiration about where to look? Pack your camera and favorite flannel shirt: Mammoth Lakes has some picturesque ideas for you, as do the people behind the Visit June Lake Loop site. And if you can't make the Eastern Sierra region as October reaches its second half, don't be blue: Yellows and golds, as well as other hues, will be popping up in these colorful California spots in the days and weeks to come.

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