Mono County

Snow and Golden Leaves Herald Fall's Arrival in the Eastern Sierra

This is how Mono County wraps up summer: With a dusting of flakes and fabulous fall foliage.

Patrick Griley/Mammoth Lakes Tourism

What to Know

  • A few Eastern Sierra peaks received some light snow on Sept. 20
  • Cottonwoods, aspens, and other regional trees are turning gold around Mammoth Lakes
  • The stunning sight is often seen around the end of summer or beginning of fall, when the first storms begin to sweep through the upper parts of Mono County

PRETTY CROCUSES? They're a celebrated sign of spring's start in certain locations, while the appearance of swallows in other areas tell us that warmer days are due. Foggy mornings in Southern California reveal that summer will soon begin, and the rhododendrons that colorfully festoon the woodland floor near our state's coastal redwoods? The flowers are a bright reminder that winter has ended. There are lots of wonderful ways, in fact, to behold the changing of the seasons around the Golden State, but one of the most spectacular sights often occurs around Mono County just as summer concludes and autumn begins. It's when the first peak-dusting snowstorm arrives, serving as a backdrop to the turning trees, stunning specimens that add autumnal oomph to the canyons and hillsides below.

AND THAT FIRST DUSTING? It occurred a couple of days before the start of autumn in California, making for some splendid snapshots. True, the leaf-peeping season is just revving up along Highway 395, and around Bishop, Mammoth Lakes, and June Lake, but anyone who happened to see this winter-meets-fall fantasia on Sept. 20, 2022 knew that they were watching one of the prime indicators that summer is done. Bigger snow events may soon sweep through — that's not uncommon in the early fall — and the opening of Mammoth Mountain? The schuss-strong spot will launch the 22/23 ski 'n ride season on Nov. 11. If you'd like to do some exploring prior to November, of the fabulous-foliage variety, Mammoth Lakes and much of Mono County are sublime stretches of leafy lusciousness. Get tips on where to find the region's dreamiest trees as they go orange, red, and gold right here.

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