HIGHWAY 395... is one of those thoroughfares that nature-obsessed Californians often rhapsodize about, and with fine reason. A short toodle up along the fabled road will deliver a host of incredible sights to the 395 traveler, from the cloud-brushing peaks of the Eastern Sierra to the boulder-beautiful vistas of the Alabama Hills to all of the spectacular, ochre-hued charms of the Owens Valley. And if you make your way up to Mono County, around the time when September is opening the door to October, you'll see clutches of cottonwood trees all doing their yellow, shimmery, fall's-really-here thing. It's a place that is filled with autumn's spirit, top to bottom, and when anyone elsewhere claims California is fall-less, the words "but Mono County" usually enter the conversation quickly.
AND THE FIRST FALL COLOR REPORT... for 2020 is up on the Mono County Tourism social pages. The showy star? It's Virginia Lakes, an area that was looking quite golden on the first official day of autumn 2020, which is when the post appeared. Fans of fall can expect more sightings to come, with the Mammoth area, June Lake, and Bishop, too, making their leafy seasonal debuts as the nights grow chillier. Keep in mind that the Inyo National Forest is still closed, with a potential opening on Sept. 24, but checking ahead on all fire- and COVID-related travel advisories should be part of any foliage-finder's plan. And once you're in the area? Following local policies concerning face coverings, distancing, and other precautions is the wise and considerate course. Ready to follow the fall fun, even from afar? Begin here.
Photo taken during a previous fall in the Eastern Sierra