Timing for Eastern Sierra fall color?

Started 2 months ago | Discussions thread
Garthom Regular Member • Posts: 225
Re: Timing for Eastern Sierra fall color?

bathgate wrote:

I'm sure we have some Sierra shooters here.

My trips to the Sierra all have been in late winter/early spring. I'd like to go this fall to try to shoot some fall color. I know that timing is very variable and condition dependent but would like some guidance. I have late September in mind but worry that it might be a bit early. Should I hold off until early October? How early?

Coming from the Bay Area. I've gone over the Sonora Pass, down 395 from Reno and up around Bakersfield but have never had a chance to go through Yosemite across the Tioga Pass due to road closures. If I can get there in time for fall color but before Tioga Pass closes, that would be spectacular.

I'm also interested in lodging suggestions. At various times I've based out of Bridgeport, Bishop and Lone Pine. Lee Vining is tempting for location but limited and probably pricey.

Thanks for any suggestions.

I think early to mid-October is typically a pretty safe bet.

Regarding Tioga Pass, you would be very unlucky to have it closed in the timeframe you're talking about...I don't think it's closed for the season earlier than late October in several decades. Still, if your main goal is fall color, I would suggest taking 88/89 through Hope Valley and up over Monitor Pass rather than driving through Yosemite.

In my limited experience (I typically either camp or stay with friends), lodging in Lee Vining will be similar to Bridgeport, with 3-4 decent options. As someone else mentioned, Mammoth is a good spot for lodging with more options, and you might find some good deals since it will be shoulder season.

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