The transformation from summer to fall is most evident when the leaves begin to shift from everyday green into spectacular shades of auburn and gold.
But those looking for some of the most breathtaking colors in the Southern California area are running out of time.
Mammoth Lakes Tourism, which has been providing regular updates on the fall colors throughout the valleys and peaks of the Eastern Sierra, released its final Fall Colors Update of the season.
The message from Mammoth Lakes is clear: go now.
In the town of Lee Vining, at Tioga Pass, the vast majority of aspen trees along the Warren Fork River are currently peaking, officials said. Along the shores of Ellery and Tioga lakes, the bushes are “putting on a show with a beautiful contrast against the lake’s color and orange leaves.”
At June Lake Loop and Highway 158, aspen groves along Rush Creek and the area lakes are offering eye-catching colors. That area is also peaking for fall colors.
And the Mammoth Lakes Basin, at an elevation of nearly 9,000 feet, most of the aspen leaves along the side of Twin Lakes are dead due to the early snow, but bushes that dot the shore of several lakes are currently at peak, officials said.
But perhaps the best views can be found at Convict Lake, which currently sports “golden yellow” in contrast to the deep blue of the pristine lake. Mammoth Lakes Tourism says Convict Lake is a “must-see this season.”
During the summer growing season, leaves are actively producing chlorophyll, which gives them their green color. When the seasons shift to fall and days get shorter, the leaves stop producing chlorophyll and other pigments become visible, including the yellows, reds and purples we associate with fall.
Because California had a wet growing season, botanists predicted a brilliant display of fall colors as the leaves began to turn.
It appears that prediction panned out.
Mammoth Lakes Tourism has been providing regular updates on the changing colors and has published a guide of the best spots to find the fall colors.
If that’s too much of a drive, the California Department of Parks and Recreation also has a list of state parks where the changing leaves will be on full display.