The fall leaf color in the Eastern Sierra is spectacular this weekend. More areas have turned to their peak autumn colors this last week than is normal.
This is both good news and bad. The good news is that the areas with peak color are at their stunning best. But, the bad news is that the color is so perfect it probably won't last until the following weekend.
Once the leaves have turned this intense, they usually remain on the tree for only three or four days.
So if you've ever wanted to photograph fall foliage or just want a nice weekend away from the house, this is the weekend to go.
The weather couldn't be better and prices for lodging are dropping because it's the end of the season.
Best bets for color this weekend
If you want a day trip from Sacramento, Hope Valley and nearby Markleeville still are the best bet for beautiful fall leaf color. The color will begin to trail off after this weekend but will still be good through the weekend of Oct. 27, unless weather intervenes.
Conway Summit will have its peak this weekend. Visit now, as it will be in serious decline next weekend.
Lundy Canyon is fully turned. The color is spectacular. This is your best weekend here.
Tioga Canyon is in full color this weekend.
The gorgeous June Lake Loop road is in full color this weekend and is a key stop on your itinerary.
McGee Creek has good color but requires a one-mile hike to get to the best color.
The lower parts of Bishop Creek will still make for great fall leaves photography, but don't plan on traveling past Aspendell/Cardinal Village or Mountain Glen on the South Lake Road. Farther up, the color is completely down because of high winds.
Plan your trip: Use our interactive map to see leaf colors and ratings for 22 stops along the way.
With the colors falling next week, our next weekly update will be the first week of November with a report from Yosemite. Look for it and more fall photos at www.sacbee.com/leaves
Things to do
Special activities in the Eastern Sierra have finished for the season. Locals here are getting ready for the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays.
If your trip involves a Friday or Saturday night, you will enjoy the enthusiasm of a high school football game. They will enjoy your support as they near the end of the season.
The Coleville High School Wolves won at their away game at Virginia City last week and stunned the home team with a 46-43 victory. This week they are home playing Pyramid Lake from Nixon, NV. Stop by Jolly Kone in Bridgeport and help support the team with your purchase.
The Bishop Broncos are away this week.
The Whoa Nellie Deli at the Mobile station in Lee Vining will close for the season October 28. 2012. Get their famous fish tacos while you can.
On the road
Again this week, road construction is a hindrance as crews rush to complete their projects before the onset of winter. Last week's dusting of snow was a wakeup call.
Highway 395 at Topaz Lake is cleared for now.
Highway 395 north of Bridgeport has three 20-minute delays for construction, but the town now has a newly surfaced main street.
Before leaving home, check the CalTrans website or toll-free phone number (800) 427-7623 for road conditions.
Gas prices have not changed much in the last week.
Topaz Lake Casino, which is three miles north of where Highways 89 and 395 meet, has gas for $4.39 per gallon. Gas along Highway 395 from Walker to Bishop averages $5.00 to $5.60 per gallon. Gas in Bishop at the Giggle Springs, Arco and Paiute Casino stations is in the $4.44 range.
The weekend weather forecast for the eastern Sierra is for perfect fall conditions: mostly sunny and, in some locations, warmer than normal temperatures. In Bishop, the high is predicted to be 81 on Saturday and 79 on Sunday, with lows about 40 degrees. Expect Lee Vining to be cooler, with highs Saturday and Sunday of 70 and 59, and lows in the high 20s.
Still, this is the Sierra so be prepared for the weather to change in an instant.
Get weather updates, see radar and satellite images at www.sacbee.com/weather
Try these websites for hotels and motels in the Eastern Sierra.
Now's the time to brush up on your photographic skills. See our Tips and Techniques section, geared especially for fall leaves photographers.
Have fun shooting or visiting the peak color locations in the Eastern Sierra this weekend. If you have any questions, feel free to email me at email@example.com.
Use our interactive map to see leaf colors and ratings for 22 stops along the way.