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Posted by on Oct 16, 2016 | 144 comments

Eastern Sierra: Bishop Creek

As previously mentioned on my June Lake Loop post, we went to the Eastern Sierra in search of fall colors.

We observed the best display of yellows and oranges in the Bishop Creek area.  This 10 mile stream is the largest tributary of the Owens River (the river that created the valley located east of the Sierra Nevada).

The creek can be accessed from Bishop, a city located in the valley floor at a 4,150 feet (1,260 m) altitude.

The different forks that end up forming the creek have their headwaters in the Sierra Nevada.  The different forks flow into lakes.  Those lakes can be accessed by road.  They are at elevations close to 9,000 feet.

As you may have noticed, there is a lot of ascending to do to reach the lakes.  The good thing is that the road gains elevation gradually and it doesn’t hug dangerous cliffs.  It is perfect for people with fear of heights (like me).

The first place that gained our attention was the Intake 2.  This reservoir holds the waters of the combined North and Middle Forks of the Bishop Creek.

Intake 2, Bishop Creek, California

Intake 2, Bishop Creek, California

The little lake was surrounded by golden aspens.  Several families were fishing and enjoying each other’s company.

Intake 2, Bishop Creek, California

Intake 2, Bishop Creek, California

Intake 2, Bishop Creek, California

We continued our journey and at certain point I noticed fiery colors down in a canyon.  We stopped to find the cabins of the Cardinal Village Resort completely surrounded by almost fluorescent yellow trees.  It was one of my favorite views of the day.

Cardinal Village Resort, Bishop Creek, California

Cardinal Village Resort, Bishop Creek, California

The mountain slopes were peppered with color too.

Bishop Creek, California

Bishop Creek, California

At one point, the road was following the creek and we knew we were approaching Lake Sabrina.  This is where the middle fork of the creek flows.

Bishop Creek, California

There were so many beautiful trees in here.  Vivid oranges were everywhere.

Bishop Creek, California

Bishop Creek, California

Bishop Creek, California

The lake itself was a bit surreal.  The water around the shore is emerald but the water in the center has a grayish almost black tone.  The sun rays gave the surface a pearl like vibe.

Lake Sabrina, Bishop Creek, California

Lake Sabrina, Bishop Creek, California

Lake Sabrina, Bishop Creek, California

The best part was seeing the colorful trees on the farthest shore of the lake.  I was able to capture some of the colors with my camera.

Lake Sabrina, Bishop Creek, California

There is a road that takes you to the North Lake.  Instead of deviating to that area, we backtracked and took the South Lake Road. As the name implies, this road takes you to the south fork of the creek.  In my opinion, this area is prettier and more special.

The fall colors were more stunning in here.  I lost count of the many times we stopped to take a look.

South Fork of Bishop Creek, California

South Fork of Bishop Creek, California

I even saw a thin waterfall spurting through the rocks.

South Fork of Bishop Creek, California

The colors were not only coming from the trees.  The mountains had different textures and nuances. They had a mix of terracotta, mustard, ochre and gray tonalities.

South Fork of Bishop Creek, California

South Fork of Bishop Creek, California

In addition, the road is lined with resorts full of cute cottages.  People spend the day fishing and hiking. I saw a lot of fishermen returning to their cozy cabins after a day in the creek.

South Fork of Bishop Creek, California

South Fork of Bishop Creek, California

And taking about fishing, I observe several people getting chest deep into the creek in order to catch fish.  I knew about this technique but have never observed people doing it.  They picked a picture perfect spot for this activity.

South Fork of Bishop Creek, California

The road ends in South Lake.  This is another beautiful lake lined with yellow and orange trees.



After this, we decided to go back since the sun was coming down and wind was chilling my body.

We couldn’t resist the views and stopped about four more times to take a look at the trees.

South Fork of Bishop Creek, California


South Fork of Bishop Creek, California

South Fork of Bishop Creek, California

I went back to the city satisfied since it was my first experience observing fall colors.  I hope I am able to experience this phenomenon in other parts of the country.  But, for now, I will cherish the day I spent surrounded by golden aspens in the Eastern Sierra.

Have you experienced fall colors in a place like Bishop Creek?

Pin it for later?

What to see and do in the Bishop Creeks area.  This region, full of lakes and fall colors, is located in California's Eastern Sierra.



  1. Oh these colours are gorgeous Ruth! I love those golden aspen trees around the lake, it looks so serene and peaceful here too. I love those bursts of red from the plants on the rocks there too. Lovely photos! – Tasha
    Natasha recently posted..Golden Trees & Falling LeavesMy Profile

    • I noticed the red colors because I saw a group of people standing next to the road. I wanted to find out what they were looking at and that is when I saw the red colors.

  2. We went out to the mountains (Alpine Meadows area) this weekend and while it rained most of the time we managed to leaf peep a bit. But I’m not satisfied, I should go drive around here for more fall colors.

    I have read that this is the place to see colors, and they were not wrong about that.
    Photo Cache recently posted..This Makes Me HappyMy Profile

    • I need to check out the area you are mentioning. First time I hear about it. I think the Eastern Sierra is the premier are in California for fall colors. I think the area between Tahoe and Lee Vining is even better.

  3. Wow – so gorgeous! The lime greens and yellows are heavenly!

    • Thanks a lot! I was very pleased with the colors in this area.

  4. Thanks for the trip down memory lane. In the 15 years that we lived near Bishop I was often to be found hiking the trails out of North Lake and South Lake. We haven’t been back in many years but now spend much of the Summer at Virginia Lakes.

    • Your words make me keep great! Cheers to good memories! I have never been to the Virginia Lakes. There is so much more I need to explore.

  5. beautiful images Ruth. I love to see the yellow aspen.

    • Thanks Felicia! The aspens are very beautiful. Hope you can see them one day.

  6. Beautiful scenery and lovely autumn colours 🙂 Nice series of photos

    • Great you like it!

  7. The palette of colours is breathtaking. One of my favourites is third from the end with hues from deep red to bright yellow.

    • That is a favorite om mine too. I wish I could have seen more reds during the trip.

    • Aren’t they? I have been wanting to do this trip for several years and it finally became a reality.

  8. So Stunning. I’ve seen some of your Instagram photos and the colors are so brilliant..our leaves where I live have just started to turn and I’m – patiently- waiting for all the colors to abound. #mondayescapes

    • That is great! Hope to see your fall color photos soon.

  9. i didn’t realize aspens took on so many different colors. I thought they just turned yellow. This is really lovely! the perfect fall excursion,

    • I am not sure if all the trees were aspens. I think there were other species in there. But, the aspens were the most prominent ones.

    • So true! Thanks for stopping by!

    • It would be cool to see the fall colors in Japan. I have seen some of your photos and they are phenomenal.

  10. Great shots of beautiful fall colors. I miss that in Florida; it’s been a few years since I was north in the autumn.

    • Being from the Caribbean, I have never been familiar with fall colors. That is why I was so interested in having my first experience.

    • Glad you liked them!

  11. Those oranges and yellows are absolutely beautiful, as are your photos of them. What a delightful part of the world!
    Janice Heppenstall recently posted..More from PamplonaMy Profile

    • I am glad you get to know more of the Eastern Sierra thru this post. It is truly a magical place!

  12. Again you’re making me drool with all of your pictures of beautiful fall colors! The drive through the Bishop Creek area is absolutely breathtaking!

    • Ja, ja! That is a funny way of saying it. It wasn’t that bad for the first time. Right?

  13. Those autumn colours against mountains really make for so lovely pictures! Looks quite similar to what you can find in Norway at this time of year too!

    • Really? I would like to see how the trees look in Norway during fall.

  14. Wow!! Who knew that you can see fall colors in California?! I lived there for like 2 decades and didn’t know that. Before that, I lived on the East Coast and I loved seeing the trees change color every fall. One of the things I miss the most after coming to CA is that fall no longer had that atmosphere. Who knew that I could just drive a few hours and see this stunning scene!
    Anna recently posted..[Beijing] Ju Qi: a taste of old BeijingMy Profile

    • I think the change in colors in this area is not widely known. I know because I have been there before (in another season) and picked up a fall season guide (and saw it in a magazine too). So, yes, even Californians would be surprised.

  15. Beautiful photos! Autumn is my favorite season.Colorado experiences a beautiful autumn every year with lots of golden aspens and also oranges and some reds. It begins at the end of September at high elevations and filters down to the Front range by mid October. This year was exceptional!
    Pat recently posted..Glacier National Park, Part TwoMy Profile

    • I would love to make it to Colorado for the season. I have seen so many great photos of the different area. It is quite an spectacle up there!

  16. Splendid fall colors and vistas in the Sierras. I would love to take a drive there. Lucky you.

    • Thanks Sharon. I was lucky to make it on time. It is not easy to combine time off with the peak color time.

  17. Oh I love those golden aspens! Beautiful photos – looks like you found what you were looking for!

    • Oh yes! I was happy when I started to see the colors (didn’t happen till we reached higher altitudes).

  18. In the far north of Australia where I live we don’t get autumn colours so I understand the attraction. I wish I was there to see the golden aspens in the Eastern Sierra. Beautiful.

    • Are there fall colors somewhere in Australia? Is there another sign that indicates a change of seasons?

  19. Stunning, simply stunning, colors you’ve shown us. And I could picture a couple of nights spent in those darling little cabins. I am there! (at least mentally)!!!

    • I want to stay in one of those too. There were so many different ones. It makes choosing a bit difficult. I think I prefer the ones in front of the creek.

  20. I always love the orange and red colours, and yours are wonderful. However, my favorite on this page is the photo of the little cabin with the lake.
    Rhonda Albom recently posted..New Zealand Sunset PhotosMy Profile

    • That is my favorite one too! My jaw drop when I got out of the car and looked down.

    • Glad you liked them Kathy!

  21. Beautiful! Haven’t seen colors that vibrant outside of New England. Definitely going to keep that area in mind for future trips closer to home to get a dose of “Fall.”

    • I am glad you say that. I have never seen the colors in New England but am happy to have a nice display a few hours from home.

  22. Wow! such vibrant colours. We actually stayed Bishop overnight whilst on a 10 day road trip in California – but I never realized this was nearby! One for next time definitely. #theweeklypostcard

    • The creek is a nice place to visit if you are in Bishop. The thing is that there is a lot to choose when you are roadtripping in California. I haven’t even see half of what is in this area.

  23. Wow! Such vibrant colours. We actualy stayed in Bishop for 1 night whist on a 10 day roadtrip in California, but never realised that this was nearby. One for next time for sure.
    Upeksha recently posted..Black Bears in Blue RiverMy Profile

  24. How can anyone ever get bored with such beauty that only nature can give us.And like you said not only the trees but the mountains have varying shades of brown and mustard. Incredible photography.
    Mary-the boondocks blog recently posted..Sweet Inspiration Link Party #29My Profile

    • Mary, I totally agree with you. I was talking today with some friends and we were discussing the many natural areas that are a close drive from the city. And, we weren’t even thinking about the beach areas. So much to enjoy!

  25. I am loving the colours in these photos and the photos itself are amazing! Looks like a beautiful place where to go for a hike! I’ll pin this for the future! 🙂 Thanks for sharing!
    Kreete recently posted..Happy Coach to NimbinMy Profile

    • Thanks so much for your comment. Hikes in this area are the best. We were able to do two short ones but there are many more we want to do in the future.

    • This was my first time leaf pipping. Now I am excited about other fall activities.

  26. Wow the colors are so vibrant and I love the pictures where the color is reflecting in the water. Thanks for sharing on #TheWeeklyPostcard

    • Reflections are one of my favorite things in these photos. The colors look so pretty in the water.

    • Wow! That is kind of a difficult decision. I think it depends on the area you would like to visit. But, the East Coast would be better for those two seasons.

    • That is so true! and, like I previously mentioned, the colors are better in the northern Sierra area. I visited the area around Bishop because is closer to home.

  27. I love the photos and the fall colors! They are gorgeous!

    • Thanks Natalie! it is a beautiful area full of stunning nature.

  28. Wow! I love how fall looks so different depending on the local flora. I love all those yellows and golds. I honestly don’t travel outside of my home region much in the fall because my husband is a teacher and I have kids in school, but I’m thinking that will have to change before too long!

    Your photos are absolutely gorgeous! You really captured the essence of the area.

    • I understand you do not travel during the season but I think you live in an area with great fall colors. Is that true? I have seen your photos on Instagram.

  29. There’s nothing quite like the beauty of fall leaves. I could never get tired of them.

    • You are right! Now that I have seen them, I will need to search for them every fall.

  30. Oh my gosh!!! The autumn colors are so incredible. I missed autumn this last year as I switched hemispheres–can’t wait to see colors like this in person next year. #FlyAwayFriday

    • Really? Well, I hope you will see them again soon.

  31. Wow I love the autumn colours! This year, our city has particularly short fall… we dive directly into winter so I didn’t get to see all the pretty leave colours. Lake Sabrina looks like a great spot to relax! (Linking up with Travel Photo Thursday)

    • Wow! That is tough. Here in California we feel like we skip winter (sometimes it gets really hot). So, I get the feeling of missing a season.

  32. Ah, you’ve got to Bishop Creek just in time for the fall colors. I’ve never been in this area in fall. We always go there in winter, but fall colors look so much better. Those cottages are really cute.

    • I need to visit the area in winter. Seems crazy that I have never been there during the season when I have tons of friends that go there every other weekend.

    • Glad they are of your liking!

    • It feel great to read that when you are referring to California’s fall colors. Seem like we can represent!

  33. What a beautiful place !!!!!! The landscapes are breathtaking !!!!!
    I really liked the pictures !!!!!
    We were very happy to read your comment on our blog !!!! Thanks for the visit !!!!
    Have a great Sunday !!!!
    A meow of Frida

    • Your welcome! I really enjoy blog hopping. Thanks to you for paying a visit.

  34. What a beautiful place !!!!!! The landscapes are breathtaking !!!!! I really liked the pictures !!!!!
    We were very happy to read your comment on our blog !!!! Thanks for the visit !!!!
    Have a great Sunday !!!!
    A meow of Frida

  35. Stunning photos, I love all the colors! I kept saying I want to go take photos of fall colors, but so far this autumn, I was either sick, it was raining or it was ridiculously cold. 🙁 #TheWeeklyPostcard
    Vlad recently posted..This Is Why You Should Visit AndalusiaMy Profile

    • Oh no! I guess you got burned from too much travel (I am kidding of course).

    • You are right! There are many areas to stop and enjoy the scenery. I saw a lot of families walking around.

  36. Stunning Fall colors Ruth — beautiful pictures. Some of our favorite Fall colors we’ve seen are here in Oregon, in Colorado, in the Ozarks and in Vermont. But I think what you show here rivals any we’ve seen! …. when we traveled and lived full time in our RV , fall was always our favorite time because of the color and because of the abundance of good produce in the farmers markets (in early Fall).
    Sallie (FullTime-Life) recently posted..NATURE’S OCTOBER SURPRISEMy Profile

    • Wow! You have seen fall colors in a lot of amazing places. I will love to travel in a RV. We are researching small ones.

  37. Gorgeous photos and good to know that it doesn’t hug the cliffs.

    • I had to make that clear since it is a place people who are scared of heights (like me) can visit.

  38. Wonderful colours – our native trees dat change colour like that.

    As far as I know the plants in the water are some form of water lily.

    Cheers – Stewart M – Melbourne
    Stewart M recently posted..Skies from Boronia PeakMy Profile

    • Glad you liked the pictures. I am assuming there are some non native plants that change colors in Australia. Is that true?

  39. Nature is amazing isn’t it, to produce colours so rich and vibrant during the Autumn (Fall) is phenomenal and you have captured them beautifully! Thanks for sharing #WeekendWanderlust

    • Angie, I agree. Nature puts up the perfect show. I like this particular one a lot.

    • So bad! I am assuming Ohio has some good ones. The thing is that they come and go very fast. You have to arrive during the perfect time.

  40. The fall colors here in Wisconsin have been beautiful, but they don’t compare to these! holy toledo!! we’ve had alot of yellow leaves here, but the deep reds are my favorite.

    • Really? I am surprised by the many people who have said the colors in California are great. I like reds too.

  41. WOW! I love the pics. Not being the states this fall, the pics look especially nice. Loved the post! 🙂 #flyawayfriday

    • Tiffany, where are you?

  42. Absolutely stunning photos! I have dreams of staying in a cute little cottage like that in the fall – can you imagine how peaceful and soul-satisfying that would be? Mother Nature’s artistry never ceases to amaze me.
    Emily @ Out and About recently posted..Oct 17-23 training week recap, race do-overMy Profile

    • Emily, that sounds great! I felt a little bit envious of the people I saw staying on those cabins. They were hiking, picnicking or fishing all day. What a life!

  43. Oh… these colors! can´t say enough how much I´ve enjoyed your pictures! Autumn is such a beautiful time of a year in the Bishop Creek area! #flyawayfriday

    • Thanks Anna! I loved the colors too. Nature had a great surprise for me.

    • I am learning to love fall too. I have had nice experiences related to the season this year.

  44. Those are gorgeous autumn colors. The yellow leaves practically glow. And I like that unexpected waterfall. I really wish there was something like it near me, but I suppose that seeing new things is what drives people travel. If I headed up to Bishop Creek, I can just picture myself in one of those cozy cottages.
    Michele {Malaysian Meanders} recently posted..Austin’s South Congress Street ArtMy Profile

    • The leaves were glowing and you had to hears the noise they were making when the wind was hitting them. It was very soothing. Too bad there are not places like this near you.

  45. Oh my! All the fall colors are so beautiful! Thanks for joining #FlyAwayFriday, see you next week!

    • Your welcome! I will be there this week for sure.

    • Thanks Lisa. I am glad you enjoyed the post and photos.

  46. Gosh there are so many comments on this post, I didn’t think I would ever reach the bottom! I would love to stay in the cute cottages. In N.Z. we stayed at a little fisherman’s cottage but it wasn’t so cute. But it was a great getaway and I would love these ones surrounded by fall colours.

    • Now that you say that, I should have a comment system where the oldest post goes to the bottom. Anyway, thanks for stopping by and scrolling all the way to the bottom to comment.

  47. I love all the Fall colors you captured here! This part of California is absolutely gorgeous and we’ve only been during the summer. I never thought to go here to experience Fall and see the colors. Thanks for the inspiration and idea. We just follow your footsteps next year 🙂
    Mary {The World Is A Book} recently posted..Visiting the Turtle Hospital in the Florida KeysMy Profile

    • This will be an awesome place to add to your travels. The place have a totally different feel during fall.

  48. Just beautiful fall colours, yellow, green shades because of those patches of trees… so many lakes to go to and even fish, great safe exploring and picnic spot. I say this because it is ok for people who have fear of heights to go around as the height picks up gradually only.
    Andapo Girl recently posted..Asian Women Hair Colors That Are In Trend Now A DaysMy Profile

    • Yes, it pick up gradually and you do not feel all scared. That is why I liked the area so much.

    • Thanks for stopping by and commenting.

  49. Wow! Gorgeous!! I’ve only been up that way to snowboard at Mammoth but this is so beautiful in the fall!! It’s amazing!!

    • I visited Mammoth for the first time during this trip. We went to lakes basin area and it was beyond beautiful. I would love to see how everything looks in winter.

  50. Stunning scenery and Autumn color …. I never thought about California being a great place for Autumn color! It is such a scenically diverse state!

    • Even Californians do not know about the fall colors in the state. It is a bit of an undiscovered gem. Glad I knew about it and was able to go just in time.

  51. I’m thinking about a trip with my colleagues on the lake. Go fishing, chatting with friends and make some barbecue. Really exciting for the weekends.

    • That sounds like a great idea. I would like to spend all my weekends there ;0)

  52. Wow, the fall color is so stunning. My eyes all are absorbed in your photos. I wanna stop by an wooden house, sitting in a chair at the lobby and enjoying this paradise on earth.

    • You have described perfectly how one feels when visiting this place. Would like to stay up there one day.

    • We are on the same page. I love natural areas too!

  53. So amazing..those photos are stunning. Say thanks for the nature, it impresses all of my senses.:)

    • Susanne, agree with you so much. That is why I love to go out and discover natural places. You feel so alive!

  54. I’m enjoying my weekends in my peaceful room with my favorite song. To me it’s great moment. But your pictures encourage me to have a long trip. Perhaps I should have a plan for my next vacation. Anyway, your sharing is amazing!

    • Richard, that sounds great! I feel like staying home a lot of times but I also feel the pull to go out. I try to go somewhere at least once a month.

  55. Omg your photos of the lake and trees look greattt !!! The Fall atmosphere is way soooo romantic, especially with the yellow leaves 🙂
    You make me want to be there immediately haha 😀
    They all just like a paradise on the earth Ruth ! 🙂

    • So many happy faces! Thanks for that!

  56. such a beautiful post !

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