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.
The little lake was surrounded by golden aspens. Several families were fishing and enjoying each other’s company.
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.
The mountain slopes were peppered with color too.
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.
There were so many beautiful trees in here. Vivid oranges were everywhere.
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.
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.
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.
I even saw a thin waterfall spurting through the rocks.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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