North Lake in Eastern Sierra is tops for fall colors this weekend

North Lake Road west of Bishop, Calif.
A heady gold rush along North Lake Road, west of Bishop, Calif.
(Jared Smith)

If you have your heart set on seeing good fall colors, this is the weekend to visit North Lake in the Eastern Sierra.

California Fall Color reports that the aspens on the road up to and around the lake west of Bishop, Calif., are pure gold.

“The North Lake area is probably the hottest color spot in the canyon as of now,” the website reports. “Not to be missed are the aspen within the campground itself or on the canyon wall near the grass lake inlet.”

The lake sits at 9,255 feet; you get there by driving a few miles up a steep winding road off California 168 to the lake and the North Lake Campground. Leaf-spotters who have been out in Bishop Creek Canyon say there’s also some red patches amid the yellow aspens and willows.

The website also says this may be the last big color burst for high-elevation spots.

Lake Sabrina, Parchers Camp, Willow and Sabrina campgrounds, and other places are on the “Go Now” list, meaning they’re at peak or near peak.

A storm that blew through on Saturday left behind snow on the mountains but also stripped some of the leaves from the trees.

Places that have yet to pop, if the weather holds: Mist Falls above Bishop Creek Lodge, and Steiny Loop above Mount Glen Camp. Both are above 8,000 feet but are just starting to turn. Also, farther north, the trail in Lundy Canyon west of Mono Lake is showing good color too, the website reports.

Lastly, you can also set your sights a bit lower and still see some nice autumn tones. Low-growing rabbitbrush is blooming in fields around Bishop and on some of the canyon roadsides. It’s bright yellow -- and as impressive as the aspens.

For more information on fall colors in the Eastern Sierra:

--Stay current at California Fall Color.
--Download a copy of California’s Eastern Sierra Fall Color Guide & Map.
--Contact the Bishop Chamber of Commerce (888) 395-3952.