California: Fall colors pop, from Big Bear Lake to June Lake

Fall colors are on the move in California, even in heat-stricken Southern California.

Surprisingly, the Aspen Grove near Big Bear Lake is reportedly at peak. This is one of those little-known wonders off Highway 38 near Heart Bar Campground that's accessible only on foot.


It's an easy 2.5-mile trek, but finding the trail head is the trick. (Here are good directions.)

Also keep your eye on the San Bernardino National Forest, where black oak, rabbitbrush and aspen are starting to color the slopes, a report says.

Farther afield, the high elevations in the Eastern Sierra are just past peak, so the lower areas are taking their star turn.

California Fall Color reports that colors are exploding at June Lake Loop and nearby canyons just south of Yosemite National Park's eastern entrance.

"It's like the switch just flipped and Mono County is spectacular everywhere right now," leaf-spotter Alicia Vennos writes in the website's report.

You might want to get out a map (see below) to find these best bets for the weekend:

--June Lake (and a string of lakes on the loop to explore and photograph)

--Lundy Canyon

--Convict Lake

--Conway Summit

--Summer's Meadow/Green Creek Road

--Log Cabin Road

Areas closer to South Lake Tahoe -- Hope Valley Recreation Area and Caples Lake near Kirkwood Ski Resort -- are also on the "Go now!" list.

Resources: The California Fall Color website monitors the changing leaves. Also download a copy of California's Eastern Sierra Fall Color Guide & Map.