Eastern Sierra Fall Colors – California’s Golden Aspens

Although it’s tough to compete with the jaw dropping Autumn season of the east coast, California does in fact have some nice leaf peeping opportunities! The Eastern Sierra Fall colors mostly consist of golden yellow and orange aspen trees – but they provide a stunning, stark contrast with this region’s sparse surroundings.

Yellow aspen trees & sunburst at Lundy Canyon - Eastern Sierra Fall Colors
Yellow aspen trees & sunburst at Lundy Canyon

Here’s a collection of photos I took around mid October. While there aren’t many featured on this page, you can click each picture to see more. As always, feel free to pin them as well…

Eastern Sierra Fall Colors – Photo Index

Lee Vining Canyon

Lee Vining Creek - Autumn long exposure in the forest
Lee Vining Creek – Autumn long exposure (Click photo for more)

Fall is a great time to visit Lee Vining Canyon. Although most people only appreciate the aspen trees visible from Tioga Road, it pays to drive down into the canyon near the campgrounds. Here you’ll find some beautiful fall colors along Lee Vining Creek – and not just aspens!

Lundy Canyon

Lundy Canyon Falls in October
Lundy Canyon Falls in October (Click photo for more)

The autumn display in Lundy Canyon is quite memorable as well. Just outside the east entrance to Yosemite National Park, Lundy Lake and waterfall (pictured above) are certainly worth a visit. Even though it’s nice to take a small hike to the falls, the stunning, yellow aspen trees can be appreciated without ever leaving your car.

Time your visit right, and even the parking lot becomes something to write home about…

Lobdell Lake Road

Dramatic lighting on Lobdell Lake Rd Aspens - Eastern Sierra Fall Colors
Dramatic lighting on Lobdell Lake Rd Aspens (Click for more)

Lobdell Lake Road Aspens certainly are a remote, hidden gem in the eastern Sierra. Located far down a bumpy, barren dirt road, you’d never expect there to be an explosion of color waiting for you in this distant creek canyon. However, the hard work getting here really pays off!

I had it all to myself, and was fortunate to have some dramatic clouds to accent my photographs.

June Lake Aspens

Golden changing aspen colors along June Lake - Highway 395
Golden changing aspen colors along June Lake (Click for more)

Located further south down the highway, June Lake’s Autumn Leaves are definitely noteworthy as well. By all means, drive the whole corridor of 395 – witness the best the eastern Sierra has to offer! After all, there’s only a small window each year when this display is in effect…

Eastern Sierra Fall Colors – When to Photograph

While of course it varies from year to year, I think the highest elevations begin to change color after the first frost. This generally occurs around early October. By mid October, the lower elevations nearing Yosemite (Lundy Lake, Lobdell Lake Rd…etc) are starting to change.

My Yosemite fall colors album was shot in late October. That’s when the peak color hit the valley floor. Happy shooting, and don’t forget your scarf!

Looking for lodging? Check out my Yosemite Hotels page.

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About My Photos

The images on this website are available for licensing and/or sale as framed prints. If you’d like to purchase them for a blog, news article, or gift, feel free to contact me with the specifics. This way you’re supporting photographers such as me directly (as opposed to buying from a faceless stock photo corporation).

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– Nathan Allen

About Me

Photographer Nathan Allen

I’m Nathan Allen, photographer / creator of YosemiteParkPhotos.com (Yosemite Photos) and international travel site I Dreamed Of This. In truth, I lived in San Francisco, New York, & Singapore…but nothing compares to life in the mountains. I share my experiences HERE.