Sunrise light on a grove of tufa towers emerging from the water of Mono Lake with soft green and dusty-red wild grasses in the foreground, Canada geese in the shallow water with reflections of the rocky towers, and desert hills in the distance.

Mono Basin fall color update

The season is changing here in the Mono Basin: nights have turned crisp and cool, the daytime sky looks brighter, and the leaves have begun to change. We will post updates about fall colors here on the Mono-logue, but you can also check the Mono County fall colors website and the Fall Color in California website for other good information.

October 13, 2010: fall colors west of Mono Lake. Photo by Arya Degenhardt.
October 13, 2009: fall colors west of Mono Lake. Photo by Arya Degenhardt.

June Lake Loop
The aspens near Silver Lake have begun to change: they are no longer green but not quite golden yet. A few branches are nice and yellow, but overall, the June Lake Loop still looks quite green, even up on the higher slopes of the Parker Bench. The underbrush is nice and golden, and the rabbitbrush looks like it’s at the end of its bloom.

Lee Vining Canyon
Aspens in Lee Vining Canyon are turning and are mostly light yellow with lots of green still mixed in. The underbrush of willows and grasses is turning a nice red and gold.

Along Highway 395 west of Mono Lake
All is still green, with rabbitbrush reaching the peak of its bloom.

Lundy Canyon
The aspens high up on the slopes at the head of the canyon are currently a brilliant orange. However, aspens down at easily-accessible hiking levels are all still green.


  1. Hi Larry. That photo is from October last year … the colors aren’t happening quite enough to get a good photo yet this year. But the next few weeks should bring some great color! —Elin

  2. Hey Elin – I noticed just yesterday driving back from Bport that there was a huge advancement in colors over the last two very cold nights! I’d say now is a great time to see wonderful colors! (9/23/10) It’s happening! Hugs to you!

  3. Hi Linda! Thanks for the intelligence … how exciting! Okay, everyone, there you have it—from a true Eastern Sierra local! The colors are happening; make plans to visit soon!

  4. Thanks for offering this valuable service! I love driving from the Bay Area to see the colors at Monitor Pass and Mono Lake area in fall.

    Because I travel from such a long distance, it’s very helpful to read what’s happening where.

    So far, my previous experience has been that the best overall time to come is the second week of October. After that, things are starting to go downhill fast.

  5. Thanks so much for this information and it gives us a timetable on when to visit 395 — Happy Autumn, my favorite time of year :o)