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Photo: Elliott McCucken

“Notice that autumn is more the season of the soul than of nature.” ~ Friedrich Nietzsche.

Bishop’s big backyard has one of the most enchanting fall color seasons in California. It is long, it is vibrant, and it’s easily accessible. Drive, hike, or bike the many roads and trails and immerse yourself in the magic and mystery of fall in the Eastern Sierra.

Even before the color change begins high up in these mountains, the feeling of fall is palpable everywhere. Mornings are crisp and refreshing and the light is brilliantly blue. The daylight hours are slowly diminishing, but the bright sunlight still warms the valley. Evenings are languid and lustrous as the setting sun shakes off its last drops of golden sunshine.

Fall is traditionally the season of the harvest. It is a time for celebration and festivals. It is also a time of beauty and the promise of rebirth that fills our souls. We witness the end of a life cycle and yet we are reassured that growth will return. The mystery of life is presented in stunning, vivid color and it appears magical no matter how many times we see it.

There is much science in the nature of fall and still it seems mysterious.

The Autumnal Equinox is considered the official start of fall. It is the day when the sun crosses the celestial equator. It is usually on or about September 22nd every year in the Northern Hemisphere. This year it happens on Monday, September 23rd. The name equinox is Latin for equal night and it is believed by many that this is the day where most of us on earth enjoy an equal day and equal night. It is not. The day we each experience that, depends on the latitude at which we live or where we happen to be. The date of equal light can be many days removed from the equinox. It is called the equilux, and it is rarely exactly equal, but it’s very close. Here in Bishop at a little above 37deg north our equilux falls on September 26th this year.

But well before either of these dates, in early to mid-September, when the light and heat of the sun become less and less, the trees that live high the mountain canyons begin their slow preparation for a cold, snowy winter. Green gives way to yellow and gold. Then as the season moves beyond the equal day and equal night the oranges and umbers may burst through. And finally, as the nights grow longer and darkness exceeds daylight, the reds and russets might explode in a final celebration of a season well lived.

Golden reflections. Photo: Gigi de Jong

And, all this time, the ebb of life washes down the mountain and out over the valley floor. The colors that appear high in the crags seem to flow down the ravines like buckets of spilled paint. Yellow and gold trickle down creek sides and creep into meadows. Then splashes of orange and red spatter the fields and sparkle in the dusky high desert like gems scattered from a broken necklace. Their colors are mirrored in the calm water of the streams and rivers and, eventually, when the last leaves fall, the landscape is washed clean in preparation for the slumber of winter.

Autumn is the vibrant illustration that allows us to notice not the passing of life, but the promise of rejuvenation. This is the gift from mother nature to our souls. Color floods our landscape and fills our hearts with joy. Our spirits soar in the presence of these bright, earthy tones. Our senses are bathed by fresh air, soft light, and the sound of murmuring water. We too are cleansed and released into the season of holiday cheer and loving celebration.

It all feels perfectly magical and yet it can be scientifically explained.

The Eastern Sierra has one of the longest fall color seasons in the US. The topography of the region means that fall begins early in the mountains where temperatures drop sooner and quicker at these high elevations. The season wanes slowly down the mountainside. The warmth dissipates following the steep contours of the escarpment and finally the air in the wide-open valley cools and winter prevails.

The weather in summer and autumn has a significant effect on the colors that will appear. The hues, their intensity, the rate of change, and duration are all greatly influenced by the balance of temperature, water, and sunlight. Science explains why the leaves change color, where it is most likely to happen, and more-or-less when it all occurs. The natural world has a natural order, but what we see is its magic and what we feel is its assurance.

Map of Fall Color Hotspots

The exact start and end of the season, and the precise color palette that will surface, are difficult to predict, but we keep a close watch on it every year. We have created a Fall Colors guide page that is packed with information, maps, photos, links, and everything you need for a fabulous fall color experience. During the color season we monitor the fall color hotspots regularly and post updated color reports. Begin your fall color search by reviewing our fall colors page here and come into the Bishop Visitor Center on 690 N. Main street, or call us on (760) 873-8405, and get your sharpie ready to take a free fall colors class with our friendly, knowledgeable staff.

From our own years of experience and countless reports from our guests, an adventure into our big backyard during fall color season is an intensely beautiful and rejuvenating experience.


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20 hours ago

Who loves to get up where the oxygen is thin??!! Mt. Langley is one of the many 14,000' peaks here in our backyard. If you are coming this way, make sure to check out the current guidelines and state regulations. www.bishopvisitor.com/covid/
#KeepBishopOpen #KeepInyoOpen
Thanks, @wanderlena82 for this awesome shot!
... See MoreSee Less

Who loves to get up where the oxygen is thin??!! Mt. Langley is one of the many 14,000 peaks here in our backyard. If you are coming this way, make sure to check out the current guidelines and state regulations. https://www.bishopvisitor.com/covid/
#KeepBishopOpen #KeepInyoOpen 
Thanks, @wanderlena82 for this awesome shot!

Comment on Facebook Who loves to get up ...

I went up to 12,500 at Ski Apache in Ruidoso, N.M. My head nearly exploded.

Yep. I feel so amazing in high altitudes.

Very well done. I’ve never been over 12,000 and that just about ended me.

Why cant we post pics on this site anymore?

Been there a couple of times. Better than Whitney

Congratulations!

BEAUTIFUL

I like those kinds of places. You can get a natural high. I think I've been there before. Hope to get back there soon. <3

Badassery

Great photo! Looking great @ 14k+ ❤️

Definitely has a great view

...would have done it 40 years ago

How come females look so good after bagging a peak, but guys look tuckered out?

Mammoth parade starts at 11:00

Always head up to Whites Mountain for Ancient Bristol Cone Forest.

Awesome

Been up there.

My friend Jack McBroom from Hemet climbed the highest 14 peaks on California in about four and a half days. Not sure that is still the record but I know it was for awhile. Sports Illustrated did an article about him.

Hayden Pester adding this to our list

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2 days ago

In case you need to do a little reflecting today....

Thanks for the beautiful shot of Honeymoon Lake, @biffnix
#KeepInyoOpen #KeepBishopOpen #MaskWashDistance
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In case you need to do a little reflecting today.... 

Thanks for the beautiful shot of Honeymoon Lake, @biffnix  
#KeepInyoOpen #KeepBishopOpen #MaskWashDistance

Comment on Facebook In case you need to ...

So beautiful California gold 😊😊❤❤

Reflection pix are my fav 🤩

Oh my, unimaginable beauty! Stunning!

Beautiful

So where exactly is this lake?

Just amazing!

Beautiful

Incredible!

See you there 4ofjuly

Can’t wait to get back up there!

I love it!

I like that you can go there even when you aren't on a Honeymoon. Even single folks go there. <3

So which side is up? Lol Great shot 👌!

Maayan Damti

Gorgeous.

Can't wait for August 1st will be there a whole week

Absolutely beautiful

Sharp knife and a shave! Awesome.

That water is like glass!

How beautiful

Hot creek. Much good for skin! Be respectful of native americans!!!!

Amazing

Hopefully we'll be able to go up there Labor Day weekend.

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3 days ago

The night sky here sure is something magical. 😍

Thank you, @Pat Pester for this beautiful shot!
#KeepInyoOpen #KeepBishopOpen
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The night sky here sure is something magical. 😍

Thank you, @Pat Pester for this beautiful shot!
#KeepInyoOpen #KeepBishopOpen

Comment on Facebook The night sky here ...

Amazing! Don't see this very often!

The stars at night are beautiful. Miss them

Just beautiful. One of many reasons I love going there

Just spent 3 days there. Beautiful as always.

Missed my annual trip this past Memorial Day weekend, the beautiful Eastern Sierras Lake Sabrina South Lake etc were always so peaceful & tranquil to visit!

Absolutely amazing 😉

So beautifulth thanks for sharing 😊😊❤❤

13 days..... I We’ll be there!!!!

South Lake

This is at bishops??

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6 days ago

Happy Friday!! Ahhhhh, Big Pine Creek, looking sooooo good!
Thank you, @Pat Pester for the photo!
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Happy Friday!! Ahhhhh, Big Pine Creek, looking sooooo good!
Thank you, @Pat Pester for the photo!

Comment on Facebook Happy Friday!! ...

Beautiful!! I wish I would be there!!

Such breath taking beauty! I so 💙 the Sierra's, and have many awesome memories of my times there. Thanks for sharing! 🌞

I love second lake especially for the view of temple crag

Just magnificent!

Great picture love Bishop

I wish the same as you Mary!

Was up there last week. Weather was perfect. Hiked up to Chickenfoot while I was there.

Still having earthquakes?

Been there! Beautiful!

Wonderful picture

Spent fathers day week there

Love the Sierras.

Beautiful!

Remember doing this hike. Gorgeous

So beautiful

Headed that way soon! 🏕

Beautiful

Sure hope to get there soon.

Very peaceful setting.

Breathtaking

Beautiful

What a godly view. On the hwy. drive you can see Snow on top of Mount Whitney mountains, so awesome during in month of June when its hot

Mt. Sill ! Sally Spear Molé. Stephen Busch . Do remember climbing this mountain Stephen ? That was an adventure !

I used to live in the town of Big pine many years ago

I wish !!!

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7 days ago

We love seeing folks doing their part to #KeepInyoOpen by wearing their face coverings! #lovebishop
Thank you, Chris Bubser for Congress for this cool shot!
#visitbishop
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We love seeing folks doing their part to #KeepInyoOpen by wearing their face coverings!  #lovebishop
Thank you, Chris Bubser for Congress for this cool shot!
#visitbishop

Comment on Facebook We love seeing folks...

Thank you for doing your part. Just get used to it, we're in it for the long haul. It doesn't hurt to err on the side of caution. I would.

Best little town in the West. I hope you're all hanging in there. Stay safe so I can visit this fall!

I love Bishop because of it’s proximity to Death Valley and the Sierras. On a motorcycle!

A family hiking out in the mountains on a warm summer day..... with masks on. This has to be the stupidest photo on FB all day.

Ah, wearing a mask outdoors in the Sierra's. They're obeying their globalist masters. Good little sheep.

What a sad picture that this family appears to be out in the countryside ,away from people, wearing a mask..

You don’t need masks if you are outside hiking with your family.

Makes no sense to go up to the mountains for fresh mountain air just to breathe in your own co2

The masks with the exhale feature on it does not block your droplets from exiting and infecting the people around you.

That is not the Bishop I grew up in. We didn’t live in fear‼️ Bishop as lost it’s way. Sad fir a beautiful area ,

What time does the 4th of July parade start ?

masks are nonsense,, please stop

I really miss living there. Be back soon.

Enough of this bs. No way I would go hiking in the mtns and wear a mask. Just may as well stay in the cesspool known as LA County and breathe the air here with a mask on.

Hopefully the mask wearing works, cause the social distancing and all the sanitizing isn’t...

Wearing masks in fresh mountain air & sunshine. Just can't fix stupid.

More crying 😢 about wearing a mask. Pitiful little babies!!

Guess I won’t go this year👎

Jeeping this 4th of July!

More sheep

Looking good!

Yellow star,mask..same thing advocated by the same types of people.

No more masks.

Missing hometown

Lived in Bishop early 90's. Can't believe what houses cost there now!!!

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