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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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22 hours ago

What's your favorite season in the Eastern Sierra?

Beautiful photo by @robert_lachman from October 12, 2019
#keepbishopsafe
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Whats your favorite season in the Eastern Sierra? 

Beautiful photo by @robert_lachman from October 12, 2019
#keepbishopsafe

Comment on Facebook

I go every year! 2nd or 3rd week of October! Beautiful scenery and weather!

Fall

I was raised on the Eastern side of the Sierras. When I was young it was Summers. When I got a little older it was Spring for the opening of trout season. Now at 73 it's Fall...😊

Nice One!

Fall when leaves change and late summer when tubing in cut off’s by day with jeans and flannel by the fire at night

I have to say mid to late fall. Although mid spring is awesome as well. ✌️

Fall

Beautiful picture

Fall is the best...but the other 3 run a close 2nd!

Yes! 😅😁

We from Bishop

Fall🍁🍂🎃

Gorgeous

FALL...used to go up from L.A. EVERY OCT.

Autumn and Winter

Spring

Anything but fire season 😭

Love the fall leave. We try to go every year in October

Fall by far! I love the colors. We try to go every year in October for my husband's birthday.

In Bishop all of them. Bishop picture love this site 🙂🙂❤❤

So pretty

Beautiful

Fall

Fall for sure. Before the snow shuts the roads. And early summer. When it is just a little cooler. 🐈😷

Beautiful!

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3 days ago

With fires, poor air quality and COVID-19 all currently going on, who needs a little something to look forward to??
How about Wynonna for Labor Day Weekend of 2021!!
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With fires, poor air quality and COVID-19 all currently going on, who needs a little something to look forward to?? 
How about Wynonna for Labor Day Weekend of 2021!!

Comment on Facebook

Lol whatever floats your boat Bishop. With way things are we might be in a middle of some other bs that will shut it down. I’m done hoping and waiting for “better” times to come.

its sept 21??!!

Can’t wait!!

oh next yr ugh

Looks like she needs an enema !

Mary Allegra Nicol

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6 days ago

Wishing all of the firefighters and emergency support teams a safe weekend. Thank you for all that you are doing!!!

Sending love from Bishop to all who are being affected by the fires. ❤️

This photo by Instagram user @sammyzz17 and is from February of 2018 when we had the Pleasant Valley Reservior Fire. Hoping that he and his crew are safe!
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Wishing all of the firefighters and emergency support teams a safe weekend. Thank you for all that you are doing!!! 

Sending love from Bishop to all who are being affected by the fires. ❤️

This photo by Instagram user @sammyzz17 and is from February of 2018 when we had the Pleasant Valley Reservior Fire. Hoping that he and his crew are safe!

Comment on Facebook

🙏God Bless you all. I have been praying for rain to help put all the fires out and is in the forecast for some areas yeh!

God Bless all of you amazing men and women fighting these horrible fires. Stay safe!🙏❤️👩‍🚒👩‍🚒👍

Thanks guys!! Hope you all stay safe and return home to your families soon!!! Bless you all❤️

Wonderful pic.of these brave Firefighters! Prayers for their safety! 🙏🏻💕🙏🏻

Thank you to ALL FF's and Incident Command crews, Strike Teams busting butt out there. Love & prayers for All Your Safety from Santa Rosa 💜😷🐈

🙏 to all the first responders and thank you for your hard work.

Thank you Bishop firefighters for all of your extremely hard work!

A big Thank You To All Our Firefighters God Bless You And Your Families Stay Safe

Sending love and prayers from the Florida Panhandle. Be Safe! God Bless you and yours!

Thank you for your service. and God Bless You All .

God be with you all. Thank fort doing what you do

What a commitment! Thank you! Your work can never be repaid!!!

God bless you boys! Please stay safe!

Thank you God bless and stay safe

God Bless you all🙏☮️

Thank you all for what you do for us everyday 💗

Stay safe 🚒😊👍🏼

Amen

Ty

👊👍🤙😎🙏

Thanks to all the firefighters out in California, Oregon & Washington who work tirelessly everyday ❗️❗️. You are true heroes❗️

This is a spectacular photo, a real prizewinner! ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Thanks never were more than a few brave people

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7 days ago

To any of our Inyo County residents....Please take a minute, if you haven’t yet, to sign up for the Inyo County emergency alerting system, CodeRED. This will ensure that if there is a local emergency such as an evacuation notice or missing child report that you will be notified. Stay safe and stay informed!
Click on this link to sign up:
public.coderedweb.com/CNE/en-US/DAD807D480BF

📷 by John Paul DeRousseau
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To any of our Inyo County residents....

Comment on Facebook

Jack Lila McKinney just making sure your signed up ❤️

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