Sunday, November 9, 2014

Western Sierra road trips

The best road trips to see fall color in California this weekend are in the Western Sierra, where the leaves are turning at low elevations around 3,500 feet, according to leaf-spotters at California Fall Color..

Colors at high elevations in the Eastern Sierra that were must-sees in October are now done for the season.

Road trip 1: El Dorado County. Drive on Newton Road from Placerville to Pleasant Valley and north to Sly Park Recreation Area, stopping at Jenkinson Lake.

The lake is a good place to get out of the car and hike around to see the oranges and reds of black oaks, big-leaf maples, cottonwood, dogwood and willows.

The loop around the lake covers about eight miles, but you can sample part of it if you don't want to go the entire distance. "Fall color should remain at peak through the coming week, weather permitting," the California Fall Color report says of the area.

Trees at nearby orchards and vineyards near the town of Camino are near peak too.

Road trip 2: Mendocino County. Take a spin on the Redwood Highway (U.S. 101) where the trees alongside the roadway are near peak. From Willits and Laytonville, "a beautiful canopy of yellow, green and orange oak trees drapes the highway," the report says.

which received enough snow last weekend to close the east-west Tioga Road until Friday, shows colors from black oaks and big-leaf maples that are expected to last until Thanksgiving.

For those who want to go farther, colors are near peak in the Shasta Cascade area, particularly along the Sacramento River and in Redding; Modoc National Forest; the Trinity River near Weaverville; and Mt. Shasta and its surroundings.