Reflecting on Mammoth Lakes: A close look at fall colors

Pooja Bale/Staff

Since we’re well into the fall season, we have but a few more weeks to revel in the vibrancy of the leaves that grace our eyes. Now that I have your attention, take a look at the nearest tree. You may see leaves that are red or orange in color or leaves in that strange transition from green to a murky yellowish color. Many will likely blanket the ground underneath the tree like a brown, crunchy carpet. But what if I told you there are places in California where you can see gold?


And no, I don’t mean Jamestown, which was a hot spot during the California Gold Rush.

The town of Mammoth Lakes is a stone’s throw from Yosemite, the nature freak’s Studio 54, and embodies many of the same characteristics of wildlife found all over the Sierra Nevada. The area features five or six lakes — the most heavily visited being Mono Lake and June Lake — as well as a ton of trees. And you know what a ton of trees in fall means: The entire landscape looks like it’s had bright red, orange and yellow paint dumped on it.


Luckily for us, these lakes are in the part of California in which leaf season peaks a little later than in the rest of the state. Because of this, the leaves tend to stay colorful into late October and even early November, which means you may be able to catch the last of them if you go soon!

And the best part — all the leaves are a glowing, golden yellow. The trees, the ground, the bushes, the reflections in the lakes — you name it, it’s yellow. It’s literally like walking into a wonderland. We always see leaves that are red and orange here in the Bay Area, but there’s something a bit more eye-catching about yellow leaves.

See for yourself. 


This region features some of the state’s (and even the nation’s) final glimpses of fall foliage. It offers one last glimpse of the beauty of leaves in colors other than green and brown — until next year, at least. Mammoth Lakes makes that one last look at fall absolutely magical.

Contact Pooja Bale at [email protected] .