First Inklings Of Fall Colors – June Lake, CA

The color show is juuuust starting!

We’ve made it to the Sierra’s and the show is about to begin! The weather is crisp and bright, the lakes are brilliant blue, the mountains bold and beautiful and the aspens are about the make their grand exit in a brilliant display of yellows and orange. We are at the very edge of the change, probably a week or so away from “full color”, but I can already tell it’s going to be good.

For whatever reason the Sierra’s, and in particular Hwy 395, never seem to attract RVers the way the other fall color spots do. It’s really an odd phenomenon and I can’t quite explain why. Granted the fall display isn’t as famous and varied as what you get on the east coast, but it’s still pretty darn fabulous and there are so few people here. This totally surprised me last year, but I can’t say I’m complaining. This is absolutely the time to be here -> few other tourists, gorgeous weather and a fall show with miles of hikes in the mountains all to yourself. I mean, what’s not to like?

This year we’re exploring a couple of new sites which we didn’t manage to get around to in our tour last year. In particular we’re spending at least a week (possibly more) in the lovely June Lake Loop area, a horseshoe-shaped canyon nestled in-between Mono Lake and Mammoth Lakes at ~7,600 feet. Carved by glaciers in the Pleistocene Epoch, this scenic little enclave is sometimes called the “Switzerland of California” because of its juxtaposition of valley, lakes and high mountain peaks.

Lovely June Lake in the early AM
Hiking from June Lake Loop

The entire loop is only ~14 miles around, but manages to pack in a ton of “stuff”. It has a cute little town and resort, ski area, multiple camping spots, and 4 mountain lakes. It even manages to throw in a few “oddities”, a balanced 150-ton boulder (right in the middle of town), a reversed creek that flows back towards the mountain (interesting little geology there) and the “Tiger” bar that holds one of the State of California’s two longest standing alcoholic beverage licenses (how about that for weird trivia?). It also happens to be a hidden gem for good fall color, sporting many steep, but lovely trails lined with groups of oh-I’m-just-waiting-to-change-and-dazzle-you aspens.

We arrived a few days ago and set-up the beast next to a couple of  trailers (we are, yet again, the biggest rig in the forest) in the very scenic Oh Ridge! forest service campground (thanks Suzy & Jerry for the recommendation!). We’ve basically been lazing around the lake and hiking trails ever since, enjoying perfect fall mountain weather and the very first sprinkling of color. I’ll be taking a ton more pictures (no doubt) as the color change progresses and we’ll add-in several day-trips to new spots as well. Our buddies Lu & Terry are on their way to join us too, so we’ll be hanging some social time as well. Good friends, good weather, lots of space and the first inklings of fall color…I am SO ready for the show to begin!

We’ve got deer in our campground that come around everyday
And nice sunsets too!
Paker Lake, one of the many lovely hikes in the area
There’s a doggie beach at June Lake…yeah!!
Afternoon by June Lake beach
The very first sprinklings of fall color
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We LOooVE Comments, So Please Do

  1. Lee and Shelia says

    YOU enjoy and we enjoying your Blog. We are on the Dark Side of the Sierras in the Big Valley. Thanks Nina and Paul
    BTW how is Paul’s back doing?

    • libertatemamo says

      Paul’s back is MUCH better, thanks. He still gets some slight twinges, but it’s pretty much all healed. As long as he doesn’t do anymore “he-man” moves I think we’re good to go!

    • libertatemamo says

      We’ve got at least 150 sites free around here…and one empty guest couch in the rig…AND we are easily bribed by wine so come on by :)

  2. says

    June Lake looks fabulous. I am ready to head that direction and get back to the mountains where we can get some hiking in. We’ve been getting a bit lazy lately and we need to change that. We will be heading your way on Monday. Great post!

  3. says

    You’re in my favorite area. I love the high Sierras and the area around June Lake. You can see some great fall color if you go into Bishop and then take the road up to Lake Sabrina and the Bishop Creek area. Lots of aspens up there…but watch out for early snowfall. I have no internet now, except what I can find at McDonalds, but I will for sure be keeping up with your posts from Hwy 395.

    • libertatemamo says

      Thanks for the tip! We will definitely check that out! I think we still need a couple of nights of “good freeze” for full color change, but we’re getting there.

  4. Kathi Williams says

    Hello! Just discovered your fun blog from a friend’s reference. We just bought a 17.5 ft Skyline Aljo and will be traveling (part-time) with our two cats, blind Jack and kitten Cameron. We didn’t take them in our 35 ft. converted schoolbus (which we hope to sell right away), nor in our Dodge Caravan trips, but we hope they’ll accompany us in our new vehicle. Long-time campers, we live in the woods near Mt. Shasta and are now retired. Will try to catch up on your adventures & get ideas for feline travelers–any suggestions welcomed!

    Cheers, ~Kathi & Michael & Fuzzy Ones

      • Kathi Williams says

        Thanks! Our blind boy is used to a harness but just now baby Cameron just lies down and looks at me with distain on a lead. I am going to get some sturdy harnesses. I’ll prob. figure it out, but now somehow I’m getting a separate email from each of your responders & I can’t find the just-the-blogger button!? If you ever get near Mt. Shasta, let us know–we know the region very well.
        Cheers, ~Kathi & Michael

    • libertatemamo says

      Thanks! The mountain lake reflections always take my breath away. It’s hard to capture how pretty they are in a photo.

  5. jil mohr says

    Looks beautiful…we just left some fall beauties too…the aspens….full swing in New Mexico/Colorado border areas….my favorite time of the year…well at least now :)

    • libertatemamo says

      So love the aspens in CO too. Haven’t experienced fall in the RV there yet, but it’s on the list. Enjoy your time in NM!!


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