If you enjoy photographing the colors of autumn, plan your next autumn color exploration for the east side of California’s Sierra Nevada. Travel U.S. Route 395 through aspen groves climbing into steep canyons that drop from the Pacific Crest to the edge of the Great Basin Desert. In contrast to the reds of fall in New England, the yellows of the Sierra have a short autumn season, moving from north to south and from higher to lower elevations, influenced by rain, wind, and temperature. Each year these scenes of flaming color framed by ragged mountain peaks can be spectacular. Next fall, head west and climb to elevations of over 10,000 feet to photograph an exciting version of autumn color.
Some of the best autumn color can be found in the canyons that drop to the east side of the Sierra, the Nevada side of that mountain range. My favorite aspen groves stretch from Lake Tahoe to the Owens Valley and points south. My exploration of autumn color east of the Sierra concentrated on the side canyons along U.S. Route 395 from Topaz Lake to the lakes around Bishop where a large selection of motels and services can be found.