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Fall Color in the Eastern Sierra

Updated: Oct 16, 2023

We always try to spend a week or two of each spring and fall in the Eastern Sierra, but I didn't think we'd make it to the mountains this year. In the end, we managed a whopping two days in Bishop Creek Canyon, and broke down outside of Lone Pine on the way home. (Want to buy a print? I have hefty tow and repair bills to pay off! haha.) We usually go to less popular spots, and it was delightfully bizarre to see so many other photographers zipping around all in one place. And it was very obvious why we were all there! The fall color in the eastern Sierra this year was GLORIOUS. (Side note, some flowers were still blooming too!) I'll let the photos speak for themselves. All photos taken the second week of October 2023, copyright Sarah Ainsworth. Prints and greeting cards available. All shots with the Pentax K1, lenses used: Pentax FA 50 mm f1.4 classic, Pentax DFA 28-105, and Pentax DFA 21 limited. (Amazon affiliate links)

Panoramic photo of North Lake in the Eastern Sierra Nevada mountains. Fall's cooling temperatures change the colors of the aspens and willows growing along the lake's banks from green to gold.

Panoramic photo of North Lake in the Eastern Sierra Nevada mountains outside of Bishop, CA. The aspens wash the banks of the lake in gold as they change color with the seasons. (7 images stitched together.)

Yellow aspens line a road that curves towards the mountains

Wouldn't you love to have a cabin tucked into the trees in this neighborhood, in the shadow of the mountains, and watch the leaves change with the seasons?

A grove of golden aspens tucked between some pine trees against the slope of a mountain.

No, it's not fall colors in Colorado, the Rocky Mountains, New Mexico, or even Utah (as my website's automatic tag generator seems to think). It's fall colors in California!

Rainbow bokeh effect around yellow aspen leaves.

For the photogs reading this, the rainbow bokeh in this shot came from the new Pentax 50 mm f1.4 Classic. (Amazon affiliate link) It's such a fun effect. The bokeh reminds me a bit of an old Helios.

The creek outlet for North Lake high outside of Bishop, Ca, with aspens and willows turning golden in their fall foliage along the banks of the creek.

This is the creek coming down from North Lake outside of Bishop, CA. Aspens and willows grow along the banks and shift from green to gold this time of year.

A grove of aspens stand in their fall foliage below Lake Sabrina dam with the mountains of the Eastern Sierra Nevada in the background

Taken from along the road just below the Lake Sabrina dam in Bishop Creek Canyon.

purple asters grow against the backdrop of aspens changing their colors for fall

Asters still in bloom against the backdrop of the aspens in their fall foliage. I was quite surprised at how many flowers were still in bloom.

Bishop Creek lined with aspens in their fall foliage glowing golden in the afternoon sun

Bishop Creek rushing downhill, with some aspens peaking while others are just starting to turn into their fall colors.

The valley where Aspendell, CA sits, with the mountains of the Sierra Nevada in the background. The aspens have turned yellow and gold.

I know this shot down into the canyon where Aspendell sits has been done better by many photogs, but the scene just took my breath away, and I couldn't help but pull over.

Fernbush still blooms agains the backdrop of aspens in fall colors

I BELIEVE this is a fernbush (Chamaebatiaria millefolium) still blooming as the aspens change color for fall. Correct me if I've got the ID wrong!

Star trails show the earth's rotation. Aspens change color in the foreground

Star trails over the changing aspens, all marking the passage of time.

Bishop creek. with golden aspens along its banks.

Bishop Creek.

A road curving away towards Lake Sabrina, with aspens and pines along each side. The aspens are yellow, wearing their fall foliage.

The road to Lake Sabrina curves through groves of aspens and pine. Prints and greeting cards available at: Please contact me directly if you're looking for a custom size or to order the panoramic image, using the linked contact form or emailing As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.

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