Fall Colors in California

A few months ago, I hiked Big Pine Lakes. I was enthralled by the Eastern Sierras and after seeing pictures of the fall colors up at June Lake, I put out a call for travel buddies.

One of my old co-workers and her friends joined me on a quick 2-day trip to Mono County.

First, we stopped by my favorite coffee shop in Bishop: Looney Bean.

Then we explored Convict Lake. In the late 1800s, some convicts escaped from a Nevada prison and there was shootout between them and the police. Despite its name, Convict Lake was the most beautiful and apparently they host tons of weddings here.

Next up was June Lake, a few miles north of Mammoth. We hiked around one of the lakes in June Lake (Gull Lake) and explored the local shops, which include a great thrift store by the library, several adorable restaurants, and June Lake Brewery (we didn’t go this time but next time!).

We backtracked that evening to Benton Hot Springs. We stayed for star gazing (the most stars I’ve ever seen!) and an outstanding appearance of the Milky Way. We also met lots of friendly locals!

We stayed at the Mammoth Mountain Inn, not realizing its “shoulder season.” There weren’t many people, but we enjoyed the bar at the hotel, manned by a guy I almost fell in love with. But we did meet up with him and other locals at a saloon for pizza, pool, and beers and met a man who looks like Wayne Newton!

The trails up by Mammoth were open but without rangers. There were lots of people there so we went ahead and hiked to Devil’s Postpile and Rainbow Falls for the second time.

This weekend was extremely relaxing! I’m usually a lone traveler, but the company was easy – everyone was up for everything and we made swift decisions. And although Mammoth is great during summer (and winter), fall makes for a cheaper and crowd-free trip.


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