Colorful Aspen groves celebrate Autumn in high country
Alpine County, CA – Dancing in bright hues of lemon yellow and pumpkin orange, groves of Aspen celebrate the arrival of fall in in shimmering fashion. This is Hope Valley, California.
Hypnotically dancing to the crisp mountain air, aspen groves dot the high eastern slopes of California’s Sierra Nevada. Exploring these pockets of bursting color amid towering 10,000 foot mountain peaks, alpine lakes of azure and sweeping meadows is a magical experience.
A Journey and Destination
Hope Valley was our planned destination, but the numerous opportunities and proverbial rabbit trails were simply too inviting to ignore. The journey takes you through the counties of El Dorado, Amador and Alpine. Take time to explore some of them to create your own epic travel experience.
Silver Lake, Caples Lake, Red Lake along with numerous small lakes and day use areas offer breathtaking views and the perfect opportunities for relaxation or recreation that include hiking, off-roading and fishing just to name a few.
Looking for a more scenic and leisurely pace? Head east on Highway 50 and instead of following the herd all the way up the mountain, Google or Siri directions for the Sly Park Exit 60 in Pollock Pines. The Mormon Emigrant Trail, a lighter traveled, well paved, not windy road will help you effortlessly transcend into the Sierra Nevada until you reach Highway 88.
Portions of this route are remote with limited to no access to services. Fueling up before going and packing a small cooler with lunch or snacks is strongly suggested. We managed on coffee, granola bars and water for the day, before rewarding ourselves with dinner and wine in South Lake Tahoe following a fun day of exploration.
Bonus Tip: Print or download your travel route beforehand, so when you lose cell service (and you will), staying on course will be a breeze.
Hope Valley is a wonderful destination for fall foliage. Perhaps what makes it more magical is the entirety of the journey. Toss your agenda, slow your roll and go with the flow. An autumn day in California’s high country is a delight for the senses that shouldn’t be rushed. You’re patience will be amply rewarded.