Fall aspens at South Lake, Inyo National Forest, Sierra Nevada Mountains, California
It’s September 1st – the days are getting shorter, and there is a crispness in the air that definitely signals the close of summer. This is my favorite time of year when the crowds give way to the colors of fall, and the natural world seems to come alive once again with a riot of color.
It’s always hard to predict just when the peak of autumn will occur, and temperature changes play a large part in this. Higher elevations in the western mountains tend to peak late September to early October, the eastern hardwoods around mid-October, while desert canyons such as Zion typically show their full colors in early November.
Indications are that 2011 will be another big winter, which means the season may be cut short as early snows cause the leaves to turn brown or drop prematurely. But if your timing is right, you can have the best of both worlds with one season visually ushering in another.