Fall Color & Mono Lake Star Trails, Oct 3-6


Led by Sue Craft & Sue Liberto

It’s a 2 for 1 trip… fall color near Bishop and star trails over Mono Lake.  If history repeats itself, the first weekend in October should be great for fall color! This same weekend is the New Moon, which means no visible moon at night, which is ideal for photographing star trails over Mono Lake.

Tentative Schedule – All subject to change due to fall color and weather conditions, so you need to be flexible.

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Thursday 10/3 - Travel Day and ½ Day Photography

Meet at the Galen Rowell Photo Gallery in Bishop at 1pm.  Travel time to Bishop from Lancaster is approximately 3 ½ hours.  Your scout(s) will lead the group to the most colorful locations for fall color.  Sunset this time of year is approximately 7pm, however the sun drops below the High Sierra peaks well before then and the canyons fall into the shadows early.  We’ll meet again for dinner at Denny’s in Bishop between 7-8pm, and formulate the plan for Friday morning.  We may want to return to Bishop Creek, or head towards Rock Creek or McGee Creek, depending upon where the best fall color is. 

Friday 10/4 - Fall Color Photography and Mono Lake for Sunset & Star Trails

Photograph more fall color as we head towards Lee Vining.  Meet at the Whoa Nellie Deli Café in Lee Vining at 4pm.  Photograph sunset and then star trails at Mono Lake.  Sunset is approximately 7pm.  South Tufa is a Federal Fee Area.  Adults are $3.00. Federal Fee Area Annual passes are valid here.

Saturday 10/5 – Fall Color Photography and Mono Lake for Sunset & Star Trails

Photograph fall color in canyons around Lee Vining, sunset over Mono Lake and star trail photography.  Meet up time for breakfast and dinner to be deteremined.   

Sunday 10/6 – Travel Day

Everyone hits the road to return home, but possible photo opportunities on your way include sunrise at Mono Lake, Laws Railroad Museum in Bishop, Manzanar (WWII Japanese Relocation Camp near Independence), or a visit to the Alabama Hills near Lone Pine.


Weather - In October, sunrise is approximately 630am.  Temperatures this time of year can range from the low 30’s in the morning (depending upon elevation) and into the 70’s during the daytime.  Layered clothing is recommended.   Elevations range from 4000 feet at Bishop to 9768 ft at South Lake. Keep hydrated and be aware of signs of altitude sickness (light headed, dizzy, nauseous, fatigued, short of breath, etc.)  If necessary, retreat to lower elevation or seek medical help.  Exchange of cell phone numbers is encouraged.  GMRS Walkie Talkies work well too.  We’ll plan on using channel 2-0.

Photo Equipment – Normal photo gear with a wide to telephoto lens will serve you well.  A polarizing filter might be useful to enhance clouds and cut down on any reflections.  A Tripod is a must for sunrise, sunset, and star trail photography.  A cable release or intervalometer (programmable cable release) will be useful for star trail photography.  It’s always a good idea to read your camera manual and become familiar with how to choose Manual settings and how to select or deselect noise reduction.   More camera tips and a check list to be handed out to attendees, before the trip.

Hotels –

Make your reservations soon as this is prime time for fall color in the Eastern High Sierra.  There are numerous places to stay.  Here are two to get you started, and if full, just Google.


Oct 3 (Thurs)
Bishop – Ramada Inn
*$80.75/night, 2 Q beds, refrigerator, microwave, wi-fi, continental breakfast
*24 hour cancellation policy


Oct 4 & 5 (Fri/Sat)
Lakeview Lodge – Lee Vining
*$134/night, 2 Q beds, refrigerator
*24 hr cancellation policy
*Contact hotels for latest rates and policy

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