seeking advice on CA trip in Nov feasible?.

Discussion in 'Geographic Location' started by manjo, Oct 9, 2006.

  1. manjo

    manjo Member

    Messages:
    162
    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2005
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I am planning to visit the national parks in California mid Nov.I will have around 3 weeks, starting 20th of Nov. I would like to know if the weather will be good around that time ? will the passes be closed ? should I worry abt El-Nino ? will the colors be gone already? If Nov is not a good time I will have to move this trip to March-Apr of next year. Any advice much appreciated.
     
  2. Loose Gravel

    Loose Gravel Member

    Messages:
    921
    Joined:
    Feb 28, 2003
    Location:
    Santa Barbar
    Mid Nov can be very good and on average, I'd say better than the spring. California is a big place, so I don't know what you mean by the 'national parks in California'. Redwoods, lava beds, Death Valley, Joshua Tree. If you are in the parks for Thanksgiving, so will be everyone else. Yosemite is hugely popular. Death Valley too. The week or even the day before can be quiet. Redwoods are very nice at that time and some color left. Most of the leaves that will be left will be a few grape leaves in the Salinas valley. The are predictions of El Nino, and we have had some early, albeit light, rains already. Rain doesn't usually hit hard until later, however, so if you're betting, go with good weather mostly. I think Tioga pass (Yosemite) closed Tday weekend last year. That is a bit late. Usually closed by Halloween. Lassen is always closed.

    Basically, the deserts will be fine, but no color. The Sierras will be cold and nice and not much color. The north coast will be very nice, a little color, but chance of a storm. Anywhere within driving range of SoCal will be busy for the Tday weekend.
     
  3. kswatapug

    kswatapug Member

    Messages:
    195
    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2004
    Depends on what you are looking for. Peak autumn color in Yosemite Valley typically occurs between the last two weeks of October and the first two weeks of November. But oaks in the valley often retain their leaves through the entire winter. They aren't the golden color of peak autumn, but brown, and with frost or snow, can be quite beautiful. Most of the color at the higher elevations is gone by then and you are left to work with a more sublte palette if you are using color. With black and white, this change of seasons is less of an issue. The bare trees and cliffs are always enticing. Often overlooked is the Merced River Canyon just outside the park boundary, where color lingers longer and there wonderful reflections in the slow moving water of the river.

    Most of Sequoia is at a higher elevation, so the deciduous trees have typically lost their leaves by the end of November, but the redwoods are still red. Just less delicate color to contrast the large shapes.

    Kings Canyon has some lower elevation areas as well (Cedar Grove) and some dramatic vistas.

    The light in autumn in is wonderful to work with and sunrise and sunsets are especially colorful.

    Visitation outside of the weekends and holidays is light (so much so that the operators in Yosemite offer incentives to visit such as the Vinters' Holidays at The Ahwahnee). Great way to keep spouses happy whislt one chases the light. For more info on that, you can check www.yosemitepark.com.
     
  4. kswatapug

    kswatapug Member

    Messages:
    195
    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2004
    Depends on what you are looking for. Peak autumn color in Yosemite Valley typically occurs between the last two weeks of October and the first two weeks of November. But oaks in the valley often retain their leaves through the entire winter. They aren't the golden color of peak autumn, but brown, and with frost or snow, can be quite beautiful. Most of the color at the higher elevations is gone by then and you are left to work with a more sublte palette if you are using color. With black and white, this change of seasons is less of an issue. The bare trees and cliffs are always enticing. Often overlooked is the Merced River Canyon just outside the park boundary, where color lingers longer and there wonderful reflections in the slow moving water of the river.

    Most of Sequoia is at a higher elevation, so the deciduous trees have typically lost their leaves by the end of November, but the redwoods are still red. Just less delicate color to contrast the large shapes.

    Kings Canyon has some lower elevation areas as well (Cedar Grove) and some dramatic vistas.

    The light in autumn in is wonderful to work with and sunrise and sunsets are especially colorful.

    Visitation outside of the weekends and holidays is light (so much so that the operators in Yosemite offer incentives to visit such as the Vinters' Holidays at The Ahwahnee). Great way to keep spouses happy whislt one chases the light. For more info on that, you can check www.yosemitepark.com.
     
  5. manjo

    manjo Member

    Messages:
    162
    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2005
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Thanks for your replies, I was in the yosemite area three years ago and ended up there without my camera. I drove though the tyoga pass etc and it was fantastic. I swore that I will be back there with my LF gear, last time I drove this route was in end of sept. I would also like to visit death valley, kings canyon, sequoia and joshua tree NP (if I have time). Idealy I would like to avoid the thanks giving crowd, so plan to vist some friends in SJC for thanks giving to stay away from the crowd. Is tayoga pass closed last week of oct ? is there any site I where I can get some reliable info on winter road closures etc ?
     
  6. kswatapug

    kswatapug Member

    Messages:
    195
    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2004
    Tioga Pass typically closes for the winter following the first snowstorm of November. Very rarely, it has been open later than that due to a paucity of moisture. If it closes, some of the other passes (Sonora Pass, Carson Pass) may still be open. If not, then Donner Summit makes the trip from the Bay Area around to the east side, south to Death Valley, etc. a little longer, but can be beautiful.

    If you are planning a trip to Death Valley, one of the less visited but pretty spots is Eureka Dunes. If my memory serves me, you get to it via the same road that leads to the Bristlecone Pines in the White Mountains, but instead of turning north into that area, you continue east and the road forks off to a little used western entrance to Death Valley. The road is closed as often as it is open, but well worth the trip if it is accessible.