California’s Eastern Sierra

Different Ways to See the Fall Colors

Try a New Perspective

Experience the awe-inspiring Autumn scenery in a way that you might not have thought of before. Take in all of the gorgeous gold, orange and deep red colors of fall in Mono County in one of these unique ways! 

Cropped McGee Pack Station Horseback Fall Colors

On Horseback

“Riding on horseback really allows you to see more of your surroundings,” explains Kira Olson, a wrangler at McGee Creek Pack Station. “Unlike hiking, where you are looking at your feet and the trail most of the time, experiencing the fall colors while on horseback allows people to have a better and more intimate experience of the beauty of the Sierra.” 

McGee Creek Pack Station, near Mammoth Lakes, offers affordable day rides to see the colors as does Leavitt Meadows Pack Station off Sonora Pass, just north of Bridgeport. 

For an epic three-day adventure through golden aspen groves and expansive meadows, book the Fall Color Ride with Hunewill Ranch in Bridgeport. If you’re not able to commit to a three-day ride, consider joining their wranglers on a day trip in the high country.

For a list of all Mono County pack stations, please click here

Cropped McGee Pack Station Horseback Fall Colors
Silver Lake green fall colors

On the Water

Kayaking and boating also offer a completely different perspective as you paddle and glide through golden reflections on smooth water. Boats and kayaks can be rented at many marinas and lakes which are lined with brilliant aspens: Rock Creek Lake, Convict Lake, Lake Mary and Lake George (Mammoth Lakes Basin), June, Gull, Silver and Grant Lakes (June Lake Loop), and Twin Lakes in Bridgeport. Call in advance to verify hours, dates of operation and make a reservation for a boat or kayak in advance.

Silver Lake green fall colors
Monitor Pass Bike Riders

On a Bike Ride

Mono County is a mecca for two-wheeled exploration, and with cooler temps and less traffic (both on the roads and trails), fall is the ideal time to ride! Road bikers should check out the June Lake Loop, Rock Creek Road, Convict Lake Road, the Mammoth Lakes Basin, Sonora Pass, Monitor Pass, and Twin Lakes Road (from Bridgeport). Mountain bikers should plan to hit Lower Rock CreekMammoth Mountain's bike park, and the Yost Trail in June Lake. 

Monitor Pass Bike Riders
Fall Colors from SkyTime Helicopter Tour 2 by Eric Deim

On a Helicopter or Jeep Tour

Sign up for a Jeep tour and try some four-wheeling along with the autumn viewing of changing colors. High Sierra Jeep Adventures’ experienced guides will drive you and your group out into the backcountry to experience the fall magic. The best thing about these guys? They will let you drive the Jeep if you have a current license. High Sierra Jeep Adventures is open daily from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. and are located in June Lake. 

Or try something truly breathtaking and view the shift of seasons from the cockpit of a helicopter. “Everyone we take on a helicopter ride is ecstatic about the experience of seeing fall foliage from above,” says Ed Roski, owner and pilot at Sky Time Helicopter Tours. “You get to see everything – clumps of trees that haven’t yet turned color next to clumps of orange and red trees. We fly to areas that are hard to get to in any other way, and every day the scenery changes, especially in fall. We also see majestic waterfalls, bears, bald eagles, and all different types of wildlife. It’s truly a unique experience.” Sky Time Helicopter Tours, located in Mammoth Lakes, offers tours that take their guests all over the greater Eastern Sierra including over Mammoth Mountain, June Lakes, Lee Vining and more.

(Photo Credit: Eric Diem)

Fall Colors from SkyTime Helicopter Tour 2 by Eric Deim