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Red-Gold Report

 Photo: Vine maple at the Chatter Creek Trailhead along the Icicle River 10/09/2011

Red-Gold Report 2013

This post will tell where you can find fabulous fall colors. We haven't had quite the influx of pictures that we have had in the past regarding the annual changing of the leaves, but check out the reports below from previous years as a reference to where and when the brilliant color changes typically occur. Additionally, if you do happen upon any great fall color changes and snap a few photos, feel free to post them with location details to the Red-Gold Report post on the WenatcheeOutdoors Forum. It is easier for users to post using the forum, so click here to see more photos and add your own of where the colors are about to go off, where the colors are perfect right now, and where the colors have gone a bit south of perfect.

October 12, 2013. Pictures of vegetation in the understory while hiking out by Driveway Butte and Lost River.

Photo. Get lost in the colors at Lost River.


Red-Gold Report - 2012
November 6, 2012. Visitors to the Enchantments over the weekend reported that larches in the lower Enchantments had already dropped their needles. Still plenty of larches intermixed with the conifers around Mission Ridge that have color but the higher larches at Mission Ridge that are closer to ridge line are past prime. The colors of broad leaf trees and the apple trees in the Wenatchee Valley are stunning right now. Take bike ride up into the Stemilt Basin, along the Halverson Road, along the loop, through the orchards around Monitor, and enjoy the feast of yellows, oranges and reds. We're not sure if it was the smoke and then the fog, but the colors in the Wenatchee Valley seem brighter than normal this year.

October 2, 2012. 
The Women with Altitude hiking group reported superb colors in the broad leaf foliage on the hike to Josephine Lake near Stevens Pass. This is a great time of year for this hike. More about hiking to Josephine.
September 29-30. 2012. Harts Pass, Cutthroat Lake. Andy Dappen reports fall colors in the Harts Pass and Cutthroat Lake extremely pretty. Larches are near peak in the Methow Valley area and a few of the higher larches around Harts Pass were actually a touch past peak this weekend. Sorry to report from farther afield but with all the recent smoke we've had to wander a touch out-of-area to find clean air.

Photo below taken between Harts and Grasshopper passes on Sept 29, 2012. Larches near peak color.

September 29, 2012. Snow Lakes.
Shelly Forster reports the larches above Snow Lakes were just starting to change color. Not that much color in the understory while hiking up Snow Creek to the lakes.

September 25, 2012. Lake Valhalla. Women with Altitude hiking group report some nice colors on the hike into the lake (in the understory in the broad leaf plants), but still a ways a way from peak color.

September 22, 2012. Rock Mountain. Shelly Forster. On the hike to Rock Mountain via the Highway 2 side the blueberries were very colorful (red). Still wildflowers showing too (anenomes still blooming and mountain gentians pretty). Good blueberries for eating too. Maples were not that colorful yet and the high larches were just beginning to change color.

Red-Gold Report - 2011

November 4, 2011. Tronsen Meadow Trail, Blewett Pass Area. Rob Mullins reports, "Yesterday afternoon I hiked Tronsen Meadow trail up to the summit of Tronsen Head, about a three hour hike up and back give or take depending on one's speed.  The Larch of the Tronsen Basin are bright yellow and at the peak. The Larch color should be nice during the upcoming week, and will perhaps have a dusting of snow. That basin is one of the best Larch areas. One hikes up the Tronsen Meadow Trail, at the top turn right (west) on the Mt. Lillian Trail, then intersect the Table Mountain Trail and walk up to the summit of Tronsen Head. When one walks the ridge through the forest and beyond to the open flat west end, one sees lined up the brown meadow summits of Tronsen Head, Windy knob, and Diamond Head. Beyond one takes in the white shining peaks of Mt. Rainier, Mt. Stuart, and Glacier Peak, along with the other Wenatchee Mountains and Stuart Range. As one walks the ridge, expanses of yellow Larch among the green forest are seen directly below north and also stands of Larch are visible to the south among the expansive Naneum basin.
    An alternative is to hike up Tronsen Meadow Trail and at the Mt Lillian Trail intersection follow easterly to eventually summit Mt. Lillian. Many expansive views of Devil's Gulch and, the Wenatchee Valley, Mission Peak and the Naneum Basin, and including much Larch viewing are found on this route.
    One may opt for a shorter hike by driving from Hwy. 97 Blewett summit to Haney Meadow (10 miles from Hwy. 97). From Haney Meadow three different trails go up the 500 vertical feet to the north on Tronsen Head. As well one may head out to Mt Lillian or Tronsen Ridge summit from Haney Meadow. Another nice area on the way to Haney Meadow is the Elk Trap Springs Trail a couple miles before Haney Meadow. Giant 4 ft dbh Larch stand on the steep slope beside the Elk Trap Road to the TH. The Elk Trap Springs Trail is a gentle short walk to the intersection with the Table Mountain Trail. At that intersection directly across one can see the winter XC15 Trail. From the Elk Trap Trail/ Table Mountain Trail intersection, one may follow the XC15 Trail up and down to a pass at the base of Windy Knob, and then walk about 200 vf on the dirt ridge to summit Windy Knob. Views from Windy Knob are quite spectacular, similar to the description of the views from Tronsen Head, located just a few hundred yards apart. As well, one may follow the Table Mountain Trail from the intersection of XC15 and Elk Trap Springs Trail to the east and on up to Tronsen Head. The area contains many loop trails and intersecting trails with short hikes up to various viewpoints or meadows.

October 30, 2011. Burch Mountain. The slanting afternoon light and yellow grasses of the foothills is spectacular this time of year. A bike ride along the crest of Burch Mountain or a walk up Eagle Rock is highly recommended.

October 29, 2011. Clara and Marion Lakes. Spectacular yellows in the larches surrounding both lakes. The trees on the Mission Ridge ski slopes are also flaming. Larches are near peak right now. All of these place are close enough to town that you can do a before- or after-work communing with nature. The trail to the lakes is quite frozen and slick in places so traction devices (MicroSpikes or Yaktrax are useful). Photo below is of larches at Clara Lake.

October 27, 2011. Lake Caroline. The Women with Altitude hiking group report beautiful larch colors at and around Lake Caroline.Larches here are at or just past peak color.

October 25, 2011. Mission Ridge.  Lisa Robinson reported she went up to Mission Ridge after looking at the other pictures in this post. "The sun went down faster than I could walk uphill, but I still got some good color. It was cold enough that the ground was frozen in places and there was a little ice and frost. Since it is supposed to freeze more this week I thought I'd better get a move on while the gold larches lasted.  Now I am hoping for a dusting of snow for contrast--that's always so beautiful." Here's a picture from her walk.

October 24, 2011. Tumwater and Icicle canyons.  Marc Dilley says this is the best year for autumn color he can remember. He's been out regularly in the Icicle and Tumwater canyons photographing those colors. Below is one such shot.

October 18, 2011. Massie Lake, Buck Creek.  Dan O'Conner reported brilliant colors and fabulous scenery doing the Massie Lake High Traverse today. See the post we put up that has a half-dozen beautiful pictures. The picture below is from the high route as well:

October 16, 2011. Diamond Head area and Colchuck Lake. Rob Mullins reports, " Colchuck Lake (hike) is gorgeous with bright yellow larch, snow free to the lake, and snow frosted majesty above the lake! Diamond Head to Mt Lillian Larch are not yet yellow as of Sunday! That area peaked by Oct 15 last year for larch color.

October 15, 2011. Carne Mountain. Chester Marler reports, "Had a fine outing to Carne Mtn. with its 4-5 inches of snow and spectacular larch.  There was a bit of snow before reaching Carne Basin, with the basin itself covered with 2 inches or more.  As we climbed it became deeper, but still easy hiking.  The combination of very clear skies, the fresh snow and larch near their peak made it a stellar day.  I got big points with my wife for suggesting this trip."

Photo Above by Chester Marler: Views while hiking Carne Mountain. Photo below by Jamie Tackman, climbing Aasgard Pass.


October 15, 2011. Fourth of July Trail to Icicle Ridge.  Andy Dappen reports beautiful colors on the trail with shrubbery being at peak color up high but colors being about a week off peak at lower elevation. Larches across the valley on Cashmere and Cannon mountains were flaming. We hit a few inches of snow just before Icicle Ridge and the Lookout site just west of where the trail hits the ridge was plastered with snow on its north side. Trail is overall in good shape but a bit brushy in places.

October 14, 2011. Enchantment Lakes.  Jamie Tackman reports, "Had a beautiful, but grueling wallow fest hiking through the Enchantments the other day.  The climb from Colchuck to the lake was slowed by snow on verglass and once we made the pass, a west wind had scoured snow from the higher elevations filling all the low spots with crotch deep snow.  It was spectacular, with the bold yellow of the Larch contrasted against the the stark white snow, and the cobalt blue skies, but we decided we would be more particular, about snow next trip.

October 11, 2011.  Marc Dilley sent us this picture of vine maples taken in the Icicle Canyon. The vine maples up the icicle canyon are showing in a variety of colors -- some are all yellow, some orange, some red, some a combo of all those colors.

October 9, 2011. Very pretty colors along the Icicle River Road now as you drive the restored road past Ida Creek. Lots of pretty maples and shrubbery along the Icicle Gorge hike, although color is still not at its peak. Could easily be another week or more before peak color.


October 8, 2011. Martin Straub reports great colors in the upper Enchantments now along with several inches of snow. Larches still have quite a bit of green in the lower Enchantments. Peak color may be a week away.


October 8, 2011. Jumpoff Ridge. Andy Dappen reports. "Colors are behind at least two weeks in the Wenatchee Mountains as compared to last year. During the Battle of the Bikes ride today, some of the groves of aspens and tamaracks we passed this year were still mainly green. Last year's ride was a week earlier and some of the same groves we passed at the 5,500-foot level were flaming yellow."

Photo: Maples along the Icicle Gorge Trail on October 9.

October 2, 2011. Icicle Gorge. Larry Glickfeld reports, "On my hike around the loop, early fall colors were making an appearance. Maples are abundant here, and although most were still virtually summer green, some groups of the trees were already showing the notorious flaming orange. I would expect the color here to become quite spectacular over the coming weeks." 


Red-Gold Report 2010

October 23.  Aasgard Pass and the Icicle River.  Reports we've received indicate that the Larch are past prime up high (e.g. Aasgard Pass) but the broad leaf trees down low along the Icicle River are extremely pretty right now. Good time to hike the Icicle Gorge.

October 9- 10. Chiwaukums have excellent color right now -- both the larches and the low shrubs (e.g. blue berries) are spectacular now. See pictures in the East vs West - Fall Foliage post.

October 3. Larch in the Enchantments are perfect now. See Cathy and Drew Gaylords post on traversing the Enchantments on the first weekend of October.


October 2. Colockum and Mission Ridge areas. Cyclists participating in the Battle of the Bikes found deciduous trees in color down lower and spectacular groves of flaming aspens up near the ridgcrest dividing Wenatchee and Ellensburg. Larches at 5,000 to 6,000 foot levels were beginning to turn yellow but are probably still a few weeks from peak color.


Sept 26, 2010.  White River and Twin Lakes. Autumn colors (yellows and reds) in the White River and Little Wenatchee drainages are going off (see picture). The deciduous leaves are pretty now but have quite a bit of brown in them. We suspect the deciduous colors won't last as long or be as bright as some years. The maples in the understory of the trail into Twin Lakes are in excellent shape and the colors along the trail into the lake are gorgeous now. All the cottonwoods flanking the White River aren't quite there yet but canoeing the lower White River (see the online-guidebooks) could be spectacular in a week or 10 days.

September 25-26. North Cascades. Freeman Keller commented by email, "at Wing Lake/Black Peak last weekend (testing our tent LOL) and the larch were just beginning to turn at 6,500 feet, they were still pretty green below. This coming Sunday might (still) be on the early side of the best color (for larches)."



Red-Gold Report 2009

October 28, 2009. Eightmile Lake area. The Women with Altitude hiking group had a few inches of snow on the trail as they walked up toward Eightmile Lake. Lower level broadleaf trees were pretty though a hair past prime. The high larches, visible from afar, were gold and beautiful. The group believes the larches were probably a bit past prime, but still beautiful. This picture, taken by Cici Asplund, is on the walk into Little Eightmile Lake.


October 11, 2009. Lake Wenatchee area. Larry Glickfeld reported after a road ride in the Lake Wenatchee area,"Colors are peaking and are especially good up the LIttle Wenatchee Valley.   Also, Chiwawa Loop colors are not bad."

October 11, 2009. Carne Mountain Hike. Chester Marler says the larches and colors on Carne Mountain are nicely golden (see picture below). Colors are close to peak.

October 11, 2009. Clara and Marion Lakes. Andy Dappen reports colors up around Clara and Marion Lakes are rather drab. "Understory is more brown than gold or red. The larches at and above the lakes are still only half yellow." The first picture below shows the color now... the second picture shows the color at the same place taken one week later last year. 


October 8, 2009.  Marc Dilley returned from  photographing the Enchantments (we'll be posting some of his photos soon) and says "Color beta:  Top color for Western Tamarck (Colchuck Lake variety)  Half-yellow for Alpine Tamarack (Enchantment Plateau species)."

September 29, 2009. Jan Dappen reported the larches on the Carne Mtn hike being half yellow, half green and the ground vegetation half red, half green. Peak color on that hike (encompassing elevations between 4,000 and 7000 feet of elevation are more than a week in the offing.

September 27, 2009. Tom Janisch reports, " The larches were golden above about 7,000 feet in the Hoodoo Peak vicinity of the Chelan Sawtooths. Near the start of the Libby Lake trail the aspens are just starting to turn golden (Hoodoo Peak via the southeast slope leaving the Libby Lake trail at 7,100’ is a nice scramble).

September 27,2009. John Plotz says of the larches up in Colchuck Lake and Enchantment Lakes, "The trees are really starting to turn up there!"

September 26, 2009. Tom Janisch reports, "The blueberry bushes were spectacular red and the berries were delicious between Meander Meadows and Cady Pass on the Crest Trail (the Little Wenatchee River-Cady Creek loop was in great condition. The view from Kodak Peak has me excited about the possibility of a Poet Peaks ski traverse next spring….)

September 19, 2009. John Plotz says the larches are beginning to turn yellow in the Enchantments but are still a week or two from prime time. His picture (below) also shows the blue berry bushes going red.


September 13, 2009. Our first report mentioning colort this year. Tom Janisch reported after climbing the Black Pyramid (close to Prusik Peak in the Enchantments), "Some of the tamaracks in upper Temple Canyon were starting to turn golden."


2008 Red-Gold Report

Photo by Chester Marler. November 1 The last colors of fall? Weekend wind blew away these colors.

Photo above by Lisa Robinson. Above: Wenatchee River side channel near Monitor.  

Photo by Marc Dilley near the base of the Tumwater Canyon.

Photo 2 by Marc Dilley near the base of the Tumwater Canyon.

Photo: October 19: Larch with Mt. Stuart behind from the Ingalls/Esmeralda Pass area. Photo by Phil Fenner. More larch photos at Phil's album.

Photo above Tumwater Canyon, below Clara Lake area, both by Andy Dappen

October 18. (above) Tumwater Canyon continued to be gorgeous over the weekend. In a some places the color looked a bit washed out -- elsewhere it was brilliant.

October 18. (above) Tumwater Canyon continued to be gorgeous over the weekend. In a some places the color looked a bit washed out -- elsewhere it was brilliant.

October 12 (above). View from Castle Rock down on the Wenatchee River by Shane Wilder.

October 12 (below): Castle Rock environs in Tumwater Canyon.



October 12. Great colors in Tumwater Canyon still--yellow, golds, oranges, reds. The hike up Castle Rock is a good short one that has nice vegetation and interesting vantage points for photography.


October 12. Paul Kelly hiked through the Enchantments on Sunday and reported the Aasgard Pass area was very icy. "...everything was solid ice from Colchuck up.  It may be different now with the weather having been nicer, but beware.  With light hikers, it was tricky especially the short, scramble areas near the top. The rivulets were all filled with solid water ice.  We found the needles on the larch were frozen...We saw color on the lower parts of Aasgard, the upper had the trees blown free. The lower Enchantments on down were beautiful but some of the needles were already on the ground.  Strange as reports from just the prior weekend stated they were barely turning.

October 10. Photo to the side and the two below are by Peter Valaas on Wednesday from Larch Lakes up the Entiat. Peter wrote, "About six inches of new snow and very beautiful."

October 8. Colors along our local rivers and in the mountains are turning shades of spectacular right now. Tumwater Canyon has been worth a visit to photograph – especially on gray days when the red and golds really pop. Here are some pictures taken last weekend in the Tumwater. 

Photo by Wenatchee Outdoors. Tumwater Canyon. October 8.

Get out and enjoy it…and, if you get good photos, send us a few to post (also send us the details on where and when the pictures were taken.