When do the Leaves Change Colors in Mammoth Lakes?

When do the Leaves Change Colors in Mammoth Lakes?

During winter and spring, people come to Mammoth Lakes for skiing and snowboarding. In the summer, they come for fishing, hiking, and mountain biking. In the fall though, the best thing to do in Mammoth Lakes is to enjoy the fall colors as the cool air descends from the mountains.

Fall in Mammoth Lakes means beautiful weather that makes it hard to stay inside, but what draws people to the area are the beautiful fall colors painting the mountains and lakes that surround our home. Mammoth Bound wants everyone to know exactly what we’re talking about, so we’ve listed what you need to know about when the leaves change colors in Mammoth Lakes below. Read all about it to decide the best time for your visit, and then use Mammoth Bound to plan your Mammoth Lakes fall trip!

Leaves Change Based on Elevation

You don’t need to know the science behind why leaves change color in the fall, but you do need to know the key parts of the process if you’re going to catch them at peak color.

The high elevation and mountainous terrain make Mammoth Lakes fall colors unique in the fact that the leaves change on a gradient. The leaves at higher elevation are the first to change in mid-September, and as the cool air moves down from the mountains the leaves change with it. The result is a long fall color season that can be spectacular even if you don’t catch it at its peak.

Every year is different, but you can generally find fall colors around Mammoth Lakes beginning in mid-September all the way to the end of October and beyond. 

Mammoth Lakes Fall Colors Typically Peak Mid-October

That being said, peak colors often come around mid-October.

Each season is different, and even if you don’t catch Mammoth Lakes during peak colors then you’re still going to be treated to spectacular scenery. However, if you’re determined to be in town when the colors peak then you can track the local weather and plan around a specific location for where you want to see them.

For example, the Lakes Basin is a beautiful and accessible area surrounded by trees and lakes that will stun anyone once the leaves change. Since the Lakes Basin is in Mammoth Lakes, if you track the weather for the town then you’ll have a good idea of how cool the temperatures are getting at night. You can also track how the leaves are changing by looking for photos of the areas you want to see most on social media and plan your visit based on how bright the colors look!

Seasonal Weather Determines How Bright the Colors Are

Although the leaves in Mammoth Lakes change every year, how bright their colors are depends on how the weather has been for all of fall.

The ideal weather combination for bright fall colors are sunny days with no rain and cool nights. On the other hand, if most of the fall season is filled with rain and warm nights then the color of the leaves will be less vibrant. Still, don’t worry if you find that the weather is warm and rainy ahead of your visit. It takes an entire season for this change to take place, not just a few days, Plus, the fall colors will still be there regardless of how bright they are, and spending time outside in the mountain air is always worth a visit to Mammoth Lakes!


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