Is Carson Valley Fall Color Starting Early?

Usually at this lower elevation, the maples and cottonwoods don’t start putting on their show until late in the first week of October (maples) or mid-October (cottonwoods). So I was surprised when, on September 28, my husband said, “The cottonwoods by Cradlebaugh Bridge are already starting to turn.”

Just in time for the Harvest Festival and Pumpkin Patch at Corley Ranch, which starts October 1. Cue the trees to add that extra fall ambience to the valley while the festival is going on.

Mind you, today I was out and about for the first time in a week after being hit hard with the norovirus stomach bug, and I was surprised to see the start of fall color. The trees are not peaking here. However, many of the maples are starting to show red early, the ash trees are starting to turn yellow, and a few cottonwoods are completely decked out in their golden attire.

Maples in Carson Valley Starting to Turn, 9-30-22, Kim Wilkes

Cradlebaugh Bridge

A few trees by Cradlebaugh Bridge, on Highway 395 between Carson City and Minden, are mostly yellow. Spotlighted by the sun, with the Sierra in the background, they’re quite the sight. 

This could mean the fall color show by Cradlebaugh Bridge could come in several acts until it reaches the grand finale.

Maples Starting to Turn

The maples at the intersection of Highway 395 and 88 are taking on a red hue that’s currently more of a background color but is ready to take center stage soon. I’d estimate they’re going to reach their peak between October 7 and 9.  

Carson Valley, Nevada Fall Color Report 9-30-22

Cradlebaugh Bridge: Patchy (10%)

Maples Throughout the Valley: Patchy (10%) 

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