Autumn + Autos: Mono County Fall Drives

Find drive-nice stretches that include mountains, sky, and changing trees.

AUTUMN ADD-IT-UP: Particular numbers begin to pop up 'round the time that fall arrives on the scene. You might start pondering how many guests you'll have for your Halloween party, or how many relatives' houses you should drop in at Thanksgiving, or how many days it might be to Christmas Day (it is always a lot sooner than you think). But there is one number that is spoken by many an autumn aficionado, especially if they call California home: 395. That doesn't signify a length of time but a highway, rather, and one that's quite beloved. It's the ribbon of mountain-lined asphalt that wends along the Eastern Sierra, and while its treasures are spectacular throughout the year (Ancient Bristlecone Pines, Mono Lake) Highway 395 can also deliver when fall makes its annual entrance. Where will you toodle to see some primo aspen action or a few oaks putting on their yearly gold-to-brown-to-ground show? Take a tip from the folks at Mono County Tourism and head out for these...

FALL COLOR DRIVES: There are drives that will provide more hue-pop earlier in the season (hello, Rock Creek Canyon) and those that'll deliver some classic photo goodness (we're looking at you, Conway Summit and Virginia Lakes). The area is lush with lovely places to end up, both for admiring and for the shutterbug set. But as with all autumn-based opportunities, the leaf-pretty scene is a fleeting one, so plan your late-September-into-October-y adventures at once. Halloween, Thanksgiving, and the holidays are near, which means that fall foliage pleasures are even nearer.

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