After a late start to the fall foliage season, if you want to experience the brilliance of the Eastern Sierra's fall colors, you should drive up to the mountains in the next 10 days.

The foliage is peaking now all along U.S. Route 395 with brilliant shades of red, orange, yellow, gold, and lime.

"The late arrival of fall color – which historically has peaked in a few locations before the first day of autumn – has exasperated Eastern Sierra fall color observers and complicated answering whether autumn's show is on time or not," explained John Poimiroo, the editor of CaliforniaFallColor.com. His website has over 100 volunteers who report on the fall foliage conditions throughout the state.

With peak conditions now occurring, Poimiroo recommends visiting Bishop Creek in Inyo County. The area is just west of the town of Bishop on U.S. Highway 395 at an elevation above 9,000 feet. There are three forks to the creek (known as upper, middle, and lower Bishop Creek), and it is possible to drive on paved roads to each of them. He believes it is one of the most beautiful fall color destinations anywhere in North America.

"On evenings when cumulus clouds litter the sky, the setting sun illuminates the clouds with brilliant pink, purple, orange, red, blue, yellow and purple colors, that are reflected in the lakes," Poimiroo explained. "It is this contrast of fall color, clear skies, and the rugged majesty of the Sierra Nevada that exemplifies California fall color.

"This weekend and the following week, such scenes will be common up Bishop Creek Canyon. It is a must-do experience that every Californian should witness, but it only happens for two weeks a year and that's happening now."

Conditions are peaking in the Bishop Creek region around at South Lake, Weir Pond, Parchers Resort, Willow Campground, Surveyors Meadow, Table Mountain Camp, the Stiny Loop, Lake Sabrina, North Lake and the Groves above Cardinal Village.

Several locations in Mono County are also at peak conditions. They include Rock Creek in Mammoth Lakes with golden Aspens, Sagehen Summit, and McGee Creek Canyon. Virginia Lakes, at an elevation of 9,819 feet, is past peak.

Elsewhere the fall foliage season in the Sierras is following the national trend of peak conditions about a week to a week and a half late. However, there are reports that the Northern Sierra (north of Lake Tahoe) and Southern Cascades are showing slightly early.

Other regions of the Sierra to see the fall colors are Hope Valley in Alpine County, M. Martis Creek Cabin and Coldstream Valley in Placer County, Tenaya Lake in Yosemite National Park, and at Kings Meadow, and Manzanita Lake in Lassen Volcanic Park.

MORE: Best bets for fall foliage in the Bay Area and Northern California

If you can't drive up to the mountains this weekend, you will still have plenty of time to see the leaves turn in other parts of California.

The fall foliage line descends about 500 feet a week throughout the season, explained Poimiroo, making it easy to predict where the best colors will be viewable.

For the latest fall color forecast visit CaliforniaFallColor.com

_______________

Online Photo Editor Douglas Zimmerman oversees SFGATE's Instagram and covers the Bay Area soccer scene on SFGATE's Beautiful Blog. View his latest stories and send him news tips at [email protected]