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People love to complain when department stores start pushing Christmas shopping while there are still Halloween parties to attend.

But there’s a reason behind the annual retail race to make people interested in Christmas as early as possible. It works.

And if it works for holiday shopping, why not use it to drive interest in other annual, seasonal rituals?

Rituals such as leaf-peeping in the Sierra Nevada, for example.

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Maybe that’s why the people in California’s Mono and Inyo counties are making a push to remind people about the amazing fall color in the Eastern Sierra even though we’re still closer to Fourth of July than Labor Day.

And if you’re the type of person who likes to finish holiday shopping by Thanksgiving, you might also be the type to make autumn color tour plans midsummer in order to maximize available time in the best places.

To make it easier California’s Eastern Sierra Fall Color Guide identifies locations and dates for optimal color viewing.

Color peaks from mid-September to mid-October, depending on elevation and latitude, with higher, more northern locations peaking later in the window.

The guide, which is available for free download, includes facts on trees and how leaves change color as well as a map of the region along U.S. Highway 395 from Monitor Pass in the north to Big Pine in the south.

It lists 21 locations, most of them scenic drives on roads throughout the region.

It’s also got a list of fall festivals and other events in Mono and Inyo counties.

So if you’re looking to plan a great autumn color trip within a few hours’ drive of Reno, it’s not too early to start planning.

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