Crimson leaves shimmering as they fall graciously into a flowing creek. Yellow leaves from towering Aspens aglow in stark contrast against dark bark trunks. These are the images that are ingrained in our memories of autumn. One might mistake these images as taking place in the Northeast, but all of these fall colors and more can be seen every autumn in Arizona’s high country. Thanks to drastic elevation changes, Arizona is ablaze with color in the autumn months of September, October, and November. The key is to be flexible as the best time for fall colors in Arizona varies by elevation. So bring a camera, check the websites, and be prepared to experience an amazing array of fiery colors throughout Arizona this fall. Here are some beautiful places where you can meander through Arizona’s autumn wonderland and thoroughly enjoy fall in the southwest.
Boyce Thompson Arboretum
Located a short drive east of Phoenix directly off of highway 60, the majestic Boyce Thompson Arboretum is known throughout the state for its Fall Foliage Finale held every Thanksgiving weekend. By mid-November, the maple and aspen leaves in the San Francisco peaks have begun falling, but their colors peak during this same time period at the Arboretum, making it the grand finale of Arizona’s fall foliage season.
North Rim of the Grand Canyon
Unlike locations to the south, the foliage in and around the Grand Canyon in northern Arizona begins changing colors as early as mid-September. The cooler temperatures of the North Rim of the Grand Canyon allows the plant life and forest to flourish to their fullest potential, making the North Rim the place to witness the radiant brilliance of autumn colors displayed by the area’s abundance of deciduous trees. Fall leaf lovers can explore the North Kaibab, Widforss, and Uncle Jim trails, which transport hikers through enchanting alpine forests filled with aspen and maples that glow in the late September sun.
Sedona’s Oak Creek Canyon
Arizona’s beautiful and diverse Oak Creek Canyon seems to always play second fiddle to the grandeur of the Grand Canyon, but a drive through this canyon located between Sedona and Flagstaff is absolutely breathtaking, especially during the autumn months when the trees glow brightly showcasing all of their fall splendor. In the wild and picturesque landscape of Oak Creek Canyon, you will find a variety of gorgeous fall hues as the canyon’s maples, sumacs, and aspens prepare themselves for winter’s declining temperatures. Make sure to stop and explore Red Rock Crossing, only minutes south of Sedona, where you can take in a variety of blazing fall colors as they reflect on the waters of the creek with the always impressive Cathedral Rock looming in the background. Inspiring fall foliage can be witnessed in Oak Creek Canyon anytime from October to December.
Flagstaff and its surrounding mountains provide an abundance of fiery fall colors every year from late September to early October. When visiting this high-altitude area of Arizona, expect to witness a veritable buffet of leaves showcasing their orange, red, and yellow hues. From within the city limits to Arizona Snowbowl and the Arboretum at Flagstaff miles away, there are deep canyons and aspen groves that light up in a marvelous array of fall colors each and every autumn. The autumn colors are so vibrant in this area that www.flagstaffarizona.org has incorporated a “leaf-o-meter” that tells visitors the current color of the leaves in the city of Flagstaff, Oak Creek Canyon, Arizona Snowbowl, and the Arboretum at Flagstaff.
Coconino National Forest
The Coconino National Forest offers tremendous diversity, with landscapes ranging from the alpine tundra to ponderosa pine forests and the glorious red rocks of Sedona. Here, you can explore rugged mountains, deep canyons, fish in enchanting forest lakes and streams, and take endless photogrpahs of beautiful fall colors every year from mid-September to mid-November.
The Rim Country
The stunning Mogollon Rim country of north central Arizona offers breathtaking views throughout the year, but Arizona’s numerous sunny days make viewing an endless array of fall foliage ideal as the cooler temperatures blow in. Autumn presents a terrific opportunity for Phoenix residents and visitors from across the country to grab their jackets and venture atop the impressive Mogollon Rim to witness amazing sunsets and stunning autumn colors. Although fall foliage can sometimes begin sooner, the peak of the Mogollon Rim fall foliage season typically starts around mid-October and lasts until early November.
The diverse landscapes of the Arizona high country are brimming with spectacular fall foliage every year. In addition to viewing the “leaf-o-meter” at www.flagstaffarizona.org, from mid-September to the middle of November, residents and visitors can also call that state’s unique Fall Color Hotline at 1-800-354-4595 for the latest information regarding Arizona’s magical fall foliage. The Rim Country
The diverse landscapes of the Arizona high country are brimming with spectacular fall foliage every year. In addition to viewing the “leaf-o-meter” at www.flagstaffarizona.org, from mid-September to the middle of November, residents and visitors can also call that state’s unique Fall Color Hotline at 1-800-354-4595 for the latest information regarding Arizona’s magical fall foliage.
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