04 Oct Where to Find Arizona’s Fall Colors
It’s still 90 degrees in the Valley, but everywhere else, it’s time for fall!
Us desert-dwellers get a little cheated, when it comes to fall. Let’s be real: While the rest of the country (outside of Phoenix and Miami) gets to enjoy vibrant gold and red leaves fluttering in the chilly air, we settle for wearing long-sleeves and boots the moment the temperature ducks below 87 degrees.
Now, most of us won’t complain. We all have that neighbor from Chicago or Milwaukee who reminds us that the poor souls who get to experience seasons also have to shovel snow for four months. We get it — life is pretty easy in Phoenix between October and April.
But, who says we can’t have our cake and eat it, too? For those of us (like me!) who are craving for just a taste of fall, but can’t spare a whole weekend for a getaway, a two-hour drive is perfect. Here’s a list of places, within a two-hours’ drive of Phoenix, to see the leaves change! A pit-stop along the way for hot cocoa is optional, but highly recommended!
Perhaps the biggest — and most obvious — draw for fall is Flagstaff! Nestled in the Coconino National Forest, leaves at the highest peaks are already started to change. Just a straight shot up the I-17, a quick 2-hour drive will land you right in the middle of fall. The Weatherford Trail, Abineau and Bear Jaw Loop, and Lockett Meadow are all great places to explore. Luckily the city has no shortage of these well-known aspen groves, and with a snowy-capped backdrop like Humphreys Peak, it’s a great location for photos with friends, your sweetheart, or the whole family!
Oak Creek Canyon
One of my favorite places in the state, Oak Creek Canyon is dappled with maples and oaks that turn a bright, vivid red once the temperatures drop. This area is right between Sedona and Flagstaff, and is one of the most popular locales for getaways through the entire year! You can walk along the West Fork Trail (the most popular trail in the entire Coconino National Forest), or drive the along the canyon to see the as much as possible. This is definitely on my short list of things to do this autumn! Be quick, though — once snow starts to fall in late November, your chance is gone.
More info: www.sedona.net
The Mogollon Rim is dotted with locations to view the most beautiful scenic fall landscapes in Arizona. Go just north of Payson for Tonto Natural Bridge State Park for a hike down to the waterfalls, and a brilliant show of aspen and and cottonwood trees! Or, take the Rim Road along the Mogollon Rim for one of the most pristine areas in the state. The scenery is downright majestic, and will provide the most gorgeous views you’ve seen all year! Best time to visit is Mid-Late October — just in time to start planning!
More info: www.paysonrimcountry.com