Arizona may not be the first state that comes to mind when contemplating the scenic views of fall foliage; however, it certainly should not be dismissed. Arizona offers a full array of events during the fall season, and several of these events feature the beautiful hues that so many have come to love when enjoying the majestic feel of fall. There are many areas of this grand state that offer the wonderful sights of the autumn season in all its glory, and some Arizona areas experience an extended season that is lovely for viewing up into the month of December. Due to its vibrant colors and extended fall season, some have even compared Arizona’s autumn the undeniably popular fall season of Vermont.
Fall Foliage Finale Festival
This weekend long festival is held at the Boyce Thompson Arboretum and features arts and crafts and live music while giving visitors the opportunity to see the deep red, gold and orange hues of Arizona’s fall season. The most vibrant colors are found in late November. The Fall Foliage Finale Festival honors this time by holding the event right after the Thanksgiving holiday. This is a perfect time for friends, family, and nature lovers of all types to view sights like the astoundingly tall Chinese Pistachio trees, vibrantly bright honey locust, and richly golden pomegranate hedges. This is typically a two-day event that runs on Thanksgiving weekend. The Boyce Thompson Arboretum is located approximately an hour east of Phoenix and two hours north of Tucson.
Oak Creek Canyon
The Oak Creek Canyon of Sedona offers breathtaking fall scenery from mid-October through mid-November. The famed red rocks of Oak Creek Canyon serve as a magnificent complement to the autumnal foliage. For those who enjoy hiking, the West Fork of Oak Creek Canyon provides all of the wonder and delight that a fall hiking excursion can offer. West Fork is located in the wooded Secret Mountain Red Rock Wilderness and entrenched with beautiful streams. West Fork is a fairly flat area of land, with the first three miles of the hike being the easiest. This makes West Fork an excellent location for family members from the youngest hiker to the oldest. For those who would rather dive through the scenic fall delights, Route 89A offers outstanding views and plenty of photo opportunities.
The Arboretum at Flagstaff
Late September into early October is the best time of the year to view Flagstaff’s array of fall foliage. The Arboretum at Flagstaff is a popular local for viewing nature in the transitional phase of fall. The beautiful yellow-orange color of the Gamble Oak, the fiercely yellow shrubs of the Lead Plant, and the deep red hues of the Amur Maple all showcase their striking appeal at The Arboretum. The Arboretum is located on the west side of flagstaff, four miles south of Route 66 on Woody Mountain Road and is open from May 1 through October 31, Wednesday through Sunday.
The town of Payson and surrounding area is another excellent region of Arizona for autumn sightseeing. From the middle of October through the end of the month is the best time to see the most vibrant colors. Horton Creek is just east of Payson and is arrayed in fabulously colorful fall foliage with a perennial stream.
Tonto Natural Bridge State Park is north of Payson. This beautiful park features a natural travertine bridge that is said to be the largest bridge of its type in the world. The park’s waterfalls provide an exemplary atmosphere for the park’s many trees to flourish all year round but are exceptionally brilliant during the fall season. Although the scenery of this park is a wonderful sight to see, the hiking trails are not the best for beginning hikers or children as the trails are challenging and steep.
Grand Canyon National Park
The Grand Canyon is the most visited park in Arizona and many visitors come all the way from Las Vegas to visit the Park. Anytime is a good time to visit the Grand Canyon and the Fall is an especially good time. With moderate Fall temperatures on the Rim, it’s a much easier hike down to some of the view points. You can hike down The Bright Angel Trail or the Kaibab Trail. Remember, it takes twice as long to hike up as it does hiking down.
These are only a few of the many locations available to those seeking all of the beauty that fall has to offer in Arizona. Whether desiring a hiking trail, guided tour, or scenic drive, Arizona has an option to make your autumn trip memorable.