Where you can find the colorful change of leaves this fall around Arizona
PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) - Fall is here, and with it comes the beautiful changing colors of the leaves!
If you’d like to get out and see some pretty fall colors before it gets too chilly, here’s a list of places around Arizona you’ll want to visit this season. As a general rule of thumb, go north to see leaves change in early and mid-October. Head south after mid-October to catch even more leaves changing throughout the state. If you want a bit more of a precise gauge for the Flagstaff-Sedona area, click here! The gauge will be adjusted so you can visit during the leaves’ primetime.
Arizona Snowbowl has a variety of trails you can drive, walk, run, or bike to catch the stunning ponderosa pines and aspen groves. The Snowbowl Drive is considered the area’s most accessible trail, and at the end, you can stop for food at the Agassiz Lodge. You can even hop on a ride on the chairlift to continue your adventure.
Aspen Loop Trail No. 73 is one of those adventures you’ll want to bring your camera with you! This 2.5-mile hike will take you to the San Francisco Peaks in all their beauty as they tower above the Arizona Snowbowl. The trail was created in 2007, and higher up into the peaks, you’ll see thousands of years old trees!
Walnut Canyon National Monument combines history with stunning fall views this time of year. 25 different cliff dwellings can be found along the Rim Trail. Hikers are advised that part of the Rim Trail is closed for now, but the first viewpoint and access to the partially rebuilt pueblo and pit house can still be visited. The canyon formed after years of water flow from Walnut Creek, a seasonal stream that blasted through Kaibab limestone. Later, the indigenous Sinagua people created cave dwellings by carving into the same rock.
Typically you would find the area site known as Lockett Meadow. Unfortunately, the area has remained closed since the aftermath of the Pipeline Fire and is inaccessible.
Oak Creek Canyon
Along State Route 89, the 30-minute drive between Sedona and Flagstaff features some outstanding views. You can enjoy them to the fullest by dropping by the Oak Creek Vista, known to locals as the Overlook! If you manage to drop by at the right time, you will see indigenous artists and jewelry makers with booths to sell their beautiful, traditional wares. Heading down, there’s even swimming in the Oak Creek Canyon area! If you’d prefer not to get into the water, there are various trails to enjoy.
Along Highway 60 and onto State Route 260...
Between Pinetop-Lakeside and Show Low until you reach the White Mountains Trail System, Arizonans everywhere favor this area for leaf peeping. If you’ve never been, you’ll want to carve out some time in your schedule to enjoy the changing leaves while also dropping by some of the little towns in the area for food and general sightseeing. To plan your hike, click here!
Mt. Lemmon Area
Despite being in southern Arizona, this area sees some beautiful leaf changes in the fall. Because of its elevation, Mt. Lemmon makes the perfect place for fall picnics and hiking, featuring colorful trees and evergreen pines. It is the tallest peak on the Santa Catalina Sky Island and has played host to years of indigenous Hohokam culture. Expect the best colors to come in around mid to late October.
This southern Arizona canyon is nestled between the Santa Rita Mountains, around 40 miles outside downtown Tucson. The canyon is part of the Coronado National Forest, spreading between both Pima and Santa Cruz counties within the state. According to the Friends of Madera Canyon, this area was the home of the O’odham tribes. Later in the 1840s, Spanish settlers and miners came into the area, calling it madera--the Spanish word for food due to the booming lumber industry launched in the region.
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