Arizona sometimes feels like it only has one season “HOT”, but depending on where you are in the state you can experience all 4 seasons. Come with me and let’s explore five of the best places to see Fall colors and when is the peak time of change.
- North Rim Grand Canyon
Arizona is known as the Grand Canyon State so let's start there. With its sweeping canyon views, it's easy to overlook the trees in this forest. But the canyon is also home to Gambel oak, Fremont cottonwood, and Quaking aspen trees. All of which are coming to their peak changes. Some things to consider if you wish to make a visit this time of year. The North Rim is open for day use only from Monday, October 16, through Thursday, November 30, 2023, unless there is a snowstorm and SR67 is closed. The Grand Canyon Lodge, as well as the North Rim Campground, have closed for the season, so there is no overnight accommodation available on the North Rim. The General Store, as well as all retail, food, and beverage services, and the Visitor Center have also closed for the season. To plan fully please visit the North Rims website at North Rim - Grand Canyon National Park (U.S. National Park Service) (nps.gov).
- West Fork Trail (Sedona)
Located in Oak Creek Canyon between Sedona and Flagstaff, this seven-mile trail will provide some beautiful New England fall colors. This trail is rated as a moderate level, with partial shade and partial paving. The best times to visit this trail are October through April. And yes, our furry friends are welcome if they are leashed. The peak fall colors are also making their appearance in mid-October. For more trail information to better plan your trip see West Fork of Oak Creek Trail #108: 11,019 Reviews, Map - Arizona | AllTrails.
- Santa Catalina Mountains (Tucson)
For the next trail let's head south to the Tucson area. Normally known for being home to 5000 Saguaro cacti this park also boasts over 5000 acres of beautiful desert scenery. This park offers a variety of hiking trails and camping options. It is open year-round but closed on Christmas Day. The vising hours are 8 AM to 5 PM and the fee to park is $7.00. The peak of fall colors is mid-October to early November. To reserve a campsite or get more information to better plan your trip visit the website Catalina State Park | Arizona (azstateparks.com).
- Ramsey Canyon Preserve Arizona (Sierra Vista)
South of Kartchner Caverns on Highway 90 is the Ramsey Canyon Preserve. Known as an ecological crossroad where several deserts come together at an abrupt mountain rise to create “sky Islands”. This area has a tremendous habitat for plant and animal life. The Preserve’s Visitor Center includes visitor parking, restrooms, and hummingbird viewing. Here, visitors may learn about the preserve and its wild residents, the Upper San Pedro River Program, and The Nature Conservancy. Ramsey Canyon may be viewed from the Hamburg Trail. This open-ended route parallels Ramsey Creek through the preserve before climbing 500 feet in a half-mile series of steep switchbacks. These lead to a scenic overlook in the Coronado National Forest one mile from the preserve headquarters. From the overlook, the trail continues upstream and enters the Miller Peak Wilderness Area where it joins other trails. The peak of fall colors happen late October to Early November. To plan your day visit Ramsey Canyon Preserve | The Nature Conservancy in Arizona
- Boyce Thompson Arboretum State Park (Superior)
The Boyce Thompson Arboretum is the state's largest and oldest botanical garden and features more than 3,000 types of plants. Located just off Highway 60, the arboretum is open daily from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. from October 1 through the end of April. You may need to call and make a reservation as the park is very popular. There are several hiking trails that are easy to moderate in their rating. On my last visit there, some of the trails were closed for maintenance, but the variety of trees and plants boast a beautiful range of yellows, golds, and rich dark reds. This park has one of the latest peak times for leaves from mid to late November. Signup for a Master Gardener Class or a Bird Watching session through their website at Boyce Thompson Arboretum - Arizona's oldest and largest botanical garden (btarboretum.org)