The red rocks of Arizona provide an unusual back drop for the bright colors of fall foliage. Since Arizona boasts wintery peaks alongside desert terrain, finding fall weather and scenery requires strategy. Only certain portions of the state experience the patchwork quilt of leaves changing color. The best time for leaf peeping is September through November.
Chase the changing leaves by taking a day trip from Sedona to Flagstaff.
10 Views for a Fall Foliage Day Trip in Arizona
Start at Sedona
The red rocks of Sedona were made for the fall spectacular of yellow, orange, and rust-colored leaves. And with its many natural wonders, Sedona is only made more amazing with the frame of fall foliage. Depending on the type of activity you’re in the mood for, you can choose tame to thrilling adventure.
Red Rock State Park
An obvious choice, Red Rock State Park provides hiking, cycling, and overlooks. At this park you can see some of the most photographed red rocks. The cottonwood trees bring the fall leaves to the scene every year, giving viewers the chance to experience some of fall’s beauty.
Although known as a swimming spot, Grasshopper point includes a quick, one-mile hike, starting and returning to the parking lot. The hike includes a bit of the Oak Creek as well as the Allen’s Bend Trail #111. The hike showcases a number of pretty and leafy views.
West Fork of Oak Creek Canyon
Considered a leaf peepers’ paradise, the Call of the Canyon trail merges to the West Fork trail and unfolds into a glorious view of maple and oak tree leaves. If caught during peak leaf changing time, the trail and foliage can make hikers forget that they’re in Arizona. The entire trail is 6 miles.
Oak Creek Vista
For a quick stop while on your fall foliage day trip, take the Oak Creek Vista pull-off on Highway 89A. This overlook allows you to see the view of the canyon that you just drove through. Stretch your legs on the small walking area to view the brightly-leafed trees. If you’re lucky, you may be visiting while vendors are selling unique items.
This city has everything from mountains to forest to desert. But today, it’s the fall foliage that’s drawing the attention and excitement. Although not the main destination of a leaf peeper day trip, Flagstaff may be just the place for you to find something delicious to eat before continuing the search for fall beauty.
Tall against the sky, the San Francisco Peaks create a back drop for the forest in the Arboretum. The trees here rival the reds and yellows and oranges of the most beautiful fall scene that you can picture. If your interested in the Arizona environment, you can explore the fall beauty with an informational tour.
Hart Prairie Road
If you want to view the changing leaves from the comfort of your vehicle, the Hart Prairie Road is the perfect loop. It snakes alongside the Forest Service Road 151. It also includes a good trail for mountain bikers and hikers. The Aspen trees here turn golden and the San Francisco peaks frame the view.
Aspen Nature Loop
If you want more of the golden-leafed Aspens, the Aspen Nature Loop is 1.8 miles of Aspens and mountain views. These white-trunked and yellow-leafed trees are beacons of fall in the area. Nothing can replace seeing this explosion of bright color.
Although this trail usually takes about six hours to complete due to its length, it allows you to take in the white gold of the aspens along the southern base of the mountains. But you can also choose to take the ski lift and view the stunning trees from above.
Other trails to explore in the Flagstaff area include Weatherford Trail, Abineau Loop (Bear Jaw Trail), Water Line Trail, and Lockett Meadow.
While Arizona might not be known for its fall weather, the leaf views are a must-see if you find yourself in the state between September and November. Be sure to double check the weather before taking your car out on certain roads. Another easy way to revel in the fall leaves and views is to take an ATV adventure with us!