Fall Colors in Flagstaff

Flagstaff in the Fall is one of the best places to see the leaves change colors in Arizona.  As the days get shorter, the trees begin to lose their leaves.  In the upper elevations of Arizona, the aspen trees turn a beautiful golden yellow, orange and red.  It is a gorgeous sight to see.  In the Flagstaff area, there are several places where you can see the beautiful fall colors.

When to see the colors change

The fall colors in Flagstaff begin to change at the end of September.  The best viewing is in October.  If you want to see the colors at their peak, visit the Flagstaff LEAF-ometer. The LEAF-ometer is a website that shows how the fall foliage is progressing.  It is the perfect way to know if it is time to take a trip to Flagstaff.

Where is the best place to see foliage?

One of the best places to see foliage in Flagstaff is at the Arizona Snowbowl.  Not only are there some hikes you can take, but it is a quick drive from downtown Flagstaff.  Best of all, it is free.  Get there early in the morning on weekends because it gets crowded.  On weekends during the fall, the Scenic Gondola Rides are available at the Arizona Snowbowl.  Take the gondola to the top of the 11,500 foot mountain to see gorgeous colors and views.  Visit Arizona Snowbowl for ticket information.

How to get to Snowbowl

The Arizona Snowbowl is Flagstaff’s ski and snowboarding resort.  Take Highway 180/Fort Valley Road from downtown Flagstaff and turn onto Snow Bowl Road.  Begin to head up the mountain.  As you get closer to the top, you will begin to see the aspen trees. If you have the time, take the Aspen Nature Loop Trail at Snowbowl.

Other places to see leaves change in Flagstaff.

The Arboretum at Flagstaff is home to many trees and native plants. The Arboretum is a 200-acre botanical garden with miles of trails to see and appreciate more than 2500 species of plants.  It is peaceful here and a great place to avoid the crowds and have a picnic.  The road to the Arboretum is not paved and is rough.  The Arboretum is located at 4001 S. Woody Mountain Road in Flagstaff.

Downtown Flagstaff is another place to see the colors.  Maybe get some dinner or take in a movie in the downtown area.  There are plenty of trees lining the streets and the views of the distant mountainsides are worth taking a look.

State Route 89A through Oak Creek Canyon is a beautiful drive no matter the time of year.  During the fall, it is a very beautiful drive.  The leaves in Oak Creek Canyon turn colors a little later than downtown Flagstaff.  Start from Flagstaff and head down I17 until you reach the Sedona SR 89A exit. Once you reach Sedona, check out the best hikes and drives to see fall colors there.

Lockett Meadow Inner Basin Loop is a hugely popular hike trail in the Coconino National Forest.  It is a moderately challenging hike that is more than 3 miles long.  The road leading to the hiking trail is unpaved and bumpy.  Once you get to the service road gate, depending on road conditions, the road may be closed.  Expect to add at least another 3 miles if you decide to hike from the gate.  In September and October, expect crowds and lack of parking on the weekends.  Watch the weather forecast because it could be chilly this time of year. From Flagstaff, head north on SR 89 about 15 miles until you reach the Forest Road 552/Lockett Meadow Road and head west.  Look for the dirt road across from the Sunset Crater Wupatki Loop Road and follow the signs.  Visit the US Forest Service page for the Inner Basin Loop Trail.

Visit Walnut Canyon for beautiful views and cliff dwellings. Halloween in Flagstaff is coming up.