The Green

News & Notes

Finding Fall Colors in Northern Arizona

3 Min Read

We’re eager to feel the crisp autumn air and view the beauty of changing leaves that occurs in northern Arizona. Phoenix area residents love to emerge from their homes after the long hot summer and do a bit of exploring. Your best bet for finding fall color is usually near lakes and any type of water. Peak season for fall colors usually runs from mid-October into November. 

A great source of information: check the Leafometer to find the peak of colors in the area you will be visiting. 

Recommended top five spots for Arizona’s best fall colors:

The Show Low, Pinetop-Lakeside, and Greer communities boast beautiful forest drives. From Show Low, go south on Highway 260 which then turns eastward at the Hon-Dah casino. Enjoy the next 30 miles along Hwy. 260 where aspen trees thrive at higher elevations. Turn off 260 onto Highway 273 to the Sunrise Ski Park area to enjoy more of the area, on toward Big Lake and Alpine, though some of the area is still mildly recovering from the Wallow Fire of 2011.

Prescott has a huge variety of trees in the Prescott National Forest, including ash, oaks, maple, cottonwoods, aspen, and sycamore trees. Fall colors in the forest are often found closer to the ground:  Fetid goosefoot covers the foothills and bursts with golds, oranges, and reds, and Virginia Creeper (a tree-climbing vine) turns a vivid red before losing its leaves for the winter. Favorite places near the Prescott area include Mount Vernon Street in Prescott, Aspens at Copper Basin Road, Granite Basin and the south shore of Lynx Lake. Find more information at

Hart Prairie on the western flank of the San Francisco Peaks in Flagstaff

Hart Prairie Road (Forest Road 151) winds through forests of aspens and high meadows, reachable with a passenger car. You’ll find gorgeous golden leaves in this area.  Forest Route 151 intersects U.S. 180 near mile marker 226 on the south end and at mile marker 235 on the north end, so you can enjoy a nice loop drive. Another fun way to see the fall colors is from the chairlift at Arizona Snowbowl. You’ll also find lovely colors on the Aspen Loop Trail, a 2.5 mile hike with sloping meadows and views of a volcanic field. North of Flagstaff on U.S. 180 seven miles up Snowbowl Road.

State Route 89A through Oak Creek Canyon between Flagstaff and Sedona is one of the best drives to see fall foliage during autumn months. The most popular stop is at West Fork Trail. Try to arrive early to get a parking spot ($10 fee for the parking lot) or make the trek on a weekday. It’s crowded but worth it. The trail boasts a vast variety of trees, including willows, boxelders, velvet ash and bigtooth maples. Gorgeous area! 

Boyce Thompson Arboretum State Park

Missed your chance to see fall foliage in October? You can still catch fall foliage during November at Boyce Thompson Arboretum State Park outside of Superior, just an hour east of Phoenix. The arboretum hosts its annual Arizona's Fall Foliage Finale during mid- to late-November. Leaves from honey locust, pomegranate, and soapberry trees offer light yellow to deep copper and golden tones. Walnut trees reach a dark red. At 323 acres, the arboretum is the state's largest and oldest botanical garden and features the new Wallace Desert Garden. 
Located just three hours from Phoenix in Show Low, Ariz., Torreon is a luxury golfing community nestled in the White Mountains. It offers convenience, world-class recreation and amenities for the entire family. Offering everything from a sprawling outdoor pool, expansive fitness center to award-winning food at Torreon Grille as well as a family and game center, fishing pond and endless trails throughout the community, every member or guest is sure to enjoy time at Torreon. Learn more at  Contact Linda Cedarblade, designated broker for Torreon Realty at (928) 532-3030 or for more information on gorgeous, high country lots nestled in the White Mountains.