Fall Colors on the Coconino National Forest

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Fall photos from previous years [Flickr]
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Fall Colors


By October each year, colors are usually in full splendor in the upper elevations of the Coconino National Forest. Many of the trees in the higher elevations near Flagstaff reach their prime in early October, but the views are still beautiful throughout the season. See the brochure for all viewing locations. The maples on the Mogollon Rim District are worth the visit, and the deciduous trees in Oak Creek Canyon and the Sedona area later in October and well into November are spectacular. Watch for the latest fall color photos on our Fall Colors album on Flickr and updates at @CoconinoNF on Twitter.

As the colors gradually change, reports come in, and weather permits us to scout for fall color across the Coconino National Forest's 1.8 million acres, we will ocassionally share observations and color forecasts on Twitter, Flickr, and this page. Also follow the Leaf-o-Meter [Flagstaff CVB]. For the curious-minded, check out our Why Do Leaves Change Color in the Fall? page.

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General Recommendations for the Fall Color Season

Here are some of the most spectacular and popular locations for viewing fall colors on the Coconino National Forest as the season progresses.


Flagstaff Ranger District

This district surrounds Flagstaff, Arizona, and the San Francisco Peaks. To learn more about the viewing locations in Flagstaff Ranger District, see the brochure.

  • Hart Prairie (Accessed via Highway 180 and Forest Road 151 and/or FR 418, which also loops around the north end of the Peaks for a pretty view).
  • Around the Peaks Loop Scenic Drive
  • Bismark Lake Trail (Hart Prairie Road), Aspen Loop (Snowbowl Road), and the two-mile stretch of the Arizona trail that runs between them through Hart Prarie, all moderately easy trails suitable for hiking or biking.
  • Kendrick Park Watchable Wildlife Trail and Kendrick Mountain Wilderness
  • Lockett Meadow: Enjoy a picnic with excellent views into the interior of the Peaks, and with hiking opportunities into the Inner Basin and around the north side of the Peaks.
  • Inner Basin Trail: Moderately strenuous hike into the caldera of the San Franciso Peaks. This is an extremely popular trail on the weekends, and rangers may control traffic going up the mountain into Lockett Meadow, so expect long delays at the bottom of the hill. We recommend getting out mid-week for a morning hike to avoid the crowds.
  • Abineau-Bear Jaw Loop: Strenuous hike on the northern slope of the San Francisco Peaks. Best approach for 2017 is from the east via US 89 and FR 552. The roads from the west via US 180 and Hart Prairie Road are a bit rough, and possibly tricky for low clearance vehicles.


Mogollon Rim Ranger District

This district is north of Strawberry, Arizona around C.C. Cragin (Blue Ridge) Reservoir.

  • Forest Road 139 along Dick Hart Ridge (Hwy 87 to FR 95 next to the Mogollon Rim Ranger Station, left on FR 139)
  • Forest Road 321 along Dane Ridge (Hwy 87 to FR 95 next to the Mogollon Rim Ranger Station, left on FR 96, right on FR 321)
  • Forest Road 300, also known as the Rim Road or General Crook Trail (Hwy 87 or Hwy 260 to FSR 300, 2.5 miles east of Hwy 260, 10 miles north of Strawberry)
  • Cabin Loop Trail (particularly closer to the Mogollon Rim)


Red Rock Ranger District

This district surrounds Sedona, Arizona, covering Oak Creek Canyon, and extending to the Verde River, Fossil Springs Wilderness, Clear Creek Wilderness, and Wet Beaver Creek Wilderness.

As the peak of the season passes on the Rim and around Flagstaff, the colors are just getting started in Oak Creek Canyon and Red Rock Country.

Colors in Oak Creek Canyon and into Sedona and the Verde Valley typically start in early October and Recommendations for enjoying fall color when it occurs in Oak Creek Canyon, Red Rock Country, and Verde Valley include:


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