Fall Colors in the Southwestern Region

Fall colors typically begin mid to late September in the higher elevations of the national forests of Arizona and New Mexico.  Peak viewing is early to mid October. The lower elevations usually peak in mid to late October and can continue into early November.

Peak Viewing

Mid to Late September

  • Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest 
  • Carson National Forest
    • For spectacular views in the high country, consider hiking or packing into the Pecos, Latir, Wheeler Peak, or Cruces Basin Wilderness, or Columbine Hondo Wilderness Study Area. Check our Facebook for photos!
  • Coconino National Forest
    • By October each year, colors are usually in full splendor on 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. The maples on the Mogollon Rim District are worth the visit, and the deciduous trees in Oak Creek Canyon and the Sedona area are spectacular. Watch for the latest fall color photos on our Fall Colors album on Flickr and updates @CoconinoNF on Twitter.
  • Kaibab National Forest
    • The Kaibab National Forest is an outstanding place to bring your family and friends to view fall colors!  Prime viewing opportunities typically occur in early October, but the season generally runs from late September through late October. Watch for the latest fall color photos in our Flickr Fall Color Album, follow us on Twitter for the most current updates, and visit our Kaibab Fall Color Website for all the details. 
  • Santa Fe National Forest

Late October to early November

  • Cibola National Forest
    • The Cibola is spread far and wide across the width of New Mexico and into the grasslands of Texas and Oklahoma - the season varies so check your local ranger district to see what's up in your area.
  • Coronado National Forest
    • With sixteen mountain ranges and hugging the southern border, fall colors are a bit later and more varied than our northern neighbors.  You'll see splotches in our sky islands, with showy patches appearing late in the season. 
  • Gila National Forest
    • Follow our Facebook page for fall color updates!
  • Lincoln National Forest
  • Prescott National Forest
    • As a general rule, trees and bushes at the highest elevations start changing from mid- to late September with leaves falling around mid- to late October.  Trees at lower elevations begin changing a couple weeks to a month later, and you can still find signs of autumn into mid-December in the Verde Valley and other low elevation parts of the forest. Follow the Prescott National Forest Fall Colors on Twitter and Flickr
  • Tonto National Forest
    • The annual fall color change occurs earlier in the higher elevations of the Payson and Pleasant Valley Ranger districts. Peak color change is generally from mid-October to mid-November and is mostly concentrated along riparian areas such as Tonto Creek and the East Verde River. The leaves change a bit later on the Globe and Cave Creek districts, generally from late October to mid-November. Pinal Peak on the Globe Ranger District and the Seven Springs area on Cave Creek Ranger District are also popular destinations for fall color viewing.  Visit the our website for details on viewing fall colors.

National Fall Color Resources