For what seems like the blink of an eye, Arizona’s mountains and canyons light up in brilliant hues of yellow and red. From late September to mid-October, high-elevation Aspens shimmer in gold. While from early-to-mid-October the Oaks and Maples in Sedona, and on the Mogollon Rim, blaze orange and red. At lower elevations Cottonwood flanked streams glow yellow in Fall. Here’s our pick of the 10 best hikes to experience Arizona’s Fall color – each one getting you up close and personal to the trees, for a full immersion in this seasonal color-palooza:
10 Best Hikes to Experience Arizona’s Fall Color
Rainbow Rim Hiking Trail, Moderate, Grand Canyon
The side canyons on North Rim of the Grand Canyon, scream with color as the Aspen, Oak and Maple leaves turn vivid. Best from early to mid-October.
Inner Basin Hiking Trail, Moderate, Flagstaff
(above) With its seemingly endless Aspen groves, this trail submerges hikers in a sea of yellow and gold, made all the more dramatic by shafts of sunlight cutting through the trees. Best from late September to mid-October. An all time favorite for Arizona’s Fall color!
Bear Jaw Hiking Trail, Moderate, Flagstaff
(above) Winding through beautiful, Aspen filled Bear Jaw Canyon, this trail is another winner for total gold leaf immersion. Best from late September to mid-October.
Kachina Hiking Trail, Moderate, Flagstaff
(above) Starting at the base of Arizona Snowbowl, this hike quickly leads to swaths of golden Aspens and gullies of siena ferns. Best from late September to mid-October.
West Fork Hiking Trail, Easy, Sedona
(above) Following a Cottonwood, Oak and Maple lined stream at the base of a dizzyingly tall canyon, this trail offers the full gamut of colorful fall foliage. Best from mid-to-late October.
Huckaby Hiking Trail, Moderate, Sedona
(above) Paralleling the east side of Oak Creek, this hike gets flush with vivid red and yellow leaved Cottonwood, Oak and Virginia Creeper. 1.5-miles along the trail, views over the creek from the top a mesa can take your breath away. Best from mid-to-late October.
Rim Vista Trail, Easy, East of Payson
Take (or drive) this easy rim trail, to bask in hundred-mile views of brilliant fall foliage. You’ll be both in the trees and looking out over them from the height of the rim. Best from mid-to-late October.
Lynx Lake Loop Trail, Easy, Prescott
This super easy loop trail is perfect for families. With the reflections in this intimate lake, the fall color is doubly gorgeous. Best from mid-to-late October.
Aravaipa Wilderness, Southern Arizona, near Safford
(above) Although there aren’t any official trails in Aravaipa Wilderness, permits are available for hikes from 1-3 days in this unique canyon with it’s perpetually running steam. Fall foliage can be stunning. Best from late November-to-mid-December.
Aspen and Marshall Gulch Trail Loop, Moderate, Tucson
(above) Looping around some of the Santa Catalina’s highest peaks, this hike crosses colorful groves of Aspen, Oak, Pine and Fir. One of the best in the South for Arizona’s Fall color. Best from late September to mid-October.