Fall Foliage Guide to the Southwest States

Find out where to enjoy the fall colors of the Southwest United States

It may be hard to believe, but the Southwest region of the U.S. experiences color changes in the fall. It’s definitely different from what one might encounter in Vermont or New Hampshire, but it is no less beautiful.

Autumn in the Southwestern states offers spectacular color changes that will have you capturing the beauty with your camera and pulling off the side of the road — or the trail — for a better look. There are fewer states in the Southwest than any other region of the country, but the average size of each state is quite large and travelers will enjoy miles of scenery.

Arizona: Most people don’t think of Arizona when they hear the phrase “vibrant fall colors,” but there are several locations that are well known for the beautiful displays they put on every autumn. Oak Creek Canyon, located in Sedona, is one such location, as is The Arboretum at Flagstaff. The North Rim of the Grand Canyon is also a favorite destination of those looking for the bold colors of autumn.

New Mexico: Believe it or not, there’s more to New Mexico than cactus plants and artists (not that there’s anything wrong with those two things). Indeed, this Southwest state offers a brilliant display of fall colors every year in its many state parks and scenic byways and trails, especially along the 15-mile Santa Fe National Forest Scenic Byway, which provides plenty of turnouts so you can pull off the road and soak in the beauty the landscape has to offer this time of year.

Oklahoma: When you think of viewing fall colors, chances are the first state you think of is not Oklahoma. However, there are many scenic drives, fall festivals and other unique experiences to be had, such as attending the Balloon Fest near the Ouachita National Forest in Poteau, hiking at Robbers Cave State Park or visiting Beavers Bend State Park, which may surprise you with its dense, lush vegetation.

Texas: Fall foliage? In Texas? Why yes — and plenty of it! In addition to the quiet beauty of a Texas autumn, visitors have a variety of family-friendly activities to choose from, such as geocaching in Texas State Parks, fishing at Lake Bob Sandlin State Park or bird watching at Lost Maples State Natural Area. Come to Texas this fall — and open your eyes to the unexpected colors of autumn that can be found here.