Posted by: Sandy Steinman | November 2, 2012

Arizona & New Mexico Fall Color 11/2/12

Arizona and New Mexico National Forests posted a new fall color report on November 2, 2012 


Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest

  • There are still a few patches at full color, for the most part the leaves have fallen

Coconino National Forest

  • Oak Creek Canyon – The drive through Oak Creek Canyon is beautiful with lots of green, some yellows, and few reds.  Colors are near their peak and the transition from top to bottom is very interesting.  Looking at the canyon from the road headed up, there are some isolated spots of color, should be good for the weekend.  Maples showing red on the east side of Oak Creek Canyon visible from Oak Creek Vista.  Take Hwy 89A from Flagstaff south.  Stop at the Oak Creek Vista, then drive south through the canyon.  Another option would be to take Hwy 89A north from Sedona to the top of the rim.
  • For more information, contact the Coconino National Forest at (928) 527-3600.

Coronado National Forest

  • Color can be seen at elevations of 3500 feet and above.
  • Douglas Ranger District – Sycamores and Maples beginning to fade at higher elevations.  Maples and Sycamores in Cave Creek/South Fork area, at 5300 feet, are at their peak.  Located in the Chiricahua Mountains near Douglas, AZ, 6 miles SW of Portal, Forest Road 42.
  • Safford Ranger District – Aspens in higher elevations above 8000 feet are beginning to fade.  However, some Aspens, Maples, and Dragon Foot have color at the lower elevations, around 6000-7000 feet.  Drive up the Swift Trail aka State Road 266, located in the Pinaleno Mountains near Safford, AZ.
  • Santa Catalina Ranger District – Aspens, Maples, Gamble oaks, and Alders all are showing color. Drive up the General Hitchcock Hwy aka Catalina Hwy aka Mt. Lemmon Hwy; the color appears around 7500’ elevation.  This includes the Marshall Gulch picnic area (7500’) and the Marshall Gulch hiking trail.  This district is located in the Santa Catalina Mountains near Tucson, AZ.
  • Nogales Ranger District – Some color in the Madera Canyon area, mostly Sycamore trees.  However, they are in varying degrees – some completed and some just beginning in the Santa Rita Mountains, approximately 30 miles southeast of Tucson.  Directions to get there; exit I-19 at the Continental Rd/Madera Canyon exit and drive approximately 13 miles to the entrance of the canyon.  The color can be seen along the road and beside the creek.
  • Peak viewing is now and for about another week.

Tonto National Forest

  • Cave Creek Ranger District – The leaf color in the Seven Springs area has changed a little.  Some of the leaves are light green and yellow.  About 15% color change.  Visitors might enjoy hiking Trail 4.  To get to Trail 4, travel on Cave Creek Rd which turns into Road 20.  The last six miles to the Seven Springs area are dirt road (total miles past the District office is around ten).  Continue past CCC Campground to access the Trail 4 parking lot.  A fee is not required there.  The Needle Rock area foliage has not changed yet.
  • Globe Ranger District – Color is still beautiful in the Pinals right now. Best access road to view these colors is Forest Road 651 to the top of the Pinals.  Recommended hiking routes in this area are Six Shooter Canyon Trail and Ice House Trail.
  • Mesa Ranger District – No color changes to report.
  • Payson Ranger District – Color changes can be seen along the East Verde, Flowing Springs and up near where the East Verde begins.  Driving along the Houston Mesa Road (Forest Road 199) is probably the easiest.  (Reminder that a daily fee of $6.00 per car is needed if you use the areas around Water Wheel and the crossings).
  • Pleasant Valley Ranger District – Fall foliage is at thirty to thirty-five percent in this area.  Aspens are changing on Forest Road 33, the top of section Forest Road 512 at about 6800-700 feet elevation.  Locusts are turning yellow at this same elevation.  Aspens are also changing slowly at the Aztec Peak area.  None of the riparian areas are changing yet.  All trails in this area are good for viewing changes.
  • The estimated peak viewing period is late October and all of November.  Some areas will continue to change into December.

Fall colors are done for the season on the following Arizona National Forests:  Kaibab and Prescott.


New Mexico  

Gila National Forest

  • Black Range Ranger District – Travelers along State Hwy 159 between Winston and Beaverhead have one last chance to view a nice display of fall color before the leaves drop for the winter.  On Hwy 152 between Kingston and Emory Pass the Maples, Aspen and Oak trees are bright but starting to fall.
  • Silver City Ranger District – Along the Gila River, Sycamores, Cottonwoods and Willows are fading and just past their peak.  Aspen at higher elevations are past their peak.  A drive or hike up to Signal Peak is too late for the Aspen trees but just in time to catch Oaks turning orange from yellow.
  • Wilderness Ranger District – State Hwy 15 north of Hwy 35 has patches of color and nice views from several overlooks.  Down along the Gila River near Grapevine campground the Cottonwoods and Willows are still changing while at the same time dropping leaves.  The Aspen trees at higher elevations are past their peak and dropping.
  • Reserve Ranger District – Reserve RD employees report color at the higher elevations is gone.  At lower elevations, the Oaks and Cottonwoods are at their peak with about 80% of the trees turning.  Around the District the report is “still nice, but fading fast.”
  • Glenwood Ranger District – Aspen at higher elevations are now past their peak with only spotty areas still showing bright colors.  Down along the Gila River the Sycamores, Cottonwoods and Willows are fading from bright yellow to dull tan and brown.

  Fall colors are done for the season on the following New Mexico National Forests:   Cibola, Carson, Lincoln, and Santa Fe

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