Posted by: Sandy Steinman | November 7, 2013

Arizona & New Mexico Nat. Forest Fall Colors 11/7/13

Fall Color Updates for Arizona and New Mexico National Forests


Coconino National Forest

Oak Creek Canyon south of Slide Rock and the Sedona area still have plenty of fall colors to offer. The leaves are almost all on the ground north of Slide Rock. Take Hwy. 89A between Flagstaff and Sedona.

Tonto National Forest

On the Cave Creek Ranger District the colors in the Seven Springs area are at their peak. The leaves in the Needle Rock area are at about a 30% color change. If you travel on Pima from Hwy. 101 toward Cave Creek, turn right on Dynamite which becomes Rio Verde. At the end of Rio Verde, turn left on Forest Road 20 which goes to Needle Rock Picnic Site and Needle Rock Beach. Follow this road and turn left before the Rio Verde Ranch. Follow the road into Box Bar. There is a little color change there also

On the Globe Ranger District the colors are starting to dwindle in the Pinals due to a recent storm and freezing at night. The best access road to view these colors is Forest Road 651 to the top of the Pinals. The best trails are Six Shooter Canyon Trail and Icehouse Canyon Trail.

Fall colors are done for the season on the following forests: Apache-Sitgreaves, Coronado, Kaibab and Prescott.

New Mexico  

Cibola National Forest

On the Kiowa & Rita Blanca National Grasslands peak colors are expected in early November in Mills Canyon. Take I-25 north to Wagon Mound, then east on Hwy 120 to Roy, and north on Hwy 39 to Mills. The canyon entrance will be on the left, 210 miles from Albuquerque. High clearance vehicles are recommended and 4 wheel drive will be necessary if it has rained recently. Be aware that there is only one way in and one way out of the canyon, so please take necessary precautions in regards to weather and time of day. Roy will be the last place that you will be able to get food or gas until you return to Roy upon departure or for 30 miles if you continue to Clayton or Springer.

Lincoln National Forest

Smokey Bear Ranger District – Ski Run Road (Hwy 532) up to Windy Point, towards Ski Apache.  Hwy 380 from Carrizozo, east to Hwy 37, south to Nogal, southwest on FR 400 to FR 108.  Then backtracking to Nogal. Cedar Creek area near the Smokey Bear Ranger Station is a recommended hiking route for viewing the colors.

Sacramento Ranger District – At the 7000 ft. elevation and above, many colors can be seen across the area. From Cloudcroft south on Hwy 6563 (Sunspot Scenic Byway) an array of colors are brightening up the landscape.  Eight and one-half miles down the Sunspot road, turn east on the Rio Peñasco road (C17) to Hwy 130, then west and north back to Cloudcroft. From Cloudcroft, travel east on Hwy 82, then left onto Hwy 244, travel north and east to Lincoln National Forest Boundary.  A recommendation for a scenic hike is the Rim Trail (T105) running south on the east side of the Sunspot Road.

Colors are brilliant at lower elevations, as well. On the Guadalupe Ranger District many flowering wildflowers are in full bloom and can be seen from nearly all travel ways across the district.

Fall colors are done for the season on the following forests: Carson, Gila and Santa Fe.

via Region 3 – Recreation.

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