Posted by: Sandy Steinman | October 23, 2015

Coconino National Forest Fall Color 10/23/15

Coconino National Forest  reports

Red Rock Ranger District Fall Color Update: October 23, 2015

Colors in Oak Creek Canyon and into Sedona and the Verde Valley should be turning. Observations last week indicated cottonwoods and other tree throughout the Verde Valley are beginning to change. Recommendations for enjoying fall color in the Oak Creek Canyon, Red Rock country, and the Verde Valley include:

Flagstaff Ranger Distict Fall Color Update: October 23, 2015

The fall color season for the Flagstaff area has mostly passed, particularly at the higher elevations around the San Francisco Peaks, Mt. Elden, and surround hills. Storms passed through the area from October 16 to October 23, and there were freezing temperatures Thursday night in the Flagstaff area. Heavy precipitation stripped leaves off many of the trees.

The upper reaches of Mt. Elden were reached their peak the beginning of October. There are still spots of color on the eastern face, but color has mostly faded. On the Peaks, Lockett Meadow, Inner Basin, and the north side of the Peaks, color peaked earlier in the month, and is fading as the aspens have dropped their leaves. On the south side of the Peaks around the Schultz Pass area, most of the aspens appear to have lost their leaves.

Weather: Temperatures are expect to be in the low 60°Fs for Flagstaff into next week, with clear, sunny skies starting Saturday October 24. The storms that swept through earlier in the week frosted the highest reaches of the Peaks with snow (a dusting down to around 9000 feet appeared Tuesday morning).

Snow may continue to be visible on the Peaks through the weekend, particularly in the Inner Basin and the north side of the Peaks. While there isn’t enough snow for snowplay yet, the unusual (but not unheard of) early snow on the Peaks provides interesting viewing and photography opportunities for hikers, bikers, and other trail users. Recommendations for enjoying the snowy Peaks for the next few days include:

Forest roads slippery and muddy in places from wet weather that passed through earlier in the week. Watch the National Weather Service forecast closely. The weather forecast may change unexpectedly:

 

Fall color and black leaf spot fungus: Wet weather conditions starting in the spring and continuing through the summer contributed to the build-up and spread of black leaf spot fungus on the aspens. As a result, many aspen groves are turning brown instead of gold. See:

 


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