Posted by: Sandy Steinman | October 16, 2016

Coconino National Forest Fall Color 10/16/16

 Coconino National Forest  reports

The best bets for fall color viewing opportunities over the next week is around the Snowbowl, Hart Prairie, and western slopes of the San Francisco Peaks near Flagstaff, and upper Oak Creek Canyon.

Flagstaff Ranger District Fall Color Update: October 16, 2016

The fall color season for the Flagstaff is in full swing around Mt. Elden and the San Francisco Peaks. There is strong color in Lockett Meadow, Hart Prarie, Schultz Pass, Snowbowl Road, and around the north side of the Peaks in the area of Bear Jaw, Reese, and Abineau canyons. Color is starting to fade in the Inner Basin. Trees are beginning to turn around the Snowbowl.

Sunday observations of Mount Elden show the color is all but gone on the eastern slopes.

Schultz Pass and the southern face of the San Francisco Peaks facing Flagstaff show fantastic fall color. Aspens near the road are at peak color or starting to drop leaves. Sunday observations of the pass show groups of aspens in the upper portions of Weatherford Canyon have dropped their leaves.  Recommended Schultz Pass area trails:

Lockett Meadow, the Inner Basin and the north side of the San Francisco Peaks are past peak color. Most trees have lost or are losing leaves along the lower portions of Inner Basin Trail and Waterline Trail. Spots of color may last a few more days lower sections of the trail and Lockett Meadow. Recommended trails, routes, and areas for viewing fall color around Lockett Meadow and the north side of the San Francisco Peaks:

  • Inner Basin Trail moderately strenuous hike into the Inner Basin of the San Francisco Peaks. High clearance vehicle is recommended on Lockett Meadow Road. Trees are varied from peak color to past peak color along the trail. Aspens in the Inner Basin are dropping or have dropped their leaves.
  • Lockett Meadow campground and day use area in a meadow in the interior of the San Francisco Peaks with access to Inner Basin Trail. High clearance vehicle is recommended on Lockett Meadow Road. Color is passing peak color.
  • Abineau-Bear Jaw Trails Loop strenuous hike on the north side of the San Francisco Peaks. Trees are are passing peak color, especially at upper elevations of Bear Jaw Canyon and along the Waterline.
  • Around the Peaks Loop scenic driving loop around the north side of the San Franciso Peaks. High clearance vehicle required to complete the loop due to the rough and rocky nature of the road. Good fall color viewing can be found on the smoother parts of the route accessible to low clearance vehicles at the eastern and western ends of FR 418.

Snowbowl Road and the Snowbowl area is awash with color. The western flanks of the San Francisco Peaks are peaking. Kachina TrailAspen Loop and trees along the ski runs up the mountain from the lodge are peaking. The Arizona Snowbowl Skyride will remain open through October 23. See the Arizona Snowbowl website to see current colors on the lift webcams and more details about the Skyride. Color is fantastic with large groups of aspens peaking around Hart Prairie, including Aspen Loop. The Arizona Trail between Bismarck Lake and Aspen Loop (at the Snowbowl) is a great way to experience the fantastic color and views of the San Francisco Peaks and Kendrick Mountain.

Visit Fall Color on Kaibab National Forest for details about fall color on Kendrick Mountain, throughout the Williams District, and elsewhere on our neighboring Forest.

The higher elevations of the San Francisco Peaks trails will be much colder than Flagstaff. Be prepared for temperatures 10°F to 20°F cooler than Flagstaff, and 30°F to 40°F colder on the upper reaches of Humphreys Trail. Dress in layers and carry at least two quarts of water for a half day of hiking. Watch the National Weather Service forecast closely. The weather forecast may change unexpectedly:

Mogollon Rim Ranger District Fall Color Update: October 7, 2016

The Mogollon Rim reports maples are turning in the Dick Hart Ridge and Dane Ridge area within a few miles of the Rim Road (FR 300). This should be a beautiful weekend to go out to explore the area, as many of the trees will be approaching their peak. The maples can be spotted in the draws from the ridge roads (FR 139 and FR 321), and hikes into the draws at the southern ends of the Cabin Loop trails should be rewarding.

Aspens are turning north of the Buck Springs cabin (137), and fall color is good in McClintock Draw on the Barbershop Trail.  The meadow at the bottom of FR 321C and FR 218C should also be a nice area.

There are lot of oaks changing as well as a few others out in the Potato Lake area and along the Mogollon Rim.  There are very prettyy oaks on the route to way to the Tramway and Maxwell trailheads (the roads get rough close to the trailheads). Everything was changing in the East Clear Creek drainage as well, including maples, oaks, and willows. The maples are peaking or past peak and will soon have dropped all their leaves.

Note there is a an area closure for the Pinchot Fire. Houston Brothers and northern portions of Fred Haught and U-Bar trails are closed. Barbershop Trail is a good choice for finding maples and fall colors. Winds are typically from the southwest. Roads and trails north and east of the fire may be smokey at times, and smoke settles in nearby draws and canyons in the evening.

Watch the National Weather Service forecast closely. The weather forecast may change unexpectedly:

Red Rock Ranger District Fall Color Update: October 16, 2016

Oak Creek Canyon, the red rock country around Sedona, and the Verde Valley are at lower elevations and further south than Flagstaff and the Mogollon Rim. Color changes run later in the Red Rock Ranger District, generally from mid-October through early November.

Fall color is well underway in the upper reaches of Oak Creek Canyon. Oaks are turning gold brown, there are spots of red visible from Oak Creek Canyon Vista, but many trees are still green. The maples and some of the other trees in West Fork of Oak Creek are turning stunning reds, oranges, and golds. West Fork and upper Oak Creek Canyon will continue to get better over the next two to three weeks. Warning:Oak Creek Canyon and the West Fork of Oak Creek are incredibly busy in the fall season, and cars waiting an hour or more for available parking at Call of the Canyon creates serious traffic congestion on the narrow and winding SR 89A, particularly on the weekends. The best time to visit is early in the day mid-week.

Based on an early October report, Sycamore Canyon (Parsons Trail) may be starting to turn. Reports from the Sedona area are that the trees are still green.

Watch the National Weather Service forecast closely. The weather forecast may change unexpectedly:

Keep an eye on this page and @CoconinoNF on Twitter for updates through the fall season.


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