Flagstaff A Fall Getaway On A Grand Scale
Hailed as Arizona’s capital of autumn, Flagstaff is an ideal getaway for leaf peepers and those craving a fall fix on a grand scale. Located just a one hour drive from Grand Canyon National Park, Flagstaff is the hub for a fall foray into the majestic scenery and iconic landscapes of the southwest. There are mountain peaks and red rock deserts a short drive from the historic core of Flagstaff and travelers can access seven national parks and monuments within a three-hour drive.
To experience the season at its most exhilarating, head for trails in the Coconino National Forest where large stands of aspen trees steal the show with quaking leaves becoming ripples of sunshine each day. In late September, leaves will begin to change high on the San Francisco Peaks around the 8,000 to 9,000 foot elevation mark. As October dawns and the days become shorter, those autumnal hues make their way into downtown Flagstaff and eventually the color cascades south to Oak Creek Canyon and Sedona by the end of the month.
No one knows exactly when the color change will reach its peak, but the Flagstaff Leafometer helps keep tabs on where the leaves are in the pigment transition. This online tool highlights several popular foliage areas to indicate when they are near or at peak color. To find the Leafometer visit flagstaffarizona.org.
Exploring the forest on foot or atop a mountain bike is the most stunning way to immerse yourself in the season. Those who prefer a bird’s eye view of the foliage must take a ride on the Arizona Snowbowl Scenic Chairlift Ride. From this vantage point, the forest below becomes a patchwork of green pine and golden aspen..
To complete this festive season with a spook; add a walking tour of Flagstaff’s haunted places to your fall itinerary. Seasonal guided tours of Flagstaff’s haunted buildings depart from the Flagstaff Visitor Center multiple times each weekend throughout the month of October.
On a cool fall evening when the sun goes down and the stars come out Flagstaff really shines. As the first International Dark Sky City, and now the home of three International Dark Sky Parks, the nightlife here is more night sky than neon and a good telescope is the best accessory to enjoy an evening out. Visit Lowell Observatory for nightly star gazing through the 120 year old Clark telescope.
For more fall events and tips for an autumn getaway, visit flagstaffarizona.org.