There is no doubt that autumn brings many changes and each of those changes has its own special purpose and beauty. Many places in the United States have beautiful leaf turning seasons but, and you can feel free to call me biased, there is no other place like Sedona and the Verde Valley for peeping some the most extraordinary and exquisite fall foliage.
The best time to see all the incredible leaf turning colors in Sedona is late September through mid-October. That means it is time to get the show on the road so you don’t miss out on all this natural beauty. Whether you want to hike, or drive through the scenic countryside, there is no way you can go wrong as long as you are in the Sedona area.
Right now the Aspens are changing into some serious yellow hues. Aspens usually live 80-120 years while the Ponderosa pines can live to be 400-500! They cut the Aspens off from sunlight but they are some pretty smart trees because they have adapted to their light conditions. Yet, the leaves actually tremble to catch more sunlight. The bark turns white in the open areas to help protect the trees from the sun. In shadier areas, the bark may have a greenish hue. How cool is that? An inspiring mix of yellows and greens popping out all over the Verde Valley and you don’t want to miss it!
You also won’t want to miss the reds! Scarlets, crimsons, and other blazing shades of reds adorn the maples and oaks. Once again Mother Nature shows us what she is capable of and that she knows what she is doing. These colors are hard to describe using just words.
Wondering where you can check out all this natural beauty? Wonder no more because we are about to tell you!
If you are driving you definitely want to hit up Oak Creek Canyon on Highway 89A north towards Flagstaff. You will want to be sure to stop at the Oak Creek Vista about half-way between Sedona and Flagstaff on Highway 89A. This makes for a great picture-taking opportunity and a chance to get out of the car, stretch your legs and smell the crisp, clean fall air. There is nothing like it to make you appreciate just being alive.
While you are in the car you may also want to take a jaunt up Dry Creek Road to Boynton Canyon Road or around the Red Rock Loop. Both are west of westbound Highway 89A and will offer amazing photography opportunities.
All the smart leaf peepers will be heading for the North Rim of the Grand Canyon. This adventure takes you across the Colorado River past the red rocks of Marble Canyon and Vermilion Cliffs then climbs the aspen groves of the Kaibab Plateau. Striking colors in all their glory will be seen by all.
Prefer to take it all in on foot? Not a problem in the Verde Valley! One of the most favorite fall hikes is the West Fork Oak Creek trail. Many feel it’s still the best trail to enjoy the gold and crimson leaves of fall along Oak Creek. Can you see yourself walking between the gently flowing Oak Creek stream and the steep walls of the canyon, while surrounded by the fall foliage? It may seem like you can hear them chattering in the wind.
The Potato Patch Loop-named for potatoes grown nearby a century ago-circles Aspen Peak and has some serious lush, sun-dappled forests. If you start your hike on the Aspen Springs Trail you will quickly come to pines and oaks as well as breathtaking views. Here the Hualapai Mountains, rise to an elevation of about 8,400 feet where you will find ponderosa pines and aspens glowing in gold and green
If you are a Leaf-lover and a hiker you simply can’t go wrong with the Kachina Trail which is located in the San Francisco Peaks north of Flagstaff. This trail is characterized by thick stands of Aspens. Limber pine and Douglas fir dominate some of the old-growth forests at the highest elevations.
Don’t miss out on one of nature’s most awesome productions. As an added bonus you will more than likely get to see some of the local wildlife. Keep your eyes peeled for elk, turkeys, deer, eagles and more. If you miss it this time you will have to wait a whole year to see it again!
As always you can start off your day of adventure with a Safari Jeep Tour where you just may see some gold and crimson leaves as well!
For more information about fall colors in Sedona take a look at: http://www.sedona.net/sedona-fall-colors.