Arizonas Best Autumn Hikes

This fall season can be all about Arizonas best autumn hikes for not only keeping in shape, but also for some great photo opportunities. When the temperatures finally cool down, it is time to explore the great outdoors. Believe it or not, these hikes will prove that Arizona does indeed go through season changes. Here are Arizona’s best autumn hikes. 

Aravaipa Canyon Wilderness

Located between Phoenix and Tucson, the Aravaipa Canyon Wilderness is a spectacular place to go hiking in the fall. For easy access, start on the western trailhead that is located on a side road off of Hwy 77. You can spend a single day or setup to camp overnight. Either way, you can traverse through the canyon enjoying all the sights and sounds of autumn. Explore side canyons, caves, outcrops, chimneys, and ‘windows’ during your adventure. There will definitely be fall colors to photograph as well.

The Arboretum in Flagstaff

Perhaps an easier hike, The Arboretum in Flagstaff is a great stop for an autumn hike in Arizona. There are literally miles of scenic pathways, plenty of nature walks, and over 750 species of plants to gaze at. It is located in the Coconino National Forest and an easy drive from the valley. Plenty of plants and trees will be in full bloom for the fall season, so it is a great opportunity to fully enjoy the season. 

Boyce Thompson Arboretum

Another great collection of autumn color, the Boyce Thompson Arboretum should be a stop on your list. The unspoiled, native Sonoran Desert landscape is awe-inspiring. There are 392 acres of vegetation that is home to 3900 different species of plants with 3 miles of trails. Some species tend to bloom a little late in the season, so don’t be surprised if the colors are even more vibrant later in the year.

Horton Creek

Tucked away in the Mogollon Rim, Horton Creek has an autumn hike waiting for you. It is rated as an easy to moderate trail with a surprising waterfall found along the path. Fall leaves, clear water and pine trees decorate the trail for a truly brilliant autumn hike.

Mount Lemmon

Head to the Catalina Mountains for an unforgettable autumn hike. Mount Lemmon showcases aspens, oaks and maples that are becoming more vibrant for the fall season. A great family hike netting around 2 miles roundtrip is the Aspen Draw Trail. It is just one of 14 trails you can choose from. They all range in difficulty with some garner more impressive views and landscape than others, however there will be plenty of autumn to see no matter which hike you choose.

Oak Creek Canyon

Located between Flagstaff and Sedona, Oak Creek Canyon is a favorite spot for autumn hikes. The beautiful maple and oak trees are full of vibrant colors. The temperatures are bound to be cooler as well, so dress appropriately. A popular location to scope out is West Fork Trail. It is located in the Coconino National Forest and the trail is a whopping 14 miles. The trail is maintained for the first three miles and drops off from there.

San Francisco Peak

You can hike or just drive the area surrounding the San Francisco Peaks near Flagstaff. They are a treat to enjoy during the autumn season. The peaks become a mountain of gold with many hiking options like the Kachina Trail. This trail in particular takes you on the south side of the San Francisco Peaks and wraps through groves of color changing aspens with a pleasant stroll through pine trees. Keep any eye out for wildlife along this adventure.

In addition, do not pass up the Waterline Trail. This trail sits on the east side of the peaks. It is a longer trek into nature, but the towering trees of golden leaves make it easy to get lost in.


Hiking in Sedona has so many options for a beautiful autumn trek. One trail to keep your eyes on is Baldwin Trail. It is an easy hike with gorgeous views that makes the fall season really come to life. You will also get some dynamic views of Cathedral Rock to go along with the changing colors of the season.

Final Thoughts

These are just a few trails you can check out in Arizona during the autumn season. The leaves do change here and the temperatures should be much more tolerable. There is no reason you cannot enjoy the fall season with vibrant colors and beautiful hikes.