Flagstaff in Fall

Many people believe that the seasons do not change in the desert. For many areas in Arizona, that line of thinking is somewhat true. The beige desert doesn’t seem to change to those gorgeous autumn colors. However, a little drive north will put you right in the mix of falling leaves, cool temperatures, and the perfect atmosphere for a pumpkin spice latte. Many people can easily fall in love with Flagstaff, Arizona in the fall for many reasons. Here are some hot spots to seek out when you make your way to beautiful Flagstaff, Arizona. 

Lockett Meadow

Just imagine a huge basin filled with color-changing aspen trees and a real mountain camping experience. This is what Lockett Meadow in Flagstaff has to offer for your fall experience. 

Lockett Meadow is located in the Coconino National Forest. Besides the change of season, the color-changing aspens, and the hint of fall, the meadow also offers an array of wildlife. Be on the lookout for elk, black bear, and porcupine. 

If you are looking for a scenic hike, you will want to travel along the Inner Basin Trail. This hike starts in the Lockett Meadow at the island of emerald and takes you to the stunning San Francisco Peaks. These are actually the remains of an extinct volcano of which formed the highest individual peaks in all of Arizona. 

Keep in mind that this area is a national preserve. Care and consideration should always be taken into account when visiting. This means that you should leave no trace behind that you were there. Do not leave trash, do not take anything from the park home with you, minimize campfire impacts, be respectful to wildlife and kind to other visitors. Other considerations to be mindful of include: there is no drinking water available, campfires are only allowed at certain times, horses are not allowed in the campground or the Inner Basin, mountain bikes are not permitted, and pets must always remain leashed. 

Arizona Snowbowl

Soaring above endless forests of aspens speckled in fall colors is another great way to experience fall in Arizona. You can do this by visiting Arizona Snowbowl. Typically this is the place for skiing in the winter, but there is still a lot you can do in the fall. There are options to take a chair lift above the beauty, hike through the forest or enjoy a relaxing drive among the fall colors.

  • Aspen Nature Loop: This trail is great for hikers of any ability as it is a level and leisurely 1.5-mile trek. Enjoy the colorful groves of ponderosa and aspen trees. The golden foliage is striking and will give you all the feels of fall. 
  • Snowbowl Drive: You can take a 7-mile scenic drive or bike ride alongside the mountains of changing colors. You can cruise through ponderosa and aspen groves of golden color in a beautiful, winding path. At the end of this drive is the famous scenic chairlift where you can enjoy more great views. 
  • Veit Springs Trail: If you are dreaming of a more secluded, fall getaway then head to Veit Springs Trail. Beginning about halfway up Snowbowl Road, Veit Springs Trail winds through the largest stand of ponderosa pines in the whole world. This is truly a unique experience surrounded by solitude. 
  • Aspen Corner: Head about 6.5 miles up Snowbowl Road to take a glimpse of a photographer’s paradise. Aspen Corner is exactly how it sounds – a breathtaking view of golden aspen yellow aspens that scream autumn. 


The perfect escape for a family to enjoy an oasis of high altitude plants, views of the San Francisco Peaks, and scenic fall beauty is the Arboretum in Flagstaff. At 7,150 feet above sea level with 200 acres of wild and cultivated land, this is a place to truly take in the autumn season. There is no entrance fee but donations are highly recommended. 

Final Thoughts

Experiencing the change of seasons can be done in the desert. You can easily fall in love with Flagstaff, Arizona in the fall. From scenic hiking trails to chair lifts soaring above the bright golden groves of aspens, there is an experience for every type of autumn lover. The drive north is short and the views scream fall time through and through. What is holding you back?