Where to Find Fall Color in Texas
It is possible to get a dose of Fall Color in Texas, it just happens a bit later than some areas. After the first real cold fronts (the ones that make you grab a sweater) the leaves will bring to brighten from green to shades of yellow, orange and even fiery red. So breath deeply and savor the woody scent of autumn with a Fall Color Trip in Texas. Here’s where to find fall color in Texas.
Big Bend National Park
Out in the West Texas Park of Big Bend, trees burst into color beginning in October. Even in the desert, water percolates to the surface to support trees, like Cottonwoods, Texas Madrones along with Mexican Buckeyes.
The Cottonwood Campground lights up in shades of gold and yellow when the weather starts to turn. The windows trail is another popular area and find Texas Madrones and Mexican Buckeyes.
After a hot and dry summer, the fall is the start of the busy season in Big Bend National Park so reservations are a must for lodgeing and camping.
Big Bend National Park is located 1 Panther Junction, in Big Bend National Park. Open 24-hours a day and 365 days year. The Chisos Basin Visitor Center is open from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. The Panther Junction Visitor Center is open from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. A seven-day vehicle pass is $30 or you can use an American the Beautiful annual pass.
Lost Maples State Natural Area
Maple trees in Texas? Yes, one of the best areas for fall color in Texas is Lost Maples State Natural Area in the Texas Hill Country, near Kerrville, Texas.
Originally privately owned, Lost Maples State Natural Area opened to the public in 1979. It’s a smaller state park with just over 2,100 acres, located on the pristine waters of the Sabinal River. The limestone outcroppings and lush forest make it a year-round destination.
The Uvalde bigtooth maple trees display the best colors, though sycamores, bald cypresses and several varieties of oak add to the show. Add their reflections in the Sabinal River with the contrast of the limestone rocks and Lost Maples State Natural Area provides a stunning background for photos.
Find 10 miles of hiking. The Maple Trail is a .8-mile roundtrip hike.
Lost Maples State Natural Area offers a monthly dark sky program when visitors can explore the night sky. The San Antonio Sidewalk Astronomers lead the program.
Lost Maples State Natural Area offers 30 campsites with electricity and water and six primitive sites. The campground has showers and flushing toilets. Camping is $20 a night plus daily adult admission fees.
Lost Maples State Natural Area is 86 miles northwest of San Antonio, Texas, or 5 miles north of Vanderpool, at 37221 F.M. 187.Adult admission is $6 (12+) and kids 12 and under are free.
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Garner State Park
Garner State Park is a long-time favorite for Texas leaf peepers. Next to the pristine Frio River, Garner State Park offers historic cabins and cypress trees.
Dedicated in 1941, Garner State Park was named after Jack Nance “Cactus Jack” Garner, the Vice-President of the United States from 1933-1941. It features 1,774 acres to explore and it the most popular state park in Texas.
It was developed by the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) during their stay from 1935 until 1941. Created by President Roosevelt, the CCC employed young men during the Depression. The CCC is responsible for much of the construction in national and state parks in the 1930s.
The activities include miniature golf, hiking up Old Baldy or floating along the Frio River in a paddleboat or kayak. Garner also features a playground. At the concession building next to the Frio River, find a grill, a sundry store and the outdoor dance floor.
Garner State Park has 335 campsites, 37 screened shelters ($15 a night for a basic site, $25 a night for a RV site and shelters are $30 to $35 a night.). Also find17 historic stone cabins to reserve for the night. The CCC cabins range from $130 to $150 a night and some feature fireplaces.
Located 10 miles north of Concan, Texas, at 234 RR 1050. Admission is $8 for adults and kids 12 and under get in free.
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McKinney Falls State Park
Hike along the shore of Onion Creek to see a waterfall and a swimming area . McKinney Falls State Park is the closest state park to downtown Austin, minutes from the Austin Bergstrom International Airport.
Find cabins for four people ($86) outfitted with a/c, stocked kitchens, though no linens or bathrooms in the cabins.
The campground offers campsites with RV hook-ups, along with tent sites. Find a restrooms with showers close-by and all sites feature fire rings and picnic tables.
Located at 5808 McKinney Falls Park, Austin, TX 78744. Day-use adult admission is $6.
Daingerfield State Park
Located in northeast Texas, see the oaks in shades of yellow and orange reflect in the 80-acre lake. Hike the Rustling Leaves trail or the Mountain View trail during your visit. Daingerfield State Park even rents paddleboards, canoes and kayaks.
The campground features eight water-only sites along with 16 full hook-up sites. Rent a CCC cabin for four, six or fifteen guests from $85 a night.
Located at 455 Park Road 17, Daingerfield. Open daily from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Adult admission in $4 (12+).
Caddo Lake State Park
On the eastern edge of Texas, explore the bayou bound by cypress trees dripping in Spanish moss. In the fall, the cypress trees turn a nutty brown before dropping their needles.
Caddo Lake features over 50 miles of paddling trails for your canoe or kayak. With rental boats in the park, paddle a trail instead of hiking.
The CCC companies 889 and 857 arrived in 1933 to develop the area. Using the National Park Service’s rustic designs, the cabins offer the timeless appeal of rough-hewn logs and stone. Find cabins for two to six people with cooking and bathrooms (starting at $75).
Located at 245 Park Road 2 in Karnack. Open daily from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Adult admission (12+) is $4.
Guadalupe Mountains National Park
Mountaineers know Guadalupe Mountains since it’s the high point of Texas at 8,751 ft. Offering a developed trail for high pointers to reach the summit and mark another peak off their list.
Though in the fall, the trees are the show. Since the park is the southern tip of the Rocky Mountains, find maples and the Texas Madrones.
Guadalupe Peak offers a rugged mountain backdrop for over 80 miles of hiking trails, some accessible and over half open to horseback riding.
Located at 400 Pine Canyon, Salt Flat, just south of the New Mexico border and 110 miles east of El Paso. Open 24-hours a day and 365 days year. The Big Springs Visitor Center is open Monday to Sunday from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Admission is $7 a person for 16+ for a seven-day pass.
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Texas State Parks offer a Junior Ranger Program similar to the National Park Service. Pick up a Junior Ranger activity journal at the headquarters and complete the required activities for a badge. Some parks loan out Junior Ranger Explorer Packets for used in the park.
Know Before You Go:
- The trees begin to change in the last two weeks of October through the first two weeks of November, when the color is at its height.
- During the peak fall weekends,parks fills to capacity early, especially Lost Maples with its limited parking.
- Campsites can be reserved a year in advance.
- Call the Park Headquarters or check its website for up-to-date fall color information.
- Pets must remain on leash.