Outdoor Fun

7 Top Places to Find Fall Color in Texas

Best Places for Fall Color in Texas, Lost Maples State Natural Area, Fall color in Texas
Need some color in your life? Lost Maples State Natural Area offers pops of maple madness in the Texas Hill Country. Photo Credit: Texas Parks and Wildlife

The days are shorter and the night are cooler so it’s perfect weather for a fall color getaway. With perfect flannel shirt weather and a birght blue sky, many parks in Texas offer the ideal fall color getaway. Whether you want to camp, glamp or visit for the day, visitors will find top places to find fall color in Texas across the state.

With the first real cold front, the tree will set themselves on fire with colors of  yellow, orange and even fiery red.  So pack a picnic and  head to a park for hiking, camping or just enjoying the view.

Top Places to Find Fall Color in Texas

Lost Maples State Natural Area
Big Bend National Park
Garner State Park
McKinney Falls State Park
Daingerfield State Park
Caddo Lake State Park
Guadalupe Mountains National Park

Lost Maples State Natural Area

Best places for fall color in Texas, Lost Maples State Natural Area, best park for fall color in Hill country,
The Uvalde bigtooth maples put on a show in late October and early November. Credit: Texas Parks and Wildlife

Maple trees in Texas? Yes, this is one of Top Places to find Fall Color in Texas. Lost Maples State Natural Area is 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.

best places for color in Texas, Lost Maples State Natural Area, Fall color in Texas Hill Country,
Lost Maples State Natural Area offers over 10 miles of hiking and 30 developed campsites to enjoy. Credit: Texas Parks and Wildlife

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.

Planning Guide to Lost Maples 

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. Big Bend National Park doesn’t accept cash for entrance fees.

Top Things to do in Big Bend National Park
perfect spring getaway to Garner State Park
The jewel of the western Texas Hill Country, Garner State Park is the most popular state park in Texas. Photo Credit: Catherine Parker

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. This is one of Top Places to find Fall Color in Texas.

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. Due to the close proximity to Austin, day-use reservations are recommended. 

Weekend Guide to Bastrop

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.

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Discover the National Park Sites of Texas, like Guadalupe Mountains National Park.
Guadalupe Mountains National Park offers a trail to the high point of Texas. Photo Credit: Catherine Parker

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 $10 per person (16+) for a seven-day pass.

National Parks of Texas 

Kids in Texas State Parks 

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.

Fall is not lost in Texas. Find maples, sweetgums and cypress in Texas parks from state natural areas to national parks. See the yellows, oranges and reds from mid October to late November. As a bonus many of the parks offer camping. Plan your Fall Color Trip in Texas with this handy guide. Best parks in Texas for fall color | When do the trees change in Texas #Texas #fallcolor
credit: Pixabay

Catherine Parker has a passion for travel and seen all 50 U.S. States. As a former flight attendant with one of the largest airlines, there isn't a North American airport that she hasn't landed in at least once. Since clipping her professional wings after 9/11, she combines her love of the open road with visiting architectural and cultural icons. She is based out of Central Texas dividing her time between writing and restoring a pair of 100-year-old houses. She shares her life with her three kids and her husband.

1 Comment

  1. Chaitra Mysore Nagaraj

    Very nice article .
    Are these pictures of this year ? they looks great
    We are planning to go this November 6 , 2016 and the fall foliage report does not say much about the colors .
    so wanted to check if the colors are already there at Lost maples

    Thanks 🙂