Where to Find Fall Color in Texas
As a native Texan, it feels Texas misses a traditional fall, full of the sights and scents. Especially after the long and hot summers. If you’re dreaming of the perfect of autumn hike with the crunch of autumn leaves find some state parks in Texas. So breath deeply and savor the woody scent of autumn. Here’s where to find fall color in Texas.
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.
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.
Garner State Park
Another location for Texas leaf peepers, Garner State Park is a long-time favorite. Next to the pristine Frio River, Garner State Park offers historic cabins.
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 tops the list of state park destinations for generations.
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.
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.