In search of fall colors? We’ve got some hikes that are sure to give you a glimpse!

September 23rd, 2012 11:15pm

The weather is finally starting to cool down…YES! Although Arizona doesn’t often show her fall colors to just anyone, we have found a few recommendations to help you on your quest for fall! Www.azcentral.com got us started with their recommendations. But we compiled a few from our fellow hikers that we thought might interest you as well…

Let’s start with Flagstaff. The Kachina Trail is right next to Humphrey’s Peak (the highest mountain in Arizona). From Flagstaff, take U.S. 180 northwest 7 miles to Snowbowl Road. Turn north and go 7.3 miles to the large dirt parking area just outside Arizona Snowbowl. The trail begins at the south end of the parking area. The views in any direction are impressive and the Aspen forest is a joy. This is a moderately difficult hike.

Sedona has some beautiful options as well. Boynton Canyon is considered one of Sedona’s most scenic canyons and a powerful vortex site. The canyon has lush riparian vegetation, towering red sandstone formations, voodoo rock spires and an ancient Sinagua Indian cliff dwelling dating back to 1,200 A.D. The view from these ruins is stunning. The sandstone and limestone sculptures loom 1,000 feet high on both sides. At the mouth of the canyon sits Enchantment Resort!

Secret Canyon lies within the most popular area for hiking around Sedona, the Red Rock Secret Mountain Wilderness, centered around Dry Creek a few miles northwest of town. To get to the lower trailhead, take I-17 from Phoenix north to exit 278 onto highway 179. Turn left off the exit ramp and drive west into Sedona. At the “T” Intersection, turn left onto Highway 89A. After a few miles, turn right at the light onto Dry Creek Rd. and drive 2 miles to a right turn onto the unpaved Forest Road #152 at the sign for Vultee Arch (quite bumpy). Drive another 3.4 miles to the signed Secret Canyon parking area on the lefthand side. To get to the upper trailhead, take I-17 north to Flagstaff, head wes on I-40 to the first exit (Flagstaff Ranch Road, exit 192). Turn left at the bottom of the exit ramp, drive a short distance to a “T” Intersection and turn left. After a couple miles, you’ll come to a stop sign, turn right onto Woody Mountain Road (Forest Rd. #231) which becomes a well graded dirt road shortly thereafter. Drive for 13 miles, then turn right on FR #538. Another 5.5 miles will bring you to an intersection and sign pointing right for Dorsey Spring Trail (1 mile), Kelsey Spring Trial (2 miles). Turn left and remain on FR#538 until it ends at the Secret Mountain Trailhead.

Usery Mountain is located at 3939 N. Usery Pass Rd. in Mesa, Arizona. There are two trails at this area. The Pass Mountain trail circles the mountain and is 7.5 miles round trip, while the Wind Cave trail hikes up its face and is about 3 miles round trip. Most people head for the Wind Cave Trail. To get there, take McKellips east, turn north on Ellsworth (turns into Usery Pass Rd.) and follow that road to the entrance of Usery Mountain Recreation ARea. Turn right to enter. Park fees are $6.00 per car.

Perlata Trail in the Superstition Mountains is a great family-friendly hike. To get there, follow the US60 to Peralta Road which is just east of mile post 204 and turn north on Peralta Road. At 5.5 miles from US60, follow the sign and take the left fork up the hill to the Peralta Trailhead.

Fossil Springs hike is a fun hike where if you go far enough, there is a rope hanging from a tree and you can swing from it and land in the water! To get there, first get to the Strawberry area. Turn west on Route 708 (also known as Fossil Creek Road). The road is paved for 2.5 miles then becomes unpaved. Stay on FR708 to the 81.1 mile point where you will see the signed road to the trailhead to your right. Turn off on this access road which has some washouts, but can be driven by any car that has reasonable clearance. You will reach the loop parking area at 82 miles.

We hope these give you some fun family options for enjoying the cooler temperatures and hopefully give you a glimpse of Arizona’s fall! Make sure to make your child a calendar to remind them of the upcoming hiking adventures!