Golden leaves shine the spotlight on breathtaking views.


Often hailed as Arizona’s capital of autumn, Flagstaff is a leaf peeper’s paradise. To experience the season at its most exhilarating visitors flock to the trails around 8,000 feet elevation; where large stands of aspen trees steal the show with their quaking leaves glowing like liquid sunshine.

Fall in Flagstaff

As the fall months begin to emerge, the warming autumn colors will descend from the San Francisco Peaks to the streets of Flagstaff. Considering the vague perception of when the foliage will reach its peak, the Flagstaff LEAF-ometer is a great resource for those hoping to observe the transitioning colors. This online resource enables visitors to grasp an idea of what stage of color alteration to expect leaves in when traveling to varying areas of the city. Flagstaff offers many opportunities to explore and witness the alluring golden brown, red and orange autumn colors.

Marvelous Fall Hikes

Those interested in absorbing the scenery by foot might consider hiking some of Flagstaff’s prominent trails. There are many trails, ranging in difficulty, which will provide stunning views of the changing landscape. Some of these trails include Wilson Meadow, Aspen Nature Loop and Bismarck Lake.

Wilson Meadow

Located in the Heart Prairie, Wilson Meadow is brimming with meadows and aspen groves in an open landscape. The lavish amount of nature, including fields of wildflowers and grasslands, ensures that this trail will offer incredible sights of the foliage. This trail comes in at two miles roundtrip, making it a wonderful option for those with minimal hiking experience and for those with children.

Aspen Nature Loop

Another salient trail, the Aspen Nature Loop offers views of the San Francisco Peaks and Kendrick Mountain. Located near the base of Arizona Snowbowl, this scenic loop is sure to expose some of the most impeccable fall colors. At a length of 1.8 miles, this hike is rated as relatively easy. Those looking for an effortless way to witness the scenery should consider Aspen Nature Loop.

Bismarck Lake

Situated in an alpine meadow, Bismarck Lake is the perfect location to observe both the altering autumn setting and the wildlife that is attracted by the lake. This remarkable “lake” exhibits pond-like features, acquiring shallow waters enclosed by marshes. As a resource for wildlife in the surrounding forests, visitors should expect to see some wildlife activity. Although rated at moderate difficulty, this trail gives hikers the option of a two mile roundtrip trail or an elongated seven mile roundtrip trail leading to Snowbowl Road.

Fall Events and Festivities

Wine In The Woods- Sunday, September 11

Enjoy the 4th annual Wine in the Woods festival, showcasing AZ wineries and local eateries among the beautiful gardens at The Arboretum at Flagstaff. Presented by The Arboretum at Flagstaff and the Sustainable Economic Development Initiative. 1 p.m.-5 p.m.
$35 in advance / $45 day of event / $30 for Arboretum members.

The Flagstaff Star Party- Thursday-Saturday, September 22-24

Join us for telescope viewing, night-sky orientations, and fascinating presentations about the starts and night skies at Buffalo Park in the First International Dark-Sky City. 7 p.m.-12 p.m.

Flagstaff Festival of Science: The Science of Change – September 23- October 2

The 10-day event also will offer more than 90 FREE activities including the Flagstaff Star Party, Science in the Park, SCI Talks, guided hikes into the forest and open houses at research stations and museums. The 2016 Festival also will feature field trips to archaeological sites during the National Park Service’s centennial year and celebrate 130 years of science adventure on the Coconino Plateau with the Babbitt Ranches Landscape Discovery Expo at the Nordic Village.

Cornucopia Fall Festival – September 24

A celebration of the turning of the leaves, pumpkins and all things Flagstaff, Cornucopia is a community-wide celebration featuring live entertainment, children’s activities and fall-themed foods. Don’t miss out on the pie eating contest for all ages, or kids zone for the young at heart. The event is held at Thorpe Park softball complex from 10 a.m.-9 p.m.

Ales on Rails At Verde Canyon Railroad - Thursdays through Sundays in October

A party on the patio, Ales on Rails is a German-style luncheon and beer tasting, featuring regional craft brews and traditional European ales. Craft beers harken back to the local flavors present in early commercial brewing ventures and Verde Canyon Railroad promises a great selection of state and regional beers. Chosen in a variety of styles from the darkest stout to the hoppiest India Pale Ale and all points in between, Ales on Rails offers something to please every beer drinker. The party continues with the train’s departure into the golden autumn wilderness of Verde Canyon, with specialty beers stocked aboard the train and available for purchase during the leisurely but thrilling four-hour rail excursion. Ales on Rails starts at 11 a.m.

Flagstaff Oktoberfest – October 1

With a constant flow of beer, and root beer for the kids, Flagstaff Oktoberfest is an event for the entire family. With Polka Music and bratwurst-a-plenty, you can enjoy a full day of activities. Located in Wheeler Park near downtown Flagstaff, Oktoberfest runs 11 a.m.–8 p.m.

Arizona Snowbowl Scenic Chairlift Ride - through mid October

Arizona Snowbowl is well known as a skiing and snowboarding winter wonderland. However, every summer and autumn nature lovers can take to the skies on the Scenic Chairlift. As you soar over the mountains you enjoy the glories of autumn’s crisp ambers, with a bird’s eye view of the mixed fir and aspen tree canopy below. Located north of Flagstaff off Highway 180 on Snowbowl Road. The Scenic Chairlift is open Friday through Monday, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. through mid-October.

Community Farmers Market - through mid October

The freshest in regional fruits, vegetables, honey, baked goods, fresh flowers, tamales, jams, breads and more at the Flagstaff City Hall Parking Lot. Every Sunday (May-Oct.) 8 a.m.-12 p.m.

NAU Jazz Ensembles Concert – Thursday, October 13

Ardrey Auditorium, Northern Arizona University Campus. NAU’s award winning big bands will present a concert featuring Jazz Ensembles. 7:30 p.m.-9:30 p.m.

Pumpkin Walk - Saturday, October 22

The Arboretum of Flagstaff. Crisp autumn days with falling leaves would be incomplete without pumpkins. This family friendly event features an evening of strolling through the gardens and observing glowing jack-o-lanterns. Those interested in displaying their own pumpkin will have the opportunity to attend a carving session before the event. 3-8 p.m.

Northern Arizona University Homecoming Parade & Activities - Saturday, October

Students, Parents, Alumni, and Community Friends of Northern Arizona University and invited to join the annual Lumberjack homecoming festivities each year in October. Traditional events include a parade, family fun zone, campus tours, tailgate party and the football game in the Walkup Skydome.

NAU Homecoming Football Game – Saturday, October

The Northern Arizona University Homecoming football game will kick off at 4 p.m. at the NAU Skydome. The NAU Alumni Association Award Winners and Blue & Gold Class of 1975 will be honored in the end zone during a special halftime ceremony.

NAU Fall Festival of Choirs – Sunday, October

Ardrey Auditorium, Northern Arizona University Campus. Featuring NAU Shrine of the Ages Choir, Women’s Chorale, Men’s Chorale, University Singers and the Harold M. Harter Memorial Handbell Choir. 3 p.m.

Pumpkin Patch Train - Every weekend in October

For those seeking an autumn adventure, hop on the Grand Canyon Railway Pumpkin Patch Train! Departing from Williams, this train will take you through the countryside before reaching its destination – a secret pumpkin patch, where children will be able to select their very own pumpkin. There will also be a free, walk-through Haunted Train Car, a hay bale maze, and pumpkin arts and crafts at the Williams Depot. Pumpkin pie, caramel apples, hot apple cider, hot chocolate, and other Halloween treats will be available for purchase at the Java on the Platform Snack Shop. All are encouraged to come dressed in their favorite Halloween costumes. Departures: 11 a.m., 1 p.m. and 3 p.m.