As a Valley native, I remember growing up and wishing for the cooler temperatures that come with changing fall leaves. You know, the kind of weather where you need to drink hot chocolate to stay warm!
Instead, I spent my childhood Thanksgivings in the desert where highs often climbed into the 80s. It made me want to jump in a pool instead of try to gobble down a turkey.
What I failed to recognize is that those cooler temperatures and changing leaves are just a short drive away in our beautiful state.
Arizona has some gorgeous spots with fall foliage that will take your breath away!
Did you know there’s even a fall foliage hotline? That one got a few laughs when I told viewers about it on my Facebook page. But for science and nature geeks like me, it’s an awesome resource. Just dial 1-800-354-4595 to find out exactly where to go on any given day to get the best Arizona views.
Right in the middle of the Coconino National Forest, Flagstaff and Sedona’s Oak Creek Canyon are two of the best known spots to see all the brilliant color changes of the aspen, maple, cottonwood and oak.
The change typically begins in the highest elevations in late September and then filters down to the lower elevations throughout the rest of the fall.
Thankfully, most colors peak in late November closer to the Valley, just in time for the holiday weekend. One of the best places to see that is at the Boyce Thompson Arboretum. It’s just a short drive east of the Valley.
The awe-inspiring view of the vivid orange and red leaves on the 40-foot tall pistachio trees make it well worth the trip.
As we celebrate this Thanksgiving, I’m also looking forward to their Fall Foliage Finale Festival with arts, crafts and live music. They even have photography classes so you can learn how to best capture all that beauty with even the simplest of cameras.
So why not make some wonderful family memories and take a short drive to get a real taste of autumn? Happy Thanksgiving Arizona!
Boyce Thompson Arboretum
37615 U.S. Highway 60, Superior, AZ 85173
Amber Sullins is Chief Meteorologist at ABC15.