Texas Fall Foliage Destinations and Tours

Fall Foliage trips and tours in Texas in 2020

While Texas may not be as well known for fall foliage as New England, or even northern Arkansas, many travel opportunities can be easily found. One of the better known fall foliage places to visit is the Lost Maples State Natural Area northwest of San Antonio.

But we find that excellent fall foliage viewing is available throughout Texas, where there are ample places to view nature in its colorful magnificence via a number of scenic drives! From Jefferson in Upper East Texas, to Caprock Canyon in the west, to the Guadalupe Mountains in the southwest, fall color is spectacular.

The hardwood trees of the Lone Star State put on a beautiful display of yellows, oranges and reds in October through early December.

We are all ready for fall color "peak week" ... but when is it? It is hard, or impossible to predict, as multiple factors dictate the timing, duration and intensity of colors.

It's time to travel and enjoy fall foliage destinations in Texas
Popular Texas Fall Color

Texas foliage destinations in State Parks

2020 Fall Foliage Cam

Scenic Self-Guided Tours

East Texas Foliage Trips

Fall Colors in 2017-2019

Texas Foliage Photos

The maples, oaks, gum, elm, beech, hickory, dogwoods, crepe myrtles, Bradford pear, and other species usually come into their peak in late October and November in Texas. Variations in peak times depend on temperatures, rainfall, wind, and days of sunlight, as well as soil conditions and elevation.

Virtually any farm-to-market road, county road and Texas state highway offers excellent scenic drives.

Many cities and towns like Nacogdoches and Athens have foliage tours, festivals and detailed maps.

Fall Color Destinations Around Texas ... Visit These State Parks

Fall scene at Lost Maples State Natural Area in Texas
Fall scene at Lost Maples State Natural Area (Photo courtesy of Texas Parks & Wildlife)

The State of Texas offers dozens of excellent state parks, many in wooded areas that feature acres of vivid fall colors. Plus, they offer visitors safe, affordable campsites and other lodging options.

Beyond the popular Bigtooth Maples of Lost Maples State Natural Area and gorgeous yellow cottonwoods at Caprock Canyons, visitors will find fall foliage in many state parks, from east to west, north to south.

Enjoy the many East Texas hardwoods including elms, oaks, sweetgums, beeches and hickories at state parks like Lake Bob SandlinCooper LakeMartin Creek Lake and other locales. 

For more information on fall activities in Texas State Parks, visit "Fall for Parks" at the website of Texas Parks and Wildlife.

Some parks are continuing to be affected by COVID-19, so be sure to check status ... Texas State Parks temporary closures & operating adjustments

State Park or Natural Area / Location Fall Foliage Highlights

Caddo Lake State Park

Jefferson

Maple, sweetgum, oak, hickory, and cypress trees cover Caddo Lake State Park’s Saw Mill Pond off Big Cypress Bayou. The park has campsites, screened shelters, and cabins, all surrounded by its abundant trees.

Color tends to peak the last week of October through late November.

Caprock Canyons State Park

Quitaque

Every year in the fall the cottonwood trees fill the park turn a bright yellow color, changing the landscape of the park from orange and green to golden.

Plus it's a great place for nature lovers, with lots of bison, pronghorn antellope and more wildlife.

Cooper Lake State Park

Sulphur Springs

A favorite spot for fishing, Cooper Lake State Park offers beautiful scenery and idyllic cabins for a refreshing fall retreat amid the changing leaves.

Daingerfield State Park

Daingerfield

A popular park in Upper East Texas, it features the Rustling Leaves Nature Trail, camping, fishing, hiking and more, all nestled in colorful groups of maples, gums and oaks.

Fall foliage can be enjoyed on a scenic drive within the park or hiking along the many miles of trails.

Davis Mountains State Park

Fort Davis

High in the mountains of West Texas lies this beautiful and historic park. It features miles of trails, campsites, birding venues and astronomy options.

In Autumn, the changing oak foliage lights up the desert landscape.

Dinosaur Valley State Park

Glen Rose

This park is a north Texas favorite, with its fall colors from Cedar Elm, Hackberry, Sumac, Sycamore, Texas Red Oak, and Virginia Creeper.  And don't miss the ancient dinosaur tracks! It is located About an hour southwest of Fort Worth.

Peak color in most years is from the end of October to the beginning of November. 

Enchanted Rock Natural Area

Fredericksburg

In the Fall, the trees surrounding the granite batholith turn beautiful shades of red, rust and yellow. A hike up the Summit Trail is easier during the cool months, and affords a beautiful view of the surrounding scenery. Only 18 miles north of Fredericksburg.

Garner State Park

Concan

The park features towering limestone bluffs, with bright fall red, orange and yellow colors from bald cypress, oak, mesquite, and persimmon trees. Enjoy hiking trails along the Frio River.

Oaks on north-facing slopes in the middle of the park generally sport the best color, while the Frio’s green waters reflect the deep bronze of cypress trees lining its banks. The peak color usually occurs around Thanksgiving. Located about 90 minutes west of San Antonio.

Scenic lake with fall foliage colors near a Texas State Park

Guadalupe River State Park

Spring Branch

This lovely park includes 13 miles of hiking and biking trails. yellow cottonwoods, bright red sumacs, and orange sycamore and cypress trees provide spectacular scenes during autumn.

Lake Bob Sandlin State Park

Pittsburg

Surrounding this beautifu lake and hiking trails in the fall are spectacular sweetgum, hickory, and red maple trees. Peak foliage is usually from mid-October to mid-November.

Lost Maples State Natural Area

Vanderpool

On the banks of the Sabinal River, visitors enjoy the spectacular fall show put on by Uvalde bigtooth maples along rugged canyons and the Maple Trail. The area is 90 minutes northwest of San Antonio

The Uvalde Bigtooth Maples don’t start changing color until late October or early November, so plan a trip during that time to see peak foliage colors. The East Trail is where most of the park’s maple trees are, so hike here to view the best of the Natural Area’s changing fall foliage.

Expect delays, traffic congestion, and capacity closures on fall weekends and the week of Thanksgiving. When parking lots are full, the Natural Area will close. To guarantee access, reserve a pass online at TPWD.

2020 Lost Maples Fall Color Foliage Report

McKinney Falls State Park

Austin

Among the highlights of this park in the fall are Cypress trees showcasing their orange, yellow and red colors, along beautiful Onion Creek. Located just 13 miles south of downtown Austin.

Tyler State Park

Tyler

The park, just 11 miles north of Tyler, is built around a 64-acre lake, and provides overnight camping venues, mountain biking, picnicking, hiking and more amonst groups of 100-foot trees. It includes 13 miles of trails, including the Whistering Pines Nature Trail. In the fall, the Park explodes into a color palette of orange, yellow and reds!

Peak fall foliage is often during late November or early December.


 

Texas Fall Foliage Trails and Self-Guided Tours

In the Winnsboro area, three routes are part of the Autumn Trails Tour: southeast, south and southeast of the city. Contact the Winnsboro Autumn Trails Association for more information.

Enjoying the quiet back roads and fall foliage of Texas

Nacogdoches offers the Deep East Texas Fall Foliage Trail, looping from Nacogdoches thru Alto, Crockett, Livingston, Newton, Hemphill, San Augustine and Shelbyville. Download the trail map from the Nacogdoches Visitors Bureau (pdf).

The Athens tourism department coordinates the 55-mile scenic Athens Self-guided Driving Trail. It begins and ends at the Athens Partnership Center, at 201 W. Corsicana Street in Athens. The Athens scenic driving tour meanders along the back roads of Henderson County to view fall foliage at several attractions along the way such as NY-TX Zipline Adventures, Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center, Lake Athens, East Texas Arboretum, and Tara Vineyard & Winery.

Another option for visitors is to start their tour in Palestine and journey on the 145-mile Pineywoods Autumn Trail.

And if you are touring southwest Texas, fall color abounds in the Guadalupe National Park. The fall colors season in the Park typically begins in mid-October and continues through mid-November. To accommodate as many fall color visitors, please consider carpooling when possible; parking is first-come, first-serve and limited in McKittrick Canyon, Pine Springs, and Frijole Ranch. Current Guadalupe Fall Colors Report

Scenic Texas road trip to view fall foliage travel destinations

Suggested Road Trips to View Fall Foliage in East Texas

When the skies are blue, and the lake is cooling ... it's time for fall foliage in Texas
When the skies are blue, and the lake is cooling ... it's time for fall foliage in Texas!

The fall in East Texas is alive with vibrant fall foliage, and a great time to drive back roads and scenic byways.

Included below are some suggested road trips to view the colors of autumn, along with photographs of East Texas fall foliage.

If You Start Your Fall Foliage Tour in Tyler

You can start your East Texas foliage tour anywhere, from Winnsboro to Natchitoches, from Jefferson to Jasper, or anywhere else, and enjoy a scenic journey!

However, Tyler is an excellent, central starting point for those taking day trips, and with a large selection of hotels and restaurants, is a great place to spend relaxing evenings after a day on the roads.

Tyler is the Rose Capital of America, the home of the nation's largest municipal rose garden. Tyler Rose Garden features more than just 40,000 rose bushes, including a wooded area with towering trees, and numerous Japanese Maples that sport bright fall foliage. The 2020 Texas Rose Festival is cancelled due to COVID restrictions; it is normally held in mid-October.

Tyler's Azalea National Historic District, listed on the National Register of Historic Places, comprises about 950 homes built in the first half of the 20th century, with a large concentration of structures from the 1930s when the oil boom had a huge economic impact on Tyler.

The site of Tyler's popular Azalea Trails in the spring, the area is always worth a drive, or a walking tour, even in the fall.

Beautiful fall colors around the lake at Tyler State Park
Beautiful fall colors around the lake at Tyler State Park (Photo courtesy of Texas Parks & Wildlife)

Large numbers of colorful hardwood trees and Japanese Magnolias dot the Tyler historic district.

Driving North From Tyler to View Fall Foliage

A popular drive to the north is along Texas Highway 14, which takes you by Tyler State Park. The park is built around a lake, and provides overnight camping venues, mountain biking, picnicking, hiking and more.

In the fall, Tyler State Park turns into a color palette of orange, yellow and reds!

Continuing the drive along Highway 14 from Tyler State Park you arrive at the town of Hawkins.

From there a connection with Highway 2869 takes you to Winnsboro, offering many choices for fall foliage viewing.

Three routes near Winnsboro are part of the Autumn Trails Tour; contact the Winnsboro Autumn Trails Association for more information.

Quiet moment in the fall at Daingerfield State Park
Quiet moment in the fall at Daingerfield State Park

Other East Texas parks are also great foliage locations. Daingerfield State Park has the popular Rustling Leaves Nature Trail, camping, fishing, hiking and more, all nestled in colorful groups of maples, gums and oaks.

The City of Pittsburg is the county seat of Camp County, Texas, near Lake Bob Sandlin State Park, and is located between Gilmer and Mount Pleasant on U.S. 271, and between Winnsboro and Daingerfield on Texas Highway 11.

One of the many attractions in this area is the Los Pinos Ranch Vineyards, lovely any time of the year, spectacular in the fall.

Los Pinos Ranch Vineyards in the fall
Los Pinos Ranch Vineyards in the fall


Fall scene on a quiet backroad in East Texas near Jacksonville
Fall scene on a quiet back road in East Texas near Jacksonville
(Staff photo)

Gladewater is the antique capitol of East Texas, located on US 271 and historic US Highway 80, about 30 minutes north of Tyler, and close to many country roads with bright fall colors. It is situated west of Longview, east of Big Sandy, and north of Kilgore.

Highway 16 from Winona to Lindale is a favorite drive. And just to the north near Mineola is the 2,900 acre Mineola Nature Preserve, a popular destination in the fall.

Fall Foliage Trips to the South of Tyler

Love's Lookout offers a beautiful 30-mile vista of fall colors to the East, located between Jacksonville and Tyler on U.S. 69 ... great picnic location, with modern restroom facilities.

Jacksonville lies just to the south of Love's Lookout on U.S. 69, and features a beautiful drive around Lake Jacksonville.

The Deep East Texas Fall Foliage Trail takes visitors on a scenic drive from Nacogdoches thru Alto, Crockett, Livingston, Newton, Hemphill, San Augustine and Shelbyville. Download the map from the Nacogdoches Visitors Bureau (PDF)

Ride the Texas State Railroad from Rusk to Palestine, and back, in fall. This historic railroad offers steam train excursions through 25 miles of scenic piney woods and colorful hardwood creek bottoms amidst a backdrop of rolling hills, nature and wildlife. A great fall foliage adventure! And don't miss the Pumpkin Patch Express rides in October.

Another populat fall foliage destination is the Angelina and Sabine National Forests.

Venturing West of Tyler to Enjoy Fall Foliage

Fall foliage at the East Texas Arboretum in Athens
Fall foliage at the East Texas Arboretum in Athens

The City of Athens is about 37 miles west of downtown Tyler on Highway 31.

The Athens Scenic Driving Tour is a 55-mile self-guided driving trail across the back roads of Henderson County. Visitors enjoy fall foliage at several attractions along the way such as NY-TX Zipline Adventures, Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center, Lake Athens, East Texas Arboretum, and Tara Vineyard & Winery. The trail begins and ends at the Athens Partnership Center, at 201 W. Corsicana Street in Athens.

The drive from Tyler west along Texas State Highway 64 and then Highway 279 to Edom is always a pleasant trip. This quaint village is surrounded by lovely countryside scenes and forests ... plus festivals, potters, artists, garden centers, restaurants, eclectic shopping. Don't miss Blue Moon Gardens ... and lunch at The Shed is always a treat!

Canton is the site of the famous First Monday Trade Days each month,and is an easy 45-minute drive west of Tyler through rolling hills, ranches and forests along Highway 64.

 

Fall Foliage Trips East of Tyler

Swamp tour in Caddo Lake
A steamboat on tour in Caddo Lake on a blue-sky day in the fall

Highway 64 east from Tyler to Henderson is an easy trip, through forest and rolling ranch lands.

Visit Joinerville  and see first hand where the famous East Texas Oil Field was discovered, and enjoy the brilliant fall colors on the area's backroads and countrysides.

From Henderson, take Highway 43 north by Martin Lake State Park to Marshall, and then on U.S. Highway 59 to Jefferson, for dining, shopping, B&Bs, and additional fall colors.

In the area, don't miss a photo-op in the tiny village of Uncertain, and steamboat rides and the brilliant fall colors of the cypress trees on Caddo Lake.

2020 East Texas Fall Foliage Cam

East Texas Fall Foliage Cam - Peak Color, November 8, 2020
East Texas Fall 2020 Foliage Cam

The cam is located on a ranch in Upper East Texas with gently rolling hills and several hundred acres of forests.

The ranch environment includes a variety of trees that produce fall color, including maple, oak, elm, dogwood, gum, and crepe myrtle.

It's been a hot September  and October in 2020 in East Texas, although the area was blessed with a near record-setting 10" of rain in September.

What effect will these weather conditions have on the 2020 fall foliage season?

We will have to wait and see, and be posting images from our cam throughout the fall to help gauge the fall colors throughout East Texas.

Visit again soon as we monitor the 2020 fall foliage in Texas!

Peaks of the Past: Fall Foliage Cam Recaps from 2019 & 2018

Peak Color 2019 - November 13, 2019Peak Color 2019 - November 13, 2019
Fall 2018 Foliage Peak - November 22, 2018Fall 2018 Foliage Peak - November 22, 2018

Looking Back to the 2017 Fall Foliage Season

It was a warm fall here in East Texas in 2017, with temperatures into the 90s even in early October. The nightly lows were only in the upper 60s. And of course it remained very dry, with little rain since early August.

Perhaps the cold front that moved through East Texas on October 10 triggered the start of fall foliage colors. Colors peaked in late November, 2017, in Upper East Texas. Included below is the last image for 2017, as we experienced peak foliage on November 28 ... and by December 3 all leaves were off the trees!

East Texas Fall Foliage Cam - Peak - November 28, 2017
East Texas Fall Foliage Cam - Peak - November 28, 2017


Photographs of Texas Fall Foliage

Fall colors on Old Bullard Road, CR 122, south of Tyler Texas (Staff photo)
Fall colors on Old Bullard Road, CR 122, just south of Tyler Texas
Fall colors on Saline Creek Road west of Gresham in East Texas (Staff photo)
Fall colors on Saline Creek Road just west of Gresham, in East Texas
Maple tree colors at peak in Texas (Staff photo)

Maple tree colors at peak color in Texas

Brilliant foliage near Carthage (Staff photo)
Brilliant yellow and fall foliage in East Texas near Carthage
Peak color in Nacogdoches (Staff photo)
Maple tree in peak fall color near Nacogdoches Texas


Fall foliage scene around a peaceful lake in Texas (Staff photo)
Fall foliage around a lake in East Texas

 

 

Dogwood tree foliage and berries at peak fall color in Palestine in East Texas (Staff photo)
Dogwood tree at peak fall color near Palestine in East Texas


Quiet meandering country road in the fall in the rolling hills of the Piney Woods of East Texas (Staff photo)
Quiet country road in the fall in the rolling hill of the Piney Woods of East Texas


Fall colors at the Dallas Arboretum
Fall colors at the Dallas Arboretum


 

Texas Fall Foliage Resources

Texas Parks and Wildlife: Fall for Parks

Texas Parks and Wildlife: 2020 Lost Maples Fall Color Foliage Report

Texas Parks and Wildlife Magazine: Why Do Leaves Change Color in the Fall?

Texas Highways: 4 Must-See Fall Foliage Spots in Texas

Texas A&M Forest Service Fall Color Tour Maps

Current Guadalupe National Park Fall Colors Report

Deep East Texas Fall Foliage Trail from the Nacogdoches Visitors Bureau (pdf)

Athens Scenic Driving Tour

Winnsboro Autumn Trails Tour

Pineywoods Autumn Trail in Palestine


Interactive Map of the East Texas Region

More Texas Resources


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