What is the first thing you notice when the summer turns into fall? It’s the eruption of bright red, orange, and yellow hues, right?
Fall in Texas is the special time of the year when the late afternoon sun lights up the state’s landscape like a postcard.
If you want to see Texas in its most magical state, there’s no better time to visit than in the fall when the cooler weather allows for enjoyable moments outside.
Fall season in Texas is the time when nature-loving tourists and locals alike flock to the state’s parks to witness the change of the colors.
Are you looking for a perfect fall foliage trip to Texas? Start planning your journey with this guide to the best places to experience the fall colors in Texas.
11 Pretty Places to Experience Fall in Texas
These are our favorite places to experience a lovely fall in Texas in no particular order. Enjoy!
1. Lost Maples State Natural Area
Located on the banks of the Sabinal River, the Lost Maples is one of the most enjoyable state parks near San Antonio, Texas.
The Natural Area protects a particular type of Bigtooth maple whose fall foliage is pure eye candy; thus, making it one of the best places to witness the fall in Texas.
Besides the attraction of the fall foliage, it’s a great time to experience the outdoor recreational activities in the Lost Maples State Natural Area that includes hiking, mountain climbing, fishing, camping, birding, and stargazing.
Late October to mid-November is the best time to visit the Lost Maples State Natural Area to witness the fall colors.
The hiking trails at the Lost Maples State Natural Area take visitors to rugged canyons and grasslands populated by wild cats, pigs, and foxes. Keep a lookout for the fall foliage report that the administrators release every year to know the fall status.
Read next: Best Places to Visit in November in the USA
2. Daingerfield State Park
Daingerfield State Park is located on the outskirts of the town of Daingerfield in Morris County, Texas.
Covering 507 acres of land, the park is home to pine trees, oaks, maples, and sassafras. These deciduous trees make Daingerfield State Park look stunning in the fall.
The Park explodes into a colorful palette of burnt orange, bright yellow, and crimson red from October to mid-November.
Besides the fall delights, you can paddle, swim or fish in the 80-acre Pine Lake located in the Daingerfield State Park.
The land activities include hiking along the two easy trails, birding, picnicking, geocaching, and camping. The Park arranges jukebox, karaoke, or live music nights on weekends and offers ranger programs for the kids.
As far as fall colors in Texas, Daingerfield State Park is the jewel that gives you stunning sceneries. You can also plan to stop by the Los Pinos Ranch Vineyard on the way.
3. Garner State Park
Garner State Park is located in Concan, Texas, about a 2-hour drive from the Alamo City, making it a great day trip from San Antonio.
With over 1700 acres of gorgeous terrain, the abundance of cypress, junipers, oaks, mesquites, and persimmon trees erupt in warm fall hues in autumn, putting on a colorful show for the visitors. This makes it the best place to witness fall foliage in Texas.
Another attraction in the Garner State Park is the Frio River, which is considered one of the most transparent and cleanest water bodies in the U.S. The Frio River beautifully reflects the bronze color of the cypress trees lining its banks during the fall.
You can spend your time swimming, canoeing, kayaking, and hiking through the fall foliage before joining in for the jukebox dance in the pavilion.
Garner State Park is really popular during the fall and limits visitors per day. So, purchasing tickets in advance is highly recommended.
4. Tyler State Park
Tyler State Park, 11 miles north of Tyler, is spread around a lake and features towering 100-feet tall trees.
Generally, the fall in Texas can be witnessed from October to November, but the foliage tends to peak a tad later in this park – late November to early December.
The Tyler State Park showcases colorful maples, oaks, dogwoods, and sweetgums.
The park is one of the best places to witness fall in Texas, especially the Lakeshore trail and Whispering Pines trail, where the trees produce fiery red and orange tones.
Recreational activities at the Tyler State Park include boating, fishing, birding, mountain biking, hiking, lake swimming, picnicking, and camping.
You can visit Tyler State Park for a day or spend a weekend in its camping spaces or cabins.
The park also houses the 170-foot-long Schofield Covered Bridge that can be reached by a short hike. The bridge looks gorgeous, surrounded by the bright colors of fall.
5. Colorado Bend State Park
Likewise, home to one of Texas’ biggest waterfalls—Gorman Falls—and the Colorado River, water lovers will enjoy the park equally.
You can explore the miles of hiking trails, rent a kayak and paddle the Colorado River, fish or swim, camp beside the river, or find a shady spot and admire the brilliant colors of fall in Texas. But there’s more to the park during fall than first meets the eye.
Colorado Bend State Park has a varied landscape – from rugged canyons to underground caves to travertine formations.
Hence, apart from the hikes and the water adventures, you can also enjoy a wild cave tour and the calm waters of Spicewood Springs.
However, the most spectacular sight at this state park near Austin will always be the 70-foot tall, spring-fed Gormon Falls. Visiting the falls in the Texas fall foliage season adds another layer to the experience.
6. Guadalupe River State Park
As the most sought-after state park to witness fall in Texas, Guadalupe River State Park is located in the middle of a 9-mile stretch of the Guadalupe River frontage.
This state park provides spectacular scenes during fall, with cottonwood trees, sycamore, oak, and cypress trees changing colors beautifully.
As the fall months roll in, some of the best fall colors in Texas begin to sprinkle across the trees at the Guadalupe River State Park.
Guadalupe River State Park has 13 miles of hiking trails for visitors to admire the contrast of the fall foliage colors in the turquoise water of the Guadalupe River.
The Bauer Unit of the Park has trails leading to the Bauer House that dates back to 1878, which still has a working windmill and a well.
The park has a lot of river frontage areas for fishing, swimming, canoeing, and tubing.
Parts of the river are so shallow that they kind of form a pebble beach where kids can play without parental supervision.
Other recreational activities include picnicking, camping, birdwatching, mountain biking, geocaching, and horse riding.
7. Pedernales Falls State Park
Just 20 minutes east of Johnson City and an hour’s drive from Austin, Pedernales Falls State Park is a paradise for people seeking to witness the fall in Texas.
The landscape at this state park is complemented by rocky slopes, unique limestone formations, and gorgeous canyons that make for a beautiful backdrop amidst the fall foliage colors of cedar elms and other trees.
About 8 miles of Pedernales River meanders through the Pedernales Falls State Park, making way for plenty of hiking trails alongside the waterbody.
The hiking trails range from easy to challenging, with the Twin Falls Nature Trail and the Wolf Mountain Trail being the best to experience fall in Texas. There are separate equestrian trails as well.
You can enjoy a leisurely picnic by the river under the shade of cypress trees or can participate in adventure activities like kayaking, mountain biking, bird watching, fishing, swimming, tubbing, and geocaching.
8. Enchanted Rock State Natural Area
Located 18 miles north of Fredericksburg, the Enchanted Rock State Natural Area houses a massive granite dome surrounded by trails that offer fantastic views of the fall colors.
The oak, woodland, and mesquite trees surrounding the dome turn into beautiful red, orange, and yellow shades in October. These vibrant colors come to life at the golden hour.
People flock to this jewel in the Texas Hill Country year-round to enjoy hiking, but they don’t realize that some of the best fall colors in Texas exist here.
Enchanted Rock State Natural Area offers activities like caving, hiking, camping, rock climbing, geocaching, stargazing, and picnicking.
A hike up the Summit Trail will provide you with a panoramic view of the surrounding fall foliage colors and is one of the best places to watch the sunset.
After you have finished hiking the Enchanted Rock State Natural Area, you can head down to Luckenbach, where locals play the guitar, and you can rest under the shades of the colorful fall trees while being entertained with country music and local tales.
Read next: 12 Romantic Cabins in Fredericksburg, TX
9. Guadalupe Mountains National Park
Guadalupe Mountains National Park is located in the Guadalupe Mountain Range, east of El Paso, Texas.
It is a 45-minute drive from Carlsbad, making it a unique road trip in Texas. The Bigtooth maples, pines, mesquites, junipers, and firs that grow in the park feature brilliant leaf color changes in fall.
Guadalupe Mountains National Park might not be the first place you think of when considering where to find the best fall colors in Texas, but it packs quite a lot.
You can get to understand the Guadalupe Mountains National Park’s history by watching the informative movie at the visitor’s center.
This national park in Texas is home to four of the highest peaks in the state; one of them named the Guadalupe Peak.
It has over 86 miles of trails, with the McKittrick Canyon trail being the most popular during the fall season.
The trail leads to a 100-year-old Pratt cabin, where you can spend some time before returning. Apart from hiking, you can enjoy birding, stargazing, and wildlife viewing at the park.
10. Austin and Surrounding Area
While Austin is not at the forefront of people’s minds to experience the fall foliage in Texas, the city is filled with autumn colors. The capital of Texas is home to a stunning array of beautiful fall foliage.
The trails and parks in Austin immerse in a wheel of bright explosions of orange, red, and yellow during the fall months.
Look out for the fall foliage in Austin’s city parks like Mayfield Park, St. Edward’s Park, Redbud Isle, Zilker Botanical Gardens, Lady Bird Lake and many others.
Along with visiting these parks and enjoying beautiful fall colors, Austin has many other fall activities to participate in, like pumpkin picking (if you’re lucky you can find a number of pumpkin colors), shopping for Halloween costumes, and outdoor walks in the beautiful paths.
Fall in Texas also coincides with Austin’s Dios de Los Muertos Festival, where you can enjoy local arts, live music, and costume contests.
11. Japanese Garden in Fort Worth
The Japanese Garden in the Fort Worth Botanic Garden is the oldest botanic garden in Texas.
The flora present in the garden were donated by Fort Worth‘s sister city Nagaoka, Japan. Japanese maple trees present in the Japanese Garden turn bright red, orange, and yellow shades every fall season.
Along with this, the garden has cherry trees, waterfalls, and hanging granite lanterns that literally transport you to Kyoto.
The Japanese Garden in Fort Worth hosts the annual Fall Festival in October and November that features Japanese art and culture demonstrations.
At this time, you can enjoy traditional Japanese music, dance, papermaking, and tea ceremonies.
Not only is this one of the best places to experience fall foliage in Texas, but it’s also a favorite amongst the kids as they let you feed fish and turtles in the garden’s pond.
Wrapping up on Fall in Texas
Fall in Texas is a lot of fun, especially if you know where to look. The best time to visit the places mentioned above in all of their glory is from late October to early December.
Remember to always carry your camera and dress in layers as the temperatures can fluctuate greatly during the autumn season.
Have you visited any of these pretty places in Texas during the fall? Did we miss your favorite spot? Let us know in the comments section below.
Author: Pooja Shah