Fall is my favorite time of year in Arizona! The weather is perfect, there’s corn mazes & pumpkin patches! The month of October is one of the best times of year to explore the state and experience its top attractions. It's just past monsoon season, and the annual tourist season is just starting. From the marvelous colors of changing leaves to the entertainment venues decked out in Halloween fun. Need help finding something to do? Well here are the top 10 places to go this fall in Arizona!
Savor the Foliage in the White Mountains
“Leaf peeping” provides a feast for the eyes throughout October for Arizona residents and visitors. The White Mountains in eastern Arizona are among the best places to see gorgeous fall foliage in early October. The leaves of the area’s Gambel oaks and aspen trees turn yellow and orange, blanketing the landscape with rich autumn colors. Try to visit in the first three weeks of October for the most beautiful autumn sights.
Find Spooks at Old Tucson Studios
Old Tucson Studios is a year-round attraction that offers Halloween-themed scariness only in October. Nightfall at Old Tucson is a prime stop for horror lovers. Not all attractions are suitable for children, so leave little ones at home. Explore an entire haunted town that features a horror train, death row, mad scientists and various hideous creatures. Check the schedule before visiting to attend one of the live musical and comedy stage shows.
Enjoy Flagstaff’s Many Natural Attractions
Flagstaff sits at the base of the San Francisco Peaks, less than an hour from the Grand Canyon. Flagstaff features a few natural attractions near the city's outskirts such as the Sunset Crater Volcano, Walnut Canyon and Wupatki national monuments. With its Coconino National Forest, Flagstaff is one of the loveliest places to enjoy the changing colors of fall leaves in October. If you’re feeling adventurous, try the 1.8-mile hike that’s known as the Aspen Nature Loop for picture-perfect views of autumn leaves.
Feel Young at Heart at the Arizona State Fair
The Arizona State Fair is one of the state's largest annual events, beginning in the early or middle part of October. Come to relive childhood memories of fairs, savor delicious carnival food and enjoy one of the most festive October traditions the state has to offer. Contribute to the fair yourself by entering one of its many competitions. Whether you enjoy cooking, photography, science or home arts, competitions are plentiful.
Hike the Trails of Red Rock Country
Visitors to Red Rock Country in Sedona often explore Oak Creek Canyon, Arizona’s second-most-popular tourist attraction after the Grand Canyon. Named for its towering red-colored desert rocks, the area also has waterfalls pouring over the red rocks that are a sight to behold. So is the fall foliage when you hike along Red Rock Country’s Schnebly Hill Trail in October. The scenic land of Red Rock Country also features the Coconino National Forest, Oak Creek Visitor Center, Fossil Creek Trailhead and Verde River.
Explore an Authentic Ghost Town
If you ever watched the rerun of “The Brady Bunch” where the family gets locked in a ghost town on their way to the Grand Canyon, you might have suspected that Arizona is home to several ghost towns. Many of these ghost towns showcase a historic Wild West-era look. October is a great time to visit these somewhat creepy towns for a quirky take on Halloween fun. Goldfield Ghost Town is a former gold-mining town with underground tours, gunfight performances and original historic buildings.
Take in the Natural Beauty of the Navajo Nation
The Navajo Nation spans more than 27,000 square miles in the states of Arizona, Utah and New Mexico. Arizona's Navajo attractions include historic trading posts, villages, tribal parks and national monuments. Take one of the hiking tours of its Monument Valley Tribal Park, Church Rock Pyramid, Rainbow Bridge and Window Rock. October is an especially beautiful time to enjoy the picturesque views. Just be sure to dress in layers to be prepared for the autumn weather.
Celebrate Helldorado Days in Tombstone
Tombstone is an Old West town known mainly for its history of gunslingers and the O.K. Corral shootout. Once a former mining camp, it's been nicknamed "The Town Too Tough to Die." In October, Tombstone celebrates with something called Helldorado Days. Helldorado takes place on the third Friday, Saturday and Sunday of October, showcasing gunfight reenactments, fashion shows and other entertainment.
Nestled in northeastern part of Arizona, the Petrified Forest National Park offers more than 50,000 acres of unspoiled wilderness. The park features numerous fossils dating back millions of years, petrified trees and the "painted desert" with multihued geological deposits of clay-rich soil and sedimentary rocks. In October, it’s also a great place to see the desert bush and shrubs ablaze with the beautiful autumn colors of red, gold, yellow and orange.
Revel in the Wonder of the Grand Canyon
The Grand Canyon often appears on lists as a top natural wonder of the world for many good reasons. Its majestic beauty is divided into two sections. The North Rim is open mid-May to mid-October, and the South Rim is open year-round. See gorgeous fall foliage in the Kaibab National Forest at the North Rim. Observe the Grand Canyon by raft along the Colorado River or explore it on foot. Some visitors even opt to take a helicopter tour to see the overhead view of the canyon.