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7 Amazing Places to See Beautiful Fall Colors in Texas

By James Waterson

As the revered French philosopher and journalist Albert Camus once wrote: “Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower.” That’s especially true here in the Lone Star State, as scenic woods full of oak, maple, mesquite, and cypress trees undergo the spectacular transition from verdant green to vibrant red, orange, and yellow. These autumn colors illuminate parks and natural areas across the state as fireworks do a night sky. In many places, the abundance of color is just as much of an attraction as anything else.

If you’re looking to take in some of the most amazing sights of the season but you aren’t sure where the best places to see fall foliage are here in Texas, then you’re in luck. Many of Texas’ state parks have a stunning array of beautiful fall colors to go along with all the fantastic hiking, camping, and recreation they offer year-round. Discover what some of the best parks are below, then plan your trip before all the colors fade.  

Note: The abundance of fall colors depends on weather conditions, so the timing suggested below is a general guideline.

Garner State Park

With its majestic limestone bluffs and the pristine flowing water of the Frio River, Garner State Park is one of the most beautiful places in the Lone Star State. That is certainly true in the fall, as the cypress, oak, mesquite, and persimmon trees adopt various breathtaking shades of red, orange, and yellow. Immerse yourself in all of Garner’s glorious fall colors when you explore its 11 miles of hiking trails. For the most jaw-dropping view, or a great spot to take an amazing photo, head to the scenic overlook where you can see the tree-covered countryside and the Frio River. Once you’ve gotten all tuckered out, pitch a tent at one of the park’s campsites or spend the night in a cozy cabin equipped with a kitchen, shower, and all the other comforts of home. Wake up the next morning and you can take it all in again.

The Colors You’ll See: Orange, Red, and Yellow
Varieties of Trees: Cypress, Oak, Mesquite, and Persimmon
Best Time to Go: Late October
Region: Hill Country

Lost Maples State Natural Area

Located on the banks of the scenic Sabinal River among rolling tree-covered hills, Lost Maples State Natural Area is a veritable showcase of the beauty of the Texas Hill Country. Hardscrabble limestone bluffs and canyons, picturesque grasslands, and dense woodlands can be seen and explored throughout the year. Yet it’s the park’s uncommon Uvalde bigtooth maples that make it a hotspot for fall colors. Plan a trip here in the latter part of October or in early November to see the park covered in a kaleidoscope of autumn color, ranging from vibrant oranges and reds to rich yellows. To see the very best of the fall colors, explore the East Trail, where the majority of the maple trees reside.

Seeing the fall colors at Lost Maples is such a big deal that the park publishes detailed fall foliage reports that you should check before planning your trip. Since autumn is an incredibly busy season, it’s recommended you visit during the week so you can get the most out of your time at Lost Maples.

The Colors You’ll See: Orange, Red, and Yellow
Varieties of Trees: Bigtooth Maple and Red Oak
Best Time to Go: Middle of November
City: Vanderpool
Hill Country

Daingerfield State Park

Nestled deep in the heart of northeast Texas, among the towering forests of pine, oak, and cypress trees, is Daingerfield State Park. While this outdoor playground is an idyllic year-round adventure destination, it is truly spectacular in the fall. Explore the miles of hiking trails, rent a kayak and paddle on the shimmering lake, or find a shady spot and admire the sea of brilliant red, orange, and yellow leaves. Gaze across the lake to see all the color reflected off of the water, then hop in your car and see even more as you cruise along the park’s roads. To extend your stay in this Piney Woods paradise, hang your hat in one of the park's quaint cabins that you can reserve online.

The Colors You’ll See: Orange, Red, and Yellow
Varieties of Trees: Cypress, Sweetgum, Oak
Best Time to Go: End of October – End of November
City: Daingerfield
Piney Woods

Dinosaur Valley State Park

Pick a spot anywhere in North Texas and you’re bound to see some spectacular fall colors. Yet Dinosaur Valley State Park has even more for those who are adventurous enough to seek it out. Explore the park’s hiking trails and you’ll be treated to an awe-inspiring ocean of oranges, reds, and yellows. Once you reach the pristine Paluxy River, keep your eyes peeled for the massive tracks left by dinosaurs long ago. There are other ways to immerse yourself in Dinosaur Valley State Park’s wheel of fall colors, including mountain biking, fishing, and camping. Not only is this one of the best places to see fall foliage in Texas, it’s also just an hour southwest of Fort Worth.

The Colors You’ll See: Orange, Red, and Yellow
Varieties of Trees: Cedar Elm, Hackberry, Sumac, Sycamore, Texas Red Oak, Virginia Creeper
Best Time to Go: End of October – First Week of November
Glen Rose
Region: Prairies and Lakes

Lake Bob Sandlin State Park

The Piney Woods of East Texas is home to a diverse array of flora that makes it one of the best places to see fall colors in the state. Although all the brilliant color is practically everywhere, you can see just about all the region has to offer in Lake Bob Sandlin State Park. From mid-October through mid-November, the park is awash with vibrant color as the sweetgum, hickory, and red maple trees turn with the season. Visit at the right time and you can see these arresting colors beautifully reflected off the still waters of Lake Bob Sandlin, or you can surround yourself in them by exploring the hiking and mountain biking trails. The lake is also an idyllic fishing spot, and what better time to snare a few bass or catfish than the fall?

The Colors You’ll See: Burgundy, Gold, Orange, Red, and Yellow
Varieties of Trees: Sweetgum, Elm, Hickory, Oak, Bald Cypress, Sumac, and Red Maple
Best Time to Go: Mid-October – Mid-November
City: Pittsburg
Piney Woods

McKinney Falls State Park

The tranquil waters of Onion Creek flow past towering cypress trees and cascade off of limestone bluffs into secluded pools. Scenic trails wind through captivating forests marked with splashes of reds, oranges, and yellows. All this rugged natural beauty can be found at McKinney Falls State Park, an outdoor oasis located just 13 miles south of downtown Austin. Wander along the nine miles of hiking trails to see majestic bald cypress trees, including the likes of “Old Baldy,” which is estimated to be more than 500 years old. Then find a quiet spot by the creek and cast a line to catch a bass or catfish as you sit surrounded by all the colors of fall.

The Colors You’ll See: Orange, Red, and Yellow
Varieties of Trees: Bald Cypress, and Red Oak
Best Time to Go: Late October – Early November
Region: Hill Country

Tyler State Park

A majestic forest of 100-foot-tall trees envelops a scenic 64-acre spring-fed lake, creating a beautiful East Texas retreat. Welcome to Tyler State Park, a stunning recreational area located just north of the city of Tyler. Each fall, the park is a veritable showcase of all the colors of the season, as the sweetgums, maples, dogwoods, oaks, and more adopt a dizzying array of yellows, reds, and oranges. While you can see all the shades of the season throughout the park, there are some spots you can’t miss. Explore the Lakeshore Trail for awe-inspiring views of the lake and the colorful trees, then traverse the Whispering Pines Trail that takes you to a rock waterfall. Another great way to see the foliage is by renting a canoe or kayak and paddling to the center of the lake, where the view can’t be beat.

Whether you are visiting for an afternoon or a weekend, make sure to check out the Silver Canoe Park Store and Patio for souvenirs, supplies, or lunch. If you're staying overnight, make sure to book one of Tyler State Park's limited use cabins ideal for two people that feature air conditioning and a heater, a refrigerator, and other essentials. 

The Colors You’ll See: Deep Maroon, Red, Orange Yellow
Varieties of Trees: Sweetgum, Maple, Dogwood, Sassafras, Hickory, Sumac, and Oak
Best Time to Go: Late November through Early December
Region: Piney Woods

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About the Author: James Waterson is the head writer and content specialist for Tour Texas. When he isn’t writing, kayaking, and hiking, he’s planning his next epic adventure in the Lone Star State.

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