Although fall in Texas doesn’t quite compare to the northern states, it can be pretty comparable if you know where to go. Some of our state parks actually have gorgeous fall foliage, and others that don’t still have redeeming attributes making them worthy of visiting. You absolutely can’t pass up these 8 state parks in Texas this fall.
1. Enchanted Rock (Fredericksburg)
Although you won't see a lot of fall foliage around this big pink dome, it's still a great place to visit this time of year. Halloween is right around the corner, and there are plenty of spooky Native American legends associated with the rock. They may not hold any truth, but our minds will convince us otherwise on a cold, lonely October night.
2. Garner State Park (Concan)
I think this picture makes it pretty clear why this is the most popular state park in Texas. Those leaf colors are so vibrant that it's hard to believe they aren't photoshopped. You can hike numerous trails that run through those very trees before ringing in the best time of year with the nightly jukebox dance party under the stars. Garner State Park is a fun time for the whole family.
3. Monahans Sandhills State Park (Monahans)
I know what you're thinking, but hear me out for a second. Deserts aren't the first things that come to mind when we think about fall, but maybe they should be. Why visit them in the stifling Texas summer heat when you can go a few months later and actually appreciate their beauty? This state park, with its seemingly endless rows of sandy undulations that are constantly changing due to wind patterns, is absolutely beautiful. A favorite activity of many visitors is to boogie board down the dunes. And camping here is a must so you can get a glimpse of the breathtaking West Texas night sky. Don't knock it 'till you try it, folks - it may not be the most common fall destination, but it sure is an unforgettable one.
4. Lost Maples State Natural Area (Vanderpool)
I know I talk about this place a lot, but I really can't stress enough how gorgeous it is. The colors of the leaves pop with a vibrancy unlike any other park in Texas. Most of the trails are fairly short and easy, so no worries if you aren't an avid hiker. There's absolutely no excuse for passing this place up this year.
5. Big Bend National Park
Although I recently did a whole article just about Big Bend, I had to include it in this list. In my opinion, any park in West Texas is better visited in the fall. It's no longer too warm but not yet too cold - fall in the desert is simply perfect. So enjoy all the trails without worrying about heatstroke or having to wear ten layers of clothing, and then camp in a cabin or maybe even in a tent underneath the vast night sky.
6. Palo Duro Canyon (Canyon)
If there's ever a time to visit the second largest canyon in America, it's the fall. With the deep red rock walls covered in lush greenery to the musical, "Texas!" to luxury-yet-surprisingly-cheap cabins, Palo Duro Canyon is a must-visit when the weather is an enjoyable temperature.
7. Daingerfield State Park (Daingerfield)
Now that I've talked about West and Central Texas, it's time to head over to the east. Daingerfield State Park, deep in the famous pineywoods, is a marvelous sight to behold. You'll feel as if you've stumbled upon a magical clearing amid miles and miles of thick forest. The coppers, deep reds, and bright yellows of the leaves in East Texas are unlike anything you've ever seen or will ever see. I highly recommend planning a trip here this season to experience it for yourself.
8. Guadalupe Mountains National Park (Culberson)
Although this picture doesn't show it, there's actually a surprising amount of fall foliage at this West Texas park. Your best bet for seeing it is the McKittrick Canyon trail, but I also encourage you to take the Guadalupe Peak trail that takes you to the highest point of the mountain range, pictured above. Looking out at the landscape around you is a breathtaking moment that will absolutely change your perspective on life. And the fact that it won't be hotter than Hades is an added bonus!