Ten Beautiful Fall Destinations in the Southwest
America’s Southwest is beautiful any time of year, but there’s something about fall that makes it all the better. Take advantage of the cooler weather, and explore these can’t-miss destinations—all in a day’s trip from one of our fabulous Roberts Resorts destinations.
Montezuma Castle National Monument, Arizona
One of the most well-preserved cliff dwellings in all of North America, Montezuma Castle is more of an ancient high-rise building. This 4,000-square-foot structure was built directly into the limestone cliff that faces Beaver Creek. The monument is located roughly 50 miles south of Flagstaff and just two miles east of I-17. Both Montezuma Castle and nearby Montezuma Well feature short trails and picnic areas.
Red Rock Canyon National Park, Nevada
Red Rock Canyon is best known for its breathtaking 13-mile scenic drive, though the park offers 26 different hiking trails that can take visitors from the park’s deepest canyons to the highest peaks. See plants and wildlife native to the arid Mojave Desert, or go horseback riding or even target shooting.
Lost Maples State Natural Area, Texas
Talk about fall foliage! A three-hour drive from Austin, Lost Maples is a sight to behold during the autumn months when its Uvalde Bigtooth Maples show their stunning fall colors. While the maples are the main attraction, the area’s abundance of wildflowers, multicolored canyon walls, and scenic Sabinal River add to the allure. it's terrific for campers, hikers, anglers, and bird watchers. (Keep an eye out especially for the golden-cheeked warbler and black-capped vireo, two endangered species that call Lost Maples home.)
Petrified Forest National Park, Arizona
When it comes to autumnal beauty, Petrified Forest National Park might not spring to mind immediately. But once you visit, you’ll see that the 230-square-mile national park contains some of the most beautiful land to be found in the United States. More than 400 species of plants and 200 species of birds complement the multicolored rock.
Twentynine Palms, California
Located in the heart of Southern California’s Mojave Desert, the city of Twentynine Palms is best known for its entrance into Joshua Tree National Park, where the Cyclops and Pee Wee Formations near its Hidden Valley Campground are a wonder to behold. Pack a jacket, though. Because of its elevation of roughly 2,000 feet above sea level, Twentynine Palms can get chilly in the fall.
Sonoita-Elgin became Arizona’s first town to engage in commercial-scale winemaking when University of Arizona soil scientist, Gordon Dutt, discovered intriguing similarities between the soils of Elgin-Sonoita and Burgundy, France. With nine vineyards in the region, visitors can take their pick from Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, and Pinot Noirs. This corner of the Copper State is also known for scenic views, historic ranches, and unique birding opportunities.
Kofa National Wildlife Refuge, Arizona
Established in 1939, following a campaign by the Arizona Boy Scouts for the protection of desert bighorn sheep, the 1,000-plus miles of Kofa National Wildlife Refuge offer one-of-a-kind opportunities for wildlife watching and photography and camping and hiking. Palm Canyon, in particular, rewards hikers with views of palm trees that are native to Arizona, a natural phenomenon harkening back to the days when the state was wetter and cooler.
Tucked away where the Cypress Creek and the Blanco River meet, the town of Wimberley isn’t about to fall back on its reputation as a place of incredible natural beauty. Recently designated by the Texas Commission on the Arts as a Texas Cultural District, Wimberley has become a retreat for artists with galleries that showcase local talent year-round. Also, plan your visit around Market Days, taking place on the first Saturday of each month.
A desert town surrounded by 1.8 million acres of national forest land, and regarded by Native Americans as sacred, Sedona, Arizona offers wide access to countless recreational activities including hiking and biking, bird-watching, and picnicking. Uptown Sedona, meanwhile, features New Age shops, spas, and art galleries.
Goldfield Ghost Town, Apache Junction, Arizona
You might call this one more supernatural than natural. Located between the Superstition and Goldfield Mountains, Goldfield was established in 1893 at the tail end of the Gold Rush. It boasted a boarding house, general store, three saloons. It was well on its way to becoming a booming city. When the mines closed, that dream disappeared. Goldfield Ghost Town consists these days mainly of historic buildings and shops, though visitors can tour the historic Mammoth Gold Mine and visit the Goldfield Museum for a peek at some authentic Wild West history.