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5 Fall Foliage Texas Road Trips To Plan Now

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Would you love to see the fall leaves changing colors but assumed that one would have to go somewhere like Vermont to witness it? Well, you’re in luck: Texas has plenty of trees whose leaves change color in the fall. But before we delve into the “wheres” of fall leaf exploring, let’s tackle the “whys” of fall foliage. Why do leaves change color in the fall?

An Interactive Map of Fall Foliage

Fall foliage map


As the fall days begin to get shorter and shorter, the production of chlorophyll (the chemical that allows plants to absorb energy from light) in the leaves slows to a halt, eventually giving way to the ‘true’ color of the leaf. Beta-carotene is present in most leaves and, in the absence of chlorophyll, gives leaves an orange hue. Flavonol gives leaves a yellow color in the fall. Flavonol is always present in leaves (and also contributes to the yellow color of egg yolks) but it is not seen until the production of chlorophyll begins to slow. The Smokey Mountains website offers an interactive map, showing by date when your best chances at seeing fall leaves are by region. You can use it to determine the best time for visiting each region of Texas, in the hopes of witnessing some of nature’s fall artistry.

While you might be able to spot fall leaves in many places in Texas, state parks are some of the best places to witness this most exciting act of nature.

Here are five Texas State Parks that offer the most promising glimpses of showy fall leaves:

1. Davis Mountains State Park

Davis Mountains State Park
Photo: Facebook/Davis Mountains

Home to the cottonwood tree, which turns a brilliant yellow during fall, Davis Mountain State Park typically offers both camping and lodge accommodations, but their iconic Indian Lodge is closed through January for repairs. In addition to the fall foliage viewing, the Davis Mountains are a great place to bird watch. Davis Mountain State Park is high in the mountains of west Texas and feels like a world away.

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