8 Magical Texas Parks to Visit This Fall

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Tony Maples Photography


The New England states are beautiful to drive through in the fall with their tall, stately trees full of bright, gorgeous, and vibrantly colorful leaves! But autumn leaves and autumn colors in Texas are just as dazzling and breathtaking. A living fantasy courtesy of Mother Nature! Take a tour through these eight beautiful and magical state parks.

1. Enchanted Rock State Natural Area

magical-enchanted-rock-680Photo: Texas Parks and Wildlife

Revered by Indians of yesteryear as a sacred place of worship, the top of the rock itself does not offer any spectacular fall foliage. It is primarily a giant, almost barren, magical mound of granite said to be haunted by ancient Indian spirits. But the phenomenal 360-degree view from its domed peak is more than a thousand words could describe. Visitors will take in an oak-filled landscape in a kaleidoscope of colors varying from shades of auburn, red, gold, and copper-colored leaves. Hike around its base and follow the trails among the trees to experience the most vibrant of autumn colors.

2. Garner State Park 

garner-state-parkPhoto: Flickr/Knowsphotos

Garner State Park offers hiking trails amidst the very trees that flaunt their miraculous super power year after year. This park, located in Concan, is a beautiful opportunity to experience the changing of the leaf colors first hand while really close to nature! Bring your camera and easily capture nature at its most brilliant best.

3. Monahans Sandhills State Park

sandhillsPhoto: Texas Parks and Wildlife

Monahans Sandhills State Park is more widely known for its unique sand hills than its fall foliage, but who would argue the comparison between the beauty of colorful foliage on a tree and the radiant beauty of a canvas full of sparkling stars in the sky. The “stars at night are big and bright” and can be seen clearly and almost forever from a constantly changing foundation of sand hills and surrounding fields of sunflowers in bloom. You will love playing in this giant sandbox!

4. Lost Maples State Natural Area 

lost-maplesPhoto: Flickr/Jon Lebkowsky

Lost Maples is a natural area encompassing more than 2,000 acres on the Sabinal River and owes its impressive fall colors to the large concentration of maple trees within its boundaries. Colors of the leaves are totally dependent on Mother Nature’s cooler weather beginning in November to produce sugar-which is the reason maple leaves change their color. Depending on the weather and the sugar production of the maples, colors in the park may range from deep hues of vibrant reds, yellows, browns, and greens to a more muted landscape of blended pastels. Beauty in all shades and colors! Enjoy the park activities year-round including hiking, fishing, bird watching, paddle boats, and mountain climbing.

5. Big Bend National Park

magical-fort-bend-flickr-680Photo: Flickr/mlhradio

The heat in the West Texas desert exceeds a scorching hundred degrees way too often! So the fall season may be the preferred visiting time for Big Bend. As for foliage, there are very few trees in the desert but check out Boot Spring in the Chisos Mountains area of Big Bend. Then look closer to the ground and marvel at the superb color of various cacti and native desert plants. Behold the surrounding majesty of Big Bend! Massive canyons change hues from deep reds, striking blues, to pink and purple as the glow of the sun reflects on the mammoth rocks throughout the day and evening hours.

6. Palo Duro Canyon 

palo-duroPhoto: Flickr/Roy Luck

Breathtakingly beautiful any time of the year, but definitely cooler in the fall! Grand, majestically imposing red rock canyons form incredible backdrops in the Texas Panhandle. Walk the trails of the canyon and experience the beauty of golden tree leaves along the way. Located near the town of Canyon, Palo Duro is the second largest canyon in the United States. Hiking, biking, photography, sunsets, and the outdoor play “Texas” should be at the top of your list of things to enjoy.

7. Daingerfield State Park 

magical-pineywoods-daingerfield-680Photo: Texas Parks and Wildlife

The hardwoods and piney woods of East Texas deliver an abundance of unbelievable autumn foliage. Deep crimson among bright yellow and golden copper hues brighten the Rustling Leaves Nature Trail at Daingerfield State Park. And there are plenty of activities to partake in! Enjoy boating, fishing, picnicking, camping, swimming, hiking, and an up-close study of nature in the forests of East Texas.

8. Guadalupe Mountains National Park 

magical-guadalupe-sand-dunes-680Photo: National Park Service

Astonishing bright-white Salt Basin Dunes formed by gypsum deposits through thousands of years! Colorful foliage is found around the higher elevations of the park. Salt dunes and Guadalupe Peak, the highest summit in the state, are the main attractions to this picturesque national park in the Guadalupe Mountains of Culberson, Texas. Hiking trails to the summit offer striking panoramic views. Bring your cameras and relish in the beauty of West Texas.

Foliage reports and park activities are conveniently provided by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department or by each individual park. Check their websites before your trip and enjoy the magic of autumn in a Texas park.