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Jesse Weber | 10.15.2019

1. Hiking into the Grand Canyon

After the peak summer tourist season begins to wane, crowds on Grand Canyon's South Rim start to thin out, but the weather only gets better for hiking as temperatures cool and monsoon thunderstorms subside. Trails like the following are often too hot in summer and become gradually more pleasant as the calendar flips toward winter.


2. Seeing the North Rim

Fall is the best time to visit Grand Canyon's remote and high-elevation North Rim, but the window of time from summer's end to the winter's beginning is short here. Fall colors erupt in early October but may be overtaken by snow soon after, and many park facilities close for the season by mid or end of October. While park services may be closed access to the north rim typically remains open until end of November or once the first big winter storms comes through. Up to date information on North Rim access can be found here.


3. Hiking in Sedona

In autumn, leaves in Sedona turn to match their red-rock backdrop as temperatures become much more tolerable. This is the time to explore Sedona's sunnier hikes that are simply too hot in summer but to beautiful to pass up in fall.


4. Sunsets over Phoenix

Fall is when it's finally safe to emerge to emerge from the A/C in the Valley, though temperatures can still hit 100 into October. Once the afternoon finally cools off you'll have the perfect opportunity to hike to one of Arizona's famous sunsets over the city.


5. Warmth on the water

The lower elevations can be slow to cool down in the fall, but with winter on the horizon, this is your last chance to enjoy warmth on the water. Enjoy paddling or swimming in one of Arizona's desert reservoirs or natural streams.


6. Fall colors on Mount Lemmon

​Just outside Tucson, Mount Lemmon rises to more than 9,000 feet, harboring cooler temperatures and a bounty of fall foliage. Driving, hiking, and camping are ways to witness the changing of seasons on the mountain


​7. Falls colors on the San Francisco Peaks

Arizona's highest elevation is atop the San Francisco Peaks near Flagstaff, which rise into the alpine realm. Groves of aspen trees turn ablaze while snow settles above treeline. Hike into this wilderness area to experience it all, but prepare for cold temperatures at this altitude.


8. Camping in the national forests

Arizona's bounty of national forest land beckons year round, but especially when autumn arrives. Enjoy cool evenings and starry nights at one of many developed campgrounds or out among the trees down a dirt road all to yourself.


9. Mountain biking

When temperatures drop and trails dry out definitively, all of Arizona's mountain biking opens up. Excellent trails abound all over the state, from the high mountains to the low desert, dealing a variety of conditions and scenery.


10. Rock climbing

Arizona is famous for rock climbing, and fall is really the time to take advantage of it. Though the sport is possible all year, climbers especially look forward to "the season," which is the window between summer's rain and winter's snow.

This article has been updated. It was originially published in September 2017 by Jesse Weber.


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