Where to See Fall Foliage in Texas

© Don Despain / Alamy Stock Photo
Photo of Mike Title
5 October 2020

Texas has forests filled with maple, oak, ash, mesquite and cypress trees, creating a perfect scene for a colorful fall in mid-October when the green leaves spectacularly transition into vibrant reds, golden yellows and explosive oranges. From state parks to welcoming cities and the drives in between, here are some of Culture Trip’s favorite spots to enjoy the fall foliage in the Lone Star State.

Lost Maples State Natural Area

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Forest in autumn colors, Lost Maples State Natural Area, Texas
© Minden Pictures / Alamy Stock Photo
Only 100mi (161km) northwest of San Antonio on the Sabinal River is the Lost Maples State Natural Area, which has a wide range of natural beauty to explore. The woodlands are filled with maple trees that are striking at this time of year. By early November, it’s a veritable wonderland of explosive colors, perfect of leaf peeping. The East Trail is where you’ll find the most maples, and there is also a primitive campground where you can stay and become one with nature.

Athens

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As a city not too big to overwhelm and with more than enough comforts for those who do not wish to escape deep into nature, Athens is a perfect place to spend some in the fall. The area is home to some excellent driving routes that will take you under a canopy of leaves. You’ll also find the East Texas Arboretum and Botanical Society, dedicated to the education of conservation. The hardwood forest and gardens come alive in autumn and are a dream to any future botanist who wishes to hike their way through the grounds.

Daingerfield State Park

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Daingerfield State Park is a three-hour drive east of Fort Worth and is home to a lake surrounded by oak, sweetgum and cypress trees that turn red, yellow and orange in the fall, to the delight of any leaf peeper visiting this part of the Lone Star State. You can take a kayak and drift out peacefully to the center of the lake for an unforgettable afternoon. The park also has some great hiking trails but is well serviced with roads.

Tyler State Park

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Trees in autumn along lake, Tyler State Park, Texas
Take the hassle out of your next vacation at one of Texas' fantastic resort havens | © Minden Pictures / Alamy Stock Photo

Tyler State Park lies 100mi (161km) east of Dallas and is home to the region’s famous maple, dogwood and oak trees that create the perfect fall foliage, all turning golden yellows, fiery reds and dazzling oranges. Its expansive 64-acre (26ha) lake is an excellent choice for kayaking, or you can hike the Lakeshore Trail, which will give you another perspective of the autumnal colors. Whichever choice you make, you won’t be disappointed.

Garner State Park

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In the Texas Hill Country, Garner State Park is about one-and-a-half hours west of San Antonio. Here, you can wander along the Frio River to watch the season change from the end of summer to another fall filled with the warmth of nostalgia and spend some time off-grid to do some fishing or kayaking. The fall hues here are extreme at the peak of the season, so if you come prepared with a camera, you’ll leave with some superb snaps.

Dinosaur Valley State Park

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A 90-minute drive from Arlington will lead you to Dinosaur Valley State Park, which offers not only stunning fall foliage but also some arduous hiking opportunities through the maple and hardwood forest. Close to the Paluxy River, it’s also home to some incredible dinosaur tracks. It is quite easy to imagine them walking around in these woods, giant and terrifying among the fiery colors of autumn.
These recommendations were updated on October 5, 2020 to keep your travel plans fresh.