Fall Foliage Tours and Road Trips in East Texas
While Texas may not be as well known for fall foliage as New England, or even northern Arkansas, many opportunites can be easily found. One of the better known is the Lost Maples state Natural Area northwest of San Antonio. The Bastrop State Park Scenic Drive is also a popular destination in the fall.
But we find that the best fall foliage viewing is in the Piney Woods Section of East Texas, where there are ample places to view fall foliage in its colorful magnificence via a number of scenic drives!
The hardwood trees of the area put on a beautiful display of yellows, oranges and reds.
We are all ready for fall color "peak week" ... but when is it? It is hard, or impossible to predict, as multiple factors dictate the timing, duration and intensity of colors.
The maples, oaks, gum, elm, beech, hickory, dogwoods, crepe myrtles, Bradford pear, and other species usually come into their peak in late October and November in East Texas. Variations in peak times depend on temperatures, rainfall, wind, and days of sunlight, as well as soil conditions and elevation.
It's been a warm fall here in East Texas in 2016, with near record temperatures into the 90s even in mid-October. The nightly lows have been only in the 50s. And of course it remains very dry!
Fall foliage along the back roads of East Texas
Included below are a series of photographs of East Texas fall foliage, and some suggested day trips to view the colors of autumn.
Suggested Road Trips to View Fall Foliage in East Texas
When the days are clear and cool ... it's time for fall foliage in East Texas!
The fall in East Texas areas is alive with vibrant fall foliage, and a great time to drive the back roads, and scenic byways.
Highway 14 from Tyler north by Tyler State Park and on to Winnsboro, and Highway 16 from Lindale to Winona are among our favorites. But virtually any farm-to-market road, county road and state highway offer excellent drives within a few minutes of Tyler. Many cities and towns like Nacogdoches and Athens have foliage tours and festivals.
Get off the beaten path, and explore East Texas in several directions, and see and visit:
Love's Lookout - beautiful 30-mile vista of fall colors to the East, located between Jacksonville and Tyler on U.S. 69 ... great picnic location!
Nacogdoches - offers the Deep East Texas Fall Foliage Trail, looping from Nacogdoches thru Alto, Crockett, Livingston, Newton, Hemphill, San Augustine and Shelbyville.
Jacksonville - to the south of Tyler on U.S. 69, features a beautiful drive around Lake Jacksonville.
Edom - a quaint village just west of Tyler surrounded by lovely countryside scenes and forests ... festivals, potters, artists, garden centers, restaurants, eclectic shopping. The drive from Tyler west along Texas State Highway 64 and then Highway 279 is always a pleasant trip.
Fall scene on a quiet backroad in East Texas (Staff photo)
Gladewater - antique capitol of East Texas, located on historic US Highway 80, and close to many country roads with bright fall colors. West of Longview, east of Big Sandy, and north of Kilgore.
Rusk - ride the Texas State Railroad to Palestine, and back, in fall. This historic railroad offers steam train excursions through 25 miles of scenic piney woods and colorful hardwood creek bottoms amidst a backdrop of rolling hills, nature and wildlife. A great fall foliage adventure!
Don't miss their Fall Foliage Brunch Train on November 6, 2016.
Athens - The City of Athens tourism department offers a scenic driving trail for visitors. The 55-mile self-guided driving trail begins and ends at the Athens Partnership Center, located at 201 W. Corsicana Street, in Athens.
The Athens scenic driving tour meanders along the back roads of Henderson County to view fall foliage at several attractions along the way such as NY-TX Zipline Adventures, Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center, Lake Athens, East Texas Arboretum, and Tara Vineyard & Winery.
Tyler State Park - a short drive north of Tyler on Highway 14, the park built around a lake, provides overnight camping venues, mountain biking, picnicking, hiking and more. Continuing the drive along Highway 14 from Tyler State Park to the north towards Hawkins and the Winnsboro area offers many choices for fall foliage viewing.
Many other East Texas parks are great foliage locations also, like Lake Bob Sandlin State Park near Pittsburg and Martin Creek Lake State Park near Longview and Tatum. Daingerfield State Park has the Rustling Leaves Nature trail, camping, fishing, hiking and more.
Tyler Rose Garden - Tyler is the Rose Capital of America, the home of the nation's largest municipal rose garden. It features more than just 40,000 rose bushes, including a wooded area with towering trees, and numerous Japanese Maples that sport bright fall foliage.
Joinerville - learn and see first hand the place where the famous East Texas Oil Field was discovered, and enjoy the brilliant fall colors on the backroads and countryside near Henderson, just east of Tyler
Henderson - Highway 64 from Tyler to Henderson is an easy trip, through forest and rolling ranch lands. Then take Highway 43 north by Martin Lake, and through Marshall, to Uncertain, Texas, for additional fall colors. While in Uncertain, be sure to visit the shopping, attractions and attractions in nearby Jefferson.
Photographs of Fall Foliage in East Texas in Recent Years
Maple tree colors at peak color in East Texas in 2013 (Staff photo)
Fall foliage on FM 2868 west of Flint in East Texas (Staff photo)
Fall colors on Old Bullard Road, CR 122, south of Tyler Texas (Staff photo)
Fall colors on Saline Creek Road west of Gresham in East Texas (Staff photo)
Maple leaves at peak color in Longview Texas during October fall foliage (Staff photo)
Brilliant yellow and fall foliage in East Texas (Staff photo)
Fall foliage around a peaceful lake in East Texas (Staff photo)
Maple tree in peak fall color near Nacogdoches Texas (Staff photo)
A profusion of yellow fall foliage colors near Kilgore in East Texas (Staff photo)
Dogwood tree foliage and berries at peak fall color near Palestine in East Texas (Staff photo)
Quiet meandering country road in the fall in the rolling hill of the Piney Woods of East Texas (Staff photo)
Beauty Berry - A fall native plant that grows in the wild in East Texas (Staff photo)
Even in urban areas, fall makes an impressive show in East Texas, as in this photo of an office building
and fall foliage in Tyler on Loop 323 (Staff photo)