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 opportunities 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 excellent fall foliage viewing is available throughout East Texas, where there are ample places to view nature 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.
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, festivals and detailed maps.
2019 East Texas Fall Foliage Cam
The cam is located on a ranch with gently rolling hills and several hundred acres of forests. It includes a variety of trees that produce fall color, including maple, oak, elm, dogwood, gum, and crepe myrtle.
It's been a hot August and September in 2019 in East Texas, with little rain. What effect will these weather conditions have on the 2019 fall foliage season? We will have to wait and see, and be posting images from our cam throughout the fall to help gauge the fall colors throughout East Texas.
East Texas Fall Foliage Cam - November 20, 2019
Post-Peak ... Leaves Gone! 9
East Texas Fall Foliage Cam - November 15, 2019
East Texas Fall Foliage Cam - November 13, 2019
East Texas Fall Foliage Cam - October 27, 2019
East Texas Fall Foliage Cam - September 18, 2019
2018 East Texas Fall Foliage
The fall of 2018 was a lovely one in East Texas! Included below are scenes from that year:
|East Texas Fall Foliage
November 19, 2018
|Fall Foliage Peak
November 22, 2018
Vibrant Maple tree leaves from the Fall of 2018 in Upper East Texas
2017 East Texas Fall Foliage
It was a warm fall here in East Texas in 2017, with temperatures into the 90s even in early October. The nightly lows were only in the upper 60s. And of course it remained very dry, with little rain since early August.
Perhaps the cold front that moved through East Texas on October 10 triggered the start of fall foliage colors. Colors peaked in late November, 2017, in Upper East Texas.
Included below is the last image for 2017, as we experienced peak foliage on November 28 ... and by December 3 all leaves were off the trees!
|East Texas Fall Foliage Cam - Peak - November 28, 2017
Maple tree colors at peak color in East Texas (Staff photo)
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.
Included below are some suggested road trips to view the colors of autumn, along with photographs of East Texas fall foliage.
If You Start Your Tour in Tyler
You can start your East Texas foliage tour anywhere, and have an exciting journey!
However, Tyler is an excellent, central starting point for those taking day trips, and with a large selection of hotels and restaurants, is a great place to spend relaxing evenings after a day on the roads.
Tyler is the Rose Capital of America, the home of the nation's largest municipal rose garden. Tyler Rose Garden features more than just 40,000 rose bushes, including a wooded area with towering trees, and numerous Japanese Maples that sport bright fall foliage. The 2019 Texas Rose Festival is from October 17-20.
Tyler's Azalea National Historic District, listed on the National Register of Historic Places, comprises about 950 homes built in the first half of the 20th century, with a large concentration of structures from the 1930s when the oil boom had a huge economic impact on Tyler.
The site of Tyler's popular Azalea Trails in the spring, the area is always worth a drive, or a walking tour, even in the fall. Large numbers of colorful hardwood trees and Japanese Magnolias dot the area.
From Tyler, get off the beaten path, and explore East Texas in several directions ...
Driving North From Tyler
Beautiful fall colors around the lake at Tyler State Park (Photo courtesy of Texas Parks & Wildlife)
A popular drive to the north is along Texas Highway 14, which takes you by Tyler State Park. The park is built around a lake, and provides overnight camping venues, mountain biking, picnicking, hiking and more.
In the fall, Tyler State Park turns into a color palette of orange, yellow and reds!
Continuing the drive along Highway 14 from Tyler State Park you arrive at the town of Hawkins.
From there a connection with Highway 2869 takes you to Winnsboro, offering many choices for fall foliage viewing.
In the Winnsboro area, three routes are part of the Autumn Trails Tour: southeast, south and southeast of the city. Contact the Winnsboro Autumn Trails Association for more information.
Quiet moment in the fall at Daingerfield State Park
Other East Texas parks are great foliage locations also. Daingerfield State Park has the Rustling Leaves Nature Trail, camping, fishing, hiking and more, all nestled in colorful groups of maples, gums and oaks.
The City of Pittsburg is the county seat of Camp County, Texas, located between Gilmer and Mt. Pleasant on U.S. 271, and between Winnsboro and Daingerfield on Texas Highway 11.
One of the many attractions in this area is the Los Pinos Ranch Vineyards, lovely any time of the year, spectacular in the fall.
Los Pinos Ranch Vineyards in the fall
Fall scene on a quiet back road in East Texas near Jacksonville (Staff photo)
Gladewater is the antique capitol of East Texas, located on US 271 and historic US Highway 80, about 30 minutes north of Tyler, and close to many country roads with bright fall colors. It is situated west of Longview, east of Big Sandy, and north of Kilgore.
Trips to the South of Tyler
Love's Lookout offers a beautiful 30-mile vista of fall colors to the East, located between Jacksonville and Tyler on U.S. 69 ... great picnic location, with modern restroom facilities.
Jacksonville lies to the south of Tyler on U.S. 69, and features a beautiful drive around Lake Jacksonville.
Nacogdoches offers the Deep East Texas Fall Foliage Trail, looping from Nacogdoches thru Alto, Crockett, Livingston, Newton, Hemphill, San Augustine and Shelbyville. Download the PDF map from the Nacogdoches Visitors Bureau
Ride the Texas State Railroad from Rusk 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! And don't miss the Pumpkin Patch Express rides in October.
Venturing West of Tyler
Fall foliage at the East Texas Arboretum in Athens
The City of Athens is about 37 miles from downtown Tyler on Highway 31.
The Athens tourism department offers a scenic driving trail for visitors. The 55-mile Athens 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.The drive from Tyler west along Texas State Highway 64 and then Highway 279 to Edom is always a pleasant trip. This quaint village is surrounded by lovely countryside scenes and forests ... plus festivals, potters, artists, garden centers, restaurants, eclectic shopping. Don't miss Blue Moon Gardens ... and lunch at The Shed is always a treat!
Road Trips East of Tyler
A steamboat on tour in Caddo Lake on a blue-sky day in the fall
Highway 64 east from Tyler to Henderson is an easy trip, through forest and rolling ranch lands.
Visit Joinerville and see first hand where the famous East Texas Oil Field was discovered, and enjoy the brilliant fall colors on the area's backroads and countrysides.
In the area, don't miss a photo op in the tiny village of Uncertain, and steamboat rides on Caddo Lake.
Fall Colors at Texas State Parks
Fall scene at Lost Maples State Natural Area (Photo courtesy of Texas Parks & Wildlife)
The State of Texas offers dozens of excellent state parks, many in wooded areas that feature acres of vivid fall colors.
Beyond the popular bigtooth maples of Lost Maples State Natural Area, you'll find fall foliage in many state parks. Visit gorgeous yellow cottonwoods at Caprock Canyons. Enjoy the many East Texas hardwoods including elms, oaks, sweetgums, beeches and hickories at state parks like Lake Bob Sandlin, Cooper Lake, Martin Creek Lake and other locales.
For more information on fall activities in Texas State Parks, visit "Fall for Parks" at the website of Texas Parks and Wildlife
Photographs of Fall Foliage in East Texas in Recent Years
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 November fall foliage (Staff photo)
|Brilliant foliage near Carthage (Staff photo)
||Peak color in Nacogdoches (Staff photo)
Fall foliage scene around a peaceful lake in East 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 in Palestine in East Texas (Staff photo)
Quiet meandering country road in the fall in the rolling hills 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