As the air becomes crisp and the days become less of an inferno, Arizona becomes a paradise for outdoor activities. Fall activities in Arizona have the massive benefit of shorter days and far less sun.

If the summer’s heat turns you away from getting out into the desert, the Fall is your time to shine. Getting out to enjoy the landscape’s natural beauty gets easier, and here’s exactly what we recommend you start your Autumn season off with first. 

5 things to do in Arizona this Fall

Photo by Peter Forster on Unsplash

1. See the Fall colors

Most don’t see Arizona as the place to catch the brilliant golds, oranges, and reds that trees bring to the landscape in the Fall. If you know where to go, you can add splashes of color to your Arizona backdrop and snag some breathtaking photos.

Mount Lemmon sits atop the Santa Catalina Mountains, which you can easily access from the Sky Island Scenic Byway. This road takes you up into the mountains, where the brisk air provides you a comfortable space to see the trees prepare for winter. 

Where to see the fall colors:

  • Mount Lemmon Summit
  • Bear Wallow
  • Marshall Gulch

2. Hike a Mountain

Summertime hiking can be brutal in most of Arizona. Once the Fall arrives, the conditions become perfect, and hiking in Arizona quickly becomes a new favorite activity. Use this temperature window to hop onto any of the Phoenix outdoor tours to get a full-blown experience. 

There are plenty of short day hikes in addition to long treks up steep peaks that you can check out. If you’re looking for a quick-access trip, go check out Camelback Mountain. It’s a mere 20 minutes outside of Phoenix and will take you up almost 2,700 feet over the short trail. You can see for miles around you and discover what Arizona looks like from above. 

Best mountains to hike in Arizona this Fall:

  • Camelback Mountain
  • Piestewa Peak
  • Humphrey’s Peak

3. Explore the Canyons

Other spots that become more enjoyable and safer in the fall time are the multitude of canyons formed in the desert. If you’re interested in a tour, check out Antelope Canyon in the Navajo Nations Park. This canyon will show you rock formations that are out-of-this-world.

We can’t forget about hiking in the Grand Canyon. The country’s largest canyon lives just under 4 hours from Phoenix, making it one of the best long Phoenix fall activities. 

**Be aware that the Autumn brings Monsoon season. Always check the weather report before venturing into a canyon.**

Canyons to explore in Arizona:

  • Antelope Canyon
  • Grand Canyon
  • Rattlesnake Canyon
  • Mountain Sheep Canyon

4. Go Rafting

Rafting on the Colorado can be a fun family activity throughout the year but hits its peak in the Fall. In the Fall, the sun becomes less intense, making sitting on a raft a much more enjoyable experience. 

You can hop on a tour in the Grand Canyon, Horseshoe Bend, and other stunningly beautiful spots along the river. If you’re looking for a multi-day tour, you’ve got it! Companies will outfit you and take you along on single-day trips or week-long trips. This is easily one of the best fall activities in Arizona. 

Where to raft in Arizona:

  • Grand Canyon
  • Horseshoe Bend
  • Upper Salt River Canyon

5. Rock Climbing

The sun has calmed down, and the rock faces have started to as well. Without the blistering sun, your hands are sweating less, the rock is no longer fighting you as hard, and climbing becomes the perfect way to be outside. 

Rock climbing is easily found all across the state of Arizona. After seeing the colors, you can climb around Mount Lemmon, explore climbing in the Grand Canyon after rafting, or head out to the San Francisco Peaks near Flagstaff. If you’re new to the sport, there are plenty of local guides to help you find your way safely.

Climbing in Arizona:

  • Grand Canyon
  • San Francisco Peaks
  • Mount Lemmon