• August 29, 2023
  • Lauren Critzer
  • 0

Experience Autumn’s Palette: Your Guide to the Top 7 Spots for Fall Foliage in Austin

As the sweltering Texas summer cools and makes way for the crisp air of fall, Austin transforms into a nature lover’s paradise. From sprawling parks to hidden havens, a riot of colors unfurl across the city, making an endearing spectacle that leaves everyone spellbound. Let us take you through some of Austin’s best-kept secrets and classic favorites, so you can discover and revel in the city’s breathtaking autumn panorama.

1. Lost Maples State Natural Area

A bit of a drive outside Austin, approximately two hours west, but well worth the trip, the Lost Maples State Natural Area is like stepping into a postcard with fall colors in full swing. This secluded park, nestled deep in the heart of Texas Hill Country, is home to a rare stand of Uvalde Bigtooth Maples, whose leaves burst forth fiery hues in fall. Against the backdrop of clear azure skies and towering limestone cliffs, this spectacle becomes a soul-stirring sight to behold.

  • Location: 37221 FM 187, Vanderpool, TX 78885
  • Perfect For: A sanctuary for nature lovers, photographers, and adventurers alike. Bird watchers may strike gold with an array of migrating and resident bird species.
  • Highlight: The color change, primarily driven by the park’s namesake maples, varies each year, providing a unique tapestry of colors season after season.
  • Additional Activities: Engage in some invigorating physical activities such as hiking, camping, and fishing. Don’t forget to explore the over ten miles of trails that offer stunning panoramic views of the savannah.

2. McKinney Falls State Park

Barely a stone’s throw from downtown Austin, McKinney Falls State Park is a sanctuary of serenity amid urban hustle-bustle. The park’s combination of waterfalls, ancient rock shelters, and expansive greenery make it a perfect place to experience the fall colors without leaving the city.

  • Location: 5808 McKinney Falls Parkway, Austin, TX 78744
  • Perfect For: Here’s a haven for families, nature enthusiasts, and history buffs with scenic beauties and historical richness.
  • Don’t Miss: Walk through time by touring the ancient rock shelters, the historic McKinney Smith Homestead built in the mid-19th Century, and the ruins of the McKinney gristmill.

3. Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center

A passion project of former First Lady Lady Bird Johnson and Actress Helen Hayes, the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, is a testament to conservation. Bursting with indigenous trees and shrubs, the center doesn’t disappoint during the fall, with vivid hues that make it an autumn paradise.

  • Location: 4801 La Crosse Ave, Austin, TX 78739
  • Perfect For: Ideal for nature enthusiasts, bird watchers, and anyone with an ardent love for wildflowers and unique plant life.
  • Special Features: The red and golden hues of Elms, oaks, and sumacs are not just a sight; they are an experience. And you can’t miss their themed gardens representing diverse Texas ecosystems.

4. The Contemporary Austin – Betty and Edward Marcus Sculpture Park at Laguna Gloria

Where art meets nature, we find Laguna Gloria, the historic estate branch of The Contemporary Austin museum. Fall here doesn’t merely color landscapes but accentuates each outdoor sculpture and artwork, amplifying their visual appeal.

  • Location: 3809 W 35th St, Austin, TX 78703
  • Perfect For: For art lovers and families who can engage in a diverse range of activities on the grounds.
  • Highlights: Embrace the beauty of fall under the canopy of large oaks, sprinkled with sculptures from renowned artists, coupled with awe-inspiring views of Lake Austin.

Lauren Critzer

I was born in Charlottesville, Virginia and after college, I moved to San Francisco to explore new opportunities and broaden my horizons. I fell in love with the city's vibrant culture and unique atmosphere, but eventually, I moved again, this time to Austin, Texas.

As much as I loved living in different parts of the country, having a baby boy brought me back to my hometown in Charlottesville, where I now live with my husband, our little one, and two furry friends. I enjoy going to wineries, taking my pups everywhere, and spending quality time with my family.

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