Autumn Colors of West Texas

Pine Springs Canyon
Autumn is my favorite season.  Cooler temps, fall color and shorter days mean I am wanting to travel- especially to see the autumn colors.

Last fall I returned to west Texas and went looking for autumn colors in the Guadalupe Mountains.  Out there hidden in desert canyons are maples, relics from the last ice age.  It is an area that I enjoy not only the color but also the scenic mountains, canyons, and deserts. 

Best fall color in the west
I planned my trip for what should be a good week for the colors.  I set up with the idea of going to the higher elevations of Dog Canyon for the first weekend followed by visits to the other side of the range and McKittrick Canyon later in the week.  I was hoping this could mean seeing what should be the more advanced colors of Dog Canyon and giving McKittrick an extra few days.

Fog in McKittrick
As always with fall just never know.  It is art, science and luck.  I had picked a traditionally good week.  I arrived in Dog Canyon to basically zero color change.  Everything was still green.

This is not looking good.  If Dog Canyon is not in color, the lower elevations across the mountain are probably also green.

I spend one night in Dog Canyon with only minimal images taken.  I get up the next day and move around the mountain and set up a new camp.  I head right into Pine Springs Canyon and find.....fall color!  It is an odd twist but the lower elevations have turned first.  I get a few images and know I am good for the week.

The weather is clear.   In fact it is clear most of the week with only minimal clouds.  I get up to clear sky the next morning and make my way to McKittrick Canyon.  I spend the day here and see some good color.  It is more mostly clear and I work with the conditions.  By being there when the gate opens I am able to get into the canyon before the sun crests the mountains.  Then I photograph some back lit scenes.

The following day I spend the day in Pine Springs Canyon where it is also clear.  I follow that up with another day in McKittrick.  This day starts as fog!  Fog and fall colors is something I like.  I make the most of the interesting weather and later actually catch a sunset.

I had 4 days where I was able to see and chase fall color.  I got a few interesting shots and even got some fog.  Turned out to be a good trip.  Better than I had feared on the first day when there was no fall color.  Just showing you have to have a bit of luck on finding the best of autumn.


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