Kershaw-Ryan State Park’s Fabulous Fall Color

Kershaw-Ryan State Park provides a kaleidoscope of color in the autumn. And it’s not your ordinary Nevada fall color. That’s why this fall foliage near Las Vegas (about 2 hours’ north) is well worth the drive whether you’re in Southern or Northern Nevada.

What makes Kershaw-Ryan State Park unique? There’s a lot of different types of foliage here. It’s really a feast for a foliator’s senses. 

I spoke with seasonal park aide Tyra Lytle a month or so ago over the phone to find out more about the type of plants in the park. More importantly, I wanted to know what colors they turn in the fall. 

London planetrees shimmer a golden-bronze color.  

Scarlet red Virginia creeper vines weave themselves up into the yellow trees, creating a spectacular sight. The red creepers also add a nice contrast to the gold leaves of the wild grapevines. 

Kershaw-Ryan State Park Fall Color
Vines in the park are starting to change, 10-12-21, Daniel Olson

Cottonwoods dress in their cheery yellow fall outfits. Fruit trees planted by settlers also turn yellow as do the locust trees. Some of the White oaks turn red in the fall while others take on a bronze-brown hue.   

Want to see how amazing the park can be when it’s at peak? I recommend you watch this video. It’s what convinced me to put this park on our bucket list.

What’s Happening With the Fall Color at Kershaw-Ryan?

As of October 12, park employee Daniel Olson reports that Kershaw-Ryan State Park is at the Getting Better stage. There’s red color showing up in the wash, he says. And there’s a column of red climbing up a tree. Big thanks to Daniel for sending the photos I used with this post. 

Unless there’s some sort of a big freeze, you’ll probably find good color here from now through at least October 27. 

Kershaw-Ryan State Park Fall Colors
Kershaw-Ryan State Park, 10-12-21, Daniel Olson
Kershaw-Ryan State Park Fall Colors
Kershaw-Ryan State Park, 10-12-21, Daniel Olson

Two Nevada Fall Color Shows in One: Kershaw-Ryan Plus Rainbow Canyon  

Kershaw-Ryan State Park is located near Rainbow Canyon, which also puts on quite the fall color show thanks to cottonwoods, elms, and wild grapevines. These are set against a spectacular backdrop of the colorful basalt canyon walls. 

And if you happen to miss the fall foliage show? Both parks are still worth a visit. Lytle says that even when the trees lose their leaves you can see places in the canyon you can’t see the rest of the year. And you can see the colorful rock formations much better.  

“There’s really not a season that’s not incredible,” Lytle says. “You can always see something different.”

Watch for an Interesting Phenomenon at Rainbow Canyon

From October into November from around 3:30 p.m. to 5 p.m. there’s a phenomenon created by shadows. You can see it in Rainbow Canyon coming up north from the bottom end. “The way the shadows fall you can see the perfect old fashioned keyhole,” Lytle describes. 

Just one of the many surprises  the park has in store for visitors.

Kershaw-Ryan State Park Fall Color Report

Overall: Getting Better (30%)

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