Where Can You Still Find Fall Color in Nevada?

Never fear, fall foliator friends. There’s still plenty of leaf peeping left in Nevada.

Cottonwoods and ash trees are still looking glorious or getting ready to put on their colorful show. Here’s where you can still see fall color in both Northern Nevada near Reno and Southern Nevada near Las Vegas. 

Just be wary of the weather. Saturday, October 23 should be a good day to get out there in between some scattered showers.

But Sunday – Tuesday a large atmospheric river is expected to drop lots of rain in Northern Nevada and snow at the higher elevations. This system isn’t expected to produce quite as much rain in Southern Nevada.

For detailed directions on how to get to the places mentioned below, we recommend buying our Nevada Fall Color Map.

Northern Nevada Fall Color

Dayton State Park and the Town of Dayton 

Located just east of Carson City on Highway 50, Dayton is currently a mixture of At Peak, Near Peak, and still green. I was there on the evening of October 21, 2021 and the cottonwoods looked lovely. About 70% of them were At or Near Peak, while another 30% were still green. 

Dayton State Park is a good place to go to immerse yourself in golden fall colors thanks to a majestic forest of cottonwoods. The park has some tranquil trails that meander near or next to the Carson River, which is lined with willows that are in the Getting Better to Near Peak stage. 

Dayton State Park, 10-21-21, Kim Wilkes

Dayton Fall Color Report

Dayton State Park: Mixture of At Peak, Near Peak, and Still Green (0% to 90%)

Dayton State Park, 10-21-21, Kim Wilkes

Lahontan State Recreation Area

Lots of cottonwoods and willows turning gold line the 69-mile shoreline of Lahontan Reservoir. The water level can be low at this time of year. Even so, the fall foliage makes this a worthwhile visit. It’s located east of Dayton on Highway 50. 

Lahontan Fall Color Report

We haven’t received any specific reports but this area should be similar to what’s happening in Dayton. In other words, Near Peak to Peak (50% to 100%) with some still green possible. 

Carson Valley

Carson Valley Fall Color
Carson Valley Cottonwoods, 10-21-21, Kim Wilkes

A serene setting south of Carson City, Carson Valley has a lot of cottonwoods and willows growing along the banks of the Carson River and on sprawling ranchlands. Job’s Peak and Job’s Big Sister watch over you as you appreciate the fall foliage. 

A windstorm here earlier today may have blown off some of the leaves. But there’s enough trees turning to hopefully keep the color going for at least a little while longer.

Carson Valley Cottonwood Fall Color Report

Cradlebaugh Bridge: At Peak (90%)

Genoa: At Peak (90%)

Rest of Carson Valley: Mixture of Patchy to Near Peak to Peak (20% to 80%)

Wadsworth and Nixon

Wadsworth Fall Color, 10-16-21, Patrick Wilkes

These two tranquil towns are located on the Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe Reservation. The banks of the Truckee River are lined with cottonwoods and willows that look lovely in their fall colors.

While you’re here, be sure to drive over to Pyramid Lake, one of Nevada’s most spectacular sights. Please obey all tribal regulations while you’re in the area.

Wadsworth, 10-16-21, Patrick Wilkes

Wadsworth and Nixon Fall Color Report

Professional photographer Patrick Wilkes was there on Saturday, October 16, 2021. As you can see from his photos, the cottonwoods back then were at the Getting Better stage.

Based on how fast cottonwoods are turning in other areas, we’re estimating the trees at Wadsworth and Nixon are now in the Near Peak stage. 

Smith and Mason Valleys

These rural Northern Nevada areas are lovely spots to view cottonwoods dressing up in their golden hues. Take a country drive or hike in Wilson Canyon, which connects the two valleys.  Another option? Visit Renner Farm in Smith Valley to wander through the corn maze or find the perfect pumpkin. The town of Yerington in Mason Valley is a good place to grab a bite to eat.

Smith and Mason Valleys Fall Color Report

Smith Valley: As of a week ago, the fall color was just getting going but by now it should have progressed to the Near Peak to Peak stage. 

Mason Valley (Yerington): Ditto for Mason Valley. Patrick drove through here last week and another foliator noticed the same thing he did: cottonwoods here had barely started changing. However, it’s been a week, so we expect the trees to have reached Near Peak by now. 

Fall Color Near Las Vegas

Floyd Lamb Park at Tule Springs

This 680-acre park on the outskirts of Las Vegas is a wonderful oasis filled with cottonwoods and oaks growing on the shores of four lakes. The trees turn yellow and orange in the fall. 

Floyd Lamb Park Fall Color Report

I spoke with an employee there on October 20, 2021. He said that some of the trees are going from green to yellow, but many of them are still green. We’re rating it at the Getting Better stage. This will be a good place to see fall color from at least October 24 – 31. 

Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area

Tawny colored rock walls with stripes of red rise up over washes where ash trees and oaks turn gold or golden orange. Your best bet for seeing fall color is at Ash Springs in the Calico Basin, Red Spring, Pine Creek, and Oak Creek canyons. Even when the fall foliage goes away, there’s still plenty of color here thanks to the brilliant hues of the canyon walls.

Timed reservations are required to drive on the scenic loop from late September until May.

Red Rock Canyon Fall Color Report

I spoke on the phone with an employee on October 20, 2021. He said that he had been in the canyons about a week before. Nothing much was happening then. Based on his comments, we estimate that the last week in October, possibly into the first week in November, will be a good time to see fall color at Red Rock.

Kershaw-Ryan State Park

Located near Caliente, Nevada, this Nevada State Park is a glorious place to be when the foliage gets going. To discover more about this park and its unusual fall foliage, read our recent blog post.

Nevada fall color at Kershaw-Ryan State Park
Kershaw-Ryan State Park Fall Color, 10-12-21, Daniel Olson

Kershaw-Ryan State Park Fall Color Report

Things should have progressed from the Getting Better stage to the Near Peak stage. Our best estimate? The fall foliage will probably be At Peak from October 25 – October 31. 

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