Lost Maples State Natural Area Foliage Color Change Report
This report will be updated weekly in October and November. For more fall foliage photos, check out Lost Maples SNA on Facebook.
When parking lots are full, we close for up to three hours. This can happen in November on weekends and holidays, as early as 11 a.m. Consider visiting on weekdays in these busy months.
Nov. 30, 2016
This is the final foliage report of the year. The windstorms of the past several days have blown off most of the remaining maples leaves from the Maple Trail, and left a carpet that will become next year's soil. The maples in the campground have had their day; many seemed to go gold and copper overnight, and then the wind whisked away their leaves.
Old Faithful by overflow parking has completed its transformation, and is beginning to shed its leaves, as have the iconic maples at the entrance.
Mother Nature has given us quite an interesting ride this year, keeping us guessing on whether we'd have a show, and then surprising us at the last minute. The campground gave us the best color of the season; we will see what the Day Use area gives us this week. The maples here are still in the process of turning from green to gold and red. This will probably be their peak week.
Hill Country roads are breathtaking this time of year. Get out and enjoy a drive, breathe the crisp fall air, and partake of some Texas Hill Country beauty.
TPWD photos taken Nov. 28, 2016 by Colette Nicholl and Thomas Redwine.
Nov. 23, 2016
We may be nearing the peak color of the fall season for this year. The recent cold front seemed to spur the remaining Maples to start turning colors, mostly gold, with a few going red. This is most obvious in the campground where most of the maples have turned. The Day Use Area is turning a bit slower, and are edging toward mostly gold. Old Faithful by the overflow parking area seems to have turned red overnight. The Maples at the entrance are quickly changing to gold.
Along the Maple Trail and the trail to the pond, almost all of the remaining maple leaves have turned yellow-gold, with just a few stubborn ones still green. Many of the other species are quickly changing now, too.
We had some pretty strong winds come through in the last several days and nights, many leaves are quickly becoming ground cover, good habitat for a lot of small critters. The next week or two should see the last bit of green disappear for the year, leaving behind bare trees and rustling leaves.
The park will soon enter it's winter beauty phase, with a more muted palette, less birdsong, and a deeper sense of nature. As we near the final weeks of color, we expect to be very busy, so as always, if you can come during the week, we are generally less crowded, and come early. The canyons lose sunlight quickly in the afternoons.
Nov. 16, 2016
It seems we may not have an overwhelmingly vibrant show of leaves this year. The majority of the older maples along the Maple and East Trails have decided to stick with yellows and browns, while the younger ones in the Day Use Area and the campground, have a split decision between a smattering of reds and light oranges; a small minority are still green. Many of the Sycamores have lost there leaves already, while the majority of Red Oaks are still making up their minds.
This weekend we are expecting our coldest temperatures of the season, so we may sill get more color spreading on the remaining leaves.
Please come visit our hill country jewel of a park; it's always beautiful and always a perfect place to unwind and unplug.
Weekends in November are usually very busy, try to visit during the week to avoid the crowds.
Nov. 10, 2016
There has not been a significant advance of color since last week, because it has just been too warm and too wet. But the moisture in the air has given the existing hues an extra depth. Many of the leaves that had already started changing color have dropped because of the strong winds that came through in the last couple of days. The older stands of maples along the Maple Trail, and the East Trail near the pond, have laid a beautiful carpet of leaves to swirl around your feet as you walk.
The park is still amazingly green for this time of year, with prairie coneflowers still blooming in some areas. I'm never surprised by how often the canyon's natural beauty takes my breath away.
The weather forecast for this upcoming weekend is for nice cool temperatures, and we'll have free entrance for Veteran's Day. If you are planning a visit, please come early as we expect to be busy!
Nov. 3, 2016
Fall is definitely moving into the canyon. Several maples in the Day Use area are showing some orange along the tips. The Texas red oaks and Texas walnuts along the canyon walls and along the trails are turning a deep orange. The maples at the entrance are also showing some color, but just a smattering. Several of the maples in the campground are showing a marked change since last week's cold front. Along the trail to the pond, on the East Trail, and the Maple Trail, many of the old parent maples have started turning brown and dropping their leaves, but many still have a canopy of yellow, orange, and gold to delight the eye.
It is a beautiful time in the park. Everywhere you look, nature is busy painting a canvas that changes daily. Enjoy the bright blue skies and come listen to the autumn breezes rustling the leaves. Try to come during the week, as the weekends are busy. Parking is a at a premium, so if you plan on a weekend visit, come early!
Oct. 25, 2016
Although the park is still fairly green for this late in the year, the brief cold front we had last week has started a little bit of change on the outer reaches of the maples in the campground. Along the canyon walls, up along the Maple and East Trails, there is more color than last week, as the winds there can be colder. Some maples near the Grotto, on the East Trail, have some nice color. Monkey Rock is looking at some young maples with outer branches tinged with color.
We are just beginning to see fall colors creep into the park. The park is beautiful right now, even though we haven't seen the expected oranges and reds yet. The weather is great, with warm days for hiking and fishing, and cool nights for campfires and stargazing. All roads in the Hill Country are a delight to drive in the fall, but the ones leading you to Lost Maples are extraordinary.
Oct. 18, 2016
This week has not seen a whole lot of change in color in the trees since last week, although the sycamores are more advanced in their color change and shedding. Our icon maple tree at the entrance is still very green, but you can see a hint of color along the canyon wall by the first low water crossing. A couple of the larger healthy maples in the campground have just the barest hint of color change along some of the outer tips. Along the Maple Trail, the Maximilian sunflowers have mostly faded, and some of the older parent maple trees have begun to drop leaves before changing, most likely due to the wet late summer we had.
We are expecting a cold front later this week, with temperatures dipping into the mid-40s. We'll wait and see if this is cold enough to precipitate more color by next week. Please keep in mind that park doesn't experience much color until the first week of November.
Oct. 11, 2016
Fall has officially arrived, and so everyone is wondering "Have the leaves started changing at Lost Maples yet?" Fall may officially be here, but Mother Nature hasn't gotten the memo. We received a fair amount of rain in September, and the trees are still very green. Temperatures at night have not been cold enough, and the days are still pretty warm. Generally we start to see some color change begin around the end of October, with the peak hitting in November, but it's too soon to predict when we will see the reds and oranges we're all looking for.
The Maximilian sunflowers are in bloom at the reflective pond on the Maple Trail, as well as Lindheimer muhly and plains lovegrass along the trail to the ponds.
Come out to the park! The weather is perfect for hiking and camping, campfires and stargazing.
Special Note: The parking area accommodates only 250 vehicles, so if possible, plan to visit during the week.
Restrooms and picnic tables are wheelchair accessible. You can drive about one mile into the park to view foliage from your vehicle.
The park is located 86 miles northwest of San Antonio and five miles north of Vanderpool off Ranch Road 187. If you need further information, please call Lost Maples at (830) 966-3413.
Campsites fill up quickly for the weekends. To make reservations or to check on campsite availability, go to the reservations page or call the Customer Contact Center at (512) 389-8900, Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
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