Days are warm but nights are cool to cold. The first snow of the season may fall by month's end. This is usually an excellent time for hiking in the park's backcountry. Fall color starts in the high country and drops to the lower canyons by mid to late month. Although there is only a little red and no orange, gold is the color of the fall here and it is done very, very well. Tarantulas may be seen crossing roadways or trails. Be careful not to accidentally (or purposely) end their precarious search for a mate by running them over or stepping on them. Reptiles are also very active on these final warm days trying to fatten themselves up for the cold winter ahead. Visitation remains high during the first part of the month as many visitors and buses arrive from Balloon Fiesta in Albuquerque. After Balloon Fiesta visitation drops off sharply and remains slow but steady the rest of the month.
At mid month October has been unseasonably warm and sunny. That is supposed to change quickly with cooler wetter weather moving into the area. Fall color is almost done in the high country and is almost peak in the lower elevations like along the Main Loop Trail. Visitation has been busy but the parking lot is rarely filling. All trails remain open. There have been numerous tarantula sightings on the road and trails as the males search for mates. Watch for them. Abert's Squirrels and coyotes have also been quite active in the area. Sandhill cranes have been heard flying over as they head south for the winter.
Last updated: March 31, 2012