10. Take a fall hayride at Pumpkin in the Pines

A leisurely hayride through pretty ponderosa pine forests is a great fall activity. Hitchin' Post Stables offers 45 minute rides throughout the month of October.
A leisurely hayride through pretty ponderosa pine forests is a great fall activity. Hitchin’ Post Stables offers 45 minute rides throughout the month of October.

Each October, Hitchin’ Post Stables offers a festive fall event called Pumpkin in the Pines. At this event, you will be able to take a 45 minute ride through the beautiful ponderosa pine forest. A mini corn maze, a petting zoo, pony rides, and a pumpkin patch are also offered during the event. As it’s one of the few true Halloween/fall events in the area, I would definitely recommend a visit for anyone who is seeking a traditional fall event.

The relaxing hayride through the forest, although overpriced, is a fun and relaxing way to enjoy the pleasant fall temperatures. Although there are no fall colors out this way, the beautiful ponderosa trees are scenic as well. The traditional pumpkin patch, seasonal activities, and nice fall decor make this one of the more memorable fall events to attend in the area.

11. Enjoy a fall lunch or dinner dish

Autumn pumpkin soup at Wildflower Bread in Flagstaff, Arizona

A handful of restaurants around town offer seasonal dishes, complimented by the fantastic traditional fall flavors of butternut squash and/or pumpkin. Wildflower Bread Company offers a delicious Butternut Squash Ravioli and autumn pumpkin soup (pictured above). Brix, located downtown, also offers a Butternut Squash Ravioli. If you need a gluten-free dish, check out the wonderful Butternut Squash Ravioli offered year-round at Picazzo’s, a 100% gluten-free, organic Italian eatery.

Another option is to take a nice colorful drive down Oak Creek Canyon (one of the best leaf peeping drives in the area) and stop for lunch at Indian Gardens. During the fall season, you can enjoy a delicious sandwich accompanied by a Butternut Squash/Apple soup and a Pumpkin Spice Latte. All of these restaurants offer outdoor seating, so take a seat outside and enjoy the last month or so of wonderful fall weather, all while surrounded by pretty colors.

Pumpkin muffin and mocha at Indian Gardens in Sedona, Arizona
Delicious pumpkin muffin at Indian Gardens

12. Attend the annual Halloween Harvest Festival

The Halloween Harvest festival, held annually downtown, offers numerous seasonal activities including pumpkin painting, spooky carnival games, spooky music, and a trick or treating trail.
The Halloween Harvest festival, held annually downtown, offers numerous seasonal activities including pumpkin painting, spooky carnival games, spooky music, and a trick or treating trail.

Each year downtown Flagstaff offers a Halloween Harvest festival in Heritage Square. This fun, free event includes a downtown Trick or Treating trail for the kids, a pumpkin patch, carnival games, and spooky music. It was rated one of the best Halloween events in the state by the Arizona Parks and Recreation Association. As it’s a free event and one of the few Halloween activities offered this time of year, you might as well check it out if you find yourself traveling through this part of the country. Nothing too spectacular in my opinion, but worth a look if you have kids and are looking for budget friendly seasonal fun.

As an added bonus, before or after the event, you can stroll around downtown checking out the shops, restaurants, and galleries. Be sure to stop by one of the great coffee shops for a hot cup of coffee or a Pumpkin Spice Latte (Skip the overrated Macy’s and head over to Late for the Train for tastier espresso drinks, friendlier service, more affordable prices, and a cozier atmosphere). There are many fall treats to enjoy such as a candy apple from the Flagstaff Coffee Company, Butternut Squash Ravioli at Brix, and much more!

More fall/Halloween fun just a short drive away!

Hike the spectacular West Fork trail

A great medley of fall foliage along the West Fork hiking trail in Oak Creek Canyon

The West Fork trail is a gorgeous trail in Oak Creek Canyon, a magnificent area located in between Flagstaff and Sedona. This 7 mile trail features 13 fun creek crossings and a diverse mix of deciduous trees that you will not find elsewhere in Arizona. Not surprisingly, it’s a beautiful place for a fall hike, especially if you are missing the traditional oak and maple fall colors. It’s a beautiful fall option with scattered leaves covering the trail, little sunlight due to the canyon’s towering walls, and the most diverse foliage in the state. Be prepared for a wait – this is one popular hike during the fall season. I recommend a weekday or very early weekend morning hike to avoid the lengthy wait to get into the parking lot!

More pics from the West Fork trail

Dinner at The Asylum Restaurant in Jerome

Halloween decor at The Asylum Restaurant in Jerome, Arizona

Jerome is a great Halloween day trip, located just an hour or so from Flagstaff. This former mining town went from a population of 15,000 in the late 1920’s to just 50 residents! At the time, it was declared “the largest ghost town in America.” After becoming a National Historic District in the 50’s, the old buildings downtown were transformed into art galleries, wine bars, restaurants and shops. The downtown still has a great historical look with nice old buildings lining all the streets.

The town has a long history of paranormal sightings and is known to be one of the most haunted towns in America. With the creepy old architecture and numerous ghost stories from various hotels and businesses throughout town, it’s not at all surprising. The creepy Jerome Grand Hotel, which once was home to a hospital, is one of the most haunted buildings in town. You can spend the night here and even take a ghost tour where you will get to explore normally off limit locations with your own EMF meter. Or just drive for the day and eat dinner at the fabulous Asylum Restaurant, which goes all out with amazing Halloween decor, both inside and out! And you can’t top the views of the Verde Valley!

A more detailed history of Jerome

Visit a real life ghost town

2 Guns Arizona ghost town old zoo sign

Arizona has no shortage of ghost towns. One of the most interesting is located just 30 miles outside of Flagstaff on I-40 (exit 230 just a bit after the Twin Arrows casino exit). Although not much remains, you will get the unique opportunity to explore the ruins of an old zoo, which used to be a popular Route 66 stop in the early 1900’s. It’s a pretty cool place to stop for a few quick photos, especially if you are already driving out this way. And since you are just 20 minutes or so away from Winslow, I recommend continuing on to Winslow for lunch/dinner at The Turquoise Room inside the historic La Posada Hotel.

Other Halloween events in the area include: The Pumpkin Patch Train by the Grand Canyon Railway, Viola’s Haunted Garden, the Pumpkin Walk at the Arboretum, and the Run for Your Life Haunted Trail at Fort Tuthill.

What are some of your favorite things to do during the fall and Halloween season in Northern Arizona?