Float Among Golden Aspens on the Scenic Skyride
Flagstaff, AZ (September 23, 2011) – Gold seeking leaf peepers are likely to be richly rewarded as meteorologists are predicting a pleasant and colorful celebration of fall in northern Arizona. Forest rangers will be waiting at the top of Arizona Snowbowl’s Scenic Skyride to explain why shimmering quaking aspen groves brighten mountainsides in a vibrant splash of golds, oranges and reds against an evergreen backdrop.
Arizona Snowbowl’s Scenic Skyride, open 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays in September through late October, glides through the mixed conifer forest to rare Alpine tundra at 11,500 feet. The Peak Side Café at Agassiz Lodge is open throughout the day and the Ski Lift Lodge at the bottom of Snowbowl Road is a popular base camp for out-of-town visitors.
“Too much late summer/early fall precipitation can turn the leaves brown or black. And a summer that’s too dry may result in leaves that fall quickly and early,” says National Weather Service meteorologist Dr. Brian Klimowski. “But with the summer precipitation in our area being near normal, and a drying trend on the way, this could be a great year for viewing the aspens of northern Arizona.”
Coconino National Forest Public Information Specialist Karen Malis-Clark says the leaves of these deciduous trees do not really “turn” colors; they just lose their green as they stop producing chlorophyll in the shorter days and prepare for their winter rest.
“Good reds are produced when the days are warm and sunny and the nights are cool – 45 degrees or less, but not a frost – coming one after another,” she says. “Typically, trees in the highest elevations begin to change mid-September. Then, like a slow-moving wave, the color descends into town. The show usually ends in late October.”
At the top of the 25-minute Scenic Skyride, visitors will be greeted by rangers John Westerlund and Chelsea Schroeder, who represent the US Forest Service/National Park Service Interpretive Partnership.
“The mission of the Interpretive Partnership is to help forest visitors understand, cherish and preserve our local natural and cultural resources,” says Malis-Clark.
Arizona Snowbowl’s Scenic Skyride offers spectacular 70-mile views on a crisp autumn day. Tickets are $12 for adults, $8 for children ages 8 to 12. Snowbowl season passholders ride for free, as do those under 7 and over 70. Discounted season passes are available now through Oct. 19.
For more information about the Arizona Snowbowl, call (928) 779-1951 or visit our Web site at www.arizonasnowbowl.com.