Discover the hidden and not-so-hidden destinations within Utah for viewing fall colors along scenic drives, or other destinations.
The state of Utah is renowned for its stunning fall foliage, with vibrant colors typically peaking in September and October. With elevations ranging between 2,000 and 13,500 feet, fall color changes to foliage can be viewed in three months of the fall season in Utah. The following is a list of our top 10 Utah locations where fall colors are most prominently viewed. These are alphabetically listed and not in order of preference.
Fall Colors Destinations
Alpine Loop Scenic Byway - Fall Colors
This half-loop route is found in the Uinta-Wasatch-Cache National Forest, between American Fork, and Provo Canyon in Utah. Every fall this scenic byway offers breathtaking views of aspen and maple trees with brilliant hues of orange, yellow, and red. The route is particularly popular for its changes in elevation, stunning vistas, and numerous pullouts for photography. This route traverses the back side of Mt. Timpanogos and Sundance Resort.
Bear Lake - Fall Colors
While primarily known for its turquoise waters, the mountains and hills surrounding Bear Lake offer stunning fall colors, with aspen and maple trees framing the lake. This area is great for ATV and UTV riding, hiking, mountain biking, and simply taking in the autumn scenery.
Beaver Canyon (Tushar Mountains)
The Tushar Mountains are the tallest range in southwestern Utah with elevations reaching over 12,000 feet. The canyon passageway from the town of Beaver, Utah at 6,000 feet, to Puffer Lake at 10,000 feet, offers an ever changing opportunity to view fall colors. Dirt roads break off this route on both sides of the paved canyon highway which provide opportunities for dramatic fall colors that surround numerous mountain lakes. The fall color reflections in these lakes offer quiet a spectacle.
Big Cottonwood Canyon & Little Cottonwood Canyons
These two parallel canyons are located on the edge of the Salt Lake valley in the Wasatch Mountains. Both canyon offers hiking trails and scenic drives that are surrounded by aspen and oak trees, creating a vibrant fall colors profusion. Both Little and Big Cottonwood canyons are popular hiking and rock climbing destinations, and the surrounding foliage just adds to the charm. In each of these canyons there are two ski resorts, and the tram at Snowbird Resort is one way to get high above all the color..
Guardsman Pass - Fall Colors
This mountain pass connects Big Cottonwood Canyon with Park City, Utah. During the fall, Guardsman Pass is covered with gold leaves from thousands of aspen trees, making it a popular spot for leaf peepers.
Part of Utah's Zion National Park, the Kolob Canyons see their changes in fall colors later than most other areas of the state. The Kolob Canyons feature towering red rock formations against a backdrop of deciduous trees (cottonwood, gamble oak, aspen) that combine to offer brilliant autumn foliage, and a unique blend of desert and forest landscapes. This area is ideal for hiking, and backpacking, and the views of fallen leaves floating along La Verkin Creek below the sandstone cliffs of Kolob, and deep blue skies overhead, is one view that should be experienced by everyone.
This canyon, which connects the city of Logan, Utah with Bear Lake, boasts a scenic drive along US-89. The canyon is lined with a mix of aspen and evergreen trees, creating a striking mix of fall colors, which will change are different times of the fall depending on the elevation.
Mirror Lake Highway
This highway runs through the Uinta Mountains and is famous for its picturesque lakes and forests. During the fall, the area is ablaze with the bright colors of aspen and the dark greens of coniferous trees. Changing fall colors that surround some of the roadside mountain lakes, in the Uintas, is a stunning experience that is easily viewed by automobile travelers.
This route that flows south from Payson, Utah around the back side of Mt. Nebo toward Nephi, Utah, is another particularly beautiful scenic road. Ranging in elevations between 4,000 and 9,000 feet the Nebo Loop follows a winding course as it ascends and then descends through various life zones. The colors near the Payson side of the route are particularly thick and brilliant, but the entire route is quite spectacular for fall colors viewing.
Along US-189, connecting the cities of Provo and Heber, Provo Canyon showcases the changing leaves of the Wasatch Mountains. Popular spots like Bridal Veil Falls and Sundance Resort offer incredible autumn experiences. The diverse foliage that lines the Provo River makes this fall colors viewing destination particularly breathtaking.
Snowbasin Resort: Located east of Ogden, Utah, this mountain resort area offers fall colors viewing with a backdrop of colorful maples, aspens, and evergreens. You might enjoy the scenic gondola ride for serene panoramic views of the vibrant foliage.
State Route 9
This road passing through the southern end of Zion National Park and flowing southwest toward Hurricane, Utah is one of the last areas in the state to show off fall colors. This corridor which parallels the Virgin River is lined with cottonwood trees and other foliage display brilliant shimmering yellow leaves. At 3,000 feet in elevation St. George, sometimes spelled Saint George, generally is the last area to experience fall color changes which occur in late October and well into the month of November. St. George sits in a pocket of red sanstone and black lava covered hills, and the thick city foliage turns golden against this backdrop, usually occurring in the month of November.
Note: The timing of peak fall colors can vary from year to year and depends on factors like weather conditions, latitude within the state of Utah, and elevation. It's a wise to check local reports and plan your visit accordingly to witness the most vibrant fall colors in Utah.
Nebo Loop - from Payson to Nephi.
Mirror Lake Highway - directions through the Uintas from Kamas to the Bear River Lodge.
Alpine Loop - directions from Timpanogos Cave to Sundance.