15 Of The Best Places To See The Fall Colors in Utah (Including The Best Fall Drives In Utah)
Utah in the fall is AMAZING! The weather is nice and the scenery is unbelievable. There are so many beautiful places to see all of the fall colors in Utah.
From the northern part of the state to the southern part, the fall leaves in Utah put on quite a show!
In this post, I am excited to share with you the best fall drives in Utah to see the Utah fall colors. I will also include fun hikes to do in each area and other fun activities you can do as you embrace the wonderful month of October in Utah.
I can’t wait to see all of the amazing fall colors in Utah! Let’s explore the best fall scenic drives in Utah.
Best Time To See Fall Colors in Utah
Checking out the Utah foliage is a MUST! But when is the best time to see fall colors in Utah?
It really depends on the year. Typically, a few days before the third week of September through the beginning of October are the best times to see fall colors in Utah. The image above was taken on September 26th.
I always like to check out a fall foliage map of the US to time it just right!
These times are the best times to see all the Utah fall foliage, but be prepared you are not going to be the only one taking a peak. All of the fall scenic drives in Utah are crowded! You may even be bumper-to-bumper on the weekends!
Native Trees of Utah
The fall colors in Utah are primarily provided by three different types of trees. These trees are most common in Northern Utah.
Most Common Trees
- Big Tooth Maple
- Quaking Aspen
- Scrub Oak
Best Places to See Fall Colors in Utah
One wonderful thing about Salt Lake Valley is that it is surrounded by mountains and canyons. Most of the canyons have beautiful trees.
As the leaves start to turn color the Utah fall foliage paints a beautiful landscape of breathtaking views.
I am excited to share with you over 15 amazing fall scenic drives in Utah! Here we go!!!
1. Gaurdmans Pass
Guardsman pass is located at the top of Big Cottonwood Canyon and goes over into the Park City and Heber Valley area.
If you are looking for a Park City scenic drive, go on Guardsman Pass!!! You will find all the Park City fall colors you could have ever hoped for!
If you are coming from Park City, you can avoid the switchbacks. Once you reach the summit you can just go back the way you came.
If however you are coming from Salt Lake City and heading up Big Cottonwood Canyon you will encounter steep switchbacks. It always makes me a little nervous driving up. When you reach the top of the summit it is so worth it. It is absolutely beautiful!
There are a few areas where you can pull off the side of the road once you reach the top. One is a parking lot that will give you access to the Bloods Trail. The other area is at Guardsman Pass Overlook. There are a few spots available.
During the peak season, it will be very difficult to find a parking spot.
Hiking Trails near Guardsman Pass
- Bloods Lake Trail – easy
Bloods Lake Trail is one of my favorite places to hike. We have seen moose hanging out by the lake. It is so cool. The trail has many trees to check out as you hike.
2. Big Cottonwood Canyon
Big Cottonwood Canyon is a great area to see all of the fall colors in Utah. Solitude and Brighton Ski Resorts are located at the top of Big Cottonwood Canyon.
Best Hiking Trails in Big Cottonwood Canyon
- Silver Lake
- Donut Falls
At the top of the canyon is Silver Lake Trail. This is a fantastic hike. Literally, anyone can do this hike! It is easy. There is a wooden boardwalk that surrounds the lake making it easy to walk around. You will have to go earlier in the season because it is located at the top of the mountain and the leaves will peak early.
Donut Falls is a little more intense but is another great area to see the fall leaves in Utah. At the end of this hike, there is a waterfall! It is so beautiful in the fall.
If you want to see Salt Lake City fall foliage Big Cottonwood Canyon is the place to go!
3. Little Cottonwood Canyon
Little Cottonwood Canyon is another area near Salt Lake City that offers a beautiful display of all the Utah fall colors. At the top of Little Cottonwood Canyon are Alta Ski Resort and Snowbird Ski Resort.
Best Hikes in Little Cottonwood Canyon
- Secret Lake
- Lisa Falls
Both Secret Lake and Lisa Falls are easy hikes. Secret Lake is at the top of the Canyon and has a great view of the Utah fall colors. Because it is so high you will want to do this one early in the season.
Lisa Falls is a really short hike that has parking and is a great stop along your Utah fall scenic drive.
If you want a unique way to view the Utah fall colors go to Snowbird and take a tram ride. You will get an ariel view of the beautiful landscape around you. You will want to do this earlier in the Utah fall foliage season.
4. Mill Creek Canyon
I love Mill Creek Canyon. It is a smaller canyon near Salt Lake City. This is a great area to check out the changing leaves. This drive will not take you too long.
Best Hikes in Mill Creek Canyon
- Salt Lake City Overlook (Desolation Trail)
- Rattlesnake Gulch
Most of the hikes in Mill Creek are longer. You will want to allow enough time to explore when you visit. The Utah fall foliage is unbelievable in this area!
Log Haven Restaurant
If you are not up for hiking and just want to enjoy the view Log Haven is for you. I have been to this restaurant several times and it is amazing! You can make a reservation with a view!
5. Bonneville Shoreline
If you are not up for a long drive from Salt Lake City the Bonneville Shore Line Trail is perfect. The Bonneville Shore Line Trail extends from North Salt Lake down into Draper.
Bonneville Shore Line Trail
The Bonneville Shore Line Trail is not continuous. It stops in one area and picks up in another. However, it does provide excellent close-to-home (Salt Lake City Valley) hiking and Utah fall foliage sightseeing opportunities.
We live near an area of the Bonneville Shore Line and watching the leaves change is pretty exciting. We love to go on trail runs. You can typically still get amazing views into October because of the location of the trail.
6. Emigration Canyon
Emigration Canyon is another great area for viewing the fall colors in Utah. This area is located near This is the Place Heritage Park and the Hogle Zoo. These activities are great ways to have fun and see the best fall colors in Utah.
Things to Do in Emigration Canyon
- This is the Place Heritage Park
- Hogle Zoo
This is the area where Brigham Young looked out over the Salt Lake Valley and told the pioneers who settled Utah that “this was the place ” (to settle). There are beautiful views of both the mountains and the Salt Lake Valley.
7. Ogden Canyon Scenic Byway
If you are looking to see the Utah Ogden valley fall colors head up to the Ogden Canyon Scenic Byway. There are lots of beautiful hikes if you wish to stop, or you can just enjoy this beautiful fall drive in Utah.
Best Hikes in Ogden Canyon
- Wheeler Canyon
- Ogden Canyon Waterfall
Ogden Canyon is beautiful if hiking isn’t your thing you can make a stop at the Pineview Reservoir or Causey Reservoir. You can also stop in Huntsville at the Shooting Star Saloon which is known to have the best hamburgers in town.
8. Logan Canyon
The Logan Canyon is gorgeous however unless you are the passenger it is tough to take it all in. The roads are very curvy! My suggestion is to pull over and enjoy one of the many hikes in the canyon.
Logan Canyon is not as crowded as some of the other beautiful canyons in Utah.
Best Hikes in Logan Canyon
- Riverside Nature Trail
- Wind Caves
The Riverside Nature Trail is a great option. It is located at the mouth of the canyon. It is an easy trail where you will be able to take in all the fall colors in Utah.
9. Alpine Loop (SR-92)
The Alpine Loop may be the very best place to see the Utah fall colors! It is a gorgeous 20-mile scenic drive.
It is so popular there is no way that you will be able to get out and hike during peak season. However, there are a few areas where you can pull over and take photos. You can also hire a tour guide who knows all the perfect photo opps. The cars will be going very slow almost bumper to bumper. It took over two hours to go the 20 miles.
Stay at Sundance
The Alpine Loop will take you by Sundance. I highly suggest spending an entire weekend enjoying the beautiful Utah fall foliage. The Sundance Cottages are wonderful. We have stayed there many times.
If you stay in the area, hiking is an option. Stewart Falls is a fun hike right near Sundance. There are also many parks as you head toward Orem and Provo.
We love it! It is a beautiful area.
10. American Fork Canyon - Timpanogos
Timpanogos is in the American Fork Canyon. The canyon is a gorgeous area full of Utah fall foliage. From Timpanogos, you can continue onto the Alpine Loop. However, if you want to just enjoy the first part of the American Fork Canyon there are some great hikes.
Best Hikes in American Fork Canyon
- Timpanogos Cave
- Hike Timpanogos
For a shorter hike, the Timpanogos Cave hike is great. If you want an experience that may change your life, hiking Timpanogos mountain is it!
Most people will start this 5-6 hour hike to the top at midnight and reach the summit at sunrise. You will be able to look out from the top and see all the fall leaves in Utah both in the valley and the ones surrounding you.
11. Provo Canyon
The Alpine Loop starts as you exit the Provo Canyon towards Sundance or you will be finishing the Alpine Loop and ending in the Provo Canyon. No matter which direction you are headed you will be able to view the beautiful fall foliage in the Provo Canyon.
Best Hikes in Provo Canyon
- Bridal Veils Falls
Provo Canyon has a nice paved trail you can walk along and view the fall leaves in Utah. You could also hike to Bridal Veils Falls. Provo Canyon is a really nice canyon to visit with lots of parks and areas to pull off and enjoy being in nature.
12. Mount Nebo Scenic Byway
The Mount Nebo Scenic Byway is a 38-mile brilliant fall drive in Utah. The Unita Mountain Range is full of beautiful Utah fall colors.
Best Hikes Along Nebo Scenic Byway
- Devils Kitchen
Devil’s Kitchen is a mini – Bryce Canyon. It is basically, a stop along the way. The hike is less than a 10th of a mile. It is a perfect stop to get out of the car and see the beautiful Utah fall foliage.
The entire loop will take about 1.5 hours to complete.
13. Hobble Creek Canyon
Hobble Creek Canyon is the best place to play golf in the fall. It is beautiful! Hobble Creek has a beautiful golf course surrounded by all the fall colors in Utah you could hope for.
Best Hikes in Hobble Creek Canyon
- Wardsworth Trail
- Hobble Creek Parkway
If you live in Utah County making a quick trip to Hobble Creek is a great idea. It is not as long as the Alpine Loop and will still provide some awesome views.
14. Spanish Fork Canyon
I always think of Spanish Fork Canyon as an exit from Utah valley and an entrance to the start of a long road trip. HWY 6 will get you on your way if you are headed on a trip to the southern part of the US.
You do not have to drive too far however to enjoy all the beautiful fall colors in this area.
Best Hikes Along the Spanish Fork Canyon
- Fifth Water Springs from Rays Valley Trailhead
- Second Water from Fifth Loop Trail
Okay, Second Water is not for the faint of heart. It is 18.8 miles so I suggest a backpacking trip to this area otherwise you will be hiking for over 12 hours! It is worth the view once you arrive. It is absolutely gorgeous!
15. Utah National Parks
If you are looking for Southern Utah fall colors, head to the Utah National Parks. There are 5 National Parks in Utah. The best National Park to see fall colors would be Zion.
Mighty 5 National Parks
Arches National Park, Canyonlands National Park, and Bryce National Park will not have as much fall foliage because the majority of the scenery is rock. Capitol Reef will have some fall color.
Zion is your place for great hikes and beautiful fall leaves in Utah. You can hike and enjoy the changing of the season.
Are you Ready to See the Utah Fall Colors?
Utah is one of the best fall vacations in the USA. Hopefully, you have plenty of ideas of where to see all the Utah fall colors. I know we have enjoyed many Utah scenic fall drives. We also love to hike and explore all of the amazing areas where we know the Utah fall foliage will be breathtaking!
There are so many things to do in Utah in the Fall! (including hiking and pumpkin patches) I hope you get a chance to visit during this time of year and enjoy everything Utah has to offer!
I love Fall in Utah! The weather usually is nice and there is just so much to do! If you do not get a chance to visit Utah in Fall, Spring in Utah is wonderful. Winter in Utah is also an option if you love to ski or snowboard!
If you have any questions about Fall in Utah or other upcoming trips, come join me in my private Facebook Group. This group is a place where you can ask any question about your upcoming trip and help others plan their trips. It is also a place where I put travel deals.
I love the vibrant reds of Mt Nebo. But I’d really love to hike little Cottonwood and get some great waterfalls, too! Sounds like there are so many great places to see fall colors in Utah!
The mountains are so beautiful in Utah!
We are pretty spoiled here in NE for fall colors, but Utah offers some great choices to enjoy them as well! The waterfalls along with the fall colors of the Cottonwood seem especially beautiful.
I hadn’t considered Utah on my travel list, but the fall colors there look beautiful! You have listed so many places to visit, too!
Utah is a pretty cool place for outdoor recreation. The mountains are amazing!
I love to see the colors of the fall, I see that in Utah nature is spectacular and there are great drives and photo opportunities!
Loved the waterfalls as well, thanks for sharing this!
It is a beautiful area to hike and enjoy fall!
What a wonderful list! I’d love to visit Utah during Fall, especially Big Cottonwood Canyon and Mill Creek Canyon!
That is the area I live in! It is so beautiful!
Utah looks beautiful in the fall! I was surprised to hear their season of fall foliage is in early October though. I expected it to be later. Thanks for the info!
Typically it is over by the first week of October but maybe not this year….Summer is sticking around a lot longer than usual!
I love autumn. I would love to visit and discover Utah, and why not during my favourite season? The colours are magical, and the scenery is beautiful all around. Thanks for sharing.
It is so beautiful!
I love the fall and changing of the leaves, it’s one of my favorite times! Utah has some beautiful landscapes, scenery, and hiking trails. If you had to guess, how long would you say it would take someone to drive through these? A couple of days?
Yes, the top three places take longer to go through because of traffic. At least 2-3 hours for each of those. On weekdays it will be faster. I would say at least a week basically because some of the locations are spread out from northern Utah to Southern.
Utah is a beautiful place in the fall! Hopefully, I can get there someday during this season. Mill Creek’s picture is especially stunning!
We love driving in all the canyon.
Great article! Utah is such a beautiful state to explore during the fall. Thanks for sharing all these places to see fall colors.
It is so wonderful to visit during fall!
I love hiking and admiring the leaves changing color in fall! Utah has some awesome views!!!
It really does!
These places in Utah wear their fall colors well! I love this time of year.
It is a great time of year!