Fall colors will soon be in full blast in Utah Valley, and the mountains will become covered with orange and yellow patches. A great way to enjoy the upcoming fall foliage is to take a drive through the mountains and canyons of Utah Valley, which provides some of the best places in Utah to see fall colors. The peak season for fall colors runs from late September until around the end of October, with the best colors expected in early October. Here are six of the best scenic drives in Utah County that will knock your socks off with all the autumn beauty!
The Eastern United States has Blue Ridge Parkway in the Appalachians, but the West has the Rocky Mountains! Take Highway 92 on a 20 mile drive through winding canyons and mountains for one of the best scenic drives in Utah County. The fall colors are absolutely breathtaking. Along the alpine scenic backway, visit Cascade Springs, take a stroll around Robert Redford's Sundance Mountain Resort, or go hiking! We suggest hiking to the Timpanogos Cave National Monument before it closes for the season in October. The Alpine Loop generally closes mid-October so be sure to get there before then, during peak color time.
The lesser known--but equally beautiful--Nebo Loop is designated a "National Scenic Byway" by the Federal Highway Administration, recognizing it as one of the premiere driving roads in America. Situated in the Uinta National Forest, Nebo Loop has many photo opportunities with beautiful mountain vegetation and wildlife. Along the way, stop at Payson Lakes and be awed by the fall colors reflected in the lakes. Keep driving south for gorgeous red rock that will complement your fall drive nicely. Visit this scenic byway around mid-October (which is what the peak season will be for fall colors this year) and if you are traveling from Northern to Southern Utah, this route is a great break from Interstate 15. Keep in mind that the forest fires from 2018 will affect fall colors, as there will be burned patches throughout, but that can also just add to the fall ambiance!
Hobble Creek Canyon
Hobble Creek Canyon, near Springville, is a great way to see the colorful Wasatch Mountains. The road has branches through the west fork of Hobble Creek Canyon and connects back with Highway 89. Along the way, find places for camping and picnicking, such as Jolley's Ranch or go hiking on Wardsworth Creek Trail. Hobble Creek is also a less crowded canyon scenic byway, which makes it a peaceful place to see the fall colors in full force!
Gaze in awe at the tall mountains flanking both sides of your drive down Provo Canyon. Take a stop at Bridal Veil Falls and enjoy the waterfall surrounded by yellow and orange trees. If you drive all the way to Heber, you can hop on the Heber Valley Historic Railroad and take a ride on their Pumpkin Train to see even more beauty along the canyon, including Provo River. If you want to make a day out of your drive, follow Provo Canyon to Heber, and then go through the city either up to Park City or around to Guardsman Pass, which turns into Big Cottonwood Canyon.
Spanish Fork Canyon
Access Spanish Fork Canyon by going southeast on US-6, towards Price. There are many stops to take along the way including Fifth Water Hot Springs, a natural hot spring off of Diamond Fork Road. If you plan to drive all the way to Price or beyond, take a rest at Tie Fork Rest Area and enjoy the fall foliage with a picnic. If you're a true adventurer, stop along Highway 89 to check out the flooded ghost town, Thistle!
Highway 68, West of Utah Lake
Highway 68 may not have what everyone thinks about in a fall scenic drive, but it's unique beauty is what makes it stand out. There aren't many trees along the way with leaves changing colors, but the views it offers make up for that. From the west side of Utah Lake, drive along the shoreline for miles and admire the views of the lake with the enormous Wasatch Mountains in the background. In the fall, the mountains become snow-capped, making them even more striking from a distance. For an extra special view, go in the early morning to watch the sun rise over the mountains!
Where are your best places in Utah to see fall colors? Post your fall nature pics on Instagram using the hashtag #ExploreUtahValley to get featured on our Instagram account and share with us how you've enjoyed the outdoors this season!