12 Best Spots to See the Fall Colors in Utah

by Holly Riddle
Updated April 14, 2023

fall colors in utah
Zion National Park. Photo: Shutterstock

Utah’s dramatic mountain vistas and abundant fall foliage make for a beautiful display of autumn scenery — luckily, there are plenty of ways see the fall colors.

From driving routes to scenic hikes, parklands to ski areas, here’s where to go to get the most from your Utah leaf-peeping experience.

Related Read: The 14 Best Hikes in Zion National Park, Utah

1. The Alpine Scenic Loop Drive

utah fall colors - alpine scenic loop
Photo: Abbie Warnock-Matthews

Why you should go: Lots to do along a short scenic drive

  • Nearest Town: Wildwood
  • Peak Foliage: Mid-October

The Alpine Scenic Loop Drive may be short, but you could easily spend an entire day exploring all the sites along this route. The 20-mile drive — which is 100% paved and open until mid-October, right through peak fall foliage season — offers views of Mount Timpanogos, American Fork Canyon, Uinta National Forest, Timpanogos Cave National Monument and Sundance. If you want to extend your explorations, detour to Cascade Springs, for a quick, quarter-mile boardwalk hike.

Do note that this scenic route does come with a fee; recreation passes are required and cost a mere $6 for three days of access.

Related Read: 12 Spectacular Day Trips from Salt Lake City, Utah

2. Pando

utah fall colors - pando clone
Photo: J. Zapell

Why you should go: One of the world’s most unique natural wonders

  • Nearest Town: Fish Lake
  • Peak Foliage: Early October

Pando is an amazing sight, no matter what time of year you visit, but it’s especially gorgeous during the fall.

So what exactly is Pando? According to the U.S. Forest Service, Pando is the largest, most dense organism on Earth. It’s an aspen clone that originated from just one tiny seed, and which now stretches more than a hundred acres, encompassing more than 40,000 trees and weighing more than 13 million pounds — and, yes, all of that can be traced back to that one singular seed, making this one singular organism that’s branched out to cover all that land, with all those trees.

The famous stand of trees truly comes alive in the fall, with its vibrant yellow and orange hues.

Related Read: 6 Spookiest Ghost Towns in Utah for Exploring the Old West

3. Mount Nebo Scenic Byway

utah fall colors - Mount Nebo Scenic Byway
Photo: Ken Lund

Why you should go: A scenic route with recreation along the way

  • Nearest Town: Nephi
  • Peak Foliage: October

The Mount Nebo Scenic Byway takes you through the Uinta National Forest and up 9,000 feet in elevation. You’ll see beautiful mountain ranges, Mount Nebo (of course) and lots of fall foliage. The route features lots of overlooks and areas to stop, get out and snap some photos and, if you’re lucky, you might even spot some of the resident wildlife.

If you want to extend your explorations, check out the hiking and horseback riding trails that intersect with the route, which is nearly 40 miles long and takes a little over an hour to finish.

Related Read: 8 Unforgettable Romantic Getaways in Utah

4. Park City Mountain Resort

utah fall colors - park city
Photo: Sean Pavone

Why you should go: A glimpse of the slopes before ski season starts

  • Nearest Town: Park City
  • Peak Foliage: Mid-September to Early October

Yes, Park City may be more well known for its status as a top spot to ski in the United States, but don’t sleep on this destination when you’re visiting Utah during the fall months.

Head to Park City Mountain Resort for its all-seasons fun, including mountain biking excursions, which allow you to take in all of the beautiful fall foliage along the slopes, as you take in broader views of the rest of the region.

Related Read: 9 Best Cabin Rentals in Park City, Utah

5. The Utah State Capitol

utah fall colors - utah state capitol
Photo: Shutterstock

Why you should go: Easily accessible, urban fall foliage

  • Nearest Town: Salt Lake City
  • Peak Foliage: Late September to Early October

The Utah State Capitol is easily accessible if you’re visiting Salt Lake City and, combined with the nearby Memory Grove Park, provides plenty of leaf peeping opportunities without ever even sliding on your hiking boots.

You’ll see an array of fall favorite hues, and also get a chance to check out the historic architecture at the Capitol (which is open for free tours throughout the week, every hour, on the hour).

6. Zion National Park

utah fall colors - zion national park
Photo: Steven Castro

Why you should go: See Utah’s first national park for an extended fall season

  • Nearest Town: La Verkin
  • Peak Foliage: Late September to Early October

In southern Utah, Zion National Park offers lots to do and gorgeous scenery throughout most of the fall months. You can expect to see colors at higher elevations in mid-September, but then things really start to heat up in late September and into early October. If you can’t make it to the park by then, you can still see fall colors at lower elevations as late as the last two weeks of October.

Whether you take a scenic drive, or go on a hike, you’ll get your fill of fall foliage here, for sure. Just be prepared to pay your national park entrance fee before you arrive, which is $30 per vehicle or $79 for an America the Beautiful Pass, which will get you into more than 2,000 national sites all year long — which is a great deal!

Related Read: When is the Best Time to Visit Zion National Park?

7. The Mirror Lake Scenic Byway

utah fall colors - Mirror Lake
Photo: Matthew Thomas Allen

Why you should go: A scenic route within an easy drive from the city

  • Nearest Town: Kamas
  • Peak Foliage: Mid-September to Early October

The Mirror Lake Scenic Byway sits just a short, two-hour drive from Salt Lake City, and then runs more than 40 miles through the Uinta Mountains, making it an excellent pick if you want to explore a scenic route but want to begin and end your day in Salt Lake.

There are lots of overlooks and spots to stop, as well as lakes and waterfalls, as the byway heads onward to meet the Wyoming border. Beyond checking out the byway’s namesake Mirror Lake, also be sure to stop into the historic Bear River ranger station and at Provo River Falls.

8. Antelope Island State Park

utah fall colors - antelope island
Photo: Tom Tietz

Why you should go: Fall colors with a heavy side of wildlife

  • Nearest Town: Davis County
  • Peak Foliage: October to early November

Antelope Island may not be filled with trees, but that doesn’t mean that it’s devoid of all fall-favorite views. The island’s shrubbery and other plant life make for some lovely fall colors, especially given the waterfront and mountain backdrops.

The real stars of the show here, though, are the animals. The island is home to free-ranging herds of bison, deer, bighorn sheep and, of course, antelope. It’s also a migratory stop for millions of birds.

Related Read: 10 Best Utah Lake Camping Destinations for a Weekend on the Water

9. Uinta-Wasatch-Cache National Forest

utah fall colors - wasatch-uinta-cache national forest
Photo: Shutterstock

Why you should go: Near-endless ways to hike

  • Nearest Town: Ogden
  • Peak Foliage: Late September and October

If it’s specifically fall hiking that you’re interested in, try a visit to Uinta-Wasatch-Cache National Forest, where you can find more than 600 trails for hiking and other recreational opportunities.

The 2.1 million-acre park features a range of hiking trails, including some easier and family-friendly options, as well as trails that blend your leaf peeping with water features, such as the dramatic Gloria Falls and Stewart Cascades.

10. Heber Valley Historic Railroad

utah fall colors - Heber Valley Historic Railroad 
Photo: Heber Valley Historic Railroad

Why you should go: A scenic journey, no driving required

  • Nearest town: Heber
  • Peak Foliage: Late September and October

Want to enjoy a historic and scenic journey, all while you kick back and relax? Let the pros do the driving as you take in the views, with a ride on the Heber Valley Historic Railroad. For a particularly scenic experience, book one of the Lakeside Limited or Provo River rides.

If you’re traveling with the family in tow, consider taking one of the themed train rides. Fall-specific offerings include the Pumpkin Train and Halloween Train, with pumpkin-themed eats, costumes and more fun.

Related Read: 13 Best Camping Spots Near Salt Lake City, Utah

11. Snowbird Ski & Summer Resort

utah fall colors - snowbird
Photo: Matthew Thomas Allen

Why you should go: Fall foliage plus Oktoberfest fun

  • Nearest Town: Snowbird
  • Peak Foliage: Late September to Mid-October

Another ski destination that offers something to do even when the snow’s not flying, Snowbird Ski & Summer Resort welcomes guests during the fall months to check out not just the fall foliage, but also all the Oktoberfest fun that’s to be had at the resort’s annual event.

This year is the resort’s 50th year hosting Oktoberfest, attracting thousands with its free entry, activities, food and lots and lots of brews. If you want to work off the pretzels and beer, you can book a mountain biking excursion or hiking tour on the mountain, too.

12. Sundance Resort

utah fall colors - sundance
Photo: Flickr

Why you should go: See the fall views from the ski lifts

  • Nearest Town: Sundance
  • Peak Foliage: Late September to Mid-October

Lastly, Sundance Resort likewise welcomes guests with its many ways to play that go beyond your favorite snow sports. During the fall, when the surrounding mountains are awash in colors, the resort offers themed ski lift rides, including full moon lift rides on particular nights of each month, as well as a Halloween ride with some unexpected spooks.

Plan a ride down the zip lines, too, as well as a mountain biking excursion, for the full fall experience at the resort, spectacular foliage included for no extra fee.

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