Sep 14, 2022 - Things to Do

Three Utah drives to see colorful fall leaves

Foliage appears red and orange in foothills backed by snow-capped mountain peaks.

Fall foliage gleams in the foothills east of snowy peaks, seen from the Wasatch Back near Cascade Springs. Photo: Erin Alberty/Axios

So you want to see the mountains adorned in autumn foliage, but you're worried about the traffic jams up Big Cottonwood Canyon.

Good news: Trees grow on pretty much all of our mountains.

Here are three of our favorite fall color drives:

The Wasatch Back
Red and orange trees cover a mountain valley.
Autumn forests carpet the mountains northeast of the Alpine Loop.

Details: Start in Midway and take Cascade Springs Drive to the springs. Then take Forest Road 114 east to State Road 92 (the Alpine Loop) south and take Provo Canyon to the Utah Valley.

  • The range of habitats and colors on this route is extraordinary.
Emigration Canyon
Fall leaves glow in the evening sun on a mountain.
Salt Lake City's Emigration Canyon glows in the late afternoon sun. Photo: Erin Alberty/Axios

Details: Take I-80 up to Mountain Dell and head north on State Road 65 up to Big Mountain Pass. Take Emigration Canyon Road back into town.

  • The maples and oaks near the top of Emigration Canyon play beautifully with the early evening light.
  • And it's so close to the city you can do this after work and still make it home for supper.
Fishlake National Forest
Aspen leaves turn gold against a bright blue sky.
The leaves of the Pando aspen grove in Fishlake National Forest turn gold in October 2017. Photo: Erin Alberty/Axios

Details: The Pando aspen grove is the world's largest living thing — and it's right here in Utah. At its fall best, it's like traveling through gold confetti.

Loa is the nearest town, so take S.R. 24 west about 13 miles to S.R. 25 and head north to the lake. Turn back there or take the North Fremont River Road around to S.R. 72, which heads south to Fremont and Loa.


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