Fall in Utah is famed for its sweeping views of autumn foliage—deep shades of red, yellow, orange and purple color the surrounding mountains and line the winding roads, revealing grand sights that vary with elevation. Summit Creek residents find a spectacle of fall hues outside their doorsteps, and further explore the awe-inspiring landscape by taking one of their favorite, nearby scenic routes. For a front row seat to the best of fall’s vistas, these iconic autumn drives are a tradition worth making your own this season.
The Alpine Scenic Loop
Open from late May to late October, the Alpine Scenic Loop offers an idyllic drive with numerous, remarkable detours to admire the brilliant fall hues along the way. Following Utah Hwy. 92 up American Fork Canyon, the route continues through a part of Uinta-Wasatch-Cache National Forest into Provo Canyon, touring dramatic views throughout the 20-mile ride. Pull off to take in the sight of Timpanogos Mountain, explore Timpanogos Cave National Monument, visit Sundance Resort, or hike paths through the natural streams and waterfalls of Cascade Springs. Visitors to the Alpine Scenic Loop can purchase a 3-day pass for $6, a 7-day pass for $12 or an annual pass for $45.
Nebo Loop Scenic Byway
There’s nothing quite like when Nebo Loop Scenic Byway’s autumn foliage is aglow with afternoon light. Crossing the Uinta National Forest between the cities of Nephi and Payson, the approximate 37-mile drive climbs to 9,345 feet and offers incredible views of the Wasatch Mountains—including the tallest mountain in this range, 11,928-foot Mount Nebo. Find numerous opportunities to explore, including a stop at the Devil’s Kitchen Geologic Interest Site to hike the overlook of red rock amid the mountain forests. Or, take a detour to Payson Lakes Recreation Area, which is popular for fishing and camping.
Big Cottonwood Canyon
Carved by glacier and steam erosion, Big Cottonwood Canyon offers a scenic tour through ancient, natural splendor. Twenty-five minutes from Salt Lake City International Airport and home to Brighton and Solitude ski resorts, this route is brimming with opportunities for hiking, biking and climbing. Hike Stairs Gulch for closer look at the varying autumn leaves, or take a step back at a picnic area to enjoy a bite backdropped with vast views of unparalleled scenery.
Provo Canyon Scenic Byway
Take the Provo Canyon Scenic Byway to see the tremendous Mount Timpanogos located in the Wasatch Range, and to enjoy various treasures along the route such as Bridal Veil Falls, Sundance Mountain Resort, Squaw Peak, and Provo River—a Blue Ribbon stream known for its incredible fishing opportunities. Continue on to explore Heber Valley, where you will find the historic Heber Valley Railroad, incredible hikes and state parks to sightsee—all the while taking in the immense beauty of Utah’s fall season.