Top six "scenic drives" for Fall foliage, and hikes to accompany them!

UTAH'S BEST LOCATIONS FOR FALL FOILAGE: THE TRAIL TRUFFLES WAY

If you are one of those people who deem Autumn as your favorite season, chances are it is the leaves that make it so. The magic of the trees in a bold new attire as the temperatures start to cool and days get shorter. The glimmer of a sunset, peeking thru the leaves ever so slightly as you make your way down the trail. If you aren't one of those people who lists fall as your favorite season, it's probably because you haven't been to any of these locations.

Now, I'm no Botanist, but if there is one thing tree related that I know for certain- it's that they look stunning when draped in crimson and yellow.

While scanning through-out the limitless recommendations for fall foliage observation; I noticed that most of them involved driving. Now, driving through endless Red Maples, Apple Service Berries, and Quaking Aspens glowing gold is wonderful, but I prefer to get out and smell the autumn leaves. Feel the cool refreshing air after a hot summer, and most importantly, get my feet dirty while looking at some pretty trees in the process.

  -Which is why we've put together a list of our favorite trails to hit during this time of year rather than the typical list of roads to drive on. That of course does not mean you cant enjoy the canyon drive to your trail destination (and we just might have made sure these trails are cohesive with some of the most prominent scenic fall drives for you anyway)..


BIG COTTONWOOD CANYON

BIG COTTONWOOD CANYON

Big cottonwood canyon and Guardsman's pass are veterans on the Utah fall bucket list of "must see's". The canyon drive up Big cottonwood is always a pleasant experience but fall colors provide even more depth and diversity to the granite ridden canyon walls. We couldn’t pick just one trail from the canyon as the amount of worthy options demanded another seat at the table.

Lake Blanche provides sweeping canyon views with large granite formations popping with every fall color. If you make it to the top, Lake Blanche will do its best impression of a mirror. Reflecting back the impressive landscape in such a way that it will grant you an entirely new perspective.

Desolation Lake is the ultimate hike if you want to view entire groves of Quaking Aspens. They are the primary feature on many parts of this trail, and their bright orange, yellow and gold leaves radiate off the white canvas of their branches in style that would inspire even Bob Ross.

Lake Blanche provides sweeping canyon views with large granite formations popping with every fall color. If you make it to the top, Lake Blanche will do its best impression of a mirror. Reflecting back the impressive landscape in such a way that it will grant you an entirely new perspective.


Desolation Lake is the ultimate hike if you want to view entire groves of Quaking Aspens. They are the primary feature on many parts of this trail, and their bright orange, yellow and gold leaves radiate off the white canvas of their branches in style that would inspire even Bob Ross.


LOGAN CANYON

Mere miles into the beautiful fall drive up Logan canyon lies the Wind Cave trailhead, adjacent to the Guinavah-Malibu campground. This is a short hike that leads to an often overlooked feature in Logan canyon. A large shallow cave with a natural bridge. It's very easy to miss from the road, but worth every bit of 3.5 miles of trail to view it up close, and see the lush canyon from a higher perspective.

Photo Cred: Alltrails

If you have time to drive the rest of the way up the canyon, (and you should make time) Limber Pine trail is at the top of the last big hill, right as the road bends to give you your first glimpse of Bear Lake. Limber Pine is a short, heavily trafficked trail with views of the "Caribbean of the Rockies". In the fall time, the warm tone foliage overlapping the vibrant cool colors of the water below compliment each other, composing a picture worthy landscape.


ALPINE LOOP:

"High alpine peaks, scenic meadows, and a variety of Flora and Fauna." The Alltrails description for Deer Creek trail is dripping with primo fall trail attributes. It’s a steep one, and not for the faint of heart, but the rewards are worth the climb. This trail will not disappoint and neither will the drive to and from the trail head.

Stewart Falls is the easier trail of the two being shorter distance, heavier trafficked, and less elevation gain. This is the family friendly hike along the Alpine loop that is going to net you optimal fall colors in a convenient package. Near the water the vegetation stays lively and gives you a longer window for viewing the colorful foliage.

"High alpine peaks, scenic meadows, and a variety of Flora and Fauna." The Alltrails description for Deer Creek trail is dripping with primo fall trail attributes. It’s a steep one, and not for the faint of heart, but the rewards are worth the climb. This trail will not disappoint and neither will the drive to and from the trail head.

Stewart Falls is the easier trail of the two being shorter distance, heavier trafficked, and less elevation gain. This is the family friendly hike along the Alpine loop that is going to net you optimal fall colors in a convenient package. Near the water the vegetation stays lively and gives you a longer window for viewing the colorful foliage.


TRAPPERS LOOP AND OLD SNOW BASIN ROAD:

Heavily wooded through much of the trail, Sardine Peak starts at Snowbasin resort and leads you up a well traveled single track to an overlook with views of Ogden Canyon and Pineview reservoir. The summit area has a few open clearings that add character to the otherwise thick forestation. It is the longest trail on the list and our favorite way to tackle it, is via mountain bike and turning it into an 8.6 mile loop. Whatever way you decide to take it on, be sure to bring a camera and some truffles for the journey.


MONTE CRISTO ROAD

Photo cred: Alltrails

Monte Cristo is another oft mentioned destination road for fall viewing shenanigans. Trails are not as numerous along this route as they are in other locations. Our recommendation is swinging up to Causey Reservoir (just a few miles up Monte Cristo rd.) and checking out Skull Crack trail. It winds along the waters edge and if you get there soon enough in the year you might be able to see the Kokanee Salmon swimming upstream, mid September is peak time for the salmon run and with their bright red color it is a serious spectacle to see.


ZION NATIONAL PARK

Often photographed and traveled to as a spring and summer destination, Zion has a unique beauty in Autumn that is every bit as grand as it is during the warmer months. Hike up to the fabled Angels landing and you can view a flowing river of gold and yellow as the trees draw your gaze deeper into the canyon. If you hike Angels Landing in the fall, go ahead, look down. Should you decide to keep your feet on more solid ground with your eyes more even with the tree line, the numerous trails in the area will all lead to a pleasant fall experience.

Often photographed and traveled to as a spring and summer destination, Zion has a unique beauty in Autumn that is every bit as grand as it is during the warmer months. Hike up to the fabled Angels landing and you can view a flowing river of gold and yellow as the trees draw your gaze deeper into the canyon. If you hike Angels Landing in the fall, go ahead, look down. Should you decide to keep your feet on more solid ground with your eyes more even with the tree line, the numerous trails in the area will all lead to a pleasant fall experience.

You’ve got the info, now grab some pumpkin spiced anything and get to exploring! The window for prime time fall scenery is always shorter than we want it to be, so make like a tree, and leave (to the trails of course).


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