Utah in the Fall is my favorite time of year! The leaves are breath-taking, and we are fortunate to have many canyons to visit to view and collect some beautiful Fall leaves. We love driving up the canyon and collecting a bunch of leaves to display in our home. It gives our home that extra Fall touch!
Below is a list of some favorite places to go and view/collect the beautiful changing leaves. (If you click on the name of the canyon, it will take you to a map and/or more information about that canyon.)
DISCLAIMER: This list and the maps associated with them are only guidelines. Please use common sense when driving up these canyons. If you drive off a cliff because the map tells you there’s a road there, I am not responsible. Thanks! 🙂
This is, in my opinion, the easiest canyon to get to for a quick drive to see the leaves. This is the canyon you will head up if you keep going past Hogle Zoo. From Salt Lake City, take I-80 westbound until you reach the Foothill Drive exit. Stay on Foothill Drive until you reach Sunnyside Avenue, and then turn right, which is Eastbound. Keep going on Sunnyside…..you will pass This Is The Place Monument on your left, and the Hogle Zoo on your right. This road will lead you right up the canyon. Once you wind around the canyon, you will come to a T in the road. If you turn left, it will take you to East Canyon. If you turn right, you will head towards I-80 and Parley’s Canyon.
I am very partial to this canyon because my hubby and I spent our week-long honeymoon at the East Canyon Resort in October 1999. There are always beautiful leaves in early Fall. If you go up too late in the Fall, you might miss them. I recommend any time in September or early October. To get to this canyon, you take I-80 Westbound up Parley’s Canyon. When you are almost to Parley’s Summit, you will see th East Canyon exit. Take the exit and you will head right up the canyon. You can also take Emigration Canyon over to East Canyon. Once you reach the top of East Canyon, there is a monument there where the pioneers first saw the valley and Brigham Young said “This Is The Right Place”. Watch on your right while going around one of the many long turns for the “original trail.” (Picture to the right). This is the original trail the pioneers used to come into the valley, and then down emigration canyon.
I have never been to Mueller Park, but I hear it is gorgeous in the Fall! This will definitely be a place I am going to check out this month! You can access Mueller Park by take 1800 South in Bountiful and heading Eastbound.
This canyon is perfect if you are looking to take some beautiful Fall family photos. There are many bridges, picnic areas, etc. that are perfecting for family photos. There is a fee to access this canyon. I believe it’s $3 per vehicle, and make sure to bring cash. They do not accept debit/credit cards. To get there, take I-215 on the Eastside Belt Route. Exit onto 3900 South or 3300 South , and head East over to Wasatch Drive. If you are heading Northbound on I-215, then the exits will take you to Wasatch Drive. From Wasatch Drive, head over to 3800 South, and turn towards the mountains. This will take you up the canyon. View our blog post on Millcreek Canyon.
This is a beautiful drive that will take you from Salt Lake City over the mountain into Tooele. It is definitely not for the light-hearted! Once you reach the top, you can look down into the Kennecott Copper Pit. It’s unexplainable and so gorgeous! View our blog post on Butterfield Canyon for directions either from Salt Lake City or Tooele.
The route follows Utah Hwy. 92 up American Fork Canyon and then continues through Uinta National Forest into Provo Canyon on U.S. 189. Timpanogos Cave National Monument and Robert Redford’s Sundance are located along the route. Take US Hwy Highway 189 southwest from Heber City toward Provo, then turn right onto Utah Hwy 92 at the Sundance turnoff. OR once you reach the top, follow the signs to Cascade Springs. Make sure you stop there……the water is so clear that you can see the fish swimming around! It is a gorgeous place to take pictures, and there are beautiful walking trails for the whole family. Follow Cascade Road into Heber. This is my dad’s favorite place to see the leaves!
Ogden Canyon (Monte Cristo) (Utah State Route 39)
Along this drive, you will see a few beautiful waterfalls. To get up Ogden Canyon, in Ogden take 12th Street and head Eastbound towards the mountains. It will take you right up the canyon. You will reach Pineview Reservoir, a cute little town called Eden, and also a Monastary in Huntsville. If you have time to stop, take a tour of the monastary, and visit their awesome gift shop! From here you can head to Logan.
Big Cottonwood Canyon
To reach Big Cottonwood Canyon from Salt Lake City, take I-215 to the 6200 South “Canyons” exit and then continue east on U-152, following signs to Solitude and Brighton. This 15-mile scenic byway takes about one hour round trip.
Little Cottonwood Canyon
Only 25 miles from Salt Lake City, Little Cottonwood Canyon can be reached by taking the 6200 South “Canyons” exit from I-215 and continue east to the canyon on U-210 following signs for Snowbird and Alta. At the mouth of the canyon is the site where Mormon settlers quarried granite slabs to build the Salt Lake Temple.
Sardine Canyon (Wellsville Canyon)
To view pictures of Sardine Canyon in the Fall, CLICK HERE.
Once a narrow, winding corridor linking Brigham City to Cache Valley, Sardine Canyon is now a wider, flatter commuter route that offers spectacular hillsides filled with fall color. Take I-15 to Brigham City, then follow the signs leading to Logan.
I-84 in Ogden will take you through Weber Canyon. Along the route you will see attractions such as:
– Devil’s Slide Ghost Town
– Devil’s Gate Bridge– 1,000 Mile Tree, a pine discovered by Union Pacific Railroad workers marking 1,000 miles from the railroad’s origin in Omaha, Nebraska.The original tree died in 1900 and was removed in September of that year. In 1982 to commemorate the site, UP planted a new tree that has grown today to over 30 feet tall.
This scenic backway runs between Huntsville and Mountain Green along the eastern side of the Wasatch range. Like the Ogden River Scenic Byway, this route is also wonderful as the leaves change colors. This scenic routes can be combined with others on the map into a partial loop by traveling I-84 through the Weber Canyon, which is itself a very attractive throughway.
My mother-in-law likes to take this route often when she is driving home from St. George. From Nephi to Payson, this route has breathtaking views of the Wasatch Range and 11,929-foot Mt. Nebo, its tallest mountain. See flat bottomlands, high-alpine conifers, red rock formations, gray sandstone cliffs and salt flats all in the same day. Sights include Devil’s Kitchen, Walker Flat (a historical camping spot for Chief Walker and his people), and Mt. Nebo Wilderness. To get to the loop:
FROM SALT LAKE AND NORTH:
•Take I-15 south toward Provo.
•Continue south past Provo until you reach Payson Exit 254. Exit and turn left onto Payson Main Street (R-77).
•Travel south until Main Street intersects with 100 North (SR-198).
•Turn left and travel east to 600 East, then turn right on 600 East. Stay on this road, which eventually becomes Canyon Road, and head south to the entrance to Payson Canyon and the beginning of the byway.
FROM DOWN SOUTH (ST GEORGE, ANYWHERE SOUTH OF NEPHI, ETC):
•Follow I-15 north to Nephi Exit 222.
•Turn left and travel north on Nephi Main Street (SR-41) to 100 North (State Route 132).
•Turn right and go east about two miles to the entrance of the byway (CR-015) on your left.