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6 Utah Valley drives where you can see spectacular fall colors

6 Utah Valley drives where you can see spectacular fall colors

(@gerardo_jimenez)



Estimated read time: 7-8 minutes

Summer's high temperatures took their time leaving the party, and fall is slowly covering the Wasatch Front. Soon to be decked out in vibrant reds, greens, oranges and yellows, autumn is head-turning in the Beehive State—especially in Utah Valley.

While different neighborhoods and areas of the valley will have changing leaves of their own, there are many drives through the mountains that are well worth the fuel. Here are a few of the best leaf-peeping spots throughout Utah Valley.

Hobble Creek Canyon

For drivers who enjoy a more peaceful and less crowded scenic drive, Hobble Creek Canyon is a great option. Located near Springville, this canyon road takes you deep into the colorful mountains.

Hobble Creek Parkway Trail

The trail is 18 miles long and runs from the mouth of Hobble Creek Canyon up to Kelly's Grove Park. Views along the way are breathtaking! This trail is popular among both hikers and mountain bikers. The trail is open year-round, though conditions vary based on the season.

Kelly's Grove Park

Kelly's Grove Park, along Hobble Creek Road, is a serene park to rest and enjoy the beauty of Hobble Creek Canyon. There are multiple trails that travel through the forest, with several scenic overlooks along the way.

There are various picnic areas, playgrounds and a few small lakes where you can fish. This park is open during daylight hours and is a great place to spend a day with the family.

6 Utah Valley drives where you can see spectacular fall colors
Photo: Explore Utah Valley

Alpine Loop

Perhaps the most popular Utah Valley fall drive is Alpine Loop. Highway 92 has loads of autumn treasures, including Cascade Springs–a beautiful spring with waterfalls and bridges dotting the back of Mount Timpanogos. There are also several trailheads along the highway with some of the best fall hikes in the state.

You can access Alpine Loop either through Provo Canyon or American Fork Canyon. If you're getting out of the car to explore the forest or wilderness areas, you'll need to pay a small $6 fee—but it's good for three days!

Stewart Falls

Stewart Falls is a favorite 3.6-mile hike starting from Aspen Grove along the Alpine loop. There are well-marked switchbacks and a steady ascent. The falls themselves are very picturesque with a pool of water at their base.

Mount Timpanogos

This hike is a strenuous one, but the view is absolutely breathtaking. The hike begins in Aspen Grove with a 7-mile trek ascending to the top of Mount Timpanogos, with an elevation gain of about 4,875 feet.

This is a popular hike for many in the fall when the trees are changing. The trail is very well marked, and you pass the Stewart Falls trail along the way. There are a few stream crossings, but nothing too difficult.

The reward at the top is completely worth the climb and well worth the views. There are various places to view the Alpine Loop along the way, so you can stop at various points to take in the scenery.

Cascade Springs

The road to Cascade Springs from the Alpine loop branches off to the right toward Heber Valley. The boardwalk is short and easy and is a great place for people of all ages as well as dogs. The trail is wide and mostly flat with a few steps and rocks along the way. There are a few small waterfalls along the trail, as well as some unique rock formations.

Tibble Fork

Tibble Fork is a great spot for fishing, picnicking, and hiking, but it is a very small area. There are a few hiking trails, including one that leads to Timp Falls (about 2.4 miles round trip). Tibble Fork is a great place to relax and enjoy nature, but it is small and easily accessible.

6 Utah Valley drives where you can see spectacular fall colors
Photo: @gerardo_jimenez

Provo Canyon

There is nothing quite like the drive up Provo Canyon as the giant Utah mountains surround the winding road on both sides. There are several things to do off of the main road in the canyon.

Squaw (Kyhv) Peak

Squaw peak is a short drive from Provo Canyon with a stunning view at the top. You can easily spend the day driving along the canyon and still have time to make it to the peak.

Bridal Veil Falls

This is the biggest and most well-known waterfall in the canyon. It's beautiful, really easy to get to, and a great place to go during any season. There is a parking lot right near the falls, and you can walk right up to the edge to enjoy the view. There are also trails that lead to the top of the falls, but they can be muddy and slippery during certain times of the year.

Provo River Parkway

The Provo River Parkway Trail starts at Vivian Park and continues for 15 miles all the way out to Utah Lake. You'll often see people walking, biking, and longboarding along the paved path that continues out of the canyon.

Nebo Loop

The Federal Highway Administration classifies Nebo Loop as a National Scenic Byway. With that kind of name, there's no wonder why it's a popular fall drive. The U.S. Forest Service says this 35-mile paved road is home to aspens, oaks, junipers, and spruce-fir trees, creating a fiery and colorful palette.

Start from Payson after grabbing some ice cream from Eli's for the road. The first point of interest along the Nebo Loop is Payson Lakes, a series of small lakes that are great for paddleboarding, kayaking, or taking a stroll.

Devil's Kitchen Viewpoint

This viewpoint is a must-see along the Nebo Loop. It is located about halfway through the drive, so make sure to set aside enough time to get here. There is a small parking lot at the viewpoint, which can get crowded quickly on a fall Saturday.

Devil's Kitchen is a bowl-shaped basin of sandstone that gets its red color from iron deposits. This is the best viewpoint along the byway to see the fall colors since the red rock contrasts nicely with the yellows, oranges, and greens of the leaves.

The best times to visit are in the morning or late afternoon when the sun is lower in the sky and casts an orange glow on the landscape.

Grotto Falls

Grotto Falls is a small cascade that flows into a small grotto. The falls are along a short trail that is accessible to most people. This short trail is a great place to stretch your legs and explore the beauty of the fall foliage. The grotto is a small cavern that the water flows into, creating a small pool that is great for pictures.

6 Utah Valley drives where you can see spectacular fall colors
Photo: Explore Utah Valley

Spanish Fork Canyon

Located on US-6 heading toward Price is Spanish Fork Canyon. Not only will your drive through the canyon be filled with dazzling autumn colors, but you'll be able to take several routes at the fork between Highway 89 and Highway 6.

Fifth Water Hot Springs

If you make a side trip up Diamond Fork Canyon you can visit Fifth Water Hot Springs. Most people like to hike to the springs when the weather is cooler, but in the fall, you'll get warm water with a view.

Highway 68, west of Utah Lake

The drive along Highway 68 offers a view that's just as impressive as those canyon roads, but it has something most other Utah drives don't have: a panoramic view of Utah Valley in autumn.

While you won't see groves of colorful trees on this drive, you can see all of Utah Valley's colors from a distance—with a lake view.

Utah Valley shines in the autumn months and there's no better way to experience the bright colors than to go for a drive and immerse yourself in them. For more information on each of these scenic drives, visit utahvalley.com.

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