Where to see fall colors in Utah
Hands down the most infamous place to see fall colors in Utah is the Alpine Loop in Utah County. Fall is my favorite season so I was excited to take this infamous drive as soon as the leaves started changing. Let’s talk about where to see fall colors in Utah.
The Alpine Loop is the best place to see fall colors in Utah. Let me tell you, this drive did not disappoint. I’ll share with you the best time to drive the Alpine Loop, how to get to the Alpine Loop, and lots of other tricks and tips so that you get the best fall drive possible.
We are going to focus on the Alpine Loop in this post, but there are many other great places to see fall colors in Utah. Skip to the bottom of this post to see all the other must-do drives to see fall colors in Utah.
Also read: The Best Places To Visit In The Fall
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Where is the Alpine Loop?
The Alpine Loop is a 27 mile scenic drive that starts in the American Fork Canyon and ends in the Provo Canyon. You will access the American Fork Canyon through Highland Utah. If you are coming from I-15, the quickest way to the canyon is straight east on UT-92.
Of course you could also start in Provo Canyon and end in American Fork Canyon. Just head up Provo Canyon and follow signs to Sundance/Alpine Loop. You will turn left to head towards Sundance and then the Alpine Loop begins.
Alpine Loop Map
How long will it take to drive the Alpine Loop?
If you do not stop, the drive will take you about 45 minutes to one hour from start to finish.
Best time to see fall colors in Utah
So if you’re ready to drive the Alpine Loop, you need to know the best time of year to go so you can see fall colors. What is the best time to see fall colors in Utah? The best time to see fall colors in Utah is from late September to early October.
I did this drive during the last week of September (the 21st), so all of these pictures are from that time. It was perfect to see the trees that have turned red, but a lot of the Aspens (which bring the bright yellow colors) were still green during my drive.
So I think the very best time to see fall colors in Utah would be the first week of October that way you catch all the colors these mountains have to offer.
Where to start on the Alpine Loop
I think the best place for this drive is at American Fork Canyon. I like starting here and ending at Sundance Resort where you can eat lunch in their awesome restaurant. Contrary to its name, American Fork Canyon actually starts in Highland, UT. But you can easily find it by putting it into Google.
I love starting in this canyon because it feels a lot more intimate in the beginning of the drive. As soon as you enter the canyon, you feel like you have escaped from the hustle of the city.
As you head up this canyon, make sure to keep your eyes wide open for animals. This year when I did this drive, I spotted three mountain goats on the rocky hillside only about 5 minutes into the canyon.
I also love to start in this canyon because I like to end at Provo Canyon where you can get out, stretch your legs, grab lunch at Sundance, and hike bridal veil falls.
Also read: Road Trip Essential List
Alpine Loop Hikes
There are so many great places to stop along the Alpine Loop that it’s hard to even know where to stop. So what are the best hikes in the Alpine Loop? The best hikes in the Alpine Loop are:
- Cascade Springs
- Stewart Falls
- Timpanogos Cave Hike
- Scout Falls
My favorite hike on this list is definitely Cascade Springs. It was an easy walk from the parking lot to the springs even with little kids. I love this hike because the springs look like something from a different world. You forget for a minute that you are in the middle of a dessert.
These amazing springs have over 7 million gallons of water a day flow through them. It is truly amazing! For more information on this hike and the other awesome hikes on the Alpine Loop, take a look at this post by Utah Outdoor Activities here.
Stop at Sundance Resort
If you are looking for one great place to see fall colors in Utah, it would be Sundance. The Sundance Resort is owned by Robert Redford. He purchased the land in 1969 and began constructing a truly one of a kind resort. His vision wanted to incorporate art and nature to inspire people.
Over the years, the Sundance Resort has grown to become a luxurious nature destination. It is also famous for the Sundance Film Festival which Robert Redford also started at this resort in 1981 and was a dream to celebrate writers and creators that wouldn’t normally have a chance to be in the spotlight.
Today you can stop by the Sundance Resort and also be inspired by this beautiful location. In the fall you are surrounded by brilliant colored trees and bushes.
What to do at Sundance in the fall
There is so much to do at this resort in the fall, that is why I have chosen to end our drive here. You can grab lunch at the restaurant and then spend the afternoon playing in the fall leaves.
- Go on a zipline tour
- Take a scenic ride on the ski lift to the top of the mountain
- Awesome mountain biking trails
- Horseback riding
- Go fly fishing
- Take a night lift ride
- Get spooky on the Halloween Lift Rides
- Mountain top yoga
- Kid and teen day camps
- Take an art, pottery, or jewelry making class
As you can see, there is a lot to do at the Sundance Resort! You can view more information on their website here.
Other great places to see fall colors in Utah
Where are some of the other places to see fall colors in Utah? Here are a few of my other favorite drives in Utah to see fall colors.
- Big and Little Cottonwood Canyons
- Ogden Canyon
- Brigham City to Bear Lake
- Parleys Canyon
- Bountiful Peak
- Kamas to Mirror Lake
Wrap up on where to see fall colors in Utah
Fall in Utah is the best time of the year! Make sure to check out some of theses amazing drives so you can take in all the brilliant colors that fall has to offer.
The Alpine Loop is my favorite drive. When you take this drive make sure to take your time and enjoy the scenery. Stop for one of the hikes I mentioned above, you won’t be sorry that you stopped! Happy fall!
How long does it take to drive the Alpine Loop in Utah?
It takes about 45 minutes to drive the Alpine Loop in Utah, this does not include time for stops along the way. The loop is 27 miles from start to finish and the best time to drive the Alpine Loop is in the fall each year.
What to do at Sundance Resort
Go on a zipline tour
Take a scenic ride on the ski lift to the top of the mountain
Awesome mountain biking trails
Go fly fishing
Take a night lift ride
Get spooky on the Halloween Lift Rides
Mountain top yoga
Kid and teen day camps
Take an art, pottery, or jewelry making class
Where are the fall leaves in Utah?
The best places to see fall leaves in Utah are in the mountains. Here are a few of my favorite drives to see fall colors in Utah:
The Alpine Loop
Big and Little Cottonwood Canyons
Brigham City to Bear Lake
Kamas to Mirror Lake
Wow! All of these spots are so breathtaking. I visited Utah over the summer and loved it, but it looks like I have to make my way back during autumn. 🙂
The Rocky Mountains are beautiful during the autumn. You’ll have to make your way back to Utah next autumn and enjoy the beautiful colors!
Oh wow – Alpine Loop really does look stunning with all of the autumn colours. I would love to go hiking here!
Thank you for your comments, Krista. The Alpine Loop really is a stunning fall drive.
I had no idea there would be so many beautiful places to see the fall colors in Utah. I guess I think of fall colors as more of an East Coast thing, and Utah is often a lot more desert looking, but this is amazing! I’ve wanted to go to Utah for so long and now you’re making me want to go even more
I often think of the east coast for fall colors too, but Utah is full of surprises. The Utah mountains are beautiful in the fall as well.
Squeee I was already excited to see these views, then you made it even better by mentioning that there are plenty of hikes on the Alpine loop – this all looks like hikers heaven! I love all those autumnal views.
Thank you Josy for your comments! It is a hikers paradise for sure.
On my to do list for sure. Travel plans will be back on track soon I hope.
It is the perfect time of year to visit Utah! I hope you make it this year.
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