With its superb variety of native trees and breathtaking terrain, Utah is the western counterpart to popular fall foliage destinations like Vermont or New Hampshire. Kaleidoscopic hues come from quaking aspens, canyon maples, Douglas hawthorns, scrub oaks, serviceberries, and evergreens.
When to see Utah's fall colors
Countless national parks, wild woods, and scenic byways are located at different elevations, which means a multitude of peak fall leaf seasons. Mostly, the prime time continues from mid-September through early October. The brilliance of fall colors comes first to the highlands and then descends to lower areas.
Best places to see fall leaves
One of the best ways to discover fall colors in Northern Utah is a road trip. Ogden Valley is among leaf peepers' favorites. Take in alpine beauty on Route 39, also known as Ogden River Scenic Byway. The route travels east from Ogden through Huntsville up to Monte Cristo Campground, and down to Woodruff in the Bear River Valley. Treat yourself to a picturesque Alpine Loop Scenic Byway that connects Cedar Hills with Wildwood. Or take to the stunning Nebo Loop Road running south of Provo, from Payson to Route 132, east of Nephi.
As you move into the southern half of the state, you'll find wide spaces and pristine lands. Be sure to check out Fishlake National Forest praised for the Fish Lake, the largest mountain lake in the state, as well as awe-inspiring golden aspens. Visit the forest's main jewel—Pando, the Trembling Giant. ("Pando" is Latin for "I spread.") The colony of some 47,000 clonal aspens share one massive root system and are recognized as a single living organisms—among the world's oldest. Also, visit Capitol Reef National Park located nearby. At Capitol Reef, you'll have a rare chance to see vivid fall colors contrasting the red rocks.
Another titbit for the lovers of fall charm is the dense Dixie National Forest, the largest found within the state. The woods span across South-western Utah, next to Cedar City. The neighboring Zion National Park boasts the most glorious fall displays in the middle of the desert. Appreciate unique fallscapes composed of vibrant spots of crimson maples, burnt-orange oaks, and yellow cottonwoods against pale rocks and blue skies. Your secret guide is the Emerald Pools Trail that will show you to most of Zion's deciduous trees.
Finally, remember to follow up with the latest forecasts for your chosen adventure, as the peak season differs yearly.
When is the best time to see the color changes in Utah?
The fall foliage season in Utah is from mid-September through October. The peak season for viewing fall foliage might differ each year, relying on weather conditions. One must always check the recent forecast for the chosen adventure and plan accordingly. Different parks and forests located at different heights have individual peak seasons, so it's good to do some research before you plan your trip. Show more
What are some famous locations in Utah to witness the fall foliage?
Ogden Valley, Alpine Loop Scenic Byway, Nebo Loop Road, Fishlake National Forest, Capitol Reef National Park, Dixie National Forest, and Zion National Park are some famous spots for witnessing the fall foliage in Utah. These locations offer breath-taking views of fall colors with vibrant shades of crimson maples, burnt-orange oaks, yellow cottonwoods in contrast to pale rocks and blue skies. Every location offers a unique and different scenic beauty, making them a must-visit. Show more
Where is Fishlake National Forest situated?
Fishlake National Forest is situated in central Utah and is around a 2.5-hour drive from Salt Lake City. The forest is popular for its fall foliage displays of astonishing golden aspens and Fish Lake, the biggest mountain lake in Utah. The forest is spread across more than 1.5 million acres and is the home of different wild species like black bears, mountain lions, and elk. It's an exceptional spot to unwind and enjoy the natural beauty. Show more
What's unusual about Pando, the Trembling Giant?
Pando, the Trembling Giant, is a massive colony of around 47,000 clonal aspens situated in Fishlake National Forest, recognized as a single living organism among the world's oldest aspens. These aspens share a massive root system, covering an area that weighs approximately 13 million pounds, making it one of the largest living organisms globally. This unique creation is a must-visit for nature enthusiasts as it is an exceptional and rare feat of nature. Show more
Which trek at Zion National Park offers the best view of fall foliage?
The Emerald Pools Trail presents the best views of fall foliage at Zion National Park. Situated near the Zion Lodge, the trail offers an easy walk through varied sceneries. The trail is surrounded by colorful trees of several hues, ranging from golden yellows, vivid oranges, deep burgundies, and even purples. The pools themselves offer stunning and unusual views in contrast to the towering rock formations, making it an unforgettable experience for nature lovers and hikers alike. Show more
Find hotels and airbnbs near Utah Fall Foliage (Map)
- Ogden (Ogden River Scenic Byway)
- Ogden Valley
- Huntsville (Ogden River Scenic Byway)
- Monte Cristo Campground (Ogden River Scenic Byway)
- Woodruff (Ogden River Scenic Byway)
- Cedar Hills (Alpine Loop Scenic Byway)
- Wildwood (Alpine Loop Scenic Byway)
- Payson (Nebo Loop Road)
- Route 132, east of Nephi (Nebo Loop Road)
- Fishlake National Forest
- Pando, the Trembling Giant
- Capitol Reef National Park
- Dixie National Forest
- Cedar City
- Zion National Park