As September comes to a close, Fall is officially here. And for many parts of Utah, that also means that the leaves are set to change. Visitors to Utah don’t always realize that this desert state sees a color change at the end of summer. Contrary to that belief though, the state’s already beautiful landscapes are even more stunning this time of year as they come to life in an array of yellows, oranges, and reds. Add in one of Utah’s amazing scenic drives, and you have the recipe for the perfect Fall adventure.
Which Types of Trees Lose Their Leaves in the Fall?
Before you can start searching for the best end-of-summer views, you’ll first want to learn which types of trees lose their leaves in the Fall.
Utah is home to a variety of deciduous trees, including:
- Canyon Maples
- Quaking Aspens
- Scrub Oaks
- Douglas Hawthorns
The Best Scenic Byways for Seeing the Fall Colors
You’d be hard-pressed to find a corner of Utah that isn’t gorgeous. But from late September to the end of October, a few parts become a bit more colorful. Here are some of the best scenic byways where you can enjoy the views this time of year.
Fish Lake Scenic Byway and Beaver Canyon Scenic Byway
Utah might be known for its Mighty 5 national parks, but it’s home to a few other, less-known national treasures as well. One is the Fishlake National Forest. This oasis in the desert has three mountain ranges rising up, with deep desert canyons in between.
In the eastern part of the forest, you’ll find the Fish Lake Scenic Byway. This beautiful road will take you past the forest’s namesake, Fish Lake. Surrounded by aspen forests, they’re covered in bright yellow leaves this time of year.
On the western side, you’ll find the Beaver Canyon Scenic Byway. Starting in the town of Beaver, the road climbs high into the mountains, passing layers of forest along the way.
Eccles Canyons National Scenic Byway
Running through the middle of the state is the Eccles Canyons National Scenic Byway. Some 10,000 feet above sea level, this byway bypasses deciduous forests that erupt in color this time of year. You’ll pass through fields of yellow aspens, followed by patches of conifers in a deep, contrasting green.
Patchwork Parkway National Scenic Byway
Kicking off what is known as Southern Utah’s Fall Color Loop is the Patchwork Parkway National Scenic Byway. This road winds through historic towns and stunning geological formations. In the fall, aspen trees come to life in shades of yellow, set against the glittering pink cliffs of the Paunsaugunt Plateau rising in the distance.
Cedar Breaks Scenic Byway
Continuing the Fall Color Loop is the Cedar Breaks Scenic Byway. Turning towards the south, this road takes you into heavily forested land that is covered in color all fall long. Cedar Breaks is a natural amphitheater, which makes for a great backdrop for the colors.
Markagunt High Plateau Scenic Byway
Finishing off the loop, the Markagunt High Plateau Scenic Byway will take you back towards Zion National Park. In and around the park, the fall colors are even more vibrant, thanks to the red rock backdrops they’re illuminated by.
Ogden River Scenic Byway
Ogden River Scenic Byway may start in the city of Ogden, but within just a few minutes you’ll feel like you’re lightyears away from civilization. Winding through narrow canyons and rising far above open valleys, this road is beautiful year-round, but in the fall, the colors make it even more so.
Logan Canyon National Scenic Byway
If you want to take in more than just a few species of deciduous trees, head to the Logan Canyon National Scenic Byway. As you drive through Cache Valley, you’ll pass through forests of maples, aspens, and much, much more. The road climbs more than 7,800 feet in elevation along the way, so the variety is wider than most of the other byways on this list. At the top of the vista, you’ll get to enjoy the contrast between the stunning turquoise waters of Bear Lake and the bright oranges and reds of the trees.
Fall in Utah
If the first place that comes to mind when you think about fall foliage is New England or the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, think again. Red rock canyons, turquoise lakes, and a sprinkling of deep green evergreen trees make for stunning backdrops for the burst of fall colors that the state enjoys each year.
Want to enjoy some more fall fun? There’s still time to go apple picking in Capitol Reef National Park. Click here to learn more.