Where to See the Best Fall Colors Near Orem, UT
As the heat of Summer gives way to the cooler temperatures of Fall, foliage across the state of Utah starts to turn crimson red, yellow, and orange. The northeast is famed for its beautiful autumns, but it’s hard to beat the Utah mountains when it comes to dazzling fall color!
Residents of Orem are in luck, because the mountains and canyons nearby host some of the most beautiful fall displays in all the state. If you’re looking for a drive, hike or walk that will take you through beautiful fall foliage, check out this list of some of the best places near Orem, UT.
Starting in Orem and heading east toward Heber, the road through Provo Canyon runs alongside the Provo River and through thick forests on either side of the road. When the weather turns cold, the canyon turns from a dark green to a bright red with shades of yellow and orange. The drive through the canyon takes about 30 minutes from Provo to Heber, but there are plenty of sideroads and places to stop in Provo Canyon that offer beautiful views of the fall leaves
American Fork Canyon
Another canyon bursting with fall color Is American Fork. From the entrance at the eastern edge of American Fork, UT, the road through the canyon heads southeast and eventually connects to Provo Canyon. American Fork offers access to several high mountain lakes and beautiful outlooks which are made even more beautiful by the changing colors of the foliage. There are several campgrounds in American Fork Canyon, meaning you’re able to spend the night and enjoy the cooler temperatures and beautiful fall scenery of the Utah Mountains.
Alpine Loop Scenic Byway
One of the most scenic in all of Utah, the Alpine Loop Scenic Byway can be accessed via both American Fork Canyon and Provo Canyon. The Alpine Loop connects these two canyons via Utah State Route 92. This route takes visitors near Mt. Timpanogos National Monument, Sundance Resort, and the Lone Peak Wilderness Area. This road is closed during the winter and spring seasons; if you’re planning a late fall trip, make sure that the road is still open and safe. Early storms can occasionally cause safety issues.
Squaw Peak Road
Located fairly close to the mouth of Provo Canyon, Squaw Peak Road offers some truly amazing views, especially in Fall. Follow the road roughly 6 miles until it forks. Take the left fork past the Squaw Peak Campgrounds and you’ll be treated to beautiful fall colors and panoramic views of the valley below and dramatic views of the surrounding peaks. This road gets busy on the weekends, especially in the fall, so be extra careful on corners and look out for hikers and fall foliage admirers as you’re driving. Here’s a sneak peak of what you can expect!
Battle Creek Falls
Located just north of Orem near Pleasant Grove, UT, Battle Creek Falls is a roughly 1.5 mile hike out and back. It’s the perfect place for a quick morning or evening hike or if you’re bringing small children. It’s also a popular place for repelling. The creek that runs through the canyon alongside the trail adds to the beautiful fall scenery visible throughout the hike.
If you’re in the mood for a longer hike, Stewart Falls is a great option. At 4.2 miles long, it’s still accessible for people of all skill levels, but will give you a good workout and feeling of accomplishment. The main feature of this hike is Stewart Falls, a 200 foot waterfall surrounded by stunning natural beauty. It’s also located near Pleasant Grove, UT, just north of Orem.
Those familiar with the Mount Timpanogos hike know it’s not for the faint of heart. This 15 mile out and back trail gains nearly 5,000 feet in elevation along the course of the hike. Completing this hike will take over 8 hours, so make sure to bring plenty of snacks and water if you plan to take on this hike. However, if you want to experience some of the best views of fall foliage in the area, Mount Timpanogos is the perfect hike. The cooler temperatures also make the hike more pleasant compared to the heat of summer.
Provo River Parkway
The provo river parkway runs from Utah lake east beside the Provo River and into Provo Canyon. This paved trail is extremely popular for bikers, walkers, and joggers. It passes through some of the most beautiful areas of Provo Canyon and offers prime relaxation and amazing fall foliage. Provo Canyon will offer the best foliage, but within the Orem/Provo city boundaries visitors will enjoy plenty of color.
Utah Lake Shoreline Trail
Located on the eastern shore of Utah Lake, the Utah Lake Shoreline Trail stretches several miles through dense patches of willows and tall oak trees that turn bright yellow and orange as temperatures cool off in fall. The trail is paved and a great place for a peaceful walk, jog, or a bike ride. In addition to the fall foliage, gorgeous views of Utah Lake are also available along the Utah Lake Shoreline Trail. There are multiple public access points along the trail West of Orem in Vineyard, UT.
Sundance Mountain Resort
Sundance is incredibly popular in both summer and winter, but it may be at its most beautiful in the fall! Before the snow flies and the ski slopes open up, the ski lift at Sundance takes visitors up the mountain to different trailheads and hiking locations. Visitors can also take the lift specifically to enjoy scenic views of the surrounding mountains and the breathtaking fall colors. Perhaps the easiest way to enjoy Sundance in the fall is to simply stroll through the grounds, enjoying the beautiful fall foliage with a cup of steaming apple cider.
Other Popular Utah Destinations
The fall season brings with it some of the most beautiful scenery Utah has to offer.
To the east of Salt Lake City, Parley’s Canyon is the perfect place to take a scenic drive in Fall. The beautiful exposed rock and brightly colored scrub oaks are a sight to behold. Parley’s canyon is only about an hour or so from the Orem area and leads to the Park City area, which is another great place to visit in the fall. The higher elevation and cooler temperatures bring on early changes to the foliage.
Big and Little Cottonwood Canyons
To the southeast of Salt Lake City are Big Cottonwood Canyon and Little Cottonwood Canyon, both excellent places to take in the beauty of the fall season. Because of the higher elevation of the mountains, the canyons are one of the first places to see fall colors, which makes them a very popular spot for leaf peeping as well as fall hiking.
Fish Lake National Forest
Fish Lake is well known for the Pando aspen grove. During the autumn season, the leaves of the hundreds of aspens turn a bright golden color all around the lake and throughout the national forest. The high mountain scenery draws people from across the state during the fall for the fishing, camping, hiking, and of course, the scenery.
Several hours to the south is one of the most scenic drives in the entire state. Scenic Highway 12 runs east-west over Boulder Mountain, presenting travelers with gorgeous views of golden, red, and yellow aspens. While not exactly close to Orem, the Boulder Mountain area is well worth the trip. Whether you’re just passing through or plan on camping or hiking, Fall is the perfect time to visit Boulder Mountain and drive along Scenic Highway 12.
Fall is one of the most beautiful times of the year in Utah, especially in the Orem area. If you’re looking for an amazing hike, drive, or walk with fall colors on full display, any of the options above are a great choice. If you’re looking for a place to live in the Orem area, consider visiting us at The Exton at University Place Apartments. Come take a tour or give us a call today!