You don't have to travel far to take a scenic road trip this fall in Utah.
Ashley Cox, spokesperson for Utah State Tourism, said the fall season beckons for long weekend drives and adventurous hiking and backpacking trips. She shared several of the most popular places to see where nature's paintbrush has been busy at work.
Mirror Lake Highway near Park City
Reaching north from Kamas to Evanston, the Mirror Lake Scenic Byway traverses through the Uinta Mountains. The byway is 78 miles each way, much of which parallels the Provo River.
You can see panoramic views of the alpine landscape from the road’s high point at Bald Mountain Pass (10,715 feet above sea level). There are also scenic overlooks at several lakes. Driving the entire stretch of the Mirror Lake Scenic Byway can take more than three hours, including the return trip, but will be longer depending on side adventures.
Ogden River Scenic Byway and Trappers Loop Scenic Backway
Heading east from Ogden, the dense and varied the foliage is breathtakingly beautiful. The most-traveled route is along the Ogden River Scenic Byway for 44 miles to the eastern boundary of the Wasatch-Cache National Forest at the Monte Cristo Campground. This route passes through narrow canyon, an expansive valley and some mountain meadows and forests. There's also the optional side-trip that includes the 9-mile one-way Trappers Loop Scenic Backway. Come back to the Ogden River Scenic Byway and continue eastward. If you're hungry on the way back, there are several places to stop and eat in Huntsville and Eden. The drive takes about three hours, depending on how much you stop and if you take Trappers. If you want to travel even more, you can continue to drive to Woodruff in the Bear River Valley.
Alpine Loop Scenic Byway near Provo and Sundance Mountain Resort
This 24-mile drive veers up American Fork Canyon, cuts through the Uinta National Forest’s towering 12,000-foot mountains, and winds down into Provo Canyon. All three areas are brimming with golden aspens and crimson-colored maple. The trees are sharply contrasted with a backdrop of the area’s evergreen forest, and the colors give way to stunning views of Mount Timpanogos and other glacier-carved peaks. Cox said many locals find the Byway to be the ultimate of scenic fall drives. If you have time, you can tour Timpanogos Cave National Monument and Sundance Mountain Resort.
Logan Canyon National Scenic Byway en route to Bear Lake
Few places rival the fall beauty of Cache Valley, Cox said. The area consists of undeveloped terrain, old farms and plenty of plant life such as aspens, maples and more in a multitude of hues with evergreens and deep blue waters mixed in. The 41-mile stretch is one of the most scenic routes in Utah and runs alongside the Logan River from Logan at an elevation of 4,525 feet, climbs to Bear Lake Summit at nearly 7,800 feet, and ends in Garden City at Bear Lake. The byway peaks at a vista overlooking Bear Lake, then heads to Garden City.
Source: Standard Examiner