There are not many places more beautiful in the fall then the Alpine Loop Scenic Road in northern Utah. This rugged 20-mile stretch cuts through the heart of the Wasatch Mountains and provides access to some of its least known treasures. The colors in autumn rival any of the great American locales that get a lot more attention. Large groves of yellow aspen pockmark the mountainsides while maple and oak provide the brilliant reds and oranges. Sheer cliffs, stunning peaks and giant open vistas are featured along the route. Trailheads, campsites and viewpoints also allow you to get a more intimate interaction with the area and provide you with the option of stretching your legs after the drive. If you want to see this area in its true glory, do your best to get out there around the time of the first snowfall. The white-capped mountains with the fall colors below make for one of the great scenic spots in Utah.
While the drive is free, visitors must purchase a recreation pass to use facilities in this area. A $6 pass is available and good for three days, and a $12 pass is good for seven days. There is also a $45 annual pass available. The passes are good for recreation along both the Alpine Scenic Loop and the Mirror Lake Highway. Entirely paved, the Alpine Loop is open from approximately late May to late October. Snow closes part of the road the rest of the year. The route is not recommended for vehicles more than 30 feet long. Some of the features along this route include the famous Timpanogos Cave National Monument, the town and ski resort of Sundance, Stewart Falls and Pine Hollow Trail.