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Kyle Jenkins | 09.12.2018

Load up the mountain bikes and head to Park City

The charming town of Park City has some of the best mountain biking trails in the West, and as the temperatures drop, the colors come out in full force. There is something special about flying through a tunnel of orange, red, and yellow trees on clean singletrack with the crisp air in your face. There are incredible colors along most of the Wasatch Crest and Mid-Mountain Trail, but both require a higher level of ability. For the casual riders, check out Lost Prospector, RTS Loop, or the paved/dirt hybrid trail through McLoed Creek.

Hike the Wasatch during the rut

When it comes to fall in the Wasatch, no single hike represents the season better than Willow Heights. Its plentiful moose population becomes extra active (and aggressive, so be warned) during the rutting season, and their racks have had plenty of time to mature by this time of year. In the same canyon you can find the stunning Cardiff Fork or the multi-lake trail of Mary Martha and Catherine, which always seems to burst into color in the fall. Bells Canyon is a gorgeous place for an easy hike in after work that is very close to town. Rattlesnake Gulch and South Fork near Neff's Canyon are beautiful and colorful hikes for those living near the university, Sugarhouse, or downtown.

Drive the "Grand Autumn Loop"

If you want an epic afternoon road trip through about 100 miles of the best autumn terrain in Utah, consider doing the following route. Starting out at the mouth of Big Cottonwood Canyon, take Highway 190 up and over Guardsman's Pass and down into the town of Midway. From there, head south on SR-113 and then west into the jagged and tight Provo Canyon, also known as Highway 189. Turn right onto Highway 92 to get to the town of Sundance and stay on the road until it becomes the Alpine Loop through American Fork Canyon. You can't find a more tightly packed route that will take you to the most colorful spots in the state in one easy loop.

Grab your fishing rod and get on the Provo River

Enjoy some beautiful autumn sightseeing while working on your angling skills along the many fishing holes of the Provo River. Fly fishing for trout in this area has the added bonus of great fall foliage in September and October to set the backdrop for your catch-and-release. The Middle Provo is the easiest part of the long river to access, and it is close to Heber, Midway, and Park City. You won't be breaking any size records on the Provo, but you'll will find it is a great way to spend some time outdoors with your friends and family.

Backpack one of the many wilderness areas near Salt Lake

In our opinion, there is no better way to greet the fall colors than by crawling out of your tent on a cold morning and watching the colors of the sunrise match the foliage covering the mountains. It is truly a blessing to have so many designated wilderness area so close to a major city, and each one of them goes crazy in autumn. The Twin Peaks, Lone Peak, Mount Olympus and Mount Timpanogos wilderness areas are just minutes from Salt Lake City, while the Deseret Peak, High Uintas, Mount Naomi, Wellsville and Mount Nebo wilderness areas are all just a two hour drive or less. These protected areas give you the best sense of solitude while backpacking thanks to rules prohibiting bikes, roads, and developed campgrounds, and they make a great place to enjoy the autumn in a serene environment.

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