As the air gets crisp and the leaves begin to change color, there’s no better time to plan a trip to see some of the most beautiful fall foliage in Southern Utah. The expansive canyon country landscapes provide ample opportunities to watch nature work its magic turning green leaves to a cascade of red, yellow and orange. Grab a pumpkin spice latte or apple cider at your favorite local coffee shop and hit the road to see these incredibly wild fall landscapes. Here are our top six picks for the best places to see the fall colors in Utah.
The Henry Mountains
The Henry Mountains, which were the last mountain range mapped in the lower 48 United States, offer a four-season playground south of Hanksville, Utah. In the fall, the mountain range is especially beautiful as the leaves of the Quaking Aspen and Gambel Oak paint the mountainside with hues of honey and burnt sienna . Four wheel drive, high clearance vehicles are strongly recommended for the rugged and remote roads that lead into the Henry Mountains. The best time to see the fall colors is typically early- to mid-October.
Northwest of Lake Powell, the North Wash area offers a scenic drive along the base of an iconic stretch of sculpted sandstone canyon walls. The Fremont Cottonwood trees that dot the wash take on a whole new beauty in the fall as their leaves turn striking yellow, creating a stunning contrast against the redrock cliffs. The sporadic spacing of the massive cottonwoods provides endless opportunities for creative photograph composition. The best time to see the foliage is typically mid-to-late October.
The Caineville Badlands is one of Southern Utah’s secret hidden gems turned hot spot destination after its Mars-like landscapes were featured on social media. The Fremont River winds its way through this otherwise barren landscape between Capitol Reef National Park and Hanksville, Utah. Fremont Cottonwoods decorate the river banks, adding a drastic pop of bright yellow to the predominately grey terrain. Plan to visit this area in mid-to-late-October to catch the peak fall foliage.
Located between Torrey, Utah and Boulder, Utah, Boulder Mountain features forests filled with Quaking Aspen that turn into a sea of amber during the fall season. Due to its higher elevation, the fall colors arrive early in the Boulder Mountains, often by mid-to-late September.
Pando Aspen Grove
Pando is an amazing place any time of year, but it’s especially beautiful in autumn when the fall colors arrive and paint a golden landscape. Pando is home to one of the world’s largest organisms – a Quaking Aspen grove that covers over 100 acres and is estimated to weight over 13 million pounds! The best time to see this colorful transition is typically late-September to early-October.
Capitol Reef National Park
Capitol Reef National Park is home to some of Southern Utah’s most beautiful fall foliage. In the late 1800’s, pioneer settlers planted thousands of apple, apricot, cherry, peach, pear, and plum fruit trees in orchards which are still tended to by Capitol Reef National Park. These fruit trees know how to put on a show as they express a wide range of stunning fall colors from burgundy, burnt orange to crisp yellows. The best time to see the fall colors is typically mid-October.
Don’t miss out on these incredibly special places for the best fall color viewing in Utah. Get out there and enjoy fall at it’s finest.
While you are out exploring the fall colors, be sure to check out our hiking and canyoneering adventures, centrally located between Hanksville, Utah, Capitol Reef National Park and Canyonlands National Park, which provide the opportunity to explore one of the world’s best canyoneering destinations.