It’s now October, which means it’s fall, which means it’s time to break out the scarves, queue up the scary movies and order the pumpkin spice lattes.
It also means that it’s the perfect time to take a scenic drive through one of Utah County’s numerous canyons to see vibrant leaves before winter moves in.
According to predictions from smokeymountains.com, which tracks peak fall foliage across the United States, Utah County fall foliage was at “near peak” this past Monday and will reach its peak this upcoming Monday.
The peak won’t last long, though, and Utah County foliage is projected to be “past peak” by Oct. 12.
Three tree species are “responsible for most of Utah’s fall color,” according to Mike Kuhns, a forestry specialist with Utah State University Extension: bigtooth maple, quaking aspen and scrub oak.
“But there are a number of other species that contribute,” Kuhns wrote in an article about fall colors in Utah, including Greene mountain-ash, black or Douglas hawthorn, river birch and serviceberries.
Here are some of the best locations in Utah Valley and along the Wasatch Front to check out fall foliage this weekend.
Hobble Creek CanyonSouth county residents who want to see vibrant leaves this October can do so by driving through Hobble Creek Canyon, which is located east of Springville and Mapleton and winds into the Uinta-Wasatch-Cache National Forest.
There is also the option of cycling or jogging on the Hobble Creek Parkway Trail, a 4.5-mile paved path that starts at the mouth of the canyon and ends in Rotary Park, according to Utah Valley 360.
Hobble Creek Canyon also features a golf course and a number of campsites and is a popular fishing location.
Nebo LoopThe Nebo Loop Byway is a winding road in between Payson and Nephi that Explore Utah Valley called “a photographer’s dream” due to the “many overlooks and wildlife viewing opportunities.”
The 35-mile paved road “runs through vegetation communities ranging from oak and juniper to aspect and spruce-fir,” according to the U.S. Forest Service.
“Visitors will be able to enjoy spectacular views of 12,000 foot Mount Nebo and the diverse vegetation all along the scenic byway,” the U.S. Forest Service said in a description of the Nebo Loop.
Provo CanyonThe best bet for central Utah County residents to see fall colors is to drive through Provo Canyon and into Heber Valley.
Along the way, you’ll drive past Bridal Veil Falls, Deer Creek Reservoir and the Provo River, all of which are popular attractions of their own.
You may also consider biking, jogging or long-boarding on the Provo River Parkway, a 15.2-mile trail that begins at Vivian Park in Provo Canyon and ends at the Utah Lake State Park, according to TrailLink.
American Fork CanyonThose who live in north county can drive up the American Fork Canyon and see the Timpanogos Cave National Monument, Tibble Fork Reservoir and Cascade Springs.
American Fork Canyon “is known for great rock climbing, camping, fishing, hiking, and biking,” according to Explore Utah Valley.
Although there is a fee to use recreational facilities in American Fork Canyon, visitors who are driving through do not have to pay a fee.
Alpine LoopThe Alpine Loop, or State Route 92, is a 20-mile scenic drive through the Wasatch mountains that can be accessed from both the Provo and American Fork canyons.
According to Visit Utah, “you will find yourself climbing a stretch of winding pavement that tops out at 8,00 feet, through ancient aspen trees that seem to grow right out of the side of the road and jaw-dropping views all around.”
Residents who want to learn more about fall foliage in Utah can visit http://forestry.usu.edu/rural-forests/forest-facts-ecology/fall-color-utah.