One of the best parts of fall in Utah is how beautiful the mountains are when leaves change their colors. Spectacular shades of yellow and red coat the Wasatch Front as aspens, maples and other trees shift from green to fantastic autumn hues.
It's no wonder that Utah County is regularly crowded with leaf peepers spotting what Utah has to offer. But where are the top places for peeping?
Here are the top 5 drives in Utah County to catch a change of color.
5. Skyline Drive Scenic Backway
This is definitely a hidden gem of Utah County, and is probably the least popular of the drives in this list. It is also pretty treacherous, and ranks as one of the highest elevation roads in the nation, traveling along the spine of the Wasatch Plateau. Four-wheel drive is highly recommended.
But it's well worth it when you see the spectacular vistas of color popping across the valley.
Getting there: Take the Spanish Fork exit and head toward Price on Hwy 6. You can access Skyline Drive at the Tucker exit. Because this is a rough mountain road, be sure and check conditions before beginning the trek by calling the Sanpete Ranger District at (435) 283-4151.
4. Hobble Creek Canyon
Again, Hobble Creek Canyon is probably less popular than a few of the other drives on this list, but that doesn't make it any less spectacular. Hobble Creek Canyon can be a great drive for fall, and you can also head up to Jolley's Ranch. Though Jolley's Ranch is typically known for its winter activities, it offers great fall views as well. The road travels through the canyon following Hobble Creek's west fork and passes Strawberry Reservoir before looping back to U.S. Highway 89.
Getting there: Drive up Canyon Drive in Springville and the road will take you up the canyon past Hobble Creek Golf course and Jolley's Ranch Campground. The road will loop around to connect with U.S. Highway 89.
3. Mount Nebo Loop
One of the most popular drives in Utah Valley is the Mt. Nebo Loop. This 32-mile winding road begins at the base of Payson Canyon and takes travelers through the scenic byway over the mountain to Nephi. Note that some of the smaller roads may still be closed due to the fires last year in the area. This also means you'll likely see a pretty sizable swath of the burn scar from the Bald Mountain and Pole Creek fires.
Getting there: From I-15 take the first Payson exit. Turn left onto Main Street. Turn left onto 100 North traveling east until you reach 600 East where you will take a right. Continue heading south until you reach the entrance of Payson Canyon.
2. Provo Canyon
The popular drive along the Provo Canyon Scenic Byway might be well-known for connecting outdoor adventurers to the hikes at Bridal Veil Falls, float trips down the Provo River, mountain biking at Sundance Resort or even boating adventures on Deer Creek Reservoir, but Provo Canyon is also a beautiful scenic drive during this time of year.
Getting there: From I-15 take the 800 North Orem exit and head east toward Provo Canyon. From downtown Provo, take University Avenue north to the canyon.
1. Alpine Loop
This is considered by many as one of the best drives in the state, let alone the county. The Alpine Loop takes you through 20 miles of the Uinta-Wasatch-Cache National Forest. Along the way you will pass Tibble Fork Reservoir and Cascade Springs -- great spots to pull off the road for picnics and photographs.
Getting there: Take Interstate 15 to the Highland/Alpine exit and travel east where you will hook into the American Fork Canyon/Alpine Loop. The drive will then take you down through Provo Canyon, or you can head toward Deer Creek Reservoir for even more miles of color on your way through Heber and into Park City.