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13 Oct 2020
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Fall is in full swing in Utah! However, if you live on the valley floor of the Wasatch Front as most Utahns do, you’re missing the most spectacular fall colors, quietly hidden in our nearby canyons. 

Take a break this week to enjoy everything that this spectacular season has to offer with one of these easy scenic drives near Salt Lake City. 

Click each underlined link for more information. 

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1. The Alpine Loop Scenic Byway

 

This is voted one of Utah’s best scenic drives, and fall is the time when it really shines. You’ll pass cascading waterfalls, Utah’s most epic cave, lakes, a ski resort, and you may even spot some wildlife! 

The loop starts in American Fork Canyon, loops into Unita National Forest, then lets out through Provo Canyon. Don’t forget to stop at a few popular hikes along the way, including the picture-perfect Bridal Veil Falls

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2. Emigration Canyon to Parley’s Canyon

 

If we had to suggest an activity for someone on a one-day layover in SLC in the fall, this would be it. 

This beautiful route takes you by the University of Utah, The Hogle Zoo, This Is The Place Heritage Park, the famous Ruth’s Diner, and lets you out in Parley’s Canyon on I-80. Then you can either extend your trek with a short drive east to Park City (another fall must-see) or go west down Parley’s Canyon toward Salt Lake City. 

If you’re feeling really adventurous, you can add Heber Valley to your route. It’s quite a drive, but it’s so breathtaking that you likely won’t mind! 

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Click here for the shorter route that doesn’t include Park City
Click here for the full route that includes Park City

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3 Little Cottonwood Canyon

 

Little Cottonwood Canyon is a quick and satisfying canyon drive with plenty of family-friendly hiking opportunities along the way. Drive all the way up to the famous Alta and Snowbird ski resorts to get a preview of the snowy fun of ski season.

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4 Big Cottonwood Canyon

 

This route gives you three great side-treks to choose from, making it a fun full-day excursion. This canyon also has family-friendly hikes on your way up the canyon (including the popular Donut Falls). 

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Route 1: To Solitude and Brighton Ski Resorts

Drive straight to the top of Big Cottonwood Canyon without making any turns until you reach Solitude. Keep driving to reach Brighton. 

 

Route 2: To Park City 

Drive into Big Cottonwood and turn north to Guardsman’s Pass after you pass Solitude Resort. Follow the pass toward Park City, passing through Deer Valley Resort. Either come back the way you came or finish the loop by descending through Parley’s Canyon on I-80. 

 

Route 3: To Heber Valley

Drive into Big Cottonwood and turn north to Guardsman’s Pass after you pass Solitude Resort. When you reach Pine Canyon Drive, turn right and continue into Heber Valley. Either come back the way you came or finish the loop by descending through Parley’s Canyon on I-80, American Fork Canyon (through the Alpine Loop), or Provo Canyon

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5 Nebo Loop

 

This loop is further south than many SLC natives like to go, but because of that, it’s usually not as busy as some others. It’s a gorgeous 35-mile route that hides some red rock cliffs...will you be able to find them?