It’s a beautiful time of the year! Sure, the sudden cold front has caught us all a bit off guard, but there are some benefits. The fall colors are out in full force right now and it would be a shame to miss them. And while it’s fun to go out hiking and be one with nature and recharge your zen batteries and all that good stuff, the fact of the matter is that it’s cold outside and we’re not entirely used to it yet. So here are some scenic (not to mention romantic) drives that you can go on to get your full fill of fall without freezing.
Hobble Creek Canyon — This is a beautiful, quiet canyon east of Springville. From Provo, head south on State Street until you get to 400 South in Springville. Turn left/east (there’s a Chevron at the corner) and head toward the mountains for 1.3 miles until you get to a four-way stop. Turn right and stay on that road until it takes you into the canyon. You’ll pass by a little reservoir and a golf course. After the golf course, there’s a fork in the road. The right fork is more scenic and less developed. The left fork is more wide open and there are some nice houses to look at.
The Timpanogos Alpine Loop — This drive will take you up Provo Canyon, around the back side of Mt. Timpanogos, and down to American Fork Canyon. Heading east through Provo Canyon, you’ll pass by several waterfalls (of which Bridal Veil Falls is the most famous). Several miles into the canyon you’ll go through a tunnel. After the tunnel, look for signs that point to Sundance Ski Resort off to the left. Follow the signs to Sundance and then keep going past Sundance. Shortly after the resort, you’ll have to pay a $6 fee for entering a wilderness area. It’s worth it though! Pass Aspen Grove and keep going up and and up, enjoying stunning mountain vistas in the process. Eventually you’ll make it down into American Fork Canyon. Turn left (west) and have fun gazing up at the amazing cliffs. American Fork Canyon is home to the Timpanogos Caves, so give those a look if you’ve got the time. Eventually you’ll exit the canyon. Keep heading west and you’ll make it back to I-15.
The Nebo Scenic Loop — Similar in spectacular scenery to the Timp loop, the Nebo Scenic Loop is a bit further away and a bit longer, but there’s no entrance fee. Head south from Provo on I-15 and get off at exit 250 in Payson. Head south through town for about 0.8 miles and turn left on 100 N. After 0.2 miles, turn right onto 600 E. Follow this road up into the mountains for 40 miles of jaw-dropping mountain awesomeness. You’ll eventually emerge on Highway 142. Heading west on that for about 5 miles will get you back to the interstate.
There’s no better time than the present for viewing Utah’s stunning fall colors. Get out there and experience one of nature’s greatest shows!
Tristan Higbee is an outdoors correspondent for Rhombus. You can read more about his outdoorsy adventures at his blog.
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