Salt Lake is a beautiful destination for scenic drives AND autumn colors. Put the two together and POW - magic. It's a place known for gorgeous outdoor vistas and many of them can be seen from the comfort and safety of your car. And if you come for the views, Salt Lake is making it easier to enjoy a safe staycation by offering travel incentives for those who book at a participating hotel for two or more nights. Check out the views with our picks for some of the best scenic drives in the area for seeing beautiful fall leaves.
Big Cottonwood Canyon
If you’re coming from Salt Lake, take the I-215 to the 6200 South Canyons exit and continue on the U-152 towards Solitude and Brighton. This beautiful 15-mile drive takes about an hour to traverse roundtrip. From the main road, the canyon narrows almost immediately dropping to the dramatic alpine scenery. Here, you’ll find some of the best hiking, fishing, rock climbing, and camping for miles around.
While you’re winding up the slopes, keep your eyes open for remnants of old mines dotting the hills. Since it is located in the Uinta-Wasatch-Cache National Forest, Big Cottonwood is home to both Solitude and Brighton ski resorts. Both resorts offer full-service, year-round facilities. From Brighton, you’ll find several easy trails leading to lakes. Keep in mind that the Canyon is a protected area and no dogs are permitted outside.
Little Cottonwood Canyon
Only 25 miles from Salt Lake, Little Cottonwood Canyon offers an easy fun opportunity for a day trip. It got its name from the canyon’s length and width. Despite its smaller size, it is an equally wonderful playground providing many recreational opportunities to guests who come to visit. At the mouth of the canyon, you’ll find the quarry site for massive granite blocks used in the Historic Temple Square and Conference Center.
Not only is Millcreek Canyon one of the only canyons you can bring your dog-child to, but it also hosts a wealth of sprawling fall colors in Salt Lake. We’d say finding warm tones in Millcreek is easily a dealer’s choice. Pick almost any trail, Elbow Fork, Bowman Fork, Big Water Trail, or keep driving Millcreek Canyon Road to experience the oversized whimsical yellow and orange trees.
Mirror Lake is easily one of the most popular spots in Utah and Wyoming. Starting out in farm and ranch lands, it branches out to forested terrain framed by lush meadows and rugged mountain peaks. There are scenic viewpoints where you can stop your car and get out to snap some photos or even have a little picnic. In addition, you’ll find some spots for campgrounds and viewing spots for terraced cascades by walkways near the road. The byway climbs up some 10,687 feet to Bald Mountain Pass and then descends past Mirror Lake to the Bear River Ranger Station.
This is the longest scenic drive we’ve listed so far. At 28 miles, Provo Canyon offers a wonderful, winding drive through a region where forces of a past era carved through the rock formations. From the road, you can see Bridal Veil Falls and there is a lookout spot where you can park and soak in the views.
At the top of the canyon, you’ll find Deer Creek Reservoir, with sailing, boating, fishing, and windsurfing. The byway comes to an end in Heber Valley (home of the historic railroad) and Soldier Hollow, a network of cross-country trails carved out for the 2002 Olympic Winter Games. If you have some time, the Alpine Scenic Loop is a very worthy side trip, particularly famous for its fall color drives. It leads past the Sundance Resort, through the Uinta National Forest, and Timpanogos National Monument.
Read the full article at trekbible.com