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Enjoy Fall in Park City with these 5 Hikes for Leaf Peeping

Enjoy Fall in Park City with these 5 Hikes for Leaf Peeping

As the sunlight begins to wane, the trees begin to put on a show for us, and this special season presents itself in a display of color that one must revel in. A great way to immerse yourself in the beauty of these mountains in the Fall is to head out on some of our most spectacular hikes. Early autumn reds and oranges pop up first, and then soon after the hillsides are covered in gold. Below are a few of our favorite trails to take in the Fall and all her glory in Park City.

Bloods Lake

  • Distance: 2.8 miles
  • Elevation Gain: 465 feet
  • Trail Use: Hiking Only
  • Loop or Out and Back: Out and Back
  • Dog-Friendly: No
  • Parking: The parking area is right before you get to the Guardsman Pass summit. There is also a new restroom provided.

Bloods Lake is a local favorite. You can’t beat a pristine high alpine lake perfect for swimming on warm summer days. The trail is fairly easy but it does have some moderately steep areas.

To get to the Bloods Lake Trailhead travel through Empire Pass, one of the 58 Scenic Backways designated by the State of Utah, where epic mountain views are abundant. It takes about 20 minutes to get to the parking lot from Main Street Park City. Note: Guardsman Pass is only open from May to October

Once parked, cross the street, make your way over to a prominent sign marking the Bloods Lake Trailhead. The trail is beautiful as it meanders through meadows, with scenic views of the Wasatch, and dense Aspen groves, which show their true colors during this time of year! As you make your way through the golden tunnels, you’ll find yourself at the base of some switchbacks. This is where the trail gets pretty steep and a bit strenuous. After you hike up this steep section, the trail flattens out and Bloods Lake comes into view.

Rob’s Trail

  • Distance: 5 miles (or more if you decide
  • Elevation Gain: 1003 ft
  • Trail Use: Hiking and Biking
  • Loop or Out and Back: Out and Back (or Loop if you sync up with other trails)
  • Dog-friendly? Yes – but Park City requires dogs on leash
  • Parking: There’s parking at the trailhead on Bear Hollow Drive to your left. Please park your car at an angle, and there are no restrooms available.

Rob’s Trail is another local favorite, especially in the Fall. Tucked in a neighborhood close to the Canyons side of Park City Mountain, Rob’s is a moderately strenuous, multi-use trail with plenty of opportunities for spectacular views and lots of leaf-peeping.

Rob’s Trail is an out and back, but you can make it a loop by syncing up with the Ambush Trail, which will cross the slopes of The Canyons, and loop around to Rosebud’s Heaven where you can then reconnect with Rob’s. If you choose to do a loop you’re looking closer at a 7-mile hike. Rob’s is great for a mellow hike or an easy trail run, as it starts with a pretty consistent gentle climb, through lots of Aspen trees. When you get to the top, aspens give way to pine trees, and you come across a nice bench for a rest. From that spot you have some amazing views of The Canyon’s slopes lit up in gold.

Iron Canyon Trail

  • Distance: 2.35 miles
  • Elevation Gain: 920 ft
  • Trail Use: Hiking
  • Out and Back or Loop: Out and Back
  • Dog-Friendly? Yes
  • Parking: There is no specific parking area at the trailhead, but parking is available along the road – make sure to read the signs carefully. The trailhead is at the end of Iron Canyon Court – a small cul-de-sac off of Iron Mountain Drive. There isn’t a trailhead marker so it is a little difficult to find.

For a quick but moderately steep hike to peep some amazing colorful panoramic views, head up the Iron Canyon Trail, which starts at the top of Iron Mountain Court, and provides a wide view of the now colorful ski slopes of Park City Mountain Resort.

The vast overlook of Park City is your destination, and it is well worth the climb! Most of the trail is shaded by Aspens, so it’s like you are hiking along the yellow brick road as they shed their leaves. There are no switchbacks along this hike so it’s a pretty straight-up strenuous climb with 860 feet of elevation gain.

Park City Mountain – Jenni’s Trail

  • Distance: 3 miles
  • Elevation Gain: 195 ft
  • Trail Use: Hiking and Biking
  • Out and Back or Loop: Out and Back or Loop
  • Dog-friendly? No
  • Parking: Large lot at the base of Park City Mountain Resort, easy to find parking

Now that lift access is closed on Park City Mountain Resort, the only option to get involved in some golden Aspens on PCMR is to hike up! At the PCMR base area near the First Time Lift, you’ll find signage for Jenni’s Trail. Follow the meandering, gentle uphill trail through gorgeous Aspen groves with smooth switchbacks that cross numerous ski runs until it opens up to some spectacular views of Park City Mountain with the leaves going off. The trails on PCMR are a bit of a choose your own hiking adventure, as you can go as long or as short as you want, try an out and back or a loop, by hooking up with a couple of other trails.

Silver Lake Trail

  • Distance: 4.7 miles
  • Elevation Gain: 1,433 feet
  • Trail Use: Hiking/Running Only
  • Out and Back or Loop: Out and Back
  • Dog-friendly? No
  • Parking: Visitors can park at the Silver Lake Village.

Deer Valley’s Silver Lake Trail is designated as a foot-traffic only trail, so you’re guaranteed more tranquility as you hike through the peaceful landscape. The trail is nicely marked beginning at the base of the Silver Lake chairlift. This is an absolutely gorgeous hike that ends at the top of Bald Mountain with picturesque cliffs on one side and a bird’s eye view of the Heber Valley on the other.

Advice

Set realistic goals and research the trail ahead of time  – pay attention to the total distance and the total elevation gain. Have an idea in mind of how far you can comfortably hike in a day and how much elevation gain is too much, and get an idea of how long the hike will take so you don’t get stuck on the trail in the dark if you decide to do these hikes during sunset (if so bring a headlamp)

  • Bring enough water and snacks for the amount of time you think you’ll be on the trail
  • Tell a friend where you are headed in case of an emergency
  • Bring layers and rain gear – the weather can be fickle this time of year
  • Wear comfortable sneakers or hiking shoes
  • Keep in mind the altitude if you are coming from a lower elevation – stop as many times as you need to catch your breath, stretch your legs, and hydrate
  • Wear sunscreen – even on cloudy days, at our elevation, you can get a pretty gnarly sunburn
  • Leave No Trace – Please pack out any trash you find and stay on the trail
  • Make sure your phone and camera are charged to take all the photos of the beautiful fall foliage
  • Practice proper trail etiquette – downhill hikers always yield to uphill hikers
  • If you are on a shared multi-use trail, stay alert, and be aware of your surroundings. Mountain bikers should always yield to hikers.

This is truly an amazing time of year to be in Park City, with the transformation from Summer to Fall, the newly crisp air, and the colorful foliage all around us. It’s not too hot, and not too cold (yet), what a great excuse to get out on the trails for a couple more hikes before the days get shorter and the snow begins to fall.