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 and Park City hikes to take in the Fall and all her glory.
ENJOY THESE 5 PARK CITY HIKES FOR LEAF PEEPING
- 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.
- 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.
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. Click here to browse our fantastic vacation rentals in Park City!
This summer is all about exploring the great outdoors. We are so lucky to have access to many, many wide-open spaces where we can find ourselves socially distanced from others and experiencing solitude amongst the trees. We’ve compiled an extensive list of places to enjoy Park City outdoor activities, where you can experience some awe and wonder, and feel safe.
ECHO STATE PARK
Conveniently located near the old mining town of Coalville, Echo State Park boasts year-round recreation opportunities for its visitors. Echo State Park offers primitive camping and a day-use area with easy beach access making it a great spot for an afternoon of kayaking on sparkling waters.
JORDANELLE STATE PARK
This is one of our more popular state parks, as it offers an array of recreation opportunities including camping, boating, swimming, fishing, and hiking.
ROCKPORT STATE PARK
You can make the most of the 1,080 acres of water surface by launching your boat, or renting one, for water skiing, tubing, wakeboarding, kayaking, or paddleboarding. Fishing from shore or from a boat is also possible with trout and bass among the catch.
DEER CREEK STATE PARK
Deer Creek is a medium-sized reservoir located in Heber Valley, just a short drive from Park City. The reservoir is a popular recreation spot because it offers excellent conditions for boating, fishing, and other water sports.
WASATCH MOUNTAIN STATE PARK
Head south of Park City to reach Wasatch Mountain State Park, a nearly 23,000-acre preserve located in the Wasatch Mountains which form the distinctive horizon of northern Utah. There are miles of trails dedicated to hiking, mountain biking, and horseback riding, as well as nearly 30 miles of trails for off-highway vehicles like ATVs. You can also golf at any of the four 18-hole courses located within the park.
HIKING AND MOUNTAIN BIKING TRAILS
LOFTY LAKES LOOP
A 4.4-mile loop trail located near Kamas, Utah that features a lake and is rated as moderate. The trail is primarily used for hiking, walking, running, and fishing and is best used from June until September. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.
Bald Mountain via Silver Lake Trail is a 4 mile out and back trail located near Park City, Utah that features beautiful wildflowers and is rated as moderate. The trail is primarily used for hiking, walking, nature trips, and bird watching and is best used from April until October. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.
IRON CANYON TRAIL
Iron Canyon Trail is a short and steep hike that takes you through some amazing aspen groves on the way up to a stunning panoramic view of Park City. This is not as popular as some trails, so it can be an escape from the crowds and a way to avoid mountain bikers. This 3-mile out-and-back hike will take roughly 1.5-2 hours roundtrip
Glenwilde Loop Trail is an 8.5 mile moderately trafficked loop trail that features beautiful wildflowers and is good for all skill levels. The trail offers a number of activity options, including mountain biking, and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.
Beginning at the base of Park City Mountain Resort, Lower Jenni’s Trail is popular among runners who love tough steep climbs and exhilarating descents. Pass through scrubby shrubs and aspen stands while winding underneath ski lifts and up to the Jenni’s Trail sign at a fork in the trail. From here, continue up or speed downhill back to the base. Starting at 6,900 feet and topping out at 8,200 feet, this 5-mile trail can be run uphill or down, but be aware that the path is shared with uphill mountain bikers.
Find fantastic views and moderate climbs on this 6-mile dirt trail above Silver Star Café. It’s also an uphill-only mountain bike trail, so you won’t have to worry about speeding cyclists crashing into you during your ascent. Park at Silver Star and follow the signs leading to Armstrong for a three-mile run. Continue to HAM and Spiro Trails for a roughly six-mile loop, ending back in the parking lot. Or, if you’re running out of daylight and just need a short 3-miler, turn off of Armstrong after 1.5 miles (before you reach HAM) and loop down Dawn’s Trail.
The rolling hills and valleys of this preserved open space northeast of Old Town make it a go-to for locals. With over 30 miles of trails spread over 700 acres, there are soft dirt doubletrack and flowing singletrack paths for every skill level. For easy access, start and end at Quinn’s Trailhead–near bustling Kearns Boulevard. This area is popular with mountain bikers and off-leash pups are welcome and abundant.
HISTORIC RAIL TRAIL
This unpaved, historic path welcomes runners, cyclists, and hikers on its 28 miles as it passes through Park City, along the river, and to active farmlands and tiny towns before ending at Echo Reservoir—an idyllic place for a post-run swim. Start in Park City and cruise down the two-percent grade along Silver Creek, or run from the trail’s many designated parking areas. Stop to catch your breath at markers showcasing Mormon history, Ice Age excavation sites, and historical town events.
The iconic 26-mile Mid Mountain Trail bisects Deer Valley and both sides of Park City Mountain at an elevation of 8,000 feet, and it isn’t just for the mountain biking crowd. The best starting point for an out-and-back run is Deer Valley’s, Silver Lake Lodge. Head down the mountain just right of the Sterling Express Lift to catch the trail and run until you’re ready to turn back. Or access the trail with a beautiful ride up the Canyons Village Gondola or the Town Lift. One great option for skipping a shuttle or out-and-back is starting at Deer Valley, running to Park City Mountain Resort, then running or taking the Town Lift back to Main Street.
JEREMY RANCH AND BOBS BASIN
Bobs Basin is more of a trail system than a single trail. It offers great downhill mountain biking over short mileage. Access is easy, just get off the Jeremy Ranch exit on I-80 and turn into the Jeremy Ranch Elementary school parking lot. Follow the road around the back of the school and look for the parking area a couple of hundred yards down the road on the right.
Rob’s Trail is a fun & easy trail that climbs a mere 1,000 ft over 2.5 miles to a beautiful overlook of The Canyons Ski Resort, Park City, and surrounding mountains. The trail works its way through evergreen forest, aspen trees, with great views along the way.
The Wasatch Crest trail is a daylong adventure filled with five-star scenery and unparalleled vantage points. July and into August wildflowers add color to the alpine trailside, and the path into Mill Creek Canyon provides a beautiful, green, packed trail through the trees. Start at the Guardsman Pass trailhead in Big Cottonwood Canyon and hike 12.5 miles to Mill Creek Canyon in Salt Lake City. This route is one of Utah’s most popular mountain biking trails, but bikes are allowed only on the Mill Creek side of the trail on even-numbered days. If you wish to hike on a day without bikes, pick an odd-numbered day.
CASCADE SPRINGS HIKING TRAILS
A large natural spring releasing millions of gallons of water over a series of ledges and pools which feed into the Deer Creek Reservoir, which you passed if you drove down Provo Canyon from Heber on US-189. A paved path creates three loops (around .8 miles) around the spring with viewing areas and benches. The lower loop, Pools Loop, is wheelchair accessible, but the upper loops, Cascade and Springs Loops require the use of stairs.
BRIDAL VEIL FALLS TRAIL
It’s about 38 miles from Park City to Bridal Veil Falls, where, from the road, you can see this 607-foot waterfall flowing over a series of steep drops. There is an easy 1.4 mile paved out and back trail.
For more off-road options, check out the Mountain Trails Foundation map, available at local retailers and online.
Some of the best scenic drives or road bike rides in Utah are within a few miles of Park City. These mountain passes and scenic byways will take you to some of the most breathtaking places in the West. Bring your camera so you can take home many memorable photos of wildlife, wildflower, and incredible mountain vistas. Please note that many roads within our state forests are closed during the winter month due to snow. Please visit the Utah Department of Transportation website Seasonal Road Closure page.
This beautiful mountain pass connects Park City to Midway and Big Cottonwood Canyon. It is a popular drive to view wildflowers, wildlife, and fall foliage. The road is paved and winds through Deer Valley Resort, through alpine meadows, and advances to the summit of Guardsman Pass (elevation 9,700 ft.). There is short-term parking and bathrooms at the summit. The road continues into Big Cottonwood Canyon to Salt Lake City where dogs are not allowed because it is a watershed.
Directions: From Deer Valley Drive head south. At the traffic circle take the second exit, Marsac Avenue (the first is the bus-only entrance to transportation center). Continue on Marsac Avenue for 7 miles.
Distance: 15 miles round trip from Main Street to the summit.
Average Drive Time: .5 to 1 hour out-and-back.
MIRROR LAKE SCENIC BYWAY
One of the most popular mountain routes in the state, Mirror Lake Scenic Byway cuts through Utah’s highest mountain range from the town of Kamas up into the Uinta-Wasatch Cache National Forest before descending to placid Mirror Lake. Many small lakes, waterfalls, camping sites, and hiking trails are along this beautiful route. There are no retail services within the forest area, so it’s best to shop and gas up before you begin your drive.
Directions: Take UT-248 east from Park City towards Kamas for 16 miles. Turn left at the intersection of UT-248 and UT-32. Drive 2 blocks then turn right onto UT-150 (Scenic Byway). Drive 32 miles along the highway to Mirror Lake. Return the same way or continue to Evanston, WY and return via I-80 westbound.
Distance: 48 miles one-way from Park City to Mirror Lake.
Average Drive Time: 1.5 to 3 hours.
WOLF CREEK HIGHWAY PASS
This paved highway begins in Woodland offering unimpeded views of the Uinta and Wasatch Mountain Ranges as well as the iconic Mount Timpanogos. There are several pullouts along the route that offer excellent photo opportunities and there are large aspen groves and open meadows filled with wildflowers in the summer months.
Directions: Take UT-248 east from Park City towards Kamas for 16 miles. Turn right at the intersection of UT-248 and UT-32. After 2 miles turn left at the flashing light onto UT-35. Follow UT-35 for 24 miles through Woodland and into the Uinta Wasatch-Cache National Forest to the summit of Wolf Creek Pass (elevation 9,476 ft.).
Distance: 38 miles from Park City to the summit of Wolf Creek Pass.
Average Drive Time: 1 to 3.5 hours.
A mellow drive through scenic Weber Canyon filled with aspen groves that are bright green in the summer and bright yellow in the fall. A perfect destination for this drive is the Smith and Morehouse Reservoir. At one point the Trans-Continental Railway traveled through the canyon.
Directions: Drive east on UT-248 toward Kamas. In 5 miles turn left onto Brown’s Canyon Road. After 7 miles turn right onto UT-32 towards Peoa/Oakley. After 4 miles on UT-32 turn left and head east on Weber Canyon Road. Drive for 12 miles where the pavement will end. Turn right and follow Forest Rd 33, a dirt road, for 2.5 miles to the reservoir. The parking lot will be on your left.
Distance: 60 miles round trip from Park City.
Average Drive Time: 1.5 to 2 hours.
Provo Canyon connects Heber City to Provo and is the starting point for several attractions including Bridal Veil Falls, Sundance Resort, Timpanogos Cave National Monument, and Cascade Springs.
Directions:Drive east on UT-248 toward Kamas. Turn right onto US-40 East towards Heber. Drive for 14 miles on US-40 through downtown Heber and turn right onto US-189.
ALPINE LOOP SCENIC BYWAY
This is one of the most scenic drives in the Uinta Wasatch-Cache National Forest, connecting Provo Canyon and American Fork Canyon. The paved road winds through aspen groves to the summit (elevation 8,000 ft.) where there are stunning views of Mount Timpanogos, Utah’s second tallest mountain (elevation 11,752 ft.) and is an incredible place to go as the fall colors start to peak. Sites accessible from the highway include Robert Redford’s Sundance Resort, Timpanogos Cave National Monument, and Cascade Springs.
Directions: From Heber, drive on US-189 for 14 miles. Turn right onto UT-92 (Alpine Loop Scenic Byway). You will see Sundance Resort after 3 miles, Mountain Timpanogos and through American Fork Canyon. If returning via Cascade Springs, the road turns to gravel where you’ll travel 7.5 miles back down to Midway, where you can return to Park City. Although paved, trailers are not recommended because of the steep grade and narrow curves. Must purchase a 3-day National Forest Pass that is also valid for the Mirror Lake Highway.
Distance: Out-and-back from Park City is 87 miles. Loop returning through Cascade Springs is 80 miles.
Average Drive Time: 2.5 to 3.5 hours.
ECHO CANYON I-84
This leg of the drive from Park City through Echo Canyon State Park to Henefer was traveled by buffalo, Native Americans, and the Mormon pioneer’s journey to Salt Lake City in 1847. Echo Canyon features peculiar rock formations viewable from the highway.
Directions: From Kimball Junction, take I-80 east towards Cheyenne, Wyoming. After 23 miles take Exit 168 for I-84 toward Ogden. Continue on I-84 for 3.5 miles to Exit 115 for UT-65 toward Henefer/Echo.
Distance: 28 miles one way from Kimball Junction.
Average Drive Time: 30-45 minutes.
BIG MOUNTAIN PASS HIGHWAY UT-65
This pass is famous for being the route of the Donner Party and Mormon Pioneers in the 1840’s. Starting from Mountain Dell Canyon the highway climbs to Big Mountain Pass (elevation 7,420 ft.). From the summit continue on UT-65 for 10 miles to East Canyon State Park. The complete loop then descends into Henefer and through Echo Canyon via I-84 and back to Kimball Junction on I-80.
Directions: From Kimball Junction, drive west on I-80 to exit 134. Turn right off the exit onto UT-65 and travel 8.5 miles to Big Mountain Pass. To continue the loop through Henefer and Echo follow UT-65 for 19 miles. Turn right onto Main and follow it to I-84.
Distance: From Kimball Junction the full loop is 70 miles, out-and-back to Big Mountain Pass is 36 miles, and out-and-back to East Canyon State Park is 55 miles.
Average Drive Time: 1.5 to 2.5 hours.
The highway between East Canyon and Salt Lake City was the final descent of the Mormon pioneers in 1847. From the Little Mountain Summit (elevation 4,940 ft.) you will have great views of Little Dell Reservoir.
Directions: From Kimball Junction, drive west on I-80 towards Salt Lake City. Take Exit 134 and turn right onto UT-65 N towards East Canyon. In two miles turn left onto Emigration Canyon Road. The Little Mountain Summit is 1.5 miles from the turn. You can park and enjoy the view before returning to Park City via I-80 or you can continue through Emigration Canyon into Salt Lake City.
Distance: 17 miles one way from Kimball Junction.
Average Drive Time: 30 – 45 minutes.
Park City and the surrounding area are home to seven public and eight private courses. Golf is a perfect activity for socially distancing. Stay within the confines of your group and enjoy a day out in the fresh air on the links at one of these courses:
3636 Willow Draw Rd, Park City, UT 84098 435.615.4728
PARK CITY GOLF CLUB
1541 Thaynes Canyon Dr, Park City, UT 84060 435.615.5800
SOLDIER HOLLOW GOLF COURSE
1370 W Soldier Hollow Ln, Midway, Utah 84049
WASATCH MOUNTAIN GOLF COURSE
975 W Golf Course Dr, Midway, UT 84049
Parleys Canyon, I-80, Exit #134, Salt Lake City, UT 84109 (801) 582-3812
With the many reservoirs nearby you can stand up paddleboard, sail, wakesurf/board, kayak, jetski, fish, swim, and more! No need to bring your own gear, you can rent!
Utah Boat & Jet Ski Rentals, located at 255 Main Street is one of the most popular rental places in the area offering boat tours as well as boat rentals. Nearby, in Heber City, Jordanelle Rentals and Marina, offers boat, jet ski, and kayak rentals to ensure that you are all set to go on your Utah water adventures.
There is also Park City SUP – who call Pebble Beach at Deer Valley Resort their home base for daily rentals of inflatable SUPs, classes, lessons, and equipment demos. With sandy beach access to the water, no boats and no waves, people of all ages and abilities can enjoy standup paddleboarding and kayaking with confidence. Pebble Beach is adjacent to the Deer Valley Grocery Cafe, which offers great snacks and a full menu. They also offer a One Wheel electric board rentals, lessons and tours. Check out our Park City vacation rentals if you plan on coming here!