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Fall in Utah
The shoulder season of September is actually a perfect time to visit Jackson Hole & Park City as the weather is still dry and the parks are still open, the fall colors are changing with incredible wildflowers and beautiful mountain scenery. The fall’s wild palette of colors makes these areas a heaven for the photo enthusiast or viewers of nature’s annual colorful spectacle. Be prepared for backcountry hiking with knowledge of the area, water and food, and bear spray for the remote chance of a close encounter during fall in Utah.

GORGEOUS SCENERY DURING FALL IN UTAH

 

CECRET LAKE

The whole family will love the best in the state wildflowers, the easy and lovely hike to the Cecret Lake holds incredible sunsets just below Sugarloaf. The popular day trail begins at 9000 feet of elevation running west from the campground, it climbs a gentle slope, with about 300 feet of elevation gain and is located right by Albion Basin Campground, you have the option to continue hiking up from this trail to Sugarloaf Peak. Take the time to relax at the beautiful alpine lake in the Little Cottonwood Canyons Albion Basin near Alta Ski Resort and Snowbird Ski Resort and take lots of photos of your family with the mountains as a backdrop. Along the way, there are interpretive signs with information about the basin, its plants, animals, and geology. From the lake, you can return the way you came, or explore the area. Remember, swimming is not permitted in the lake!

SUNDANCE

Summer is always a good time to go hiking but fall is even better because colored leaves are breathtaking in the Sundance area. Stewart Falls is one of the most scenic and photogenic waterfalls in northern Utah. Hike to the two over 200 feet tall tiers before it freezes during the winter. It is an easy but steep hike through a beautiful forest on the east side of Mountain Timpanogos, you will spot beautiful vistas and little friends along the way. The recommended trail starts at Aspen Grove, along the Alpine Loop Road. Several trails start here so pay attention to the signs. The Stewart Fall trail is a 3.2 mile moderately trafficked out and back and easy to find trail, it is wide and well maintained. And for the adventurous that want to get to one of Utah’s most recognizable mountains, Mount Timpanogos, take the Aspen Grove Trail, which runs 8.3 miles one way, starting at the Theater-in-the-Pines picnic area on the mountain’s east side. That trail is very scenic and passes several waterfalls. Daytime temperatures along the trails are usually warm but it can get very chilly at high altitudes so dress in layers and bring a jacket!

GUARDSMANS PASS

An easy one mile hike featuring high mountain meadows, pine trees and wildflowers takes you to a popular lake with a rope swing. The trail forks at the trailhead/parking lot but the forks are unmarked. Take the left fork for Bloods Lake. The first three quarters of the trail is a light downhill through meadows and patches of pine trees. The last bit is a moderately steep downhill to the lake. The trail around the lake is flat but there is a section that walks across a boulder field. The trail and lake are heavily trafficked towards midday, especially on weekends. There are some great places for hanging hammocks near the rope swing. This is a kid-friendly and dog-friendly hike. Good to know: The parking lot is shared for several trails in the area and gets full very quickly. Avoid parking on the shoulder of the road outside of the parking lot, Police will ticket cars illegally parked.

AROUND JACKSON HOLE

TWO OCEAN LAKE

Making noise and bringing pepper spray is not a choice, this hike is in BEAR country. Those looking for a more secluded hike will enjoy looping Two Ocean Lake. Leaving from the Two Ocean Lake Trailhead, you can head around the lakeshore for views of the Teton Range. Wildflowers populate the area, brightening up the landscape and making for stunning views. If you hike this trail in September you might see the sunflowers in bloom. The fall colors are in full swing and are just wonderful to look at, on the southern side of the lake you will be in a dense forest then the north side opens up into more open patchy aspens/shrubby terrain, pretty fun! Due to the wet, marshy nature of the landscape, Two Ocean Lake is a popular area for mosquitos so don’t forget your bug spray! Grand Teton National Park charges a fee to enter that varies by vehicle or if entering on foot, horse, or bike. For more information, please click here.

BRADLEY-TAGGART

Fall is going to be your absolute favorite season in Jackson after doing this trail. Taggart Lake and Bradley Lake Loop is a 6 mile heavily trafficked loop trail. Located roughly 2.5 miles north of the Moose Entrance Station in Grand Teton National Park. This hike visits two of the six glacially-formed lakes that lie at the base of the Teton Range, colorful leaves and fresh snow on the mountains makes it a great place for pictures. Make sure your camera is charged! Grand Teton National Park charges a fee to enter that varies by vehicle or if entering on foot, horse, or bike. For more information, please click here. https://www.nps.gov/grte/planyourvisit/fees.htm

PHELPS LAKE

Tons of wildlife live in this area, you might be able to see bears, elks, deer and moos getting ready for the winter. Carrying bear spray should not be optional here. Take a moderate 7 miles and only 725 ft gain elevation, out and back trail for the closest views of Phelps Lake. The trail takes hikers through a wooded section, before opening up at the Phelps Lake Overlook. The overlook will place you high above Phelps Lake, with views of the lake and valley.  If you are looking to access Phelps Lake you will need to continue another mile down to the lakeshore via a series of switchbacks. In the northeast side of the lake you will find the Jumping Rock, a large 30 feet boulder where people jump from to the lake. Considering that the hike back to the overlook is an uphill climb, relax on the shore of Phelps Beach before heading back.

Contact our team to learn more and find accommodation in Park City, such as one of our lovely Canyons Village rentals, while on your vacation during fall in Utah!

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

BLOODS LAKE

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

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

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

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

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)

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!