Utah’s Prettiest Fall Hikes

Outdoor adventure guide, Sheryl McGlochlin, takes us on a tour of Utah’s Prettiest Fall Hikes.

1. Lost Prospector Trail, Park City, Summit County

How to get there:

Take I-80 east to Park City. ( 23.5 miles).

Get off at Kimball Junction and turn R (UT 224) for 5.8 miles
In Park City, turn L at Deer Valley Drive, which curves around.
At 0.7 miles, turn L at Aerie Drive (a bit further up the road from Park City Skate Park).

NOTE: If the small parking lot at Aerie Drive is full, park at the Skate Park and walk over to the trailhead. Follow the bike path uphill a bit. Then use caution crossing the main road.

On Aerie Drive, less than 0.2 miles, you’ll find the small parking lot on the right. Trailhead is on the left side of Aerie Drive.
Once on the trail, approx. 0.5 miles watch for a second trail the detours off to the right, which gently climbs. Follow this new trail. You can stay on the level trail but I found this new trail has the most incredible fall colors. Both are great trails but the one on the right takes you through more hidden colorful forests! They both connect within a mile. For a shorter hike, you can go back on the lower trail.

About this hiking area:

Easy, comfortable trail for the whole family.
Incredible bird’s eye view in all directions of Park City.
Watch for mountain bikes occasionally.

2. Stewart Falls, Utah

How to get there:
From Salt Lake City, go south on I-15 to Orem 800 North (Exit 272). At the bottom of the off-ramp, turn left and proceed east on 800 North (UT 52) toward the mouth of Provo Canyon for 3.7 miles. Take the left ramp onto East Provo Canyon Road (US 189). Continue up the canyon for 7 miles to UT 92, which is the first left after the tunnel. Continue up UT 92 for 4.6 miles, passing Sundance and the Aspen Grove Family Camp on the left. Soon after you pass the Forest Service fee booth, watch for the trailhead parking lot immediately on the left.

About this hiking area:
Stewart Falls trailhead is on the right side of the bathrooms.
Easy, comfortable trail for the whole family.
Walk through the woods and see incredible views of Sundance Ski Resort and wilderness on every side.
A HUGE reward comes at the end of the 2-mile hike, with one of the most impressive waterfalls in all of Utah!

3. Stairs Gulch, Salt Lake County

How to get there:
From Salt Lake City’s east side, take I-215 south to 6200 South (Exit 6). At the off-ramp, turn left and proceed up the hill to the east and then south for 1.7 miles, as 6200 South changes to Wasatch Boulevard (UT 190). Turn left at the signal, staying on UT 190, and continue up Big Cottonwood Canyon for approx. 3 miles. Watch for a sign “Storm Mountain Picnic Area”. A larger parking area is just a little further up the road on the right. Walk back down the road a bit to the trail, which is also on the right side of the canyon road. Storm Mountain Picnic area is across the canyon road from this trail. It is an unmarked trail so look carefully for the opening in the trees.

About this hiking area:
Stairs Gulch is my #1 favorite, colorful, short, fall hiking trail!
You can drive up the canyon in the evening and get a quick hike in before it gets dark.
It’s a short ½ mile hike but has some good up-hill hiking involved.
If you are new to hiking, this trail is a perfect way to get into shape for future hikes while being rewarded with spectacular scenery all along the way.

Since it’s so short, it is easy enough for the whole family.
Listen for the hidden creek nearby.
Never hike or snowshoe in this area in the winter since it’s a popular avalanche area.

4. Snowbasin, Weber County

How to get there:
Take I-15 north from Salt Lake City to US 89 (Exit 324) in Farmington, leading to I-84 east. Continue north on US 89 for 10.5 miles to I-84. Veer right onto I-84 going east toward Morgan. Go 4.4 miles to Mountain Green/Huntsville (Exit 92). At the off-ramp, turn left to cross under I-84, and turn right onto UT 167 toward Snowbasin. Continue on UT 167 for 1.5 miles as it turns left toward Huntsville. At 7 miles from the I-84 exit, turn left onto UT 226 and continue 3.3 miles to the main parking area.

About this hiking area:
Walk around this area and you’ll discover hiking and mountain biking trails all over this beautiful ski resort! As another option, (bring some money), ride the Needles Gondola, which starts in front of the Grizzly Center, to the top of the mountain. From there it’s just a 20 minute hike to the ridgeline!

5. Historic Mormon Trail, Morgan County, top of Big Mountain

How to get there:
Take I-80 east from Salt Lake City to East Canyon Exit (UT 65, exit 134). Turn left and proceed north on UT 65 for 8 miles, passing the Little Dell Recreation Area and climbing up the windy, scenic Mountain Dell Canyon road to a large parking lot on the right at Big Mountain Pass. Notice the “Morgan County” sign at the summit, near the parking lot.

About this hiking area:
Look around and you’ll find 4 hiking trail options in or near this large parking lot. They each head in a different direction. ALL of them are amazing! Two of the trails are portions of the Historic Mormon Pioneer Trail while the other two are part of the Great Western Trail. You can’t go wrong on any of these trails. Explore any one of these trails. Just remember, what goes down, must come up and vice versa. Make sure you leave enough energy and strength to hike back up to your car since some of these trails do the downhill first, leaving you to hike out later. Each trail has incredible fall colors everywhere! Even if you don’t want to hike, be sure and take a camera and walk around the parking lot to check out the spectacular fall colors from further away!

Sheryl is an avid outdoor enthusiast and adventure guide. For more information to www.liveandthrive.com

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