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Pumpkin-flavored foods and drinks, Halloween, cold weather, and color-changing leaves are universally beloved aspects of fall. But there are unique advantages to living in Utah once the seasons start to shift. Autumn colors are already showing at high altitudes, college football season is already underway, pumpkin patches are plentiful, ski resorts are starting to bounce back and festivals abound.
If you think summer is the best time of the year, be prepared to change your mind. Here are seven of the best fall destinations in Utah to keep you awestruck and entertained!
Scenic Autumn Drives
Being in Utah in the fall without driving to roll your eyes at the bright yellow, orange, and red leaves should be considered a crime. Fortunately, the Beehive State offers so many opportunities to peek at the leaves from north to south that missing a great fall show is nearly impossible.
For a short list, Logan Canyon, Big Cottonwood Canyon, Mirror Lake Highway, Alpine Loop, Fishlake National Forest, and Zion National Park are excellent starting points.
One of the best ways to get into the festive fall mood is to load up the family and head out to the pumpkin patch. Black Island Farms in Syracuse has been delighting families young and old for 17 years and is on your fall bucket list—especially if you’ve never visited before.
Not only are you enjoying farm-fresh goodies, a 12-acre corn maze, and a scenic pumpkin patch ride, but your older kids might also love Nightmare Acres. It’s the haunted part of the atom maze that now includes the “zombie apocalypse laser tag.”
There’s no shortage of options when it comes to pumpkin patches in Utah, but others worth noting are Cornbelly’s in Lehi, Wheeler Historic Farm in Salt Lake, Staheli Farm in Washington, and Cross E Ranch in Salt Lake County. The hot and fresh apple donut at Cross E Ranch is worth a visit alone!
If you want to get into the spooky spirit of the season, there are plenty of Halloween-themed places from September to October. The Witchstock Festival at the Ogden Amphitheater includes the Witches Tea, Zombie Crawl, and Monster Bash. Tea requires tickets but other events are free!
Fall is arguably the best time to visit the Lagoon as the theme park’s Frightmares event blends in all your favorite rides with some fun Halloween-themed entertainment. Test your bravery in over nine haunted houses, each with varying levels of horror. For kids, there’s the not-so-scary Spook-a-Book tour, complete with presents and prizes. Some dark characters roam the park at night, but don’t worry – they’re mostly friendly.
One advantage of the mood swings of Utah’s weather is that you can enjoy both beautiful foliage and fresh powder between September and November at local ski resorts. Ski and snowboard season usually begins around mid-November, assuming Mother Nature gave the slopes good dust.
If you’re hoping to be one of the first skiers or snowboarders to sculpt the mountain, be sure to keep an eye on the ski schedule at Brighton Resort. They are usually the first to open each season.
For many in Utah, fall is synonymous with college football. Last year, the University of Utah, University of Utah and Utah State University teams had successful seasons and high hopes for an even better year. With a combined crowd of about 130,000 people playing weekend games at home and with three successful FBS teams, few other states can match the football frenzy in Utah.
Oktoberfest in Snowbird or Snowbasin
Aside from the stunning leaves and early access to the slopes, there’s another reason to add Snowbasin or Snowbird to your fall destination list: Oktoberfest.
At Snowbasin, pumpkin-flavored desserts and drinks, Halloween, cool weather and color-changing leaves are universally beloved aspects of fall. But there are unique advantages to living in Utah once the seasons start to shift. Autumn colors are already showing up at high altitudes, pumpkin patches are plentiful, ski resorts start to pick up and festivals abound.
At Snowbasin, Bavarian cuisine, cold drinks, live music and fun activities are served every Sunday in September from 11am-5pm
This year at Snowbird, the German-themed festival celebrates its fiftieth anniversary and runs from August 13 to October 16. It’s a free, family-friendly event with food, activities, and plenty of drinks. Come for a sausage or a Bavarian brisket and enjoy the live music between noon and 6pm on Saturdays and Sundays.
Bear Lake isn’t just a popular place to enjoy a summer family reunion. Autumn is a great time to visit too! Cooler temperatures, gorgeous fall foliage, and small crowds are just some of the things to look forward to, along with all your favorite activities. Enjoy hiking, biking, ATV riding, bird watching and more – and don’t forget to grab a raspberry!
Just like Bear Lake, fall is the perfect time to visit one (or all) of Utah’s five national parks for many of the same reasons. Lonely Planet reports that the prime time to visit any national park is not the high season – it’s October. You won’t be battling hordes of tourists, scorching summer temperatures, or soaring prices. Everything is a little quieter, a little cooler and a little cheaper. It’s a win-win situation.