Things To Do in the Fall in Utah

Fall in Utah is a special time of year. The changing leaves and cooler temperatures make it the perfect time to explore this beautiful state. Whether you’re looking for outdoor activities, cultural events, or just some quality family time, there are plenty of things to do in the fall in Utah.

Use this list of places to visit in Utah to plan your fall vacation: fall activities, things to pack, where to stay and more!

things to do in the fall in Utah

Explore the stunning natural beauty of Utah by enjoying fall activities like hiking, biking, camping, apple picking, and scenic drives!

Be sure to grab your free download of our Utah bucket list with even more ideas for things to do!

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A Photo Tour of Utah National Parks

Take a visual tour through all five Utah National Parks to see the stunning landscapes you’ll see when you visit!

Visiting Utah in the Fall

In Northern Utah the three main cities are Salt Lake City, Park City, and Provo. All 5 Utah National Parks are located in Central and Southern Utah.

Check to see where the Utah vacation spots are located around the state because a drive from Salt Lake City in the north to any of the National Parks in the south can take 4 to 5 hours.

Also, the drive from Northern to Southern Utah means passing through rural areas with small towns and limited services.

Fall Weather in Utah

The Utah weather in the fall will vary between Northern and Southern Utah. The higher elevation temperatures will be cooler than the lower elevations by 10 to 20 degrees.

The weather and temperatures in Utah during the fall vary depending on the month and location. Visiting Utah National Parks in the fall is one of the best times of the year to go because the weather is “just right” for outdoor activities.

We’ve written detailed guides for the weather and temperatures you can expect each month during the fall in Utah:

Things To Do in the Fall in Utah

Utah is a great destination for anyone looking to explore and enjoy the beauty of nature. From camping trips to apple picking excursions, here are some fun Utah fall activities you can do!

We’ve asked our travel friends to share their favorite things to do and favorite places to go in Utah in fall!

fall colors along the Alpine Loop scenic drive
Alpine Loop scenic drive

Utah Scenic Drives in the Fall

The best way to view the stunning landscape and vibrant fall foliage is exploring any of the Utah scenic drives! Here’s a list of the drives that are perfect to see fall colors

Northern Utah Scenic Drives to See Fall Colors

Southern Utah Scenic Drives to See Fall Colors

We highly recommend getting the Utah Mighty 5 GuideAlong Audio Tour: use the suggested itineraries in the app tour plan, or divide the commentary to create your own half, full or multi day sightseeing trips. (Recommended by Dave & Jamie, Photo Jeepers)

Snowbird Octoberfest mugs
Snowbird Octoberfest mugs

Snowbird’s Oktoberfest

Every weekend from mid-August through mid-October the ski slopes at Snowbird are transformed into an old-world Oktoberfest. This free event attracts thousands of visitors, many dressed in traditional attire: Dirndl for the ladies and leather lederhosen for the guys. Although you won’t be alone if you choose to not dress up. 

The Snowbird Oktoberfest event includes a biergarten offering more than 50 varieties of beer including both German specialties and local Utah brews. Food is plentiful with traditional foods like bratwurst, weisswurst, and sauerkraut. The apple strudel is excellent!

Under the huge tent, live German entertainment fills the afternoon. From professional traditional bands to jugglers to a round of the Chicken Dance, the family-oriented stage performance is a lot of fun. On the lawn, you’ll find a variety of modern bands entertaining the crowd.

The highlight of the afternoon is the playing of the Alphorns at The Summit. They play at 3 pm, so take the 2 pm or 2:30 pm tram to the top of the mountain.

While admission is free, there is a fee to park. And parking is limited so carpooling is a good idea. Snowbird is cashless so make sure you have a card handy. Snowbird is located in Little Cottonwood Canyon on the East side of Salt Lake City. (Recommended by Ladona, Walking the Parks)

Salt Lake City skyline
Salt Lake City skyline

Salt Lake City in the Fall

Visiting Salt Lake City is one of the best things to do in Utah, if you are looking for spectacular fall colors and proximity to the great outdoors.

Most visitors treat Salt Lake City just as a pit stop on their way to Utah National Parks, however, Utah’s capital deserves more time and attention. 

Salt Lake City boasts plenty of culture and entertainment and the best part is that the city’s downtown is perfectly walkable, so you can enjoy some of the best things to do in Salt Lake City on foot before renting a car to head to places like Park City and Bonneville Salt Flats. 

You can attend a Jazz Utah NBA basketball game, visit the state capitol and the interesting history behind it, or check out the LDS Church Temple Square, you will love your stay in this city.

Another option is to explore the many hikes around the city which can be reached on foot from downtown Salt Lake like Ensign Peak which is just behind the State Capitol Building. 

To experience the best of Salt Lake and the surrounding areas, plan at least three days for your visit. (Recommended by Daria, The Discovery Nut)

People scrambling around Double Arch
Double Arch

Arches National Park in the Fall

Arches National Park is home to some of Utah’s most impressive geology. A variety of rock formations dominate the park’s landscape, but the most spectacular are the arches. These enormous red rock arches seem almost otherworldly and only seeing them in person can truly give a sense of their scale.

Fall is a perfect time to explore Arches National Park. Although the scenic drive at Arches going through the park provides some stunning views, the best way to see the arches is up close.

The hiking trails range from flat and accessible through to advanced routes, and visiting in Fall provides for the best weather to explore those trails. Any visit to Utah or USA road trip should include a day in Arches National Park.

Advanced booking through the National Park Service website is required between April and October, and tickets are on a timed entry basis. Visitors will also need to pay for entry unless they hold a National Parks annual pass. (Recommended by Fiona, Following Fiona)

Bonneville Salt Flats
Bonneville Salt Flats

Bonneville Salt Flats in the Fall

Located just a 90-minute drive from Salt Lake City, Bonneville Salt Flats is a great stop on your Utah road trip, especially during the fall season. 

Driving on the thick crust of salt is an unmatched experience, offering views as far as the eye can see. Get out and walk around to really get a feel for the otherworldly landscape. 

Don’t forget your camera gear, as the views of the flats are nothing short of breathtaking. One unique aspect of this location is taking fun photos with an optical illusion, like the Salt Flats in Bolivia. If you happen to visit while it’s raining, the flats turn into a big mirror, making it a must-see spectacle but you can’t drive on the flat during the rain. 

There aren’t any speed races during fall but you can visit the racing track where vehicles set land speed records of over 450 MPH. 

If you happen to have a tent, sprinter van or RV, camping overnight on Bureau of Land Management (BLM) land near Bonneville Salt Flats, where it’s completely free and very peaceful, is the best part.

So, if you’re looking for places to go in Utah in fall, make sure to put the Bonneville Salt Flats on your list. (Recommended by Jenifer, The Evolista)

Quarry Exhibit Hall at Dinosaur National Monument
Quarry Exhibit Hall

Dinosaur National Monument in the Fall

Dinosaur National Monument is a wonderful place to visit any time of year, but the fall is something special. Leaves change color, the weather is milder, and there are fewer crowds.

If you’re looking for an unforgettable fall adventure, Dinosaur National Monument is one of the best dinosaur sites in Utah.

Visitors can hike, bike, camp, fish, and of course, see dinosaur fossils here. The 210,000-acre park is home to one of the world’s richest concentrations of dinosaur fossils. See and touch 150-million-year-old fossils at the stunning Quarry Exhibit Hall, a highlight of any visit.

On a crisp fall day, walk the 1.2-mile Fossil Discovery Trail. It cuts through layers of rock, exposing fossils in their natural state. The trail is an easy way to imagine paleontologists’ excitement upon discovering the site a century ago.  

To get to the Quarry, make sure you are heading to the Visitor Center in Jensen, Utah. When you arrive, the parking fee is $25 per vehicle without a National Parks Pass.

The Quarry Visitor Center is open year-round, but hours change seasonally. Check the Dinosaur National Monument Visitor Center’s Information Page for the latest schedules. (Recommended by Kris, JJ and the Bug)

Bryce Canyon
View from Bryce Canyon

Bryce Canyon in the Fall

A visit to Bryce Canyon is one of the best things to do in the fall in Utah. It’s a beautiful place to visit for couples or families who enjoy exploring the outdoors through hiking. There are a lot of family-friendly hikes in Bryce Canyon in comparison to some of the more challenging hikes in other Utah state and national parks. 

Aside from the different trails, Bryce Canyon is known for its stunning hoodoo views. The concentrated red rock pillars give the park a unique and breathtaking landscape. 

For explorers not interested in hiking, the Bryce Canyon Visitor Center is a great place to learn about the park. Travelers can also experience the sheer beauty of the park from the comfort of their vehicle on a scenic drive through Bryce Canyon. 

Given its relatively small size, travelers can experience this national park’s highlights in a short time. Visitors can plan for 1-3 days in the park, depending on how much time they want to spend on the trails. A visit to Bryce Canyon in the fall will offer more comfortable circumstances, with crisper weather and fewer crowds than the busy summer season. (Recommended by Candice, CS Ginger)

Canyonlands in the Fall

Canyonlands in the Fall

Looking for one of the best things to do in Utah in the fall? If so then you cannot beat Canyonlands National Park. 

After all, this natural paradise is well-located near Moab and is one of Utah’s legendary Mighty Five. 

It is renowned for its natural beauty and iconic landmarks like Mesa Arch, Shafer Canyon, Green River Overlook, Grand View Point, and more. 

In particular, fall is a perfect time to visit since daytime temperatures tend to be a lot cooler at this time of year. 

However, it can get quite cold in the morning and in the evenings. So, be sure to pack plenty of warm layers for your trip. You can even check out the visitor’s center and take advantage of various ranger-led programs since visitor services aren’t fully reduced yet. 

Additionally, the crowds of summer are gone. So, you can watch the sunrise at Mesa Arch in relative peace as you enjoy all of the very best things to do in Canyonlands during your stay. (Recommended by Meg, Fox in the Forest)

Hiker at Capitol Reef National Park
Capitol Reef National Park view

Capitol Reef Activities in the Fall

Capitol Reef National Park, known for its unique and colorful sandstone formations, should absolutely be on your fall bucket list. The weather will have cooled down from the blistering heat of summer. Plus, while Capitol Reef tends to be one of Utah’s quietest national parks, you’ll get to enjoy the trails with less crowds than the busy summertime. 

Best of all, though, the park is home to several beautiful orchards, ranging from plums and pecans to cherries and nectarines, in its historic pioneer settlement of Fruita. The Latter-Day Saints that settled here planted these trees all the way back in the 1880s and they’ve been flourishing and providing delicious fruits ever since. 

Today, certain orchards are designated as U-Pick when their fruit is ripe, where you can wander through the rows of trees and pluck the fruit of your choosing for a small fee. These fees are used to preserve the historic orchards. Come fall, the apples and pears will be ripe and ready for the picking! 

Picking fruit in the orchard is one of the most popular Bryce Canyon fall activities. Afterwards, be sure to stop in the historic Gifford Homestead for their famed pie and homemade jam! 

If you’re looking to burn some calories after all that sugar, there’s plenty of incredible hiking trails in Capitol Reef. For example, the Cassidy Arch Trail allows you to walk on top of a natural arch, 400 feet above the desert floor below, providing an epic vantage point over the park’s colorful rock formations.

Alternatively, the short and easy hike to the aptly-named Sunset Point is one of the best ways to end your time in the park by watching a spectacular sunset over the desert. (Recommended by Jessica, Uprooted Traveler)

Coyote Gulch in the fall
Coyote Gulch in the fall

Coyote Gulch Backpacking in the Fall

With mild temperatures and less extreme weather, fall makes the perfect time to go backpacking in Utah. Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument in Southern Utah has one of the best backpacking trails in the state: Coyote Gulch.

The easiest and most accessible trailhead for Coyote Gulch is at Hurricane Wash along Hole in the Rock Road, accessed from Scenic Byway 12. Any vehicle with just a bit of ground clearance can make the drive to the trailhead as long as the road is dry.

You will need to pick up a free permit at the Escalante Visitor Center in town and keep your copy on you to show rangers. Also be sure to keep a portable toilet bag on you since you are required to pack out any waste.

From the trailhead to the famed Jacob Hamblin Arch, it is 7 miles one way, but the trail is rather flat so it’s a nice gentle walk. Pack some water shoes or sandals since there are many shallow water crossings along the way. 

You can set up camp right below Jacob Hamblin Arch and walk an extra 1.5 miles to Natural Bridge, another popular feature in Coyote Gulch. Backpacking this trail in November, I had perfect temperatures where I wasn’t too hot during the day, or too cold at night! Plus there were some beautiful yellow leaves down in the canyon.

Reflection Canyon, also along Hole in the Rock Road, also makes for a great fall backpacking trail! (Recommended by Kate, Kate Roams the World)

Little Hollywood Museum in Kanab
Little Hollywood Museum

Kanab Activities in the Fall

Kanab is an excellent destination for a Utah fall vacation. After a scorching summer, you can enjoy the best Kanab outdoor activities in a cooler climate. In September, temperatures range from an average high of 77.7°F to a low of 56.8°F. In October, the daytime temperature in Kanab typically varies from 69°F to 41°F, creating a pleasantly chilly time, perfect for hiking and sightseeing.

Fall is the best time for exploring Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park, where you can hike in the sand without shoes and fear of burning your feet. The park also offers exciting ATV rides. Another thrilling adventure is a hiking, ATV riding, or jeep trip to Peekaboo Slot Canyon, which requires crossing sandy dunes, making fall weather ideal for a visit.

Moreover, Kanab is known as Little Hollywood, as it served as the filming location for many classic Western movies. Legendary actors like John Wayne and Clint Eastwood spent time here and stayed at the historic Parry Lodge in the city center.

The walls of the lodge are adorned with pictures of Hollywood stars. You can explore the Little Hollywood Museum, where you will find dusty and sometimes damaged exhibits from various films, including the walls of banks or saloons from famous Westerns.

Kanarra Creek Hike
Kanarra Creek Hike

Kanarra Falls Hike in the Fall

Kanarra Falls, located near Kanarraville, Utah, is an amazing fall hiking destination to experience the natural wonder of red rock canyons and spectacular waterfalls. The hike over moderate terrain follows the beautiful Kanarra Creek Canyon.

In the fall you will see an amazing spectrum of colors spread across the maples, aspens, and oaks along the trail. The cooler temperatures in autumn make for a pleasant hike in the desert before arriving at the falls. The hike is one of the best canyon adventures in the Southwest.

The trail into Kanarra Falls is 3.8 miles roundtrip. You start along Kanarra Creek, occasionally having to wade through the slow moving waters. Soon you will be at the highlight of the hike as you enter the slot canyon leading to the enchanting Kanarra Falls. There are two cascades to climb up. The first has a ladder to lead you up to the first pool. There you can work your way up the second waterfall and enjoy a leisurely stroll up the rest of the canyon.

Due to the popularity of Kanarra Falls, a permit system limits the number of visitors to 150 per day to ensure the natural beauty of the area. Permits often sell out so reserve early. You can buy them online for $12 each. (Recommended by Karen, Outdoor Adventure Sampler)

Zion National Park
Zion National Park

Zion National Park in the Fall

Zion National Park is one of the best national parks in Utah to visit in the fall. The fall is such a great time to visit this park because the weather starts to cool off and the crowds start to go down.

Zion is an incredibly popular park, so when school is out during the summer the crowds can become unbearable. Visiting in the fall will up your chances of having to wait in long lines to ride the Zion shuttle into the park, and will give you a better chance of getting a reservation to hike Angels Landing. 

Zion is also absolutely gorgeous in the fall when all the cottonwood trees start to change color as well as all the other fall colors. If you’re looking to hike the Narrows while visiting Zion the fall is a great time as the snow melt is just about over then so you won’t run into the Narrows being closed as often as you would in the spring or summer.

Since the crowds are slimmer during this time, you’ll also be able to make reservations at the campgrounds or hotels in nearby Springdale much easier. Many people really like to stay at the Zion Canyon Campground which is walking distance to all the best restaurants near Zion and even walking distance to the park entrance. (Recommended by Jessica, Unearth The Voyage)

Utah Travel Guides & Maps

Utah guides and maps

Where to Stay in Utah

Utah Fall Packing List

Use our Utah Packing Lists to make sure you have the right clothing and gear for visiting in the fall! Grab your free printable packing checklist by clicking the image below!

Utah packing lists for spring summer fall and winter

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