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Best time for Fall Colors????

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Lakewood, Colorado
posts: 3
Best time for Fall Colors????

We are planning a trip to Park City in October. Trying to decide the best time for color in the area. From what I've read the weekend of Oct 3-6 sounds the best. However, would the next weekend, 10-13, be okay? Or will we miss the color?

11 replies to this topic
Salt Lake City, Utah
Destination Expert
for Utah
posts: 1,267
reviews: 18
1. Re: Best time for Fall Colors????

I would recommend arriving on the earlier date. Last year it snowed in September, above 10,000 feet. Every year is different, however. Temperatures, elevation, type of tree, and abundance of water will effect the specifics. Colors will start changing in mid-September. Usually the maples go first, then the oaks and aspens. I think if you did come out on the later date, there will still be fields of aspens, but many at higher elevations may have already dropped their leaves. It's difficult to predict with certainty though.

Be sure to go over Guardsman's Pass into the Heber Valley and Wasatch State Park. From here, you could take the Alpine Loop on the backside of Mt. Timpanogus and around Sundance Resort. There are some fantastic lookout points and great places for photography.

Lakewood, Colorado
posts: 3
2. Re: Best time for Fall Colors????

Thank you for your response. I was very helpful. And I appreciate the ideas of where to go. Photography is our hobby, so these locations are great to know. Looks like we will go the earlier date. Although now we are wondering if the last weekend in Sept. would be even better? I do realize it is hard to predict.

Salt Lake City, Utah
Destination Expert
for Utah
posts: 12,711
reviews: 85
3. Re: Best time for Fall Colors????

There is no way you can predict. It can swing 2 weeks either way. One thing though is that it doesn't all turn at the same time. So there will most likely be somewhere with color as long as you don't come too early or too late.. I'd pick mid October.

Utah
posts: 80
reviews: 7
4. Re: Best time for Fall Colors????

If you wait until mid Oct, there is a high likelihood that you'll be disappointed. It's just my opinion, but the prettiest time for me is when the maples have turned, but the aspens are still only 1/2 changed. You end up with a mix of brilliant reds and oranges from the maples and a mix of bright yellows and green from the aspens. then of course the deep greens of the evergreens. You also don't risk the maples having dropped their leaves by the time the aspens fully turn.

Keep in mind that there was relatively low snowpack this year. Less water usually means that leaves change and fall earlier.

Re: locations. Too bad you can't come a bit further north into Cache Valley. Cherry Creek Canyon is one of the most stunning places that I've been. Maples, Aspens, and Evergreens covering canyon walls and cliffs made of pink, blue, and purple stone. Gorgeous in the summer, breathtaking in the fall. But you must like to hike.

A little more to the south is an area a little less publicized than the park city area. Curiously, it made top 10 ranked by MSN.com as "Most Scenic Areas for Fall Colors". It is the Upper Ogden Valley including Eden, Huntsville, and Liberty. The name Eden is well deserved.

If you have to stay near Park City and want an incredible scenic drive that doesn't require hiking, there is a drive that starts in Midway and winds over the mountain (highway 224) through Deer Valley resort and ending at Park City Mountain Resort. Obviously, you can take it the other direction too.

Park City, Utah
Destination Expert
for Utah, Travel Gadgets and Gear
posts: 10,205
reviews: 202
5. Re: Best time for Fall Colors????

As noted, varies every year. I'm an avid landscape photographer and spend all fall in the mountains. Last year fall extended quite late actually. Between your two choices, I would opt for the earlier. You could push into September, but I think you'll be fine first weekend in October. Here's a nice image from Guardsman Pass looking east that was taken on Oct. 9 a few years ago.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/34106201@N00/5065548122

Enjoy.

Park City, Utah
Destination Expert
for Utah, Travel Gadgets and Gear
posts: 10,205
reviews: 202
6. Re: Best time for Fall Colors????

Hmmm, maybe this link would work better. Fall color image from Oct. 9 in Guardsman Pass.

www.flickr.com/photos/tkellyphoto/5065548122/

USA
posts: 518
reviews: 6
7. Re: Best time for Fall Colors????

Depends on the year, of course, but I would pick the earlier date. Last year, the maples peaked the third week in Sept, with the aspens peaking a week or so later. Oct 6, they were past peak, but still pretty. Sundance and the Alpine Loop will be much prettier than Park City for fall color. The Alpine Loop is amazing.

Utah
posts: 80
reviews: 7
8. Re: Best time for Fall Colors????

Very nice pic Tembleweedandcactus...

Notice one thing about that pic Natalie W. While it is still a beautiful pic, about half of the trees had already dropped their leaves, and that was only Oct 9. That is why many of us are telling you that late Sept is better. By the time you get to mid Oct. it is usually just the aspens hanging on. It's getting pretty cold in the high mountains by mid Oct.

Lakewood, Colorado
posts: 3
9. Re: Best time for Fall Colors????

Thank you to all for your helpful comments. We are looking forward to our fall trip.

USA
posts: 518
reviews: 6
10. Re: Best time for Fall Colors????

Does anyone know where Cherry Creek Canyon is, which Brettn refers to? I'm always looking for new places for fall color. Thanks.

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