The 7 best, beautiful, favorite fall hikes in Utah

12 October 2021

The fall is when I love to get out and hike. The temperatures are usually perfect, the leaves are changing, and I feel an urge to see as much as possible before snow flies! So grab your favorite hiking buddy and hike away.

Lake Blanche in Big Cottonwood Canyon: about 7 miles roundtrip. Pretty steady incline throughout but lots of good places to stop. Beautiful views and lake at the top. Length: about 5 hours in perfect 70 degree weather with a long lunch at the top. Difficulty rating: 7/10

* Provo River Trail at Bridal Veil Falls: you can go as long as you want on this trail and it is a 1/10 difficulty -- flat, paved and beautiful throughout. ♥ Perfect to bring a stroller to run/walk on or to bring lunch to the picnic tables. We put Bridal Veil Picnic area into Google maps to get to the parking lot.

* Squaw Peak in Rock Canyon: 7 miles round trip. This is a favorite hike in the spring or fall. I was expecting a rocky, exposed trail but it is actually shaded for most of it. The incline is pretty steep and persistent throughout. A great workout with killer 360 degree views at the top. Difficulty 7.5-8/10

* Bells Canyon Falls in Little Cottonwood Canyon: 4.6 miles Go left when you get to the reservoir and you'll see the signs to get to the falls. Lots of rocks and really steep for the last half mile or so but those rocks and the falls at the end are worth it! A mix of pine and shade trees throughout. It took about 3 hours total for us. Difficulty rating: 6/10 

* Maple Mountain (Spanish Fork Peak) Goodness, this one is hard! We've done it 3 times now and I feel myself getting older and slower with each one. The lake/pond has been dried up when we've gone in September, I think I prefer this one in June. It's SO green and lush. I have not hiked Timp yet (on the list for sure!) and my 4 kids that have done both think Maple Mountain is harder. I clocked 12 miles total from the campground to the Summit and back. It took us 7.5 hours and these boys were hiking pretty fast and I was trying to keep up as the adult supervision (ha!) Difficulty: 9.5/10

* Horsetail Falls Trail: 4.5 miles -- another beautiful falls trail! This one reminded me of Bells Canyon except this one is in Utah County in Alpine. It has some steep parts but nothing too crazy and also has beautiful views of the valley. It took us about 2.5 hours with a lunch break at the falls. 

* Primrose Overlook via Horse Flat Trail above Sundance: this is one of our family favorites! Gorgeous views of the valley and Mt. Timpanogas, it doesn't take all day, and isn't as crowded as Stewart Falls.
It has some steep parts but then it levels out for a rest with a pretty steep part at the end right before going out on the overlook. Put Horse Flat Trailhead into Google Maps to get there and if you go at peak fall season (usually about last week in Sept-first week Oct) you will get the splendor of the Alpine Loop. So, so beautiful in the fall. Exactly 2 miles to the overlook and 2 miles back on my watch. It took 1.5 - 2 hours at a fast pace or I would plan 2-3 hours with family or kids. If you can hike the Y you can do this hike -- promise. Don't forget to bring $6 cash for the envelopes at the parking lot!

When you get to the top of the really steep part it looks like there are two trails but just stay left to go out to the overlook. We went up one time and had to backtrack back down.

* if you're feeling adventurous you'll see a trail in one of the meadows (can you see it behind them?)^^ and you can follow it (it's actually Lame Horse trail and it will give you a different route with lots of foliage and greenery back to the parking lot if you go left at the fork or you can take it down to Aspen Grove. I had reception and GPS the whole time so I could see where we were.

Thanks for coming along! Hopefully there will be many more to share in the future! If you want more ideas here are some more family friendly hikes and outings in Utah. Happy exploring!

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