Autumn is the perfect time to visit Bryce Canyon Country with the cool, crisp air, vibrant foliage backed by Utah’s dynamic red rocks and fewer people to share the trails with. Timing is everything and mother nature’s paintbrush reaches its peak at the end of September to mid-October.
See the Colors
From scenic drives to hikes, discover some of the best locations throughout Bryce Canyon Country to see Autumn in its full beauty.
Not only is Scenic Byway 12 Utah’s All-American Highway but it’s also the perfect drive in the fall. Follow along Byway 12 as it leads to Boulder Mountain, the highest timbered plateau in North America at 11,313 feet. With over 50,000 acres of forest bejeweled in fall foliage.
From Scenic Byway 12 near Boulder Mountain, take one of the scenic backcountry roads like Hell’s Backbone for even more colors. Hell’s Backbone Road climbs about halfway up the mountain to Posey Lake, one of 60 lakes that can be found in Boulder Mountain. Follow the route up Boulder Mountain from Escalante and make your way back down the toward Boulder.
The Fall Color Loop is another nickname for Highway 143 — also known as Utah’s Patchwork Parkway. This easily accessible road connects I-15 to Bryce Canyon Country. See the peak color changes around the end of September into the very beginning of October as you drive past Panguitch Lake, Duck Creek Village and Navajo Lake.
Hiking in Bryce Canyon Country most often leads to incredible rock formations, steep canyon walls and hoodoos, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t great hikes that are perfect for the cooler fall weather.
If you’re looking for that great fall foliage while also taking in the iconic Southern Utah experience, Lower Calf Creek Falls in Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument is the place to go. The cooler temperatures make it the perfect trail to visit. At the end of the trail you’ll arrive at the beautiful Calf Creek waterfall. Bring a picnic along and enjoy a fall day at Lower Calf Creek Falls. For more ways to enjoy Autumn in the Grand Staircase-Escalante area read The Grand Staircase in Fall.
Red Canyon is nicknamed the miniature Bryce Canyon National Park for its red spires and hoodoos. Just outside of Bryce Canyon National Park, Red Canyon has multiple trails that are great for the fall, especially for mountain biking. Try trails like Thunder Mountain or the Losee Canyon Trail for great rides with scenic views along the way.
While inside Bryce Canyon National Park you won’t see as much of the autumn leaves turning, the red-rock hoodoos are still well worth a hike through. The cooler temperatures and fewer crowds make it the ideal time to explore Bryce Canyon’s many trails.
Fishing is a fall-favorite activity in Bryce Canyon Country. Places like Panguitch Lake and Boulder Mountain are filled with trout. Boulder Mountain’s 60 plus lakes all offer great fishing spots. Whether it’s Posey Lake near Hell’s Backbone trail or Blind Lake, the largest lake up Boulder Mountain, you’ll find a peaceful spot to cast your reel. Add in the alpine forests surrounding the lakes and it’s a perfect haven to spenda beautiful fall day out on the lake.
Wanting to start planning your fall trip to Bryce Canyon Country? Check out Bryce Canyon Country Fall Vacation Planning in Five Tips to help you get started on your trip. If the season, cooler temperatures and beautiful views aren’t enough to convince you, maybe the cheaper lodging that comes with the season will.