As a product of the Northeast woods, I am not easily impressed with fall in other regions. The Northeast is fall on steroids — we created the “leaf peeper,” after all. I grew up with autumn shades of red, yellow, and orange from maple, elm, oak, ash, hickory, alder, birch, beech…
But I’m not here to brag. In fact, I’m here to tell you that fall in the mountains of Utah is worth a peep (see what I did there?). While not nearly as diverse in foliage as the Northeast, Northern Utah does autumn with its own unique and impressive style. The quaking aspens that sweep across the mountains in their clonal colonies turn slowly golden, low-lying scrub oak flairs fire red, and scattered evergreens provide ever-constant contrast for the show.
But unlike the Northeast, where most people take to the roads in their cars to experience the show, here in Utah, the spectacle is engaged by mountain bike. And fall mountain biking in Utah is the best time to take to the trails.
Cooler fall temperatures in the mountains mean midday rides become not only feasible, but ideal. Trails that spent much of the summer bone dry and dusty, find relief from increased moisture. And on top it all, colorful fall foliage surrounds you.
One of the best places to enjoy fall mountain biking in Utah is from the Round Valley trail system here in Park City. This extensive trail network has rides for all ability levels, and offers expansive views of Deer Valley, Park City Mountain Resort, and Canyons. If you’re in town on one last fall mountain bike vacation, head out to Round Valley with an experienced mountain bike guide who can guarantee that you get the best combination of a fulfilling ride and breathtaking views. If you’re a local, spend the fall riding Round Valley once a week and watch the progression of color spread across the mountains.
For an especially scenic overlook, pedal to the top of the Somewhere Elks mountain bike trail, and look south toward Park City Mountain Resort. With no overgrowth to obstruct your view, this vantage point is impressive to say the least. If you prefer catching your fall foliage on the move, consider the rambling, 14.2 mile Long Round Valley Loop. This intermediate mountain bike ride offers plenty of unique views of the surrounding mountains.
With the trails in ideal condition, the temperatures increasingly ride-friendly, and spectacular fall colors all around, it’s no wonder the excitement for fall mountain biking in Park City is building. It’s a different type of leaf peeping, but autumn on a bike in the mountains is hard to top.
Nate Tomlinson, Content Writer