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Head to Flaming Gorge to see Utah’s beautiful autumn scenery in a less-crowded setting

SHARE Head to Flaming Gorge to see Utah’s beautiful autumn scenery in a less-crowded setting


Utah’s landscapes are as diverse as they are beautiful, and Flaming Gorge is no exception — especially during the fall months of September, October, and November. A low-key alternative to more crowded Utah sites, Flaming Gorge is an underrated gem for taking in Utah’s fall beauty. 

Named during John Wesley Powell’s 1869 expedition when his crew saw the sun’s radiance glancing off the red buttes high above the Green River below, Flaming Gorge is named after, and known for, its natural beauty. 

While an enjoyable visit at any time of the year, Flaming Gorge offers a quiet respite in the fall for those looking to take in fall colors without the bustle of big crowds. 

Here are three of the best spots in Flaming Gorge to see stunning fall leaves. 

Sheep Creek Geologic Loop

The Sheep Creek Geologic Loop is one of the best drives and scenic views in Utah. Winding through the dramatic geologic formations of the Sheep Creek National Geologic Area, visually striking and colorful sites are plentiful, including exposed views of the Uinta Fault and its many layers of twisted, tortured rock.

The Sheep Creek Geologic Loop is a beautiful way to see stunning fall colors, geologic landmarks, and the other natural wonders of the high Uinta Mountains. 

Beginning about five miles south of Manila, this scenic route and its 13 miles of epic scenery are worth taking an hour or two — or a few days — to explore the surroundings.

For more information on the Sheep Creek Geologic Loop, click here


Flaming Gorge

Dowd Mountain Overlook

If you’re looking for one of the quietest, most secluded, and beautiful overlooks in the state, Dowd Mountain Overlook will not disappoint — especially during the fall months. 

Located at the end of an eight-mile gravel road about 12 miles south of Manila, this peaceful overlook showcases impressive views ranging from the Uinta mountain foothills to the high desert plains of Wyoming. 

Feel like staying a while? Picnic tables and restrooms are available, making for a great lunch spot or just a place to sit reverently while enjoying the beautiful fall colors. While not surrounded by the standard deciduous trees, there is enough variety in the panoramic views to satisfy any fall color enthusiast. 

For more information on the Dowd Mountain Overlook, click here.

Spirit Lake Scenic Backway

A 17-mile side detour from the Sheep Creek Geological Loop, the Spirit Lake Scenic Backway is an awe-inspiring graded dirt road that will take you through pine and aspen forests full of beautiful fall colors. 

If you’re feeling extra adventurous, you can take any of the various side roads along the way to several scenic mountain lakes and trails full of their breathtaking fall leaves. Ending at 10,028 feet at Spirit Lake, and with the backdrop of the High Uintas in the fall, the long drive will be worth it as the memories made here will last forever.

For more information on the Spirit Lake Scenic Byway, click here

Utah has no shortage of beautiful sites for fall foliage, and Flaming Gorge is among the most underrated. With its stunning, diverse landscapes, varied topography, and colors, Flaming Gorge is one of the great hidden gems of Utah. 

Visit Flaming Gorge today for your next quiet getaway, and visit their website here