Autumn is the perfect time to take a bike ride. The oppressive summer heat has subsided, and the mountain roads are not yet blocked by snow and ice. The bright fall colors of autumn leaves are the icing on the cake. Make sure you make time for at least one of these beautiful rides this fall.

1. Alpine LoopFall foliage in Utah Mountains

Not for the faint of heart, this scenic byway connects American Fork Canyon with Provo Canyon by practically scaling the backside of Mount Timpanogos. It reaches a peak elevation of nearly 8,000 feet, but the ride is worth the work.

This area is beautiful in any season, but if you make this ride while the leaves are changing, you will be in for a special treat. If you are serious about road biking, this is the perfect way to enjoy autumn’s natural beauty. If you do attempt this ride, remember that Alpine Loop is only open from late May to late October.

2. Bonneville ShorelineBonneville Shoreline Trail in Autumn

If you prefer trails to roads, Utah still has you covered. The Bonneville Shoreline trail runs along the ancient shoreline of the gargantuan lake that once filled the Salt Lake and Utah valleys. The Bonneville Shoreline will eventually run from Idaho to Nephi: over 180 miles, but only about 100 miles currently existing.

The completed segment near Draper offers excellent autumn riding. This segment stretches 7 miles from Hidden Valley Park to the Red Rock Trailhead. If you take this ride in the fall you will enjoy vibrant slopes along with a great ride and spectacular views of the valley.

Leaves on slope changing color

3. Emigration Canyon

If you want a more moderate route for you and your road bike, you can bike up Emigration Canyon in Salt Lake City. The ride starts at the Hogle Zoo and stretches nearly 8 miles to its high point in the mountains. The canyon is brightly colored in the fall; in fact, it is one of the best places to enjoy Utah fall foliage. The ride climbs about 1,300 ft, making it a moderately difficult ride, which even determined beginners can conquer.

4. Big Cottonwood Canyon

Fall foliage at Silver Lake in Big Cottonwood Canyon.

Big Cottonwood is another canyon that transforms in the fall.

This canyon’s ride is considerably harder and longer than Emigration Canyon’s. Big Cottonwood stretches nearly 15 miles one way and gains more than 3,500 feet. You won’t be disappointed if you choose to take on this climb, as the downhill stretch is quite the reward, but it is primarily for experienced cyclists.

5. Hobble Creek Canyon

Paved trail winds through woods.

If you are looking for a much easier ride, but still want to experience the best of autumn’s beauty, Hobble Creek might be the place for you.

A paved bike path starts in Springville and continues 4.5 miles up the canyon, climbing only 350 feet. The whole family can enjoy fall colors on this ride. If you have very inexperienced riders in your party, you can even drive up the canyon and start midway to cut the ride short.

6. Mount Nebo Loop

View from mountain road on foothills.Last, but definitely not least, Mount Nebo Loop is another scenic byway that becomes especially beautiful in the fall. The colors are at their best at the beginning of September because of the high elevation.

Like the Alpine Loop, this ride is best enjoyed by experienced cyclists. The “loop” is 35 miles long and gains nearly 4,000 feet in elevation. It is a great way to appreciate the changing seasons—if you have the fortitude to take it on.



Photo by Rudi Riet via Flickr under Creative Commons License.

Photo by Michlaovic via Wikimedia Commons in the Public Domain.

Photo by utahwildflowers via Flickr under Creative Commons License.

Photo by utahwildflowers via Flickr under Creative Commons License.

Photo by a4gpa via Flickr under Creative Commons License.

Photo by Ken Lund via Flickr under Creative Commons License.