There is No Mistaking Fall in Park City

Fall is officially here. But if you are in Park City this week, you don’t need an announcement: all you have to do is open your eyes. No matter where you look, fall colors greet you. Coming from Northern California where colors constituted a few liquid amber trees, the change here is quite a shock. In fact, the other day I literally almost ran off the road looking at the trees.

For the safety of drivers in the area, my loyal companion Ginger, yellow lab, age 5, and I set out to thoroughly soak in the colors on some hiking trails around Park City. Well, to be honest she was actually more interested in the smells and sticks. Here’s what we did:

The Rail Trail – super easy to get to, a mellow hike and colors galore. Brenda, at the Gazebo hair salon (who has this amazing view) told me the best place to park in their lot at Prospector Square or across the street and pick up the trailhead there. The mountain is all colors – yellow from the aspen trees and bright reds mixed in with ambers from the shrubs. It’s probably going to look even better by the time this blog posts since the aspens will have turned by then.

Spiro Trail above Park City Municipal Golf Course at Silver Star complex. We walked through what seemed like a sea of pink leaves on the trail. I’d never seen anything like it in my life.

Even though the trail says it is for uphill mountain bikers only, there were quite a few that rode downhill and who could blame them? On either side of the trail were pink and red colors -stunningly beautiful. I kept Ginger on a short leash as quite a few bikes flew past us.

Guardsman’s Pass – just above Deer Valley and the Montage on highway 224. We planned on a hike but it was chilly and windy at the top of the trailhead so we got out, took some photos and enjoyed the beauty but wimped out on the hiking part. We drove instead (carefully with no rubber necking) over Guardsman’s pass toward Midway. We stopped a few times in order to get out and walk through bright yellow aspen groves. Ginger enjoyed finding sticks and dropping them in front of me to throw for her.

There were quite a few families with photographers on the right side of the road in an aspen grove. So we parked and got out to check it out and follow their lead. When I got home and looked at the simple amateur photos we took, I can see why they picked the spot. Check out the one of Ginger and me with her anticipating the throw.

If you want to try your hand at the photography, the spot was on the right side of Guardsman’s road going towards Midway -there is a sign that reads “Wasatch Golf Course 6 miles – Wasatch Campground 5 miles.” When you see the sign, park and take the trail to the left through the meadow. The photographers were shooting in aspen grove there on the right side of the trail. If you go this weekend, I’ll bet it is even better. I am sure any grove will have the same effect but hey, if the pros are shooting at that spot there must be a reason!

Last year, I was out of town in early fall and missed the full effect of the foliage change so this is officially my rookie year and I am loving it. I wonder if old time Park City residents take this for granted similar to Southern California residents who live a short drive from the beach and never go. A friend of mine lives in near Manhattan Beach and has never swum in the ocean! I certainly hope I never take the beauty for granted living in a mountain paradise.

The only thing more exciting than the changing of colors is what it brings– winter and with it the snow fall and of, course, opening day of Deer Valley Resort. I have my pass, did you get yours yet?

For more beautiful fall colors, fellow blogger JF Lanvers, put together a video of DV’s gorgeous neon green and yellow aspens and brilliant red and orange leaves.