September marks the beginning of autumn. In the high-elevation parts of Southern Utah the leaves have already begun to change color. If you’re anything like us, at the Lodge at Red River Ranch, you love to get outdoors and admire the spectacular fall colors. These are the three best places (in our opinion, of course) to go in Southern Utah if you want to see the changing leaves.
Fish Lake and Johnson Reservoir – these lakes are located in the Fishlake National Forest. The scenic drive that connects the lakes loops back to highway 24, so you don’t have to backtrack. This route allows travelers to admire the bright yellow, red, and orange aspen trees and gives them the chance to get out and stretch their legs. They can skip stones in Fish Lake, hike a few trails, or have a picnic. If you want to take a weekend trip to Fishlake National Forest (which we at the Lodge always recommend) make sure to bring your fishing gear. In addition to having great fall foliage, Fish Lake and Johnson Reservoir have some of the best fishing in the state.
Cedar Canyon – this is the narrow winding canyon in Dixie National Forest that connects the town of Cedar City to Cedar Breaks National Monument. The drive up the canyon is exhilarating in its own rite, but with the fall colors bursting in and around the granite rock formations, it becomes even better. And at the top of the canyon you can check out the wonders of Cedar Breaks – nicknamed “little Bryce” for its striking similarities to the national park.
Frutia and Notom – these are the two settlements inside Capitol Reef National Park, one of which is no longer inhabited (unless you count tourists.) And while the desert scenery of Capitol Reef may not be at first be associated with the changing leaves, that’s only because the more famous aspects of the park overshadow the fall colors. If you drive through from Frutia to Notom, we think you’ll understand what we mean.