There are few places in the west where it is easier to view fall colors than in Capitol Reef Country. Wayne County, Utah is surrounded by three significant mountain ranges that offer great access for viewing of autumn’s changing leaves. The map below illustrates locations where fall color viewing may be the best. We’ll begin with the paved road areas, and then provide information on some non-paved areas to access via jeep, ATV, horse, hike, or mountain bike.
Scenic Byway 12: From Byway 24 turn south on Scenic Byway 12 and begin your ascent to the summit along the eastern edge of Boulder Mountain. On this drive you quickly are amidst the pines with aspen trees soon to follow. The drive to the summit is approximately 20 minutes, and while the fall color views will astound you, you’ll also be enamored with the views to the east toward the Henry Mountain and across Capitol Reef National Park. Elevation at the summit is over 9,000 feet.
Fish Lake: From Loa go north toward the farm community of Fremont and continue north on Highway 72 to the turn to Mill Meadow Reservoir (about 12 miles). Turn left and follow the loop around to Johnson Valley Reservoir, Fish Lake, and on back to highway 24 and then circle back toward Loa. Near the turn to Mill Meadow (just past and near Forsyth Reservoir) you do have the option of going right up onto Thousand Lakes Mountain (dirt road). (Check out this optional itinerary)
Henry Mountains: You can get up on the Henry Mountains by going south on Notom Road approximately 15 miles and turn east (left – just before Sandy Ranch). Look for signs that will lead you up onto the mountain to Bull Creek Pass. (See this itinerary for more details)
West Boulder Mountain: Venture south from Loa, Lyman or Bicknell on roads that lead to the western edge of the boulder mountains. View this itinerary that leads to this area. Check out this itinerary on the North Slope of Boulder Mountain – accessible from Teasdale – LINK
For more details on trails that lead to these areas – check out our trail itineraries and maps found here.