Fall Happenings - Utah's Best Autumn Activities

By Local Lexi Oct 3, 2020
An action-packed list of fall-friendly activities in Utah is sure to keep skiers and snowboarders amused until the flakes decide to stick around.
Fall Happenings - Utah's Best Autumn Activities

The scent of fall is a harbinger of cooler times ahead for skiers and snowboarders. Hate it or love it, the pumpkin spiced latte is here to stay for a bit...

While we’ve already witnessed first snowfall at a number of locations in Utah, there are a few lingering weeks to enjoy the transition times. Before the flakes begin stacking up to stay, consider tapping into a few of our favorite fall activities.


Each Wednesday afternoon at 3:45 PM, the Ogden Nature Center hosts a themed naturalist experience for kids and adults. The talks and presentations switch each week and guests can come learn about diverse topics like Nature’s Timekeepers, Mammal Mania, and Salamander Secrets. The Ogden Nature Center is a 152-acre nature preserve that encompasses over 1.5 miles of graded walking trails. The preserve offers phenomenal bird watching, with a number of ponds and 149 observed bird species. Fall is a great time to witness migratory birds or watch hawks and raptors hunt. If you need a heady dose of Vitamin N, this is a lovely place to unwind, enjoy a walk, or birdwatch Monday-Saturday. 


I haven’t been to the Redwood Drive-In Theatre since high school, but if there was ever a place to recapture the nostalgia of catching a flick on the silver screen, this is the spot. Pack plenty of sleeping bags, pillows, and blankets, and fill a thermos with a warm beverage. The drive-in screens old classics and new releases and you can expect to find a few more options in the horror genre as Halloween approaches. Rolling up to the drive-in is also a budget friendly option; far cheaper than your standard movie theatre ticket prices. Tickets for kids aged 5-9 will only set you back $1! If you’re missing live music in the age of COVID-19, the drive-in also hosts exclusive concert screenings on occasion. 

Visit their website for details and a current schedule.


For a spooky night out at Sundance Mountain Resort, catch a lap on their haunted Halloween Lift Rides. Ride up Ray’s Lift for a fun evening with family or a romantic autumn date night. The crisp, cool, air and the changing leaves lend a festive atmosphere to the 45-60-minute haunted lift experience. Grab a delicious meal, takeout food, or a warm drink afterwards. Bring blankets and toasty jackets to fend off the chill as you float through the haunted autumn air. Reservations are required and discounts are available for season passholders.

Halloween Lift Rides 4jpg

If spooky isn’t your scene, consider a guided horseback ride amid the spectacular fall scenery surrounding Sundance. There’s something special about melding the earthy scents of fall and horses on a colorful trail ride. Sundance also offers fly fishing lessons and a ton of neat art classes out of the Sundance Art Studio. For a peep at my day skiing and slinging pottery at Sundance - click here


In American Fork near the shores of Utah Lake, a terrifying experience awaits those brave enough to face The Haunted Forest. This outdoor activity allows patrons to navigate real trails through groves of trees, actual swamps, mine shafts and more. Since 1990 the Haunted Forest has been considered one of the most successful Scream Parks in the nation and was voted Best of Utah in 2019. Trained actors, animatronics, and themed sets will scare the jeepers out of anyone brave enough to step up. The level of fear tends to be more intense in a forest setting outdoors when compared to an indoor attraction, so prepare for a completely different type of freak out!
At over 1,000,000 square feet in size, guests will have no problem spreading out and maintaining distance to adhere to current public health concerns around COVID-19 transmission while visiting The Haunted Forest. The scream park will monitor and follow all guidelines from the Utah County Health Department. Sanitation stations have been added and online ticketing has been made available. 

Guests are expected to maintain social distancing while on the property. 


Step back in time to a simpler and more pastoral era on Wheeler Farm, a National Historic Registry site in Salt Lake County. This 75-acre farm includes a park, trails, woods, and a working farm with all the classic players: horses, cows, chickens, turkeys, goats, sheep, peacocks, and more. This public park is operated by Salt Lake County Parks & Recreation and admission is free!  The farm hosts a weekly farmer’s market on Sundays with fresh local produce. 

Pumpkin patch lovers shouldn’t skip Pumpkin Days, which runs September 25 through October 31, 2020. With extended hours and festive decor, Pumpkin Days makes for a great atmosphere to catch the sunset and savor the shorter autumn days. Note that there is an admission cost for Pumpkin Days that includes access to the Play Zone, Hay Maze, Cow Train, and wagon rides. Access to the pumpkin patch is included, however, the cost of purchasing a pumpkin is not. Pumpkins range in price from $2-20. 


Utah’s scenery is unmatched and with a plethora of public land and open space, there is no shortage of worthy options for autumn hikes or scenic drives. Most civilizations in Utah aren’t far from a National Forest, State Park, or National Park. As such, there is no excuse to skip getting out and soaking up the fleeting show of colorful fall foliage. Ski Utah has compiled a bunch of resources on this very subject, so check out some of the links below.

For spectacular fall hikes near Salt Lake City, click here. For some sunset hike ideas, click here. Since nightfall descends earlier each evening, we’ve also got a handy stargazing guide should you find yourself out in the dark, click here. If you’re heading out on the trails, don’t forget to peruse our mountain manners guide so everyone has a grand time in the outdoors—click here.

Our scenic fall drives article is packed with road trip ideas in addition to some Utah classics we all love and knowclick hereThe fall foliage and vantage points from these drives won’t disappoint when conditions are favorable for leaf-peeping. 


Sometimes the transition to cooler temps can be tough and the need to beat the chill is necessary. For an utterly relaxing day in the Park City area, take a load off at The Spa at Stein Eriksen Lodge near Deer Valley Resort's Silver Lake base area. Having earned Utah’s only Forbes Five-Star Hotel & Spa distinction, guests are in for total indulgence and relaxation. Choose between a Himalayan Salt Stone Massage or a CDB Massage. For those on a budget, know that many spas in the Park City area will offer discounts and specials during the slower shoulder season, so it may be worth exploring your options throughout town.