7 best spots for fall family photos in Utah Valley

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Fall is arguably the most beautiful time of the year in Utah Valley. Multi-colored leaves in vivid shades of red, orange, yellow and green make a stunning backdrop for family pictures. Try these Utah County spots, hand-picked by local photographers, for guaranteed-to-be-gorgeous family photos.

1. Spanish Fork River Trail

(Photo by Robyn Gillespie)

(Photo by Robyn Gillespie)

Fall colors last longer at the Spanish Fork River Trail because of its river-bottom location. “At the end of October is when the color hits there, which is nice because in the lower hills you get the reds and the oranges and all the leaves just go golden,” says Robyn Gillespie, a family photographer in Spanish Fork. Gillespie recommends parking at the Sports Park for the easiest access and then walking the trail until you find a beautiful spot.

2. Big Springs Park

(Photo by Heather Telford)

(Photo by Heather Telford)

This park is a detour from the popular Vivian Park up Provo Canyon, but it’s worth the drive. An open grassy field and nearby hills are ideal for capturing the beauty of fall in the canyon. If you want a more remote location, keep driving past Big Springs until you reach the dirt parking lot at the end of the road. Follow the trail to the top of the hill and you’ll be rewarded with an absolutely gorgeous backdrop, says photographer Heather Telford.

3. Hobble Creek Canyon

(Photo by Robyn Gillespie)

(Photo by Robyn Gillespie)

Jolley’s Ranch up Hobble Creek Canyon is one of the best family photo spots in the valley, but the secret is out. On Saturdays, this location is packed with families so plan your pictures for another day if you want the place to yourself. The big white barn is always a popular backdrop, but Gillespie says she often walks away from the barn (and the crowds) to find a more secluded but still stunning spot for photos.

4. Squaw Peak

(Photo by Heather Telford)

(Photo by Heather Telford)

Squaw Peak has a reputation for its gorgeous view of the valley, but it’s not always regarded as a family-friendly spot. Telford says she loves to take family photos at Squaw Peak, and she’s even found beautiful spots on the side of the road as she drives up. “If you’re seeing something beautiful, pull off the road and do a photo there,” she says. “Often those unique spots turn out the best because you’re judging it by lighting and timing.”

5. Diamond Fork

(Photo by Robyn Gillespie)

(Photo by Robyn Gillespie)

If you want red rocks to go along with the red leaves, try Diamond Fork Canyon. “It’s a different landscape up there,” Gillespie says. “It’s kind of a mini Moab. It has leaves that change colors but because of the red rocks and the red dirt it gives the pictures a different feel.” Red Ledges Picnic Area has an natural arch and weathered redrock formations, plus picturesque fences, so it’s a great place to start.

6. Top of the Nebo Loop

(Photo by Heather Telford)

(Photo by Heather Telford)

If you’ve got older kids that won’t totally meltdown after a long drive, Gillespie recommends making the trek to the top of the Nebo Loop. “There are all the big pine trees and you get the layers of the mountains behind.”

7. American Fork Canyon

(Photo by Heather Telford)

(Photo by Heather Telford)

There are plenty of pretty vistas up American Fork Canyon. Tibble Fork Reservoir is a known local favorite. In fact, Telford says she used to avoid taking clients there because it was too busy, but now she’s scouted out spots near the reservoir that are beautiful but less obvious. “Tibble Fork is always gorgeous and there is enough room for everyone to shoot. It’s not a secluded place where you’d have to wait for other photographers.” The reservoir parking lot is closed now for construction, but you can still enter on foot.

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Natalie Hollingshead is a former magazine editor turned freelance writer and editor. She writes regularly about home, family, food and travel for a handful of publications, and is co-author of the book "Happy Homemaking” (Cedar Fort, 2012) with Elyssa Andrus. A native of Alberta, Canada, Natalie lives in Orem with her husband and their three children.

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