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It’s time to fall into fall. Splashes of color highlight Utah’s mountains as the temperatures start to drop. As the sweater weather settles in, Utah’s fall festivities kick into full gear for the season.
Whether day-tripping or looking to rent a car, these sites are worth the short drive out of Salt Lake City.
WitchFest Gardner Village
Double, double toil and trouble picks up at Gardner Village in the autumn. Grab your witches broom and fly in to this quaint village where witches decorate the walkway. Plus, search for 15 of these cackling cuties with the “Which Witch Scavenger Hunt.” But you better come quickly — this spellbinding gathering only happens from Sept. 16 through Oct. 31.
Distance from Salt Lake: 13 miles
Address: 1100 West 7800 South, West Jordan, Utah
Loveland Living Planet Aquarium
If you need a break from the crisp autumn air, fish around for entertainment at the Loveland Living Planet Aquarium. With penguin feedings, animal meet and greets and shark talk, the warmer climate will be both educational and a welcome change to Utah’s outdoors.
Distance from Salt Lake: 18 miles
Address: 12033 Lone Peak Pkwy, Draper, Utah
Cost: $14.95 for children; $19.95 for adults
Heber Valley Railroad
All aboard! Throughout the month, Heber Valley Railroad has a variety of themed train rides: the Pumpkin Train, Rock-N-Roll Train, Wizarding Train and Cowboy Train. The Pumpkin Train takes riders to a pumpkin patch where they pick their own pumpkin to bring home.
Distance from Salt Lake: 47 miles
Address: 450 South 600 West, Heber City, Utah
Cost: Prices vary
Fore! Work on your virtual swing at Salt Lake’s newest attraction Top Golf. This virtual version of the game has you rent a “bay,” the virtual version of a bowling lane. Swinging at micro-chipped golf balls, compete with up to six people in one bay to bring the outdoor sport indoors on a chilly fall day.
Distance from Salt Lake: 12 miles
Address: 920 Jordan River Blvd, Midvale, Utah
Cost: $25–$45 per hour
This is the Place Heritage Park
Take Utah’s time machine and travel back to Utah’s beginnings. Walk through town (or take a pony ride) on a tour of the Savage Livery Stable or try one of the self-guided tours at the Pratt Observatory, Fairbanks Home, Hooper & Eldredge Bank, Godbe-Pitts Drugstore, Dinwoodey Cabinet Shop, Snelgrove Boot Shop, and the Telegraph Office. During October, Heritage Park transforms into a Halloween villa for Little Haunts on Saturdays. Put on your costume and visit the Story Telling Witch and go trick-or-treating on these Halloween-themed days.
Distance from Salt Lake: 5 miles
Address: 2601 E. Sunnyside Ave., Salt Lake, Utah
Cost: $6.95–$12.95 for adults; $3.95–$8.95 for children (depending on day)
The Leonardo newest exhibit will have art enthusiasts and scientists alike turning heads. “Perception: The Illusion of Reality” explores the human brain and how people perceive the world through three senses: touch, hearing and sight.
Address: 209 East 500 South, Salt Lake City, Utah
Cost: $12.95 for adults; $8.95 for children
It’s harvest time. With produce falling off the trees and coming straight out of the ground, the abundance of farmer’s markets will have a fresh, sweet treat for your table that night. See a list of local farmer’s markets here.
Live your Olympic dreams in these outdoor adventures simplified for the everyday human. Take an hour-long tour around Olympic Park to learn more about the training facility and hear stories of Olympians’ accomplishments. Then try one of the adventures from extreme tubing to freestyle ziplining to one of the ropes courses. The outdoor adventures are only open on the weekends in the fall, so plan accordingly.
Distance from Salt Lake: 28 miles
Address: 3419 Olympic Parkway, Park City, Utah
Meet some of Utah’s biggest “celebirdies” at the Tracy Aviary. These non-native Utah birds find warmth in their birdie sanctuary. Enjoy bird shows, bird walks or roam around on your own to meet the flying friends.
Address: 589 East 1300 South, Salt Lake City, Utah
Cost: $7.95 for children; $11.95 for adults
Take a Hike
Fall foliage demands attention along Utah’s mountainside. Big Cottonwood Canyon provides a variety of hikes — both short or long — through the transforming leaves with splashes of yellows, reds and oranges.
Distance from Salt Lake: 17 miles
Address: Big Cottonwood Canyon
Corner Canyon Trail – Mountain Biking
Looking for a different mode of transportation? Corner Canyon Trail in Draper switches hiking for mountain biking for a different fall outdoor experience. There are multiple trails for riding. A popular loop includes Corner Canyon and Creekview Trails combined for a 2.5-mile ride.
Distance from Salt Lake: 21 miles
Address: Draper, Utah