With more than 1,200 wildfires in Utah this year burning over 383 square miles of land, one might wonder if the only fall colors to see will be some shade of black. As reported Sunday in the Standard-Examiner, there are eight active wildfires currently burning.
I am happy to report that through all the smoke, there are some beautiful fall colors to be seen. Here are some favorite places to view them from an ATV:
Maple Canyon on the Gooseberry Trails
East of Salina past the Gooseberry Road is one of the staging areas for the Gooseberry Trails. The track crosses Salina Creek. If you turn onto the power line road, the trail follows the ridge above Maple Canyon and drops down into it. The colors are made especially pretty here because the reds from the maples mix with the greens of the aspens as they turn to yellow and orange. Mix in the deeper greens of the pines and the array of color is pretty spectacular.
Dry Wash south of Kanosh
While it is not on my map of the Paiute Trails, ride south of Kanosh on the left side of the cemetery and take a left turn at Dry Wash. Much of this track takes you through a canopy of color that is breathtaking. The yellows and oranges of the aspens are especially bright as the morning sun strikes the quaking leaves. This route also features maple trees with hues of magenta and the deep green of the pines.
It is important to note that this trail has a 60-inch restriction, so it is suitable for most ATVs and some UTVs. The trail comes out through Bull Valley and Big Oaks Hollow, where it joins Paiute Trail No. 15. A left turn will take you on a loop back to Kanosh.
Curtis Creek to Randolph
The Curtis Creek Trail head is located about 5 miles east of the snowmobile parking lot at Ant Flat Road in the Monte Cristo Mountains off Highway 39. You can count on color in September on this trail.
It is a fast track through copses of quakies and huge old pine trees. Splashes of color will dot the valleys as you ride the ridge tops making your way north. Coming out at Randolph, you can count on a good burger at Gators before making the trip back to Curtis Creek. The round trip is about 75 miles, but the fast trail makes it an easy day ride.
Tie Fork to Daniel’s Summit
The rest stop at Tie Fork on Highway 6 east of Spanish Fork is the trail head for some beautiful rides in the canyon. Leaving the rest area and turning east a short distance past the railroad tracks will take you through 8 miles of kaleidoscopic color.
It doesn’t stop there.
Take a left at the intersection and make your way north along the Strawberry Ridge to Daniel’s Summit Lodge.
Spend the night and enjoy the ambiance of that charmingly picturesque place. The Lodge Pole Grill will provide a dinner, breakfast and get you back on the trail for the ride back — a great way to revel in a retreat to the mountains.
The Skyline Trail in Davis County
Getting away for a glimpse of the splendor of fall on an ATV is closer than you might think. I like to access the Skyline Trail from the Bountiful B; there seems to be less traffic from there than up the Farmington Canyon Trail.
The trail travels along the top of the west face of the mountain, offering scenic views of Antelope Island and the valley below.
Continuing along the ridge, the track passes above some picturesque ponds and then drops down to a junction. A right turn takes you by the Bountiful Peak Campground and onto the Farmington Flats Trail, which makes a loop connecting with the trail to the radar towers. The color on this trail will not disappoint.
At the southern end of this loop, a trail takes off to the south that will also take care of your need to get away and enjoy the solitude of the mountains. When you go, take plenty of water, keep the rubber side down and don’t forget to take a camera to capture the color.