Autumn in Ogden


UTAH’S SCENIC OGDEN VALLY FALL COLOR TOUR

360◦ of Autumn Splendor

(Eden, UT) MSN.com rated the Upper Ogden Valley one of the 10 Most Scenic Areas for Fall Colors, a very worthy accolade. The Ogden Valley actually lies up canyon from the city of Ogden, and includes the mountain hamlets of Eden, Huntsville and Liberty that collectively sit at an elevation equal to Denver. The centerpiece of the valley is Pineview Reservoir with mountain peaks rising over 9,700 feet encircling the pastoral setting.

Fall foliage is best enjoyed between mid-September and mid-October, when the blazing orange and brilliant yellow leaves of the maples, oaks and aspens are juxtaposed against the steep quartzite and sandstone cliffs that line Ogden Canyon. Known as the Ogden River Scenic Byway, this route meanders through 44 miles of rolling mountains, passing Pineview Reservoir and numerous charming rural communities. Most leaf peepers will simply grab their binoculars and hop in the car for a relaxing drive, but there are multitudes of ways to take in Mother Nature’s most spectacular display of the year.

BY AUTO

Begin the journey at the mouth of Ogden Canyon on 12th St. in Ogden at The Greenery Restaurant for a world famous Mormon Muffin, then tour the Olympic Pin and Memorabilia Museum in the adjoining Planet Rainbow. Drive up Ogden Canyon (12th St.), where a dramatic 200 foot waterfall cascades into the Ogden River on the left side of the road. This scenic eight mile canyon is narrow and windy on pavement, but the steep canyon walls widen to high mountain bowls with evergreens, oaks and maples contrasting against the gray granite and red rock walls. The Canyon opens up by the spillway of Pineview Reservoir to a broad panorama of the Upper Ogden Valley.

SHORT TOUR – approximately 25 miles

Those pressed for time can turn south on Route 167 about 4 miles past the Pineview Reservoir spillway, following the signs over Trappers Loop towards Snowbasin Resort. The gently rolling hillsides flanking this wide open road almost appear to be hand groomed, offering views many liken to Julie Andrews’ favorite hillside in the movie The Sound of Music. Take a side jaunt to Snowbasin Resort and stop into Earl’s Lodge at Snowbasin Resort for a sumptuous lunch or take a scenic gondola ride to the summit for hikes of any duration. Getting back onto Rte.167, continue southbound where the windshield will be filled with the glory of the Wilderness Range (as it is known locally) whose scraggy north facing slopes offer a stunning contrast of evergreens surrounded by oaks and maples. At the base of Rte. 167, turn west (right) on the frontage route to I-84 and continue through Weber Canyon, which offers the contrast of the river way notched through wide open canyon walls. Interstate routes are easily market and the canyon’s mouth.

LEISURELY TOUR – About 4 hours

From the top of Ogden Canyon, proceed along the shores of Pineview Reservoir on Highway 39 until it makes a sharp right turn half way around the lake, just opposite the turnoff to historic Huntsville Town Square. Follow the signs to Monte Cristo, which is about 18 miles up the road. Two optional side trips are a quick jaunt to the Holy Trinity Abbey, Utah’s first Monastery, whose turnoff is about two miles up the road, or take the turn to Causey Reservoir at Red Rock Ranch at the eight mile marker. Hwy. 39 will continue its upward ascent to the peak at Monte Cristo, which sits at 9,000 feet in elevation. From here, it’s possible to see 80 miles into Wyoming and the high Uinta Mountain Range. There’s ample parking and trails meander every which way, inviting hikes of whatever duration to un-kink the legs. The town of Woodruff is about 20 miles on the downhill side, and Highway 16 leads to Evanston Wyoming. From there, Interstate 80 paves the westward route home. If you have a full day, turn east onto Route 16 to Bear Lake and Logan Scenic Byway.

FOUR WHEELING PARADISE

Off-road vehicles sales have exploded over the past few years. With improvements in the safety of the vehicles, many have found it to be an easy and fuel friendly way to wander into the forests for an up close view of nature. There is plenty of terrain to explore but there are other options if you don’t currently own an off road vehicle.

Powder Mountain is kicking off a new guided ATV tour just in time for fall. The open air ATV has been custom designed to climb the resort’s steep slopes and comfortably crawl over the rocks on the mountain peaks. Up to eight passengers can ride together to enjoy their thousands of acres of trees, streams, ponds and views of four states. Club Rec in Eden rents ATV’s as well as watercraft.

The Upper Ogden Valley offers two unique playgrounds that offer miles and miles of dirt roads surrounded by Aspens, Maples and broad mountain vistas:

  1. EDEN TO PARADISE

It sounds almost too good to be true, but this venture over the Avon Pass can fill a whole day with fun. Come into Eden via Highway 158 over the spillway at Pineview Reservoir. At the four-way stop in Eden, turn left on Route 166. At the first stop sign, turn left and take the next right onto 3300 North, traveling about 3 miles until the pavement ends, terminating at a well worn dirt road with steep switchbacks rising to a wide open plateau along the Weber/Cache County line. The dirt road continues north for about 12 miles along the Avon Pass and drops into the bucolic towns of Avon and Paradise; however the flat top offers endless side trips via trails spurring off in all directions that are very worthy of exploration. The backside of James Peak, Powder Mountain Resorts’ highest mountaintop, is typically ablaze with deep magentas and almost translucent gold aspen leaves.

  1. MONTE CRISTO

From the eastern shore of Pineview Reservoir take Highway 39 to Monte Cristo, a wide open mountain bluff at 9,000 feet in elevation. From here, vistas broaden and it’s possible to see 80 miles into Wyoming and the high Uinta Mountain Range. Ample parking is available at the summit, with over 180 miles trails and roads going off in both directions. While they are fairly well marked, travelers are cautioned to carry a GPS to mark the point of departure and stay on marked trails. This is a delightful way to experience the splendor of autumn up close and personal.

FROM THE AIR

There are a number of ways to get a bird’s eye view of the autumn display.

  • Hot Air Ballooning - www.wolfcreekresort.com/adventures/hot-air.html
  • Scenic Chairlift Rides – Both Wolf Creek and Snowbasin allow guests to ride the lifts outside of ski season. The mountain peaks offer the best vantage point and the lifts certainly are the easiest way to the top. If want to work off some energy, plan your return to the bottom either with an invigorating hike or an exciting ride on a mountain bike. www.snowbasin.com or www.wolfmountaineden.com

AUTUMN EVENTS ON THE OGDEN VALLEY

Snowbasin hosts a Seafood Buffet every Friday evening through October from 5 - 9 p.m. for $45 per person. Reservations required. Call (801) 620-1000 or www.snowbasin.com.

Saturday, September 13 – Sixth Annual Ogden Valley Triathlon & Taste of Ogden Valley. Swim Pineview, bike and run through Eden and Huntsville. 7:45 a.m. Start – booths and fun for the whole family. www.ogdenvalleytriathlon.com.

September 20: A Celebration of Pathways: Ogden Valley Pathway’s fun filled annual fundraiser is hosted by Snowbasin Resort. Enjoy the trails, autumn colors, mountain and friends. Organized activities for hikers, mountain bikers, walkers, bird watchers, naturalists, road bikers, equestrians and anyone who enjoys the outdoors! For tickets call at (801) 920-3426.

September 20: Snowbasin’s Around the World Chef Series: An evening of international cuisine. This week's theme is "A Night in Hawaii." Live entertainment provided by Kekau Arakaki. Needles Lodge. $45 pp including gondola ride. (801) 620-1000 or www.snowbasin.com.

September 20: Group hike with Weber Pathways at Green Pond. Meet at the Green Pond Trailhead for a hike to Green Pond, Snowbasin, and Maples, about 10 miles round trip. Difficulty level is difficult. www.weberpathways.org.

Sunday, September 21: Snowbasin’s Sunday Concert Series featuring The Kap Brothers Band. Music from 3:00 – 6:00 p.m., BBQ from 11 am – 5:00 pm. Concert is free. (801) 620-1000 or www.snowbasin.com.

September 27 – Harvest Moon and Mountain to Metro: This event starts off in the Ogden Valley with multiple races, raging kayaking on the Ogden River with high flow, and an all day party in downtown Ogden. www.goalfoundation.com

September 27: Snowbasin’s Around the World Chef Series: An evening of international cuisine. This week's theme is "A Night in Portugal." Needles Lodge. (801) 620-1000 or www.snowbasin.com.

Sunday, September 28: Snowbasin’s Sunday Concert Series. Featuring with the German Polka music of Dick Skillicorn's German Polka Band. Music from 3:00 – 6:00 p.m., BBQ from 11 am – 5:00 pm. Concert is free. (801) 620-1000 or www.snowbasin.com.

Sunday, September 28 Mountain Outdoor Program - Circle of Cirques Class. Snowbasin Resort. Learn Orienteering/Geocaching, Disc Golf, Mountain Biking, Cross Country, Freeriding, Mountaineering, Hiking, Glacier/Snow Travel, Rock Climbing Techniques, Peak Bagging and Rappelling. Our programs are designed to help people develop and practice the skills they need to live, travel and play in the outdoors. Adventure services include Guided Bike Tours, Naturalist Guides, Beyond Trails Guides, Bike Rentals, Shuttle Service, Overnight Outdoor Adventure and Overnight Camps. Box lunches are also available by ordering the night before. Group and corporate rates available. Starting at 1 p.m. (801) 620-1000 or www.snowbasin.com.

October 4: Snowbasin’s Around the World Chef Series: An evening of international cuisine. This week's theme is "A Night in South East Asia." Live entertainment provided by Savannah Burton. Needles Lodge. $45 pp including gondola ride. (801) 620-1000 or www.snowbasin.com.

Sunday, October 5: Snowbasin’s Sunday Concert Series featuring The Kap Brothers Band. Music from 3:00 – 6:00 p.m., BBQ from 11 am – 5:00 pm. Concert is free. (801) 620-1000 or www.snowbasin.com.

October 13: Rainbow Gardens Halloween Harvest Food Festival. Located at the mouth of Ogden Canyon, Rainbow Gardens’ free feast of Utah's best. Sample a wide variety of new holiday treats from 11:00 AM to 5:00 PM. www.rainbowgardens.com.

Carvers Cove Art Fair October 17 – 19: Now in its 20th year, this wonderful local fair includes over 50 crafts people from throughout the area offering baked goods, crafts and a bit of history. Carvers Cove is located at 2329 N 5025 E Eden, on Hwy 158 just south of the “4 way” stop in Eden. www.carverscove.com

October 25: Howlfest & Chili Cook-off at Wolf Mountain: All day fun to celebrate the upcoming ski season – Official Chili cook-off and tasting, live music, pumpkin contest, pumpkin launch and early season pass pricing. (801) 745-3511 or www.wolfmountaineden.com

Mid-November: Ski resorts open, weather permitting, usually before Thanksgiving.

Powder Mountain www.powdermountain.com or (801) 745-3772;

Snowbasin Resort www.snowbasin.com or (801) 620-1000;

Wolf Mountain www.wolfmountaineden.com or (801) 745-3511.

Information on lodging, recreation and dining options in Ogden Valley and Ogden Canyon can be found at www.ovba.org.

The Ogden Valley Business Association (OVBA) is dedicated to serving the Ogden Valley Community and businesses. Its purpose is to enhance the quality of life for citizens of Ogden Valley and Ogden Canyon through the promotion and development f community and economic resources including arts, culture, education, human services, tourism and community service.