The Scenic Fall Drive You Need To Take This Season
Fall is just around the corner and one of the joys of camping this time of year is the splendor of autumn colors that will soon be on display.
While I hear the fall colors in New England are legendary, I can’t imagine they can be much more spectacular than in the western states, especially when they are displayed against a mountainous backdrop.
One such location is the Nebo Mountain Scenic Byway. While the byway is worth taking any time of the year, it becomes even more jaw-dropping when the leaves begin to turn.
The byway traverses Utah’s Uinta National Forest between the cities of Nephi and Payson. The all-paved road climbs to over 9,000 feet in elevation while providing breathtaking views of the Wasatch Mountains, Utah Valley, and its namesake 11,928-foot Mount Nebo, the tallest mountain in the Wasatch Range.
Don’t forget your camera as there are many scenic overlooks, opportunities to view wildlife, and of course brilliant fall foliage.
Be sure to include time to visit the Devil’s Kitchen during your visit. A short easy trail will lead you to a spectacular red rock amphitheater with eroded sandstone spires reminiscent of Bryce Canyon.
Best time of year to drive the Nebo Mountain Scenic Byway
Best viewing time varies year to year, usually starting mid to late September.
Plan at least two hours to fully enjoy the drive and Devil’s Kitchen. The route is closed by the winter.
The byway is a paved 38-mile, two-lane road with many curves and bends.
There are several sections with steep grades, so it is not suitable for larger RVs. Best to leave your RV near either end of the byway and tour it using your tow vehicle or dinghy.
The north end of the byway departing town can be found at N40° 01.431 W111° 43.308
You can locate the south end of the byway departing Highway 132 at N39° 43.111 W111° 43.871
The trailhead for Devils Kitchen is located at N39° 48.296 W111° 41.324
Camping on the Nebo Mountain Scenic Byway
There are numerous campgrounds along the byway as well as many dispersed campsites (boondocking).
If you are traveling the byway north to south a great spot to drop the RV for the day or spend the night (dispersed camping) is a large area at N39° 45.537 W111° 42.613
The road from Highway 132 to this point contains a couple of gentle curves and no excessive grades, making it suitable to most any RV. Be sure to plan your route and find more points of interest on RV LIFE Trip Wizard and with the RV LIFE App with RV-Safe GPS.
Enjoying the beautiful fall colors… just another great adventure in RVing! For more trip ideas this fall, check out these Scenic Autumn Drives from Do It Yourself RV.
Dave Helgeson’s many roles in the RV industry started before he even had a driver’s license. His grandparents and father owned an RV dealership before the term “RV” had been coined, and Dave played a pivotal role in nearly every position of an RV dealership. He and his wife Cheri launched their own RV dealership in the Pacific Northwest. The duo also spent 29 years overseeing regional RV shows. Dave has also served as President of a local chapter of the Recreational Vehicle Dealers Association (RVDA), worked on the board of advisors for the RV Technician Program of a local technical college, and served as a board member of the Manufactured Home and RV Association. Dave’s reputation earned him the title of “The foremost expert on boondocking,” bestowed by RV industry icon, the late Gary Bunzer (The RV Doctor). When he’s not out boondocking, you’ll find Dave in the spotlight at RV shows across the country, giving seminars about all things RVing. He and Cheri currently roam in their fifth travel trailer, with Dave doing all the service, repair and modifications to his own unit.
Peter & Judy Sauer says
Another nice fall trip is down HWY 12 to Goblin Valley, then work your way along 12 which I think runs into 24, the steps can all be seen from up there. At one point there the hwy looks like it is not there anymore, if you step out it is not there on the Passenger side just drops off for a few thousand feet, was almost dark when we came along after that portion and a campground on other side was full but we managed to get the C parked for the night and had dinner and a good nights sleep and carried onto Bryce C. the next day.
The colours were just out of site and as this area is a park lots of wildlife out and about along with open range cattle. This so far was one of the best trips I have done in my life of RV’ing.
Dave Helgeson - Adventures in RVing says
Hwy 12 is a great drive for RVs! Spent 9 days going the 100 plus miles and still didn’t see and do everything. Thanks for sharing.
George Guthro says
You need to go to New England. The foliage can be, and in my opinion, is more spectacular due to the multiple colors of the changing leaves. Also there are mountains in New England, although not as high as in the west they can be very beautiful.
Paul Holden says
This area presently has a huge wildfire going through it so much of this area is closed. Mid September, 2018.
Drive to Cripple Creek CO.
Spend / Win some casino money.
Eat some AMAZING roast beef.
Jennifer Bauman says
Don’t forget the amazing hills of West Virginia! No crowds here and the peak season comes later than New England and parts of the West. For instance, West Virginia foliage is expected to near its peak in late October when New England would already be fading. If you’re over 60, you qualify for a 10% lodging/camping discount. As a WV resident you get 50% off-season, between Labor Day and Memorial Day. Members of the military should ask about the veterans’ appreciation rate.
“…..qualify for discount”
Peter & Judy Sauer says
Jennifer we been to the East Coast, myself in 2009 then again I think 2013, though we stayed out of Florida. But this year we did British Columbia, Yukon, Alaska, it was the trip of a lifetime and we managed to pay it off. We saw some great country and I personally could not believe that all you could see were trees and lakes where ever we went. Learned something about Muskox, Reindeer, say Grizzly bears, Elk, Moose galore, Never did get to see Denali as it was socked in the whole week we were there but did Glimpse Denali when driving from Valdez to Tok there was about a 300′ stretch of road where this very large and high mountain stuck up and it sat right in the same area that it should be so were taking it as thee mountain.
Took Whale sightseeing and Glacier Calving trips, did a one day trip from Haines, AK to Juneau, AK, the only place I really wanted to see was McCarthy and the Kennicott Mine area but the two ladies with me said no but I got them to go to Atlin, BC for 3-4 days which was a good trip and the weather was good while there. I think they liked the road into Atlin as the Road to the Pedestrian Bridge to McCarthy is 51/2 hours of pure hell on a all Gravel road. Then you have to do the same coming back. We did some of the Dempster Hwy, this is a area I would like to camp in to see the fall colours and the first snow fall. Though I think all of the North has great fall colours. Yes we spent time at Barkerville, BC, Dawson City mile 0, Laird Hot Springs, Fort Nelson, Watson Lake and put our sign up there. From there to Whitehorse very interesting City, from there to Dawson CIty and another interesting place to spend some time. We were gone 10 Weeks with my wife doing most of the driving because I Lost my sight in my right eye, lucky for me it was not a detached retna but turned into a Broken blood Vessel in the back of my eye. The Doctors in Anchorage say upto 6 months before it gets better, I’m going into my 5th month in October can see way better han 5 months ago but still slightly blind. I Managed to still enjoy the trip.
Bob and Aleta Moss says
We highly recommend the Kancamagus Highway in the White Mountains near North Conway, NH. It has been several years since we visited the area, but are leaving within the week for a return visit. One might want to visit Mt. Washington while in the area. The Cog Railroad to the top is worth taking also.
Peter Sauer. You want gravel roads i drove to Alaska pulling a travel trailer in 1967 when the Alcan highway was all gravel. 1200 miles each way, so 2400 miles of gravel roads. Dust would get into everything. And we still loved it. Great adventure. Then of course there were the gravel roads in Alaska too. Never saw all of Danili at once. Top shrouded in day, bottom the next and cloud layer in the middle the third day. Flew up over the artic circle in an ancient beechcraft that had an obvious costhanger in use to keep the right engine cowling closed! Lol!