You already know that Utah is beautiful, especially during the autumn season. We have the perfect atmosphere to satisfy anyone’s craving for fall fun. From haunted houses to beer festivals, there’s plenty to keep singletons, couples, and families entertained during the crisp months in the Wasatch.
1. Go for a Hike in Utah Canyon
Salt Lake is surrounded by some of the most breathtaking canyons you’ll ever see, and with a short 20–30 minute drive, you can be out enjoying Utah’s beautiful terrain. Big Cottonwood, Little Cottonwood, and Millcreek Canyons provide hikes of all difficulties, from kid-friendly to advanced. Catch the Dog Lake hike (Millcreek Canyon) or Donut Falls hike (Big Cottonwood), and end the day with a delicious meal at Silver Fork Lodge (Big Cottonwood) or Porcupine Pub & Grille at the bottom of Big and Little Cottonwood Canyons.
2. Go for a Drive
Guardsman Pass (in the Park City area) is well-known for being a top-notch drive in the fall. This 14-mile excursion delivers an amazing array of color. You’ll want to stop, take pictures, and maybe even take a quick walk around the scenic lake at the top. Take your time so you can soak it all in.
3. Celebrate Oktoberfest
Oktoberfest is a 45-year-old tradition held at Snowbird Ski Resort. Take in the colors of fall as you make the 20-minute drive up Little Cottonwood Canyon. You’ll enjoy a family-friendly atmosphere with food, music, and attractions for both children and parents.
The festival offers over 50 varieties of beer, including German-style beers and beers made by local breweries. Along with the many choices of brews, try delicious German fare like bratwurst, sauerkraut, apple strudel, spaetzle, and pretzels.
Snowbird’s Oktoberfest was voted one of America’s 10 best Oktoberfests by Men’s Journal Magazine. Oktoberfest is open 12–6:30 p.m. every Saturday and Sunday until October 20th. Admission is free, but there is a fee for parking.
4. Get Your Witch On at WitchFest
Gardner Village’s WitchFest in Midvale is quite the event (in fact, WitchFest got a Best of State award in 2016). Join the 30,000 pounds of pumpkins, 20,000 pounds of straw, and 500 bunches of cornstalks as you get ready for Halloween. There’s so much to do during WitchFest that you’ll want to do everything!
Breakfast with a Witch, Wee Witches Weekend, and Witches Night Out are just a few of the delights that make up WitchFest. Six Hags Witches Adventure is perfect for little ones—let them go nuts on a giant pillow, climb through spider webs, and try to make their way out of the Maze of Mayhem.
WitchFest begins in mid-September and goes until Halloween. Admission to WitchFest is free, but some events and attractions have a cost.
5. Play at Cornbelly’s
Cornbelly’s, located at Thanksgiving Point in Lehi, has quickly become the place for family fun and for great date night activities, too. During the day, Cornbelly’s has activities like ziplining, hayrides, and Corn Cob Beach, which is made completely out of corn kernels. There’s even a giant slide.
At night, cozy up with your boo (pun intended) and make s’mores around a fire before making your way to one or more of the haunts at Insanity Point, like Big Top Terror or Chaos Castle. If haunts aren’t your thing, riding the mechanical bull will definitely get your adrenaline going.
Cornbelly’s is open until November 3rd. Hours vary depending on the day, and Insanity Point is not part of general admission.
6. Enjoy BooLights at Hogle Zoo
In the fall, Hogle Zoo morphs into the perfect place for imaginative Halloween fun. You’ll still get the full zoo experience but also get to enjoy lighted displays, a walk through a bat cave, the eerie sights of a graveyard, and so much more.
BooLights is open limited nights during the month of October, mostly on the weekends. Members of Hogle Zoo are offered a discount on BooLights admission.
7. Go to Pumpkin Nights
Grab your pumpkin-spiced latte and head to the Utah State Fairpark for Pumpkin Nights. With eight different pumpkin-themed lands to explore, Pumpkin Nights is sure to inspire any fall fanatic.
Not only will you see thousands of hand-carved pumpkins but you’ll also have the thrill of the Spirit of Pumpkins show, complete with fire dancers. Little ones can participate in a scavenger hunt, explore Pumpkin Pirate Cove, and catch a flick, all while having their faces painted.
Enjoy local food trucks and end the evening out with some hot chocolate or an adult beverage. Pumpkin Nights is open from October 5th to November 4th. Admission prices vary by age and time of entry.
8. Get Spooked at Frightmares
Lagoon is in Farmington, about twenty-five minutes north of Salt Lake. During the summer months, Lagoon provides thrilling rides for those brave enough to hop aboard. But once the Halloween season hits, Frightmares takes over the park. All the regular rides (with frightening additions) are open for everyone.
Frightmares has several haunted houses and entertaining shows ranging from mildly jumpy to sleep-with-the-lights-on scary. If you’re worried about little ones (or adults who scare easily), there are no-scare zones in designated areas of Lagoon and three non-scare attractions for young children.
All of the freaky fun begins mid-September, with its last scare on October 30th. Frightmares attractions are included with admission.
9. Enter a Haunted House
Nightmare on 13th
Utah is home to one of the best haunted houses in the nation—Nightmare on 13th. The attraction has been haunting its guests for nearly 30 years. Haunted house attendees are spooked with over-the-top special effects and realistic sets.
Beware upon entering because you might awaken something evil or even fall victim to an inescapable labyrinth filled with hungry goblins or a short-tempered villain with a chainsaw.
The haunting continues at Nightmare on 13th until November 3rd.
Dead City Haunted House
Dead City is one of Salt Lake’s newest haunted houses. It sits next to the Murray City Cemetery, adding to the ghoulish experience. Dead City has a 3-D nightmare attraction. Upon entering the haunted house, guest are given 3-D glasses to get the full experience of this haunt. If the 3-D nightmare isn’t enough to make you curious, 50 rooms of fear might change your mind. The owners spared no expense with special effects and attention to detail, making Dead City an up-and-coming place to get your scream on!
Visit the ridiculously scary Dead City until November 3rd.
10. Take a Park City Ghost Tour
Historic Main Street in Park City is a year-round gathering place for tourists and residents of Utah. Everyone loves its variety of unique shops and restaurants. Not only does historic Main Street provide the charm and appeal of days gone by, but it has its own stories to tell to those who have the guts to listen.
As guests take a stroll around Park City’s historic Main Street, paranormal experts share stories of those who have died and the places they haunt. Witnesses say they’ve seen apparitions at the Egyptian Theatre, the Washington School Inn, and Daly Canyon. But the haunting doesn’t stop there. Sometimes the dead decide to make an appearance at random businesses up and down Main Street.
To add to the effect of the ghost tours, hosts dress in period costumes and come equipped with paranormal detecting equipment as they take those willing on the tour.
Join in on all of the paranormal fun every evening at 8 p.m. . . . if you dare!
This is just a fraction of what Utah has to offer during the fall. So much to do, so little time to cram all of it in. Gather your friends, family, significant others and experience Utah before the leaves fall and so does the snow.
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