Capitol Reef National Park

Capitol Reef National Park

The beauty of autumn in southern Utah

November 9, 2009, 8:42 am

Pssst. Want to know a secret?

Southern Utah, that geologic and scenic wonderland, is dazzling in every season — but in autumn the annual invasion of sightseeing visitors from around the world drops to a trickle.

As desk manager Ron Stensfors notes from behind the service counter at Zion Lodge, seasoned (so to speak) American travelers, especially savvy locals from Utah and the rest of the West, know fall is a great time to take in Zion National Park.

And that's equally true for Utah's four other national parks (Arches, Canyonlands, Capitol Reef and Bryce Canyon), national monuments (Grand Staircase-Escalante, Natural Bridges, etc.) and the autumn-tinged highlands, canyons and pioneer communities all around them.

"Southern Utah," says Riley Mitchell, chief of interpretation at Capitol Reef National Park, "is often synonymous with red rock, but if you are lucky enough to encounter the areas along streambeds or the higher elevations during a good spring or fall season, the variety of colors can be amazing, especially against the backdrop of the dramatic sandstone landscape."