Whether you live in Utah or you’re simply visiting, a road trip through this magnificent state is an excellent way to get to know it a little better. And in the autumn, it’s even more enjoyable. With the right route, you can complete an interesting road trip in a single weekend. Make what you want of the following outline for a quick Utah road trip, but enjoy a glimpse of the state’s endless possibilities for exploration.
Publik Coffee Roasters is a serene place to start a busy day. Started in 2012, the coffee house now has two locations in Salt Lake City, both of which serve as eye candy for the design-obsessed. The interior is clean, fresh, and dare we say perfect? Try coffees named after famous Utah historical figures and relish in the fact that you’re drinking coffee for the profit of the Salt Lake City community, rather than for a huge, international coffee chain.
After energizing at Publik Coffee Roasters, walking to Salt Lake City’s most famous lookout destination will give you incredible views of the Salt Lake Valley. Located just above the State Capitol, Ensign Peak was the spot where Utah’s Mormon pioneer settlers first surveyed the valley. And while some would consider it a hike, the path to Ensign Peak is more of a walk. To walk from the trailhead to Ensign Peak’s monument is only a half mile, and well worth the minor excursion.
About 30 minutes south of Salt Lake City, Lindon is an unsuspecting and mostly residential, mountainside city located in Utah Valley. In other words, it isn’t the first place you’d think of to get great Middle Eastern food. Opened in 2015, Galilee Grill is already a trusted eating establishment in Utah Valley. The owners are from Nazareth and put all of their focus on providing authentic food from the Holy Land. Galilee is famous for its pita bread, falafel, shawarma, and imported products. Lunch at Galilee will fill you up in time for a more substantial afternoon hike.
About 15 minutes north of Lindon, American Fork Canyon is a prized gateway to the Rocky Mountain wilderness. One of its most popular hiking destinations is Silver Lake, a remote, freshwater lake surrounded by wildflowers and quaking aspens. The hike to Silver Lake is 4.5 miles roundtrip, and is only moderately strenuous. All in all, you’ll get a great workout, some awesome views, and a chance to hike in Utah’s stunning alpine forests. If you’re interested in touring Timpanogos Caves instead, there is a Timpanogos Caves trailhead up American Fork Canyon.
Traveling a little farther south will take you to Orem (Orem is about 20 minutes south of American Fork Canyon and five minutes south of Lindon), which used to be acres and acres of fruit orchards. Luckily, some of those fruit orchards remain. Crandall’s Fruit Farm is one of those remaining fruit orchards. Producing all types of fruit, Crandall’s is best known for their apples and peaches. The orchard is beautiful and its fruit is delicious. After hiking, a glass of their cold, fresh-pressed, apple juice should rehydrate your body and spike your blood sugar.
If you still have energy in you after a busy day, you may want to consider heading back up north 15 minutes on Utah’s main freeway and visiting American Fork’s Haunted Forest. Walk through a mile of “forest” in the dark and prepare yourself for the tricks and scares of talented actors. And while this activity is not recommended for children, it is an equally chilling and exciting experience for teenagers and adults.
Whether you decided to go to the Haunted Forest or not, you’ll likely want some time to relax afterwards. If you drive 35 minutes south from American Fork on Utah’s main freeway (I-15), you’ll arrive in Springville, which is home to the Strap Tank Brewing Co. This brewery doubles as a restaurant, so if haven’t had the chance to grab some dinner, here, you can hit two birds with one stone. Founded this year by a successful Utah businessman who saw a void in the brewing market, Strap Tank is destination worthy of consideration.
At this point, you are definitely looking for a place to rest your head! It is worth traveling south a bit to Manti to experience the Yardley Inn and Spa. Visit their website a book one of their absolutely marvelous suites. The “Moonlight & Roses” suite is something straight out of a dream. With a blissful canopied bed, a relaxing Jacuzzi tub, and a whimsical painting of the night sky surrounding the skylight, this place will feel like a fairytale.
After a night of rest, it’s time to roll out of bed and have a hearty breakfast. Dirk’s Farmhouse has a breakfast menu with all the classics. Fill up on their Country Benedict breakfast if you’re really hungry—homemade biscuits topped with two country sausage patties, two eggs, country sausage gravy, served with hash browns or home fried potatoes.
Now for your last stop on the trip: The stunning Manti-La Sal National Forest. Work off a big breakfast by exploring one of the forest’s excellent day hiking trails. Try out the moderately-difficult Skyline Trail. It’s nearly 5.5-miles and brings you up to a stunning panoramic view of the surrounding area.