Fall Color Report

As the weather starts to cool, the area around Cedar City prepares to put on a dramatic show. With a backdrop of striking red rocks and southern Utah’s national parks, Cedar City provides an unmatched destination for fall foliage viewing.

Scenic Southern Utah and Cedar City are one of the “Eight Great and Unusual Fall Foliage Destinations”
NBC Today Show

Report For OCTOBER 22nd – 31st

Brain Head, UT in the High Elevation covered in snow, northeast of Cedar City, UTHigh Elevation – Alpine

Brian Head, Cedar Breaks and Panguitch Lake

Percent of Change:

PAST PEAK

Color Report:

Temperatures are still cooling and it feels like winter is in the air. Our fall season was a little shorter then normal and the first snow fell a little deep, so be sure to comeback September 1st for the 2019 Fall Colors!

If you have any images you would like to share from this beautiful season please do. Not only do we LOVE seeing our area through your eyes but you never know your image may just end up in the 2019 Scenic Calendar!

We would love to see all your amazing fall color shots from this year so tag them #VisitCedarCity and #fallcolorreport.

*Caution* Please be mindful of livestock that may be on the roadway, they are currently migrating to winter grazing areas. Slowdown and if they are on the roadway stop and wait for them to pass. This gives you the perfect chance to take a picture because all those fluffy white sheep look great among the changing forest.

Mid elevation, Woods Ranch off Hwy 14 east of Cedar City, UT 10-09-18Mid Elevation – Sub-Alpine

Parowan Canyon and Cedar Canyon Area

Percent of Change:

PAST PEAK

Color Report:

If you have any images from this year we would love to see them if you would like to share…and you never know it may just end up in the 2019 Scenic Calendar!

We would love to see all your amazing fall color shots from this year so tag them #VisitCedarCity and #fallcolorreport.

*Caution* Please be mindful of livestock that may be on the roadway, they are currently migrating to winter grazing areas. Slowdown and if they are on the roadway stop and wait for them to pass. This gives you the perfect chance to take a picture and be sure to tag us so we can see too.

Fall on the campus of Southern Utah University - photo credit John LisonbeeLow Elevation – High Valley

Cedar City and Kolob Canyons Area

Percent of Change:

PEAK

Color Report:

The Campus of Southern Utah University is BEAUTIFUL with all the yellows, reds, and oranges, so take your camera and then take a stroll through the stunning tree-lined campus. The walks are beautifully landscaped with fountains, ponds, lush vegetation and beautiful bronze statues.

The Zion National Park Rangers are reporting that the leaves in the Main canyon are very beautiful right now with lots of yellows and oranges. They are expecting that over the next couple of weeks the leaves will be gone so be sure to head over now. A few tips to make sure your trip into the Park  wonderful; 1) you do have to ride the park shuttle into the main canyon so the earlier the better…crowds tend to begin around 10 am so get there before that. 2) The first shuttle leaves the Visitor Center at 7 am. 3) Springdale does have metered parking and a free shuttle into the Park; first shuttle is 8:10 am. 4) Early mornings mean lower temperatures so be sure to wear layers you can remove as the sun comes up. 5) Don’t forget the drive along Hwy 9 (you can drive yourself) through the tunnel and into the east side of the park…this is where the big horned sheep like to hang out so don’t forget your camera. and 6) Most of all just remember to breath deep and enjoy the beauties of nature and don’t let the crowds chase you away!

Be sure to check back often for updated information.

We would love to see all your amazing fall color shots from this year so tag them #VisitCedarCity and #fallcolorreport.

Foliage Color Key

Low
0 – 25% Color Change
Moderate
26-50% Color Change
Peak
75-99% Color Change
Past Peak
100% Color Change

High and Mid elevation are both Past Peak and the Low elevation is at Peak

Suggested Drives

Scenic Byway U-9 through Zion Canyon

  • Scenic Byway U-9 passes through the town of Hurricane, veers east at LaVerkin and climbs to the crest of the Hurricane cliffs, winds through the valley of the Virgin River past the foot of Hurricane Mesa, Smithsonian Butte and the Eagle Crags.
  • Travelers are then treated to a taste of the local lore in towns such as Virgin, Rockville and Springdale.
  • A noted side-trip just past Rockville would be out to the ghost town of Grafton where the famous bicycle scene from the movie “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid” was filmed.
  • Highway U-9 arrives at the south entrance to Zion National Park.
  • Stop at the Zion National Park Visitor Center and catch the shuttle to the heart of Zion Canyon. *Metered parking is available in Springdale with free shuttle access to Zion National Park.
  • Inside the main canyon, you’ll see towering sandstone cliffs comprising the Court of the Patriarchs, the Great White Throne and Angel’s Landing.
  • Not including any stops, the shuttle tour takes about 90 minutes round trip from the visitor center through Zion Canyon Scenic Drive.
  • Back at your car, you’ll continue east on scenic byway U-9, where you will see the Great Arch of Zion and pass through a long tunnel carved in the massive canyon walls. Completed in 1930, the tunnel doesn’t easily accommodate large, modern vehicles, however, special regulations provide for safe passage, and large vehicles and motor homes are required to pay an escort fee to travel through the tunnel.
  • Past the tunnel, U-9 continues and traverses a unique landscape of petrified sand dunes to the park’s east entrance and on to US-89 at Mt. Carmel. *East Zion is where the Big Horned Sheep like to play so keep a look out and keep your camera ready.

Where in Southern Utah should I go to see the fall colors if I arrive in…?

Early September

This is the very early stage of the fall foliage season. You may be able to see some color near Brian Head and Cedar Breaks National Monument.

Mid September

Southern Utah’s high elevation areas are traditionally experiencing 30% to 50% color change at this time. We suggest you visit the Cedar Breaks National Monument area.

Late September through Early October:

This is typically the best time to see the leaves in Southern Utah. The leaves around Brian Head and Cedar Breaks National Monument should be at peak and the Duck Creek, Navajo Lake and Panguitch Lake should also be near peak. A great fall color trip is what’s known as the “Fall Color Loop.” The Fall Color Loop begins in Parowan, where you start up Hwy 143 though Parowan Canyon go past Brian Head and turn east towards Panguitch Lake, then head south on Mammoth Creek Rd. to Hwy 14, turn west on Hwy 14 go past Duck Creek Village, Navajo Lake, Zion Overlook, then down Cedar Canyon into Cedar City.

Mid October

The colors in the high elevation generally are past peak at this time, however, there should be some great colors along Hwy 14 from Cedar City to the Zion Overlook. Parowan Canyon, along Hwy 143 should still have some great fall colors.

Late October through Mid November

Zion National Park offers the best fall color viewing at this time.

*Please note that this information does not imply any guarantee in respect to the current conditions of the fall foliage. This information is based upon average conditions over the last ten years.

Why Do The Colors Change?

Springtime and Plenty of Chlorophyll

Each spring, budding leaves contain green, red, orange and yellow pigments. Throughout the summer, the green is dominant due to chlorophyll production.

Day Length, Rainfall and Sugar

Many factors influence autumn coloration and the most important being day Length, followed by rainfall, sugar accumulation in the leaves, wind, and prolonged periods of cool, bright, sunny autumn weather without a killing frost. The brighter the light is during this period, the greater the production of these pigments in the leaves.

Cool Autumn Days

When the days of autumn are sunny and cool, and the nights are chilly but not freezing, the brightest colorations usually develop. This is when the production of chlorophyll, which is created by sunlight during photosynthesis, slows down. As sunlight hours decrease, the green starts to disappear and the other pigments; red, orange, yellow, scarlet and purple come alive.

Getting Ready for Winter

Meanwhile the tree produces a waxy substance to protect itself from the elements once a leaf separates from the branch. That’s why leaves can withstand strong wind and rain during the summer, but come down so easily during a fall rainstorm. The key is to get a picture of your favorite tree when you see it-don’t wait!

Easy tips for taking great fall color photos

Use a tripod

Put the camera on a tripod and if you don’t have a remote shutter release use the timer on your camera so that you are not touching the camera and possibly causing camera movement when the shutter snaps.

Choose the time of day

Early and late in the day are the best times to photograph outside. At these times of day, the light is diffused and gives a rich golden colorcast to the scene. If it is an overcast day, anytime is good for taking colorful fall photos because the clouds diffuse or soften the light which enhances the colors of the trees.

Include foreground objects

Objects in the foreground of a landscape give the image more depth. Include a tree branch, tree, person or large rock in the foreground to give the image a feeling of actually “being there.”

Shoot at different angles

Study the light and decide at what direction you want to photograph the scene. The image can have different effects depending on the angle of the light. Try avoiding direct frontal lighting.

Shoot from different positions

Get on the ground and shoot the subject from a low position. Try lying on your back and shooting up through the trees with the blue sky as the background.

Shoot at different zoom levels

Shoot the same subject at wide angle, medium telephoto and extreme telephoto if possible. Don’t forget about trying some close-ups as well. If you are using a digital point and shoot, put it in macro mode and get close for some dramatic, eye-popping effects.

Look for reflections in water

Reflections of colorful fall trees in the water can have a very dramatic effect. In the early morning or early evening there is usually less chance of wind. The still water from the lack of wind causes sharper, more colorful reflections.

Enjoy the time

Getting out in the country on a beautiful morning or evening is a great feeling. Enjoy the time, have fun and take a lot of photos.

How Do I Preserve Leaves?

There are different ways to preserve leaves; the first, and our favorite, is to make a solution of one-third glycerin and two parts boiling water. Place the stems in the solution while it’s still hot. Keep the leaves in the solution over night. Remove and dry the next day.

The second way to preserve is to press leaves. Place the leaves between sheets of newspaper and under something heavy like a stack of books. You can also press leaves with a warm iron, but first place the leaves between tissue or wax paper. The color will last longer if you keep leaves out of direct sunlight and away from the air.

Share your Fall Color Photos

The area around Cedar City is famous for fall colors and we want to see the view through your eyes! Capture your favorite shot of scenic southern Utah, then tag us at @VisitCedarCity or #FallColorReport + #VisitCedarCity on Instagram. We will be featuring our favorites on Instagram and Facebook.

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