You may think of Park City for its winter activities, like one of the largest ski resorts in the country and Sundance Film Festival in January. But the locals know that autumn is one of Park City’s best-kept secrets.

Here are some of locals’ favorite things to do in Park City in the fall:

1. Take Advantage of the Mild Weather

Park City horse in front of fall trees
Photo courtesy of Tom Kelly

Though mountain weather can often change in the blink of an eye, Park City is typically warm and dry in the autumn. Have a local guide from Park City Anglers take you out for a day of blue-ribbon fly fishing for cutthroat, brown, and rainbow trout, or admire fall foliage on horseback with a trail ride.

2. Plan a Day of Leaf-Peeping

leaf peeping in park city
Leaf peeping on a fall drive in Park City | Photo courtesy of Atibordee Kongprepan

People may think of fall foliage as an East Coast thing, but the truth is, leaf-peeping is one of the best things to do in Park City in October. Groves upon groves of aspen trees set the mountainsides ablaze in golds and oranges while the oak brush blushes purple and deep red. Take it all in on a scenic drive or road bike ride over Guardsman Pass or via the Alpine Scenic Loop.

3. Have the Hiking Trails to Yourself

Lake Desolation hike aspen trees
Aspen trees on the hike to Desolation Lake | Photo courtesy of Brandon Rasmussen

Would you rather get out on foot to admire the leaves? Hit one of the local hiking trails, like Desolation Lake. There are 150 miles of public trail to traverse, whether you do so at a slow mosey or a brisk jog.

4. Keep an Eye Out for Wildlife

Cascade Springs trail wildflowers
Cascade Springs trail wildflowers | Photo courtesy of Tom Kelly

It’s migratory season for many locals of the furry and feathered variety. Watch the hillsides for elk, bighorn sheep, and deer descending to a lower altitude, red foxes hunting for rabbits and mice in the fields, and bears prepping for their long winter nap by the sides of rivers. Take a visit to Cascade Springs, which has a small trail system perfect for a stroll. Here, you could spot river otters, beavers, wild turkey, and maybe even a moose!

5. Get Into the Spooky Spirit

Pumpkin crafts at the Sunday market in Park City
Park Silly Sunday Market | Photo courtesy of Tom Kelly

Park City in the fall means thrills and chills as Halloween approaches. Through early October, the Egyptian Theater hosts Thriller by Odyssey Dance, a performance celebrating all things Halloween: zombies, vampires, and ghouls galore! On Halloween day, families gather on Historic Main Street for Howl-o-ween!. Get ready for a parade of costumed kiddos and dogs and trick-or-treating at local businesses. Curious about local paranormal lore? Take a ghost tour around town.

6. Book a Quiet Tee Time

golfing in park city

Park City in the fall is a quiet season: The summer visitors have headed back home, the kids are in school, and the ski bums haven’t quite shown up yet. Take advantage of the quiet time with a bit of golf at the new course at Canyons—you may be one of the only people on the green!

7. Take a Walk Through Old Town

Park City at dusk

Park City is proud of its locally-owned businesses, which means no chain restaurants in sight in Old Town. While the various establishments may be packed during the winter and summer, it’ll all simmer down in the fall. For a relaxing day on Historic Main Street, start with breakfast at Main Street Deli or No Worries Cafe before taking a walk through a few local art galleries. Hit up Chimayo or El Chubasco for delicious Mexican food before you start on the retail therapy. Wrap up the evening with pizza or tacos at Davanza’s and ice cream at the Java Cow.

8. Get a Little R&R

Atticus coffeeshop in Park City, Utah
Atticus Coffee | Photo courtesy of Denise M.

Fall in Park City is the perfect time to rejuvenate and revitalize. Enjoy an ultra-quiet day at Atticus for a warm beverage (pumpkin chai, anyone?) and a bit of reading from their wide selection of used and new books. Get a massage or a facial at Aura Spa, and take a soothing yoga class at Park City Yoga Studio. At the end of the day, treat yourself to some of the best fine dining in town at The Riverhorse On Main or Blind Dog.

Take the time to explore Park City in the fall—just you and the locals!

Featured image courtesy of Tom Kelly

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Author: Hannah Morrison

Hannah hails from Telluride, CO and currently lives in Portland, where she works as writer, editor, and unofficial resident poet for Team Vacasa. You'll often find Hannah singing and dancing down the sidewalk, making really tall sandwiches, and planning her next long run.