The Most Spectacular Fall Colors. Or, I End Up Finding a Different Segment of the Marathon Trail.

Abbs and I were off on another random exploration when I spotted new patches of blazing colors near Brian Head Peak. Driving up to the peak revealed even more colorful sections; I could see which stands of aspen hadn’t yet lost their leaves, which were past their prime, and which were juuuust right. The view from the top was inspiring as always and I took a few moments to walk around the rim, once more appreciating the beauty and awe-inspiring land around me from atop the mountain. My eyes were drawn however to a particular valley below and so I decided to head in that direction.

I parked at Bear Flat, a dispersed camping and recreation area below the peak and began wandering across the meadow towards the rim overlooking the valley. The farther I traveled downslope the more colors I could see; first yellows, then oranges and reds. I decided to turn however and head back uphill towards Brian Head and that’s when I found the Marathon Trail. Again. To be fair, I had discovered a different segment of it a few weeks ago (on the east side of Brian Head rather than on the west side where I was now), but it was amusing that I’d done this twice with regards to the same trail.

The trail began through dense, mature aspen forest beautifully alight from the sunlight streaming through the golden leaves. It then climbed upwards, transitioning to spruce before Abby and I took a sidetrip that resulted in us leaving the trail for about a mile. I knew there was a drop off to my right that should in theory provide direct views over the prettiest of the colors I had seen from atop Brian Head, but I was unprepared for just how stunning the views were. Climbing the volcanic boulders to get to the rim the leaves below suddenly came into view; under the bright sun, the valley glowed as if illuminated from below and above. I’m going to let the photos do most of the talking, but I have never seen some of these colors, nevermind all in combination ā€“ there were neon greens and yellows, fiery oranges, occasional robust reds, and dark greens of the spruce. All the vibrant colors were honestly sensory overload. And in addition to the leaves were lime green and rusty orange lichens. All this was set against the most beautiful blue sky. It was so amazingly stunning. A final note: These photos are not color enhanced. If anything, the photos make them appear duller than I saw in person.

View from Brian Head Peak, Dixie National Forest, Utah

View from Brian Head Peak, Dixie National Forest, Utah

Brian Head Peak, Dixie National Forest, Utah

Brian Head Peak, Dixie National Forest, Utah

Camp site at Bear Flat, Dixie National Forest, Utah

Camp site at Bear Flat, Dixie National Forest, Utah

Bear Flat, Dixie National Forest, Utah

Bear Flat, Dixie National Forest, Utah

Bear Flat, Dixie National Forest, Utah

Bear Flat, Dixie National Forest, Utah

Bear Flat, Dixie National Forest, Utah

Bear Flat, Dixie National Forest, Utah

Bear Flat, Dixie National Forest, Utah

Bear Flat, Dixie National Forest, Utah

Bear Flat, Dixie National Forest, Utah

Bear Flat, Dixie National Forest, Utah

Marathon Trail, Dixie National Forest, Utah

Marathon Trail, Dixie National Forest, Utah

Marathon Trail, Dixie National Forest, Utah

Marathon Trail, Dixie National Forest, Utah

IMG_1192

Near Marathon Trail, Dixie National Forest, Utah

Near Marathon Trail, Dixie National Forest, Utah

Near Marathon Trail, Dixie National Forest, Utah

Near Marathon Trail, Dixie National Forest, Utah

Near Marathon Trail, Dixie National Forest, Utah

Near Marathon Trail, Dixie National Forest, Utah

Near Marathon Trail, Dixie National Forest, Utah

Near Marathon Trail, Dixie National Forest, Utah

Looking down near Marathon Trail, Dixie National Forest, Utah

Looking down near Marathon Trail, Dixie National Forest, Utah

My hound, Near Marathon Trail, Dixie National Forest, Utah

My hound, Near Marathon Trail, Dixie National Forest, Utah

Near Marathon Trail, Dixie National Forest, Utah

Near Marathon Trail, Dixie National Forest, Utah

Near Marathon Trail, Dixie National Forest, Utah

Near Marathon Trail, Dixie National Forest, Utah

Near Marathon Trail, Dixie National Forest, Utah

Near Marathon Trail, Dixie National Forest, Utah

Abbs, Near Marathon Trail, Dixie National Forest, Utah

Abbs, Near Marathon Trail, Dixie National Forest, Utah

Near Marathon Trail, Dixie National Forest, Utah

Near Marathon Trail, Dixie National Forest, Utah

Bits of red holding on, Near Marathon Trail, Dixie National Forest, Utah

Bits of red holding on, Near Marathon Trail, Dixie National Forest, Utah

Aspen knots, Marathon Trail, Dixie National Forest, Utah

Aspen knots, Marathon Trail, Dixie National Forest, Utah

Golden aspens on the Marathon Trail, Dixie National Forest, Utah

Golden aspens on the Marathon Trail, Dixie National Forest, Utah