48 wonders of the West

These national monuments and other treasures will make you fall in love with the West all over again

Wander along the Alpine Loop

Wind through Utah's Wasatch Range along a super-scenic byway bursting with color

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Timpanogos Cave National Monument

Take a stroll through Timpanogos Cave National Monument.

Andrea Gomez

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Catching fall foliage is all about timing. Too early, and the leaves are still green. Too late, and the show's already on the ground.

Unless, that is, you tour Utah's Alpine Loop, which actually isn't a loop at all, but a 27-mile backcountry byway that begins at American Fork Canyon and rolls up and over the 12,000-foot Wasatch Range into Provo Canyon. Drive past 350-million-year-old layers of rock, stunning views of glacier-carved peaks, and climbers dangling from limestone cliffs. Since the varied altitudes peak at different times, you're guaranteed crimson maples and aspen groves crowned in gold and amber.

Getting there: The Alpine Loop route follows State 92 up American Fork Canyon, then continues through Uinta National Forest into Provo Canyon on U.S. 189.

HAPPENING NOW

Midway's Swiss Days. Vant some bratvurst? Plan your trip around Midway's 59th annual Swiss Days, when the town's pioneer descendants break out the lederhosen and schnitzel. It's a good time to grab farm-fresh goodies. Sep 1-2; free; Midway Town Square, 200 West and Main St.; 435/654-3666.

GO

The Alpine Loop Summit. Pick-a-hike-any-aspen-lined-hike from the visitors' board at the 8,000-foot summit parking lot, 11 miles from American Fork Canyon. $3 day-use fee; from I-15, take State 92 east to American Fork Canyon; www.fs.fed.us/r4/uinta

 

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