Welcoming Fall at the Nebo Loop

Rated in the top ten on several lists of best places to see the fall colors, the Nebo Loop is a hidden gem that I never knew existed until last year.

I was unable to find anyone to go with me before so on the first day of fall, I kidnapped my three nephews (luckily their parents are patient), and took them for a long drive and a few hikes. The drive starts at the base of Payson Canyon, which was bathed in red and oranges that I thought I’d have to fly to Maine to see. The colors became less vibrant the farther up we went because the quakies weren’t quite turning yet.

The drive climbs several thousand feet to top out at 9,000 (the mountains keep going). The picture below was taken on the crest of the highest part of the road so you can see how tall Mount Nebo is. This mountain is listed as the highest peak of the Wasatch range. It has two trails to the top and maybe someday, not in the company of the kids, I’ll climb it.

The kids loved the area and wanted me to call their dad to bring us up a tent so we didn’t have to go home. We played pioneer and indian on the hikes. Though I was shot with several arrows, my 5-year-old nephew refused to leave me behind. He said, “Pioneers get it done.”

There are trailheads every half mile and plenty for hikers, horseback riders, and four-wheelers to see. Several campgrounds line the road. The first part of the road was popular with road bikers, but they thinned out in the higher elevation. I was a little disappointed in Devil’s Kitchen, which is billed as “Mini Bryce Canyon.” Mini being the operative word. It’s just a few hundred yards of red rock and sand carved out of the mountain. While gorgeous, I was expecting a place the kids could run around in the dirt and climb on some rocks. It is just an overlook.

I’m already planning my return trip to see the many hikes we skipped in our rush to the top.

I took this photo at 9,000 feet. Plenty still to go.

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