In Our Back Yard: Nebo Loop Fall Colors

nebo loop
Fall colors along the Nebo Loop Road. Photo: Ed Helmick

The season of spectacular fall colors in our mountains and valleys will soon be here in glorious red, yellow, and orange. One of the best areas for viewing fall colors in Utah, and in fact, one of the best fall color drives in the entire United States is the Nebo Loop road between Payson and Nephi. This is a paved road in Uinta National Forest that climbs to over 9,000 feet with awesome views in several places of Utah Lake and the valley below. This road also provides great views of 11, 928 foot Mount Nebo, the tallest mountain in the Wasatch Range. You may want to drive this road several times as the colors change from the lower elevations to the higher elevations.

What local people commonly call the “Nebo Loop Road” is officially Forest Road 015. The two-lane road is about 40 miles of winding mountainous driving between Payson and Nephi. From Nephi, take I-15 Exit 225 and travel east on Utah Route 132 for about 5 miles and turn left on FR 015. From Payson, take I-15 Exit 248 heading east on 800 South. Turn right onto 600 East, which becomes FR 015. In the fall, the road has heavy traffic, and some of the most spectacular displays of color do not have adequate space to pull off the road, stop and take pictures. Please be careful, courteous, and safe. Allow an hour and a half to two and a half hours, depending on how many stops you make, to drive the Nebo loop road. There are several campgrounds and picnic tables along the way.