The air is cooling. The leaves are turning. And the sound of hardened plastic colliding is in the air.
College football season is in full swing in Utah. No matter what your team, there are some hiking trails close to the stadium. You can take a quick hike and still make kickoff or even the tailgate.
Here are 10 trails near one of the Beehive State’s seven college football teams.
BYU Cougars: Stewarts Cascades — Provo Canyon • Show the kids a great waterfall before kickoff. The short hike in the canyon is also great in the fall as the leaves start to turn.
University of Utah Utes: The Living Room — Red Butte Canyon • Why did you by a ticket to the game? Sit on the orange-colored furniture and enjoy views of the valley, the Great Salt Lake and the Oquirrh Mountains.
Utah State University Aggies: Crimson Trail — Logan Canyon • The name sounds like it supports a certain other team in the state. But at a 2.1-mile roundtrip and a trail head 5.3 miles outside of town, you can hike this twice and still have time to grill hotdogs in the parking lot before kickoff.
Weber State University Wildcats: Overlook Trail — Ogden Canyon • It’s a 5-mile roundtrip. Check with the proper authorities first, but maybe on game day you can plant a purple flag on the overlook.
Southern Utah University Thunderbirds: Spring Creek Canyon — Kanarraville • Make a day of your visit to Iron County by hiking this trail in a wilderness area.
Dixie State College Red Storm: Chuckwalla and Halfway Wash trails — St. George • Picking a hiking trail in St. George is like calling plays for a 500-yard-per-game offense. It’s tough to go wrong. The Chuckwalla and Halfway Wash trails are short hikes in a desert reserve on the edge of town.
Snow College Badgers: Loop Trail — Maple Canyon • The Badgers are a forgotten football powerhouse in this state, and Maple Canyon is a hidden gem of a outdoors location. This 2.5-mile trail includes an arch, a forest and an overlook.
BYU Cougars: Grove Creek Trail — Pleasant Grove • If you’re a Salt Lake County resident who commutes south to LaVell Edwards Stadium on autumn Saturdays, stop in Pleasant Grove on your way. The Grove Creek Trail enters a canyon and follows a creek.
University of Utah Utes: Red Butte Skyline Trail — Red Butte Canyon • This one comes from Backpacker.com. The 3.44-mile loop trail might also be the only trail on the list you can reach by taking transportation. (The instructions say you can take TRAX to the University Hospital stop.)
Utah State University Aggies: Wind Cave — Logan Canyon • Kids love football… and caves. Get the kids hungry for a stadium hot dog by marching them here first.