Utah is one the most beautiful places to hike in the country, if not the world. The stunning scenery of Utah’s mountains and snow-kissed peaks make for the ideal backdrop for breathtaking views and picturesque hiking.
There is no better place to improve your hiking skills than Utah. It is possible that you don’t know what Utah has in store for your next visit if you’ve never been there before. You don’t have to worry! This article will tell you everything.
Locals may benefit from this new perspective. You never know what tidbit you’ll need in the future. It might save your life if you meet a mother moose.
Utah offers hikes for everyone, whether you’re a complete beginner or an expert outdoorsman. There are hikes for all levels! They couldn’t, considering the state is surrounded by national parks that are well maintained.
Utah is located around the “Big Five” national park – Zion, Bryce Canyon (Zion), Capitol Reef, Canyonlands, and Canyonlands. There are few better places in Utah to spend a day in nature than this.
It is crucial to let someone know where you’re going when hiking in Utah. Utah is a large state, with a lot of national parks and forests, but a small population.
You might be disappointed if you think someone will stumble across you on your hike. If you plan to go on a solo hike, you should not only inform people where you are going but also bring a Sat Phone.
There are many national parks in Utah. Many offer hikes of different difficulty levels. Utah is a great place to visit if you’re looking for a family-friendly state.
There are many kid-friendly hiking trails, and people are friendly and safe. You should bring a thick, warm coat if you plan to visit Utah during winter to hike.
Utah is an unusual place. The whole community was built around the idea of settling a salt lake. This is, if you even have a basic understanding of how animals and plants work, basically useless for agriculture and drinking. Without the benefit of being able to fish it, their water source was just as ineffective as the ocean.
Utah is a desert. It isn’t like the Sahara desert, but it doesn’t consist entirely of sand, cacti, and camels free to roam. A desert is a place that receives less than 10 inches of rainfall per year. This definition means that the state with the most “deserts”, is the largest desert in the world.
This means that in Utah in summer will be hot, dry, and sunny. Even arid. You might not expect rain in winter. Instead, you will get huge amounts of hail and snow.
The metric for deserts does not include snow, otherwise, Utah would be considered a desert. Bring a jacket if you plan to visit in winter. If you don’t have your A-game, it is possible to not make it down the trail.
Utah: Deadly wildlife to beware
Utah might seem like the perfect combination of man’s desire to settle anywhere and nature’s ambition. But there are many deadly secrets to this state’s wilderness.
Many of them are furry! Although you might not associate Utah with dangerous spiders, it is a good idea. You can find the Black Widow in Utah, particularly in the wooded areas.
There are many bears in the state, and there is a lot of moose. Although a baby moose may seem like a great photo opportunity, it’s not worth the effort.
Mama moose will knock you down and make you stomp your feet faster than you can think of running away. A full-grown moose can make a horse seem tiny! In parks and fields, rattlesnakes are also common. Of which, Utah has many.
What should I bring?
You must dress appropriately for hiking in the Utah wilderness. Winter snowstorms can be dangerous. You have probably never felt so cold in winter, especially on a cloudy day in Utah Rockies.
This is unless you’re a local. A Sat Phone, or at least a decent GPS, is also a good investment. It can be fatal to get lost in Utah. It could take weeks for someone to notice you’re missing, let alone find you.
Although they are controversial, hiking poles can be very beneficial. However, there are risks. You greatly increase the risk of injury if you fall while wearing hiking poles. Hiking poles can reduce the risk of you falling on steep or slippery terrain. Utah is very susceptible to snow and very low temperatures.
It is also prone to ice. There is a lot of it! Sharp tips on hiking poles can be used to break up ice and provide two more points of contact with the ground. Although you don’t need hiking poles, it is a good idea.
These are the top 10 best hikes in Utah
This article is not comprehensive enough to cover all the hiking trails in Utah. It was difficult to choose the best trails. Some trails that were very close to making the list may be the best in Utah, or in other states.
Utah is not one of them. It was a fierce competition! These hikes can be done by anyone with a reasonable level of skill, but it might take a bit longer for beginners.
You don’t have to worry about it. Slow and steady wins. These hikes are not ranked in any particular order, other than difficulty. It is up to each hiker to choose the hike that best suits their needs and abilities.
#1 Fairyland Loop
You can bring your kids along to the Fairyland Loop. The hike is easy and flat. You don’t have to worry about getting lost because it is a loop. If you do get lost, it is far more serious than getting lost.
You will be amazed at the variety of colors that you’ll see as you go around this loop. It is not an easy hike, but the 8-mile route is possible. If you start in the morning and plan to return in the afternoon, you can complete the hike comfortably within a day. No matter how easy the hike may seem, you’ll still need to bring plenty of water.
The wind blowing through the canyons is almost like someone blowing on an oblong pipe. You can find the Fairyland Loop in Bryce National park.
#2 Delicate Arch
The hike is shorter at 3 miles (there and home), so even beginners can complete the trek in a matter of hours. Although the climb is steep, it is manageable.
Named after the arch, a beautiful orange-colored stone that runs from point A to point B with a stunning gap in between, the hike was named for it. You don’t have to worry about the arch falling anytime soon. While you can get close enough for some great forced perspective photos, the arch should not be touched.
The arch provides a beautiful natural backdrop for the surrounding mountains. This hike is perfect for photographers, too. You can also take a painting class if you prefer to keep to the basics. The Delicate Arch can be found in the Arches national parks, which is not surprising.
#3 Queens Garden
The Queen’s Garden is a refreshing change from the Fairyland Loop. The trail is approximately 25% longer than the Fairyland Loop but follows the same route.
Although you won’t get the same enjoyment from hiking, the end result is very similar. The two trails are almost in perfect harmony, so it can be more fun to do one than the other.
You will be taken through a natural amphitheater made of stone and follows an old Navajo trail. This trail offers the most variety of sights. You will wind, turn and twist your way through the canyon, and along a few short hills, giving you a glimpse of most of the surrounding area. This trail is ideal for those with limited time and who want to see most of the surrounding areas. The hike is not difficult in terms of difficulty.
The hike is steep and can take some time to find the right footing. However, it’s not too difficult. You will be fine if you take your time and bring some hiking poles. You can find the Queen’s Garden in Bryce National Park.
#4 The Narrows
My personal favorite is Zion’s Narrows. You will hike up the hills and through the valleys that make up this park. Follow the natural water flow and move downstream like the water.
Sometimes the water is still there, fortunately, or not. This can be a great way to cool down if you plan on hiking in the summer when the streams are running. Be sure to keep your feet on the ground! The river hike is approximately 8 miles long. This may not seem like much, but the first hike on this list was also 8 miles.
But that hike was not through a river. Walking through water can be difficult work. Water resistance means that you have to exert twice as much effort in each step. Your feet will drag and any bag you bring will drag you into the water, making it even more difficult. Imagine how much more difficult it will be to go back upstream.
If you’re hoping to go, check with Zion National Park before you go. The park’s website has information about the hike and all other hikes as well as any warnings or events about Zion national park. is the URL to this website.
#5 Angels Landing
The name Angels Landing is quite fitting. Named for the violent and high-altitude slope at the top of the central Ridge Top, it is very fitting. It is a popular tourist spot for good reason.
It is breathtaking. You can be sure that the trail is well-maintained and safe because it is very popular. There are very few chances that you will wander off and get lost for days.
This is a good idea for nervous beginners but not for those who are experienced hikers. It is best to start your hike in the morning or mid-afternoon. If you choose to hike in the middle of the afternoon, you may need a flashlight. Although the trail is relatively safe, it doesn’t make navigation in darkness easy.
The hike is only 4.1 miles in length, so you can easily leave at night and return to your destination by a reasonable time. However, this hike is best for more experienced hikers.
You can find Angels Landing in Zion National Park, as well as a few other items on the list. This is a good place to start if you want to do more than one.
#6 The Wave
One of the most bizarre things you’ll see in Utah is the wave. The wave is a sweeping sandstone pattern that has developed a wave-like appearance over time due to natural erosion and, to a lesser degree, rain.
Although the wave is beautiful, it doesn’t look as good in photographs. Only the best photographers will be able to make the wave work, but the rest of us will need to try our best to keep it in our minds! For those who have difficulty with steep inclines, the wave is more gentle on their legs. It stays at a steady elevation of 400 feet. It is much lower than most other hikes.
The hike is 4 miles long. This can prove difficult in the summer heat. You will need a permit to hike the trail due to its national heritage status. Permits can be bought online. You will need to drive more than an hour on a dirt road to reach the wave, which is deep within the Vermilion Wilderness.
Flash flooding can also occur on the roads, but it is not likely to happen during summer. These are the best times to visit. The bright sunlight reflecting off the waves tends to bring the roads to life.
#7 Mount Timpanogos
The steepness of this hike was the reason it made the list. This 14-mile hike will take you up over 4300 feet. I’ll let you do the math to calculate the gradient.
Let me give you an idea, it’s very steep! The 14-mile hike is not something to be ashamed of, but the dramatic elevation change takes it to another level. It is located in its own area and is not connected to any national parks like many other hikes. It is Utah’s highest mountain and offers unparalleled views of Utah.
Mount Timpanogos is the best place to view Utah at sunset or sunrise. Why not do both? Parking costs 6 dollars, hiking the trail is free. It’s a small price to pay for a unique hiking experience. The mountain is also maintained. It’s a win/win situation. This is the best way to see wildlife.
You will find mountain goats all over this mountain, so make sure you are not making too much noise. These wonderful goats are best seen from above and below. You can spot mountain goats high up on the cliff faces. They will go to every corner of the mountain, and they will!
#8 The Buckskin Gulch
You can find the Buckskin Gulch in the Vermilion wilderness. The trail begins at the area’s entrance so it is easy to miss. You don’t have to start in the wilderness, it is right there.
You will need a permit for this hike. The hike is only 16 miles long. It is 32 miles to complete the hike. If you intend on returning, you will need a multi-day permit. The permits are available at the trail’s beginning. It’s easy to miss. It is actually a slot canyon. The trail itself is a long slot canyon.
This long, difficult trail is tedious and tiring. It is beautiful, not that it isn’t, but it is hard work. Most people choose to only hike a small section of the trail before moving on to other routes. It is worth sticking to.
You can hike only a small portion of the trail, so it’s quite quiet. It is also quite rewarding to complete it. Buckskin Gulch is one of the longest slot canyons in the world.
#9 The Gold Cathedral
Because of its length, this hike is at the end of our list. The hike is approximately 9 miles long. This can make it more difficult than most hikers are willing to tackle in one day.
It can be quite difficult towards the end so make sure you’re fit and healthy. You will need to have plenty of gear because the hike is quite long. You will need plenty of water, food, and spare socks. It is best to begin the hike early in the morning when it is cool. Then, take a break at lunchtime and finish the walk around mid-afternoon.
If you set out at noon, you will most likely finish your hike in darkness. A flashlight is a must. You will find this hike towards the end of the Neon Canyon in the Grand Staircase Escalante National Park.
This hike is not recommended for those who aren’t proficient in reading and navigating maps. There are many opportunities for mistakes, and the trial isn’t always obvious.
#10 Hike to the Paria Canyon
The last but not least is the hike to Paria Canyon. This hike is for experienced hikers only. This is not the place to push your limits and try to prove your worth. That is going to get you killed.
It takes approximately 4 days to complete the Paria Canyon hike, which is 38 miles long. You will be working hard on this hike, as it is predominantly downhill. It may sound counterintuitive, but it can be very exhausting to hike downhill for extended periods of time. By the fourth day, your ankle and shins are bound to be sore.
Hiking poles are a great idea to have with you. This, along with all the other things you’ll need to last 4 days. Your pack should contain a tent, a sleeping bag, and food.
Water will be scarce as you walk through the canyon. You should bring as much water as you can carry and ensure that you refill your water bottles as often as possible. It would be a disaster if you run out of water on day 2. The Paria Canyon is located between two Navajo sandstone structures.
They frame the canyon beautifully and are part of what makes it so special. It is located in Zion National Park and covers a large area of the park. This hike is not for the weak-hearted or faint-hearted.