Things To Know At Your Utah Hiking Trip: 15 Stunning Hiking Trails in Utah

12 mins read
Utah Hiking
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Are you enjoying outdoor activities and planning a hiking trip to Utah? There are many things to know at your Utah hiking trails to make it the best hike you would have ever experienced in your life till now.

Utah is the land of sun and snow with a rich history. The alpine lakes, mountain peaks, ski resorts, national parks, red rock formations, and canyons beckon visitors to bask in its natural beauty, enjoy any Utah hiking trails, be far away from city noise and lights and be close to nature.

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Utah

Many things can be done if you plan a trip to Utah, and it can be exhilarating if you enjoy hiking trails because Utah is home to many national parks and state parks. This landlocked mountain state in the United States attracts many hikers every year to enjoy its hiking trails during the summer months and winter. Utah hiking trails attract a lot of visitors all through the year.

Utah is home to five national parks and 45 state parks, making it a perfect playground for visitors who love outdoor activities, adventure, water sports, and excitement. The Arches National Park, Bryce Canyon National Park, Canyonlands National Park, Capitol Reef National Park, and Zion National Park have made Utah hiking trails popular with those who enjoy hiking and being one with nature during their break from daily routine.

Why Should You Hike In Utah?

Utah hiking trail caters to all types of hikers, easy, moderate, and challenging. The various choices give hikers options, making Utah hiking trails a good choice. Keep the state’s weather conditions in mind when planning an outdoor vacation. Decide on which Utah hiking trail you want to do and pack your bags and hiking boots. Choose from the numerous breathtaking hiking trails, and then, what are you waiting for. Go ahead, and make your bookings.

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What has to be kept in mind is that some Utah hiking trails here are easy, and some are hard. Do not attempt the difficult and strenuous hikes if you are not experienced enough. Easy hikes also connect you with the natural beauty of Utah; opt for one of those easy trails if you are not an expert hiker.

Some of these hikes require permits which can be got from the visitor centre; check that out before you plan your Utah hiking trip.

Hiker’s Checklist:

Hiking trails require a bit of preparation so that your trail time is enjoyable, exciting, and rewarding. Here are some things that can be termed hiking essentials while going on a hike.

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  1. Hiking boots

  2. Hiking daypack that can be carried easily

  3. Hydro flask

  4. Headlamp

  5. Camping tent

  6. Sleeping bag

  7. Raincoat

  8. Small knife

  9. Sunscreen and insect repellant

  10. First-aid box

  11. Power Bank

  12. Camera

These are some of the handy items that will be useful during your Utah hiking trip, and you can customise this list according to the trail you choose to do. The requirements change depending on the trail’s difficulty level, the distance, and the duration of the trail.

Best Utah Hiking Trails

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Let us look at the best Utah hiking trails that capture the essence of Utah, its barren lands, monuments, state parks, tribal parks, and finally, the national parks, and be astonished at the landscape of the land.

  1. Angel’s Landing – Zion National Park

Difficulty Level: Hard

Distance: 4.4 – Miles Round Trip

Elevation Gain: 1488 feet (approx.)

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The hike at Angel’s Landing is not for those scared of heights. It is not a trail for those who care for a stroll; it is more for those looking for adventure and thrills. It starts at the Grotto Trailhead, and the first two miles, even though paved, are steep. That makes it a strenuous hike. Then comes Walter’s Wriggles, where you go back and forth as you climb.

In the last half-mile of Angel’s Landing hike, see the trail getting narrow, and you will have to hold on to the metal chains on either side of the trail. You get a fabulous panoramic view of the Lake Virgin river and the Zion Canyon. The closest town to Zion National Park with good amenities in Springdale. 

  1. Chesler Park Loop Trail – The Needles District – Canyonlands National Park

Difficulty Level – Strenuous

Distance – 11 miles round trip

Elevation Gain – 1820 feet (approx.)

Chesler Park in the Needles District is a grassy area, and the park is filled with hundreds of stone needles. There is a campground near the Chesler Park Loop trailhead, located near Elephant Hill. The crude 4×4 track allows jeep rides and takes you to The Needles. The route goes down to the Elephant Canyon, and this trailhead gives a lot of exciting options to hikers.

The trail leads around the park, and the hike brings the hikers to a place where they can look over Chesler Park and The Needles. This is one of the best hikes because of the incredible views hikers get while on this trailhead. The Needle formations you get to see on this trail are unbelievable. You will marvel at nature’s creations.

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You get to see some magnificent rock formations on this trail, and the Joint Trail of this hiking trail is very popular. Many areas on the Joint Trail have narrow cracks between the sandstone slabs. The spires, caves, and boulders make this hike different from the other trails. Carry plenty of water because there is no water on this trailhead.

  1. Coyote Gulch – Glen Canyon National Recreation Area

Difficulty Level: Moderate

Distance: 16.9 miles

Coyote Gulch, a grand slot canyon, is a relatively easy trail and takes you along the canyon walls, a large mystic arch, waterfalls, and a natural bridge. The hiking trail to the Gulch offers three different options to hikers depending on how much time is available and how much you want to see. It is one of the best hikes to do in Utah, and a day hike is a good hike option to experience the natural beauty of this place.

The fastest hiking trail you can do here is the Water Tank Trailhead via the Sneaker route. Drive into Grand Staircase Escalante and walk towards the north, where the trail begins. Climb down into the Gulch near Jacob Hamlin Arch. The exit can be done the same way, and this is the easiest of the three hiking trails here.

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The second option is the Coyote Gulch Access Point which is also close to the Sneaker route. This hike is not as easy as the first option, and you can commence the hike by parking your car at the Coyote Gulch Access Point. Walk westward into the Gulch near Jacob Hamlin Arch. You can exit the same way and go back to the parking lot where your car is parked.

Loop Trail – The Coyote Gulch Access Point to Crack in the Wall and Then Back Up Near Jacob Hamlin Arch

Turn northeast from the Coyote Gulch Access Point on this trail and head towards the eastern end. Get into the Gulch through Crack in the Wall, an opening there. The trail leads to Jacob Hamlin Arch and then hike back to the start. This trail is the best way to see the entire area of the Gulch in a day.

You get to see Jacob Hamlin Arch, Coyote Natural Bridge, Stephen’s Arch, and the Secret Lagoon on all these three hiking trails.

  1. Delicate Arch Trail – Arches National Park

Difficulty Level: Hard

Distance: 3 Miles Round Trip

Known to be one of the most popular hiking trails in Arches National Park, the Delicate Arch symbolises Utah. At 46 feet high and 32 feet wide, this free-standing arch will leave you spellbound with its size and magnitude. The Delicate Arch looks as if it has been delicately carved out of sandstone, hence the name. This Utah hiking trail is quite crowded during sunset time.

This is one of the best hikes, and there are three ways to see the Delicate Arch. Take a 3-mile hike and marvel at the beauty of the arch up close. If you are short on time, hike to the Upper Viewpoint. It is only half a mile away from the parking lot. The third one is by walking 100 meters to the viewpoint area. This will only allow you to see the arch; you will not be able to appreciate the magnitude and size of the arch.

The Delicate Arch is Utah’s symbol, and all the Utah license plates have a symbol of the arch on them.

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  1. Fairyland Loop Trail – Bryce Canyon National Park

Difficulty Level: Strenuous

Distance: 7.8 miles

Elevation Gain: 1545 ft (approx.)

The Fairyland Loop Trail is one of the many trails at the Bryce Canyon National Park, and it is the best way to get magnificent views of the hoodoos and canyons. There are multiple elevation gains, and being a long trail, it tends to get strenuous.

This trail also includes a bit of the Rim Trail from Sunset Point to Fairyland Point. It is a scenic trail, and you can use the parking area of the Sunrise Point, walk the Rim Trail to the Fairyland Loop Trailhead and commence the hike.

  1. Julie Andrews Meadow – American Fork Canyon

Difficulty Level: Moderate

Distance: 2.6 miles roundtrip

This is a hiker’s paradise, and it takes its name from the meadow in The Sound of Music. There are different trails here, and if you park 100 feet beyond the pavement at the Timpooneke Campground, you get a short and straight path to make the hiking trail. You get to see the Scout Falls Viewpoint on this hike.

The trail is uphill most of the time. The sound of the cascading waterfall and the glorious mountains give arresting views to the hikers.

  1. Lower Calf Creek Falls – Grand Staircase Escalante Monument

Difficulty Level: Easy

Distance: 5.8 miles round trip

Elevation Gain: 544 ft (approx)

Cascading down130-foot, Lower Calf Creek Falls will take your breath away. This beautiful waterfall is located near Boulder, Utah, inside the Grand Staircase Escalante Monument. There is a pool at the bottom of the waterfall where visitors can swim. The waterfall here makes this a more popular hike than the Upper Calf Creek Falls hike.

It is a short hike to this waterfall through the sand with minimal elevation gain. The highlight of this Utah hiking trail is the view of an ancient storage granary and a panel of enchanting pictographs. A weekend at the Calf Creek campground at the Grand Staircase Escalante is the best way to make this hiking trail.

The trailhead is just off the Utah Scenic Byway 12, Escalante and Boulder.

8. Mesa Arch Trail – Canyonlands National Park

Difficulty Level: Easy

Distance: 0.5 mile

The Mesa trailhead starts along the Grand View parking area at parking area. You get to go to the plateau’s edge and will have a panoramic view of the countryside. The Mesa Arch is on the rim of the plateau. It is a short trail and easy to follow. For photographers, taking sunrise and sunset pictures of the arch and the canyons below is a dream come true for photographers. Sunrise is a favourite time for photographers as sunlight gives diverse textures to the arch’s surface.

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Being an easy hike, the trail caters to people of all age groups, and the views of the La Sal Mountains in the distance, the canyons, and the spires make this one of the spectacular Utah hiking trails. 

  1. Provo River Waterfall – Utah Lake State Park

Difficulty Level: Moderate

Distance: 15.2 miles roundtrip

This paved hiking trail leads to many waterfalls, making this one of the best Utah hiking trails for hikers. The trail starts from Utah Lake and runs through the Provo Canyon to the City of Orem. These cities are in the South of Salt Lake City, Utah. Since the trail runs parallel to a beautiful river, the hike is also a good river walk.

There are many waterfalls through the river, making it a magnificent sight for hikers. A stroll or a riverside walk is the best way to soak in the beautiful surroundings. This is one Utah hiking trail where hikers or visitors dip in the river, especially during summer. It is a beautiful hike, peaceful and scenic.

  1. Spanish Fork River Trail – Spanish Oaks Reservoir

Difficulty Level: Easy

Distance: 19.5 km out and back

This paved trail takes hikers along the Spanish Fork River from Canyon View Park to the Sports Complex. You get to see a lot of animals, horses, mule deer, etc., while on this trail as it takes you through open farmland. A biking road makes biking easy, and you can revel in the pleasant views of the river flowing on one side and the farmland on the other side.

This is one of the best hikes for visitors of all age groups, including children. There are lots of shaded areas for visitors to sit down and relax and bask in the beauty of the surroundings.

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  1. The Queen’s Garden Trail – Bryce Canyon National Park

Difficulty Level: Moderate

Distance: 1.8 miles out and back hike

Hikers can make this trail out and back, but the best option to do this hike would be to combine it with the Navajo Loop trail. That way, you can experience the best of Bryce Canyon. The out and back are not tricky at all, and you see a lot of hikers opting for this while visiting the Bryce Canyon National Park.

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You can see signs to reach Sunrise Point once you enter the Bryce Canyon. Your base at the canyon can be the parking lot. The route of this trailhead drops into the canyon rim, and there is an eye-catching rock formation at the end of this trail. The red and white rocks, the incredible rock formations, and stunning views make the Queen’s Garden Trail one of the best hikes in Utah. The rock formations include the Queen’s Castle, Queen Victoria, and Gulliver’s Travels.

A day hike is good here, and you can start the hike at sunrise. The trailhead is well marked and well maintained, and you can see that it is a trailhead that is well-travelled by hikers. The most complex parts for hikers on this trail are the beginning and the end, when they have to take switchbacks to go down into the canyon or go back to the trailhead.

The colours green and red dominate the landscape as the trailhead takes you to the Bryce Canyon floor. The hoodoo sculptures are mindblowing, and for visitors who love photography, this is the perfect place to take pictures.

  1. The Narrows Riverside Walk – Zion National Park

Difficulty Level – Easy

Distance – 1.9 miles

The Narrows Riverside Walk Trail is one of the best hikes in Zion National Park, and being an easy trail, there are lots of people. The trail is in the narrow canyon section leading to the Virgin River. You can enjoy a stroll near the river and enjoy some great views along the 2-mile hike. This trail is recommended for those who love hiking, walking, running, and nature.

Canyon walls here are around 1500 feet tall, and they are impressive and majestic. Summer and late spring are good times to hike here though storms occur during summer, and there are chances of flash floods happening. The Narrows is closed during the winter months.

  1. Timpooneke Trail – Mount Timpanogos, Wasatch Mountain Range

Difficulty Level: Strenuous

Distance: 14 miles round trip

Mount Timpanogos is the second highest mountain in the Wasatch mountain range. This trail is complex, and you can opt for a day hike. The trail begins at the Timpooneke Campground and takes you to the summit. You can go through the Lower Basin and then an extensive rock field before the climb. You reach a signed fork once you reach the Upper Basin. You can either take the trail that leads to Emerald Lake or the Timpooneke Trail.

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It is a steady climb to the top Hike up to the Timpanogos Basin, and the fantastic views of the mountain will leave you amazed. Mountain goats, purple flowers, and a few streams add to this Utah hiking trail and will make your Utah trails splendorous.

  1. The Subway – Zion National Park

Difficulty Level: Strenuous

Distance: 9.5 miles Round Trip

Elevation Gain: 600 ft.

This hiking trail is strenuous, and hikers will have to climb huge boulders, scramble, wade, and swim because of the stream which forms the central part of the trail. You need to get a permit from the visitor centre for a hiking trail here and do it along with an expert. It is challenging to make this trail from down, and most canyoners opt to do it from the top to down.

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The trail starts at the Wildcat Trailhead, and you stay on the top of the ridges during the initial stages of the hike. You get deep into the slots after this and then hike downstream. The trail route ends at the bottom of the Subway,y where there is a waterfall. An overhead arch gives a tunnel effect and hence the name, Subway. The climb out of the canyon is steep and rugged. The terrain is challenging, and the hike takes you into the wilderness region. You can see well-preserved dinosaur tracks on a large boulder during this hike.

  1. Wolfe Ranch and Petroglyph Trail – Arches National Park

Difficulty Level: Easy

Distance: 0.8 km

Elevation Gain – 188 m

This easy trail in the Arches National Park takes just 11 minutes to complete, and it is an excellent trail to walk around and hike. The Wolfe Ranch is also called Turnbow Cabin. The Petroglyphs here will take you back to history, and they have been well-preserved. The Petroglyphs and the old ranch highlight this Utah hiking trail at the Arches National Park.

If you like history, then this is the best hike to do. Nature lovers will like to drown in the myriad colours of wildflowers as they enjoy history and hiking.

In The End

Utah Hiking
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Are you all set for a hiking trip in Utah after reading this? Leave the comforts of your home and step outdoors to experience the ruggedness and raw beauty of nature and its wonders. This is the best way to enjoy the diverse landscape of Utah, the unpredictable weather conditions, and its unique terrain. Have a fun-filled, adventurous, and refreshing hiking trip off the beaten path here and get back home with thoughts and images of Utah’s magic and mystical beauty.

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