Hiking & Treking

The absolute best hikes in Utah

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switchback trail in the Angels Landing hike at Zion National Park with autumn colors

Image: Shutterstock/Wollertz

Let’s face it: Utah’s geography is some of the most diverse in the entire country. With lofty, craggy mountains, barren desert, and breathtaking red canyons, there’s no question why thousands of adventurers make Utah their destination for epicness each year. The best part about Utah is how widely spread the fun is. You can access wonderful trails everywhere from the Four Corners to Moab to St. George to Salt Lake City. And if you’re truly up for an adventure, why not try them all? Just remember to bring plenty of water and layers along for the journey—the desert temps change dramatically from day to night! Now that you’re ready to start exploring Utah, start here to find the best trail for you!

The Subway

Perhaps one of the most strenuous hikes in Zion National Park. The Subway is definitely the most rewarding. While it’s seriously advised to complete this hike with an experienced guide, detailed trail descriptions are also available to use. The strenuous 9-mile hike begins (and ends!) at the Left Fork Trailhead on the Kolob Terrace Road, where an epic journey of scrambling, creek crossing, and route-finding awaits. Permits are required to step foot in the Subway and can be attained at the visitor center. Also note that the Subway is for day-use only, so start early!

Angels Landing

Another of Zion National Park’s most famous hikes, the Angels Landing Trail is surrounded by scenic vistas of red rocks and desert brush. The first two miles of the trail are completely accessible (paved and maintained), which is perfect for beginner hikers. The end of the trail, however, finds steep drop-offs at dizzying heights. The hard work is worth it, though, as the views of deep gulches and jagged rocks are simply outstanding.

Coyote Gulch

Allot three days to fully experience this quintessential hike in a remote area of Grand Staircase-Escalante Wilderness Area. The trailhead, located near Escalante, Utah, follows the Escalante River drainage red rock canyon. Due to it’s availability of water, easy ascents, and overall breathtaking scenery, Coyote Gulch is a must-hike in Utah. There are two choices to start, one at the Red Well Trailhead and the other at Hurricane Wash Trailhead, but the former gets you to a water source quicker. Either way, Coyote Gulch is unmissable!

Buckskin Gulch

Known by many as the longest slot canyon in the world, Buckskin Gulch is notorious in the canyoneering community. Found within the Vermillion Cliffs National Monument recreation area, Buckskin Gulch is equally exciting and dangerous. Due to the potential of flash floods, permits are required for both day use and overnight trips. The trek is best completed in two days, but a strenuous 21-mile hike (through deep puddles, large rocks, and hot temperatures) is possible. As the trail is one-way, you’ll also need two cars, one at the end and the other at the beginning, to complete it. Park your shuttle car at the end of the trail at White House Campground then drive to the Wire Pass Trailhead to begin the journey.

Mount Timpanogos

Reach new heights when you summit Mount Timpanogos in Utah’s Wasatch Mountains. Second in height only to Mt. Nebo, the peak of Mount Timpanogos has an elevation of 11,749 feet. While there are two ways to reach the summit, the Timpooneke Trail is preferred for it’s easier ascent and shorter length (hello day trip!). At fifteen miles round trip, you can really choose your own adventure due to the plethora of places to camp. Horses are even allowed on the trail if you’re into riding up to the summit. Find the Timpooneke Trailhead at American Fork Canyon within the Timpooneke Campground.

Queen’s Garden

Bryce Canyon National Park’s most darling hike takes visitors through Queen’s Garden, a cluster of hoodoos (tall spindles of reddish rock). The short trek is completely manageable, giving hikers the opportunity to experience the most beautiful parts of Bryce Canyon without committing to an overnight trip. At only 1.8 miles, you’ll have plenty of time to explore the rest of the park before or after the hike! Find the trailhead at Sunrise Point, which is considered the least difficult starting point.

Delicate Arch

You can’t visit Arches National Park without hiking to Delicate Arch, one of the most splendid examples of the rock feature within the park. The iconic trailhead begins at the Wolfe Ranch parking lot just off of the main road through the park, where there are plenty of places to leave the car. Follow the out-and-back (1.5 miles each way) trail that scrambles over smooth rocks until you reach the stunning 52-foot Delicate Arch. While the arch isn’t as dainty as it’s name implies, be sure to leave as little impact on the rocks as possible for future generations to enjoy!

Kate Wilke is the content manager at 301brands, and she's the editor of DailyBeautyHack.com, and the lifestyle editor at OhMyVeggies.com. When she's not paddle boarding or skiing, she's informing someone about global warming (or cats) over a local double IPA. Follow her on Instagram — @kateewilke

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