The Best Trails For Hiking in Utah’s National Parks

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The Best Trails For Hiking in Utah’s National Parks


Utah is residence to 5 nice National Parks – also known as Utah’s Mighty 5. They are among the many most visited National Parks within the United States. Each is outlined by its personal distinctive and spectacular geographic magnificence. And every presents a lot of climbing alternatives. 

Here’s a take a look at a few of the nice locations to go climbing in Utah’s National Parks.

See additionally: The Best Sunglasses for Hiking & Outdoor Activities

Utah’s Mighty 5 National Parks

Utah’s Mighty 5 National Parks stretch throughout the southern half of this western state. They embody Zion, Bryce Canyon, Capitol Reef, Canyonlands, and Arches.  

Many vacationers to Utah will go to all 5 Parks as a part of a southern Utah Road journey. They are separated by a complete distance of 353 miles, stretching from Zion National Park in southwest Utah to Arches National Park in southeast Utah. I’d advocate a minimal of 10 days for street tripping all Five.

The most typical gateway cities for reaching these Utah National Parks are Las Vegas and Salt Lake City. Zion is roughly 2.5 hours by automobile from Las Vegas, and 4 hours from Salt Lake. 

As with hottest websites, summertime visits might be very crowded. Spring and Fall will supply fewer crowds and cooler temperatures. The Parks are open 12 months spherical, however winter temperatures might be chilly in all Five, and snow needs to be anticipated in a number of of them. 

Great Hiking Trails in Utah’s National Parks

Each certainly one of these nice Parks supply a number of climbing alternatives. You’ll discover trails to arches, trails by means of hoodoos, trails alongside riverbeds subsequent to hovering canyon partitions, trails alongside 2000 foot excessive ledges with breathtaking views, and trails exploring a few of the most original geography within the United States. 

Here’s a fast take a look at Utah’s National Parks and my favourite climbing path in every.

See additionally: Gear Guide: Must Haves for Camping and Hiking

Zion National Park

Zion National Park is the preferred of Utah’s Mighty 5 and rated #1 in your complete US by AllTrails.com. It’s recognized for its majestic sandstone peaks, 4 completely different scenic drives, and its two world well-known hikes – The Narrows and Angels Landing. 

The Narrows is a hike by means of a shallow flowing river because it cuts between slim hovering sandstone partitions. Angels Landing is a hike alongside a slim 1500 foot sandstone ridge providing a few of the most spectacular views throughout Zion Canyon.

Zion's Great White Throne on the left and Angel's Landing on the right
Zion’s Great White Throne on the left and Angel’s Landing on the proper

Zion’s Canyon Overlook Trail

Since the Narrows and Angels Landing aren’t for everybody, and since I’ve personally not hiked both, let’s check out the Canyon Overlook Trail – a a lot simpler hike with an enormous payoff on the finish. 

The Canyon Overlook Trail is only one mile (1,6km) spherical journey and is without doubt one of the best hikes within the Park. It solely features 160 ft in elevation throughout its size.  

This fashionable path begins with a sequence of switchbacks up alongside the aspect of a sandstone cliff, earlier than inclining regularly alongside Zion Canyon’s jap plateau – in direction of its edge and the “Overlook”.

While climbing this path, you’ll stroll alongside a number of ledges (protected by railing), whereas admiring the surroundings a number of hundred ft under. You’ll stroll by means of a protracted recess – carved into the sandstone cliffside – whereas admiring the close by sandstone peaks on the alternative aspect. And finally you’ll scramble to the highest of Zion Canyon’s tall jap wall. 

Here, you’ll be greeted with this view….canyon ground a pair thousand ft under….huge sandstone canyon partitions stretching out throughout to Zion’s western peaks within the distance….Breathtaking!

The view across lower Zion Canyon from the edge of the Overlook Trail
The view throughout decrease Zion Canyon from the sting of the Overlook Trail

Bryce Canyon National Park

Utah’s second most visited National Park, Bryce Canyon options distinctive sandstone hoodoos eroded over the millennia alongside the aspect of a excessive mountain plateau. I contemplate the Bryce Canyon Amphitheater – the world of the park with the very best density of hoodoos – to be Utah’s most spectacular web site. 

Hiking down by means of these hoodoos and alongside the Bryce Amphitheater Rim is an expertise to not be missed by guests to Utah’s National Parks.

Hiking in the Bryce Canyon Amphitheater from Sunset Point
The Bryce Canyon Amphitheater from Sunset Point

Bryce’s Queens/Navajo Loop Combination Trail

My favourite hike in Bryce Canyon is the Queens/Navajo Loop Combination Trail. This route combines a number of of one of the best trails within the Bryce Canyon Amphitheater, making a 3.1 mile (4.9km) loop. It’s an effective way to see all of Bryce’s finest options in a single single hike.  

It begins at Bryce’s most photographed viewpoint – Sunset Point. It then descends steeply into the Amphitheater alongside a sequence of terraced switchbacks, instantly into a brief hoodoo-lined slot canyon referred to as Wall Street.  

Here, on the base of the Amphitheater, the path works its manner over to Queens Garden – a set of hoodoos that features one resembling a seated Queen Victoria.  

The path then meanders up the aspect of the Ampitheater, in between one uncommon rock formation after one other, again to the highest. An elevation acquire of 650 ft. 

Once again on prime, the path then follows the Amphitheater Rim again to its begin at Sunset Point. This provide the good likelihood to soak up the superb view out throughout Bryce Canyon all alongside the way in which.

The Best Trails For Hiking in Utah’s National Parks
Hiking by means of the hoodoos on the Queen’s Garden Trail

Capitol Reef National Park

Capitol Reef, positioned centrally between the 5 Parks, options Utah’s Waterpocket Fold. This lengthy stretch of the earth’s floor wrinkled up when sure tectonic plates collided tens of millions of 12 months in the past. One aspect raised increased than the opposite. Over time water eroded the earth’s floor revealing and reshaping the Wrinkle.

The Park is known as for the massive white sandstone domes alongside the Waterpocket Fold that resemble the dome of the U.S. Capitol Building. 

The Waterpocket Fold as it runs through Capitol Reef National Park
The Waterpocket Fold because it runs by means of Capitol Reef National Park

Capitol Reef’s Grand Wash Trail

This nice hike takes you straight by means of a piece of Capitol Reef’s Waterpocket Fold, from one aspect to the opposite, alongside an historic dried-up historic river mattress…a river that when minimize your climbing path by means of the sandstone. 

The Grand Wash Trail is a flat 4.4 mile (7km) spherical journey hike by means of hovering 500 foot canyon partitions that alternate colours all alongside the route. Sometimes white, generally brown, generally purple. These excessive canyon partitions are completely beautiful – their top, their colours, their closeness.  

And talking of shut, there’s a part by means of the Wash referred to as The Narrows. Here, the partitions stand solely 20 ft aside. 

Walking alongside this path, with the partitions closing regularly collectively, is an expertise to not be missed whereas climbing in Utah’s National Parks.

Grand Wash Trail for hiking in Utah’s National Parks
The towering partitions of the Grand Wash Trail

Arches National Park

Located close to the well-known leisure city of Moab Utah, Arches National Park is legendary for……Arches. The Park options practically 2000 sandstone arches (the densest assortment on the planet), together with the world’s longest freestanding pure arch named Landscape Arch.

The park additionally options numerous different distinctive sandstone formation too. These embody Balanced Rock – an enormous sandstone boulder tipping precariously on a sandstone pedestal, and the Fiery Furnace – a big assortment of tightly packed sandstone canyons.

One of Arches most popular Arch formations - Double Arch
One of Arches hottest Arch formations – Double Arch

Arches’ Delicate Arch Trail

Delicate Arch is Utah’s most iconic web site and a ceaselessly used image for the State of Utah. And the path to Delicate Arch is without doubt one of the hottest climbing trails in all of Utah’s National Parks. The hike itself is 3 miles (4.8km) spherical journey, reasonably tough at instances, ceaselessly crowded, and value each effort.  

You’ll begin out climbing by means of a flat sandy desert panorama. You then scale a steep clean sandstone slope. Once on prime, extra sandy desert panorama, whereas finally working your technique to a protracted sandstone ledge. 

And then, as you come to the top of this ledge, Delicate Arch out of the blue seems to the proper, sitting remoted on the sting of a pure stone amphitheater. Walking round that nook is without doubt one of the grandest moments available whereas climbing in Utah’s National Parks.

From right here, you possibly can cross the amphitheater to the Arch itself and stand beneath it. Or simply sit and admire certainly one of Utah’s best pure wonders. 

Delcate Arch - maybe Utah's most famous site
Delcate Arch – perhaps Utah’s most well-known web site

Canyonlands National Park

Canyonlands National Park can also be positioned within the Moab space. Its entrance is simply half-hour away from Arches. Canyonlands is the biggest of Utah’s Mighty 5 Parks and has three completely different sections. The most frequently-visited part, referred to as Island In The Sky, sits on prime a excessive plateau and presents beautiful views out throughout deep canyons carved by the Green and Colorado Rivers positioned 2000 ft under.

One of the many great views from the eastern edge of Canyonland's Island of the Sky
One of the various nice views from the jap fringe of Canyonland’s Island of the Sky

Canyonland’s Grand View Point Trail

The identify of this path is considerably self-explanatory. The Island of the Sky part of Canyonlands is all about its views, and several other trails might be discovered alongside its size. But the Grand View Point presents the grandest view of all.  

This path is positioned on the very southern finish of the “Island’s” plateau. The street by means of this part of the park ends on the path head. But the path then continues following the sting of the plateau all the way in which to its very tip.  

The hike is 1.8 miles (2.8km) spherical journey and is usually flat. There isn’t any type of railing or barrier and the drop off is dramatic. But the pathway is ready again off the sting – manageable even for the height-phobic. 

It’s additionally simple to seek out locations at Grand View Point to only sit and take all of it in. 

Canyonland's Grand View Point
Canyonland’s Grand View Point

Final ideas about climbing in Utah’s National Parks

As you possibly can see, climbing in Utah’s National Parks is a really superior expertise. You’ll discover a lot pure marvel in every of the Mighty 5. And these 5 climbing trails – together with the various others in every Park – are the easiest technique to recognize the entire distinctive geography that Southern Utah has to supply.

  • Steven Jepson

    Steven Jepson





    My identify is Steven and I’m a retired doctor who lives in Salt Lake City, Utah. Travel has all the time been my ardour. Despite what was a busy skilled profession, I made it some extent to see as a lot of the world as I may. And now that I’m retired, I plan on seeing much more of it!

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