Southern Utah is a hiker’s paradise, with its rugged terrain and stunning natural beauty. From towering red rock formations to deep canyons and winding rivers, the region offers some of the most breathtaking scenery in the world.
With so many trails to choose from, it can be tough to decide where to begin your adventure. That’s why we’ve compiled this list of the top hikes in Southern Utah.
Whether you’re an experienced backpacker or just looking for a day hike, there’s something on this list for everyone. You’ll find trails that take you through narrow slot canyons, up steep mountain peaks, and past ancient ruins left by long-gone civilizations.
So grab your hiking boots and hit the trail – these scenic routes are sure to leave you inspired and awestruck by the beauty of Southern Utah.
Zion National Park: Angels Landing Trail
Picture this: you’re standing at the base of a towering red rock formation, ready to tackle one of Zion National Park’s most iconic hikes. The Angels Landing Trail is not for the faint of heart, but if you’re up for the challenge, you’ll be rewarded with some truly breathtaking views.
This strenuous 5-mile round-trip hike will take you up steep switchbacks and along narrow ridges that offer panoramic vistas of the surrounding canyonlands. With an elevation gain of over 1,400 feet and sheer drop-offs on either side of the trail, it’s no wonder why this trail has been dubbed one of America’s scariest hikes by several media outlets.
For those who are brave enough to complete it, the sense of accomplishment and awe-inspiring scenery make it all worth it. If you’re looking for an adrenaline-pumping adventure with stunning scenic views, then give the Angels Landing Trail a try, just be sure to bring plenty of water and wear sturdy hiking shoes!
Bryce Canyon National Park: Fairyland Loop Trail
After experiencing the breathtaking vistas and daunting heights of Angels Landing Trail, it’s time to explore another natural wonder: Fairyland Loop Trail at Bryce Canyon National Park.
This strenuous 8-mile hike offers some of the best viewpoints in the park, including Tower Bridge and China Wall formations. As you navigate through hoodoos and canyons, make sure to come prepared with plenty of water, sturdy shoes, and sunscreen.
Tips for hiking the Fairyland Loop Trail include starting early in the day to avoid crowds and heat, taking breaks when needed, and keeping an eye out for wildlife such as mule deer and golden eagles.
With its unique landscape and challenging terrain, this trail is a must-do for any avid hiker visiting Southern Utah.
Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument: Lower Calf Creek Falls Trail
You might think that hiking to a waterfall in the desert doesn’t sound like the most appealing activity, but Lower Calf Creek Falls Trail in Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument will prove you wrong.
This 6-mile round trip hike takes you through a lush canyon with towering red rock walls and leads you to a stunning 126-foot tall waterfall cascading into a crystal-clear pool below.
Exploring waterfalls is always an exciting adventure, but discovering hidden gems like this one makes it even more special.
The trail itself is well-maintained and mostly flat, making it accessible for hikers of all levels. Along the way, keep an eye out for petroglyphs left by ancient cultures who once inhabited the area.
The lush oasis around the falls provides a refreshing break from the hot desert sun and offers plenty of shaded spots for picnics or lounging by the pool. Don’t forget your swimsuit!
Arches National Park: Devil’s Garden Trail
Devil’s Garden Trail is one of the most popular hikes in Arches National Park, and for good reason. This 7.2-mile loop trail offers stunning views of towering sandstone formations and natural arches that are sure to take your breath away.
However, if you’re planning on hiking Devil’s Garden Trail solo, there are a few things you should keep in mind. First and foremost, make sure you have plenty of water and sunscreen with you as the desert sun can be unforgiving. Additionally, it’s important to stay on the designated trails to avoid damaging fragile plant life or getting lost.
If you’re looking for the best time to visit Devil’s Garden Trail for sunset views, plan your hike for late afternoon when the sky is painted with hues of pink and orange. Don’t forget to bring a camera – you won’t want to miss capturing these incredible colors against the backdrop of red rock formations.
Tips for Solo Hikers:
- Bring plenty of water and sunscreen
- Stay on designated trails
- Let someone know where you’ll be hiking
- Wear sturdy hiking shoes
- Pack snacks or meals
When it comes to visiting Arches National Park, Devil’s Garden Trail is an absolute must-do hike. Whether you’re traveling alone or with friends, this trail promises unforgettable scenery at every turn.
Capitol Reef National Park: Cohab Canyon Trail
As the saying goes, ‘take only memories, leave only footprints,’ and that’s exactly what you’ll do on the Cohab Canyon Trail at Capitol Reef National Park.
This 2.9-mile hike offers stunning views of the park’s unique geological formations and colorful cliffs. While not as strenuous as some other trails in the area, hikers should be prepared for steep inclines and rocky terrain.
The best season to visit is in the spring or fall when temperatures are cooler and colors are more vibrant. Don’t forget your camera to capture all the natural beauty along this trail.
Canyonlands National Park: Chesler Park And Joint Trail Loop
Canyonlands National Park offers some of the most unique and breathtaking scenery in all of Southern Utah.
One must-do hike is the Chesler Park and Joint Trail Loop, which takes hikers on a 10-mile journey through towering sandstone spires and winding canyons.
Backpacking tips for this trail include bringing plenty of water, as there are no reliable sources along the way, and being prepared for sudden weather changes.
The highlight of the hike is reaching one of several scenic overlooks that provide panoramic views of the park’s vast landscape. Don’t forget to bring your camera!
Southern Utah is a hiker’s paradise with its stunning scenery and challenging trails. From the iconic Angels Landing Trail in Zion National Park to the lesser-known but equally beautiful Cohab Canyon Trail in Capitol Reef National Park, there is something for everyone.
So pack your hiking boots, grab some water and sunscreen, and hit the trails of Southern Utah.
Whether you’re an experienced hiker or just starting out, these top 10 hikes are sure to leave you breathless (in more ways than one) and provide memories that will last a lifetime.
So what are you waiting for? Let’s go explore!