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Utah Backpacking Trails

Grand Junction, CO: Quick-and-Easy Canyon Getaway (Jones Hole Creek, Dinosaur National Monument)

Swimming holes, waterfalls, petroglyphs, and an idyllic campsite—all just a few miles deep in Dinosaur National Monument. BY ROSE CONRY

Moab, UT: Corona Arch

Yes, you should visit Arches, but don't pass up stunning Corona Arch outside Moab. Bonus: You'll get views of the Colorado River and Bootlegger Canyon.

Moab, UT: Fisher Towers

This short hike threads through a hoodoo-filled climbing mecca with outrageous scenery and countless sidetrip options.

Salt Lake City: Thayne Canyon

Climb up a steep canyon draped in a mix of fir and aspen forest to a craggy overlook of the Salt Lake Valley on this moderate 5.2-mile loop in the Mt. Olympus Wilderness.

Salt Lake City: Sunset Peak

This 5.3-mile out-and-back threads through a pristine alpine landscape with abundant streams, lakes, and wildlife on its way to a 10,650-foot peak in Wasatch National Forest.

Salt Lake City: Mount Olympus

Not for the weak-hearted, this 6.8-miler gains 4,200 feet up wooded hills, through a weathered canyon, and onto the flanks of Mt. Olympus where views are beyond spectacular.

Arches National Park: Eye of the Whale Loop

Find solitude in a geological playground of narrow canyons and pristine red sandstone arches on this rarely visited 4.5-mile loop.

Glen Canyon National Recreation Area: Rainbow Bridge National Monument

Stand under the world’s largest free-standing natural arch, a longtime icon in American exploration and Native American religion.

Glen Canyon National Recreation Area: Twilight Canyon

Experience a hands-on journey to the center of the earth on this 3-day, 29-mile trek through a slot canyon fantasyland.

Glen Canyon National Recreation Area: Clear Creek Canyon to Cathedral in the Desert

Stand below a giant sandstone altar recently revealed by the receding waters of Lake Powell on this 4-mile hike.

Glen Canyon National Recreation Area: Driftwood Canyon

This 300-foot narrow closes out the sky as it twists and turns for 4.1 miles. Rope recommended.

Glen Canyon National Recreation Area: Wetherill Canyon

Squeeze through 10.4 miles of sheer-walled sandstone passages.

Glen Canyon National Recreation Area: Mountain Sheep Canyon

This slot is one of the best–full of scrambles, pools, and chockstones. Bring a rope.

Glen Canyon National Recreation Area: Explorer Canyon

Venture into the lost world of the ancient Fremont people where smoke-stained grottos and some of the finest petroglyphs around highlight this 4-mile journey.

Glen Canyon National Recreation Area: Davis Gulch

Discover arches, rock art, and clues to the mystery of Everett Ruess on a 14.5-mile hike along the Escalante River.

Glen Canyon National Recreation Area: Mocqui Canyon

A lush 8.2-mile ramble past thousand-year-old Ancestral Pueblo ruins and find great camping underneath massive alcoves.

Glen Canyon National Recreation Area: Llewellyn Loop

Pioneer your own loop across virtually unknown, once-submerged benches on this 3-day, 17.3-mile cross-country trek following a remote route coveted by canyon junkies.

Glen Canyon National Recreation Area: West Canyon

Scramble, swim, and play in a swirling sandstone maze on this high-octane 6.4-miler for canyoneering fanatics. Bring rope and rappel gear.

Glen Canyon National Recreation Area: Twilight Canyon via Lake Powell

Experience a hands-on journey to the center of the earth on this 13.6-mile trek into a supreme slot canyon.

Glen Canyon National Recreation Area: Coyote Gulch via Crack in the Wall

Explore a network of canyons full of outlandish slots and arches from a primo weekend basecamp.

Glen Canyon National Recreation Area: Smith Fork

Hike 8.4 miles into an ecological orgy where the reservoir once ruled and now slot canyons open with new energy.

Glen Canyon National Recreation Area: Smith Fork via Lake Powell

This 13-miler starts with a paddle through a canal of sandstone then encounters multiple stellar slot canyons once used as Anasazi travel routes.

Glen Canyon National Recreation Area: Klondike Trail

Follow this newly revealed 1-mile prospectors’ route to a bonanza of slickrock panoramas. Camp near the rim to catch sunset over Navajo Mountain.

Glen Canyon National Recreation Area: Cha Canyon

This narrow sandstone wonderland is a gateway to unlimited off-the-grid backpacking near Navajo Mountain.

Glen Canyon National Recreation Area: Llewellyn Gulch Via Lake Powell

Explore the thin redrock hallways and rocky waterslides of a twisty gulch on this ambitious 11.2-mile paddle-hike.

Capitol Reef National Park: Pleasant Creek

Pass through sunburnt red canyons and cliffs marked with ancient petroglyphs en route to a secret swim- ming hole on this isolated 6-mile out-and-back.

Glen Canyon National Recreation Area: Oak Canyon

Find tranquility and seclusion on this 7.2-mile paddle-hike trip to a lonesome campsite.

Glen Canyon National Recreation Area: Mocqui Canyon via Lake Powell

This 6.7-mile journey ventures deep into the ancestral home of Pueblo cliff dwellers where you’ll camp in a living museum beneath long-lost, centuries-old ruins.

Salt Lake City: Lake Blanche Trail

This steep 6.2-mile out-and-back leads to one of the most celebrated alpine scenes–Lake Blanche under the spires of Sundial Peak–in the Wasatch Range.

Glen Canyon National Recreation Area: Willow Gulch

This 10.6-mile trek into a meandering fantasyland visits Broken Bow Arch, the second largest natural span in North America. Pack a lightweight raft to explore downstream.

Salt Lake City: Mineral Fork Trail

Get high in a hurry on this 9.8-mile out-and-back that gains 3,500 feet and takes in eagle-eye vistas of Salt Lake and the Wasatch Range.

Moab, UT: Morning Glory Arch

Take an easy 4.4-mile walk–perfect for the whole family–through a stream-laced canyon to a picturesque rock bridge. Water shoes recommended.

Glen Canyon National Recreation Area: Rainbow Trail

This 27-mile, 5-day trek circumnavigates Navajo Mountain and leads to Rainbow Bridge, the largest natural bridge in the world.

Salt Lake City: Mueller Park to North Canyon

String together two scenic canyons, several campsites, long vistas, and local landmarks like Rudy’s Flats and Elephant Rock on this 9.2-miler.

Glen Canyon National Recreation Area: Gunsight Canyon

Pack a rope and lots of water for Gunsight Canyon, because this parched southern Utah slot requires immediate rappel down a narrow pour-over.

Glen Canyon National Recreation Area: Ticaboo Creek

This hike explores a network of canyon forks anchored by scenic and isolated camping and reliable water sources in central Ticaboo Creek.

Arches National Park: Devils Garden

Hike 6.1 miles into a redrock paradise full of wind-and-water sculptures that seem to defy gravity. You’ll see seven amazing arches on this route.

Capitol Reef National Park: Steep Creek Canyon

Go from lush mountains to high desert via a red rock canyon on this 16.3-mile, mostly off-trail trek into Grand Staircase-Escalante. Go in spring or fall; pack extra water.

Salt Lake City: Bonneville Nunns Trail

Run, bike, or hike 10.4 miles out and back along a 14,000-year-old lake shoreline to fresh air and broad vistas in Provo Canyon.

Salt Lake City: Frary Peak

On this 6.6-mile hike, you’ll climb the highest peak on the Great Salt Lake’s Antelope Island, which is home to more than 600 bison.

Salt Lake City: Grandview Peak

This 8.5-mile out-and-back with an off-trail bonus traverses grassy ridgelines to a rocky summit overlooking the Wasatch Front.

Salt Lake City: Slate Canyon Loop

This hike, a best-kept secret among locals, climbs 3,000 gritty feet to spring-fed conifers, aspens, and meadows in the Wasatch Range outside Provo.

Canyonlands National Park: Elephant Hill to Squaw Flat Camp

Miles from anywhere, this 5.3-mile dayhike slides over sandstone mounds, into a shallow canyon, and under orange spires in the Needles District.

Salt Lake City: Squaw Peak via Rock Canyon

This 8.4-mile out-and-back hooks around the steep, bare prow of Squaw Peak, then ascends its north slope to a summit with skybox views.

Capitol Reef National Park: Meeks Mesa

This 8-mile out-and-back follows old cattle trails to mesa views and isolated campsites just outside Capitol Reef.

Salt Lake City: Deseret Peak Loop

You’ll climb a stiff 3,600 feet on this 7.8-mile loop, but gain extraordinary views of the high desert, Wasatch Mountains and Great Salt Lake.

Canyonlands National Park: Horseshoe Canyon

This 7.1-miler in redrock country showcases art you’ll never see in a big-city gallery–some of the world’s best-preserved pictographs and petroglyphs.

Capitol Reef National Park: Sulphur Creek Goosenecks

Scramble through a beautiful (and overlooked) 5.4-mile slot canyon filled with pools and waterfalls. Expect wet feet and maybe some swimming.

Salt Lake City: Big Baldy

This 7.6-miler loops under Mt. Timpanogos through a rugged canyon and high meadows to a smaller (just as gorgeous) summit in the Wasatch Range.

Salt Lake City: Red Butte Skyline Trail

Take the city’s light rail to this 4-mile lollipop loop and a high point above the Great Salt Lake and Wasatch foothills.

Salt Lake City: Fifth Water Hot Springs

Pack your swimsuit for this 5.4-mile round-trip canyon hike leading to a series of steaming, turquoise-blue hot pools and a cascading waterfall.

Canyonlands National Park: Colorado-Green Rivers Confluence

Cruise desert slickrock and sand on this 10.4-mile dayhike to an impressive canyon-top lookout high above the Colorado and Green Rivers.

Salt Lake City, UT: Twin Peaks via White Pine Canyon

This 14.6-mile dayhike serves up two Wasatch summits, some off-trail scrambles above an emerald-colored lake, and top-notch views.

Salt Lake City: Big Spring Hollow Loop

Snowshoe or ski into a winter paradise on this 4.7-miler that loops past a mountain spring and finishes with a downhill sprint.

Zion National Park: Angels Landing

This classic dayhike runs up a narrow canyon then along a formidable knife-edge ridge to a giant monolith with mind-boggling redrock views.

Capitol Reef National Park: Chimney Rock to Fremont River

Pinched slot canyons, neck-craning cliffs and cottonwood groves highlight this strenuous 9.9-mile shuttle hike in Utah’s redrock country.

Canyonlands National Park: Golden Stairs-Sweet Alice Loop

Outrageous spires and hidden springs highlight this 3-day loop through the Maze District.

Canyonlands National Park: Gooseberry-Dogleg Loop

Plunge from Island in the Sky to the Colorado River on this 3-day slickrock adventure.

Logan, UT: Logan Canyon

Trace a rushing river in the Wasatch-Cache National Forest.

Capitol Reef National Park: Stegosaur Loop

This challenging 6.3-mile lasso loop takes an off-trail tour of The Stegosaur, a massive sandstone fin in Capitol Reef National Park.

Range Creek: Range Creek Canyon

Utah’s Range Creek hides the most intact Native American artifacts in the United States. Get there now–while you can still play archaeologist.

Monticello, UT: Fish Creek Canyon Loop

Enter the world of the Anasazi on a 16-mile canyon-country overnighter through Owl Creek and Fish Creek canyons.

Dinosaur National Monument: Sound of Silence Trail

Squeeze through colorful canyons on a 4.5-mile twisting desert dayhike.

Moab, UT: Cameltoe Canyon

Put your route-finding skills to the test on this 5-mile trek that ascends rock ledges, skirts slickrock pools, and traverses sandy-bottomed washes.

Salt Lake City, UT: Mount Moriah

Summit a lonely wilderness peak in the stunning Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest.

Canyonlands National Park: Hayduke Trail Section

This eight-day, off-trail route explores southern Utah’s labyrinthine canyon country–slots, hoodoos, mesas, and bizarre sandstone formations.

Canyonlands National Park: Salt Creek-Lavender Canyon Loop

Anasazi ruins, slickrock scrambles, and a wealth of arches spice up a rugged 4-day tour of the Needles.

Dark Canyon Wilderness: Woodenshoe Canyon

Traverse ribbons of riparian growth across southern Utah.

Arches National Park: Tower Arch-Marching Men

Cruise a forest of rock pinnacles en route to Tower Arch on this remote 3.5-mile lollipop loop in the little-visited northwest section of Arches National Park.

Salt Lake City, UT: Mount Timpanogos via Aspen Grove

Peakbaggers love this 13.9-mile lollipop-loop which climbs past mountain lakes and rugged cirques to the second highest peak in the Wasatch.

Zion National Park: Navajo Lake Loop

Trace lava flows through wildflower meadows on this moderate 9.3-mile loop (famous for its singletrack mountain biking) around a subalpine lake.

Canyonlands National Park: Lost Hiker Loop

See what others have missed on this awesome canyon tour.

Canyonlands National Park: Lathrop Canyon

Take a plunge off Island in the Sky Mesa with this 11.1-mile out and back that drops 1,500-feet for excellent views of the White Rim bench and Lower Lathrop Canyon.

Arches National Park: Balanced Rock

This quick (and scenic) 0.3-mile jaunt loops around the base of Balanced Rock, a teetering sandstone rock formation in Arches National Park.

Arches National Park: Delicate Arch

Climb a massive slickrock ribbon and stand beneath one of Arches National Park’s most iconic landmarks on this 3.1-mile out-and-back.

Zion National Park: Pa’rus Trail

Paving the way for a traffic-free park, this 1.8-mile trail connects the Zion Visitor’s Center and Canyon Junction. Don’t miss a foot-soak in the Virgin River on your way!

Zion National Park: Observation Point

Scale Zion National Park’s skyscraping sandstone walls and dip into a water-carved slot on this epic 8-mile out-and-back that climbs 2,148-feet to classic canyon views on Observation Point.

Zion National Park: Riverside Walk

Cruise the northern reaches of Zion’s monumental canyon on this 2-mile out-and-back that skirts the Virgin River, winds past hanging gardens, and touches the crimson-stained cliffs of the Narrows.

Zion National Park: Lower Emerald Pool

This easy, 1.5-mile dayhike skirts the canyon-carving Virgin River en route to an algae-tinted desert oasis and a dripping, 100-foot waterfall.

Zion National Park: Weeping Rock

From cacti to cottonwood, this easy, 0.5-mile loop climbs nearly 100 feet to a hanging garden, a dripping rock, and a peek at Zion National Park’s biodiversity.

Canyonlands National Park: Upheaval Dome

Is it a meteorite or a salt formation? Gather your own conclusions about the origins of this mysterious ring of rock on this challenging, 7.6-mile loop in Canyonlands National Park.

Bryce Canyon National Park: Under The Rim Trail

Dupe the daytrippers on this rugged trail to brilliantly colored backcountry cliffs and hoodoos in Bryce Canyon National Park.

Arches National Park: Park Avenue

Hike among high-rise sandstone walls and massive fins on this 1.9-miler that’s a perfect introduction to Arches National Park.

Moab, UT: Moab Rim Trail

Grab unparalleled views of the La Sal Mountains, Arches National Park, Spanish Valley, and the Colorado River on this 4.2-mile hike near downtown Moab.

Capitol Reef: Capitol Gorge to Pleasant Creek

A 12.47-mile cross country backpack in Capitol Reef National park, going from Capitol Gorge to Pleasant Creek. You’ll need advanced orienteering skills because this entirely cross country route wanders over slickrock bowls and passes atop the Waterpocket Fold.

Arches National Park: Fiery Furnace

Weave through a maze of sandstone fins, squeeze between rock walls, and peek at hidden arches on this 2.3-mile hike in Arches National Park.

St. George, UT: Beck Hill-Scout Cave

Red rock cliffs are the backdrop for this 4.8-mile point-to-point that traverses part of a 62,000-acre wildlife preserve near St. George—keep an eye peeled for trailside tortoises!

Zion National Park: Zion Narrows of the Virgin River

A 15.6-mile hike-scramble-wade-swim through one of the finest river gorges on Earth.

Bryce Canyon National Park: Fairyland Loop

This 8-mile trail is arguably the most scenic dayhike in Bryce Canyon, and is less-trafficked than other dayhike loops.

Uinta Mountains, UT: Highline Trail

Discover Utah’s best-kept secret.

Zion National Park: West Rim Trail

Start this burly, 14.5-mile one-way hike at 7,460-foot Lava Point and drop 3,150 feet to the Grotto. En route, tick off Zion’s greatest hits from the pine-studded sandstone basins of Phantom Valley to the dizzying drops on Angel’s Landing (miles six and 12). Camp at Potato Hollow and Cabin Springs.

Salt Lake City, UT: The Pfeifferhorn (Little Matterhorn Peak)

Take two days to savor this 4.6-mile (one-way) climb that ends on the Pfeifferhorn, a rocky, 11,326-foot peak less than an hour from Salt Lake.

Salt Lake City, UT: Ferguson Canyon

A quiet canyon with SLC views lies just outside a busy neighborhood street.

Grand Gulch: Kane Gulch to Todie Canyon Loop

Explore off-trail to canyons brimming with ancient ruins.

Salt Lake City, UT: Alexander Basin Trail to Gobblers Knob

Climb through the wildflower-peppered Alexander Basin en route to dazzling Salt Lake City panoramas from Gobblers Knob on this ferociously steep 5.5-miler.

Salt Lake City, UT: Amethyst Lake

Pack light and be prepared to climb on this 11.8-mile out-and-back serving up stunning alpine scenery and prime fishing at the secluded Amethyst Lake.

Salt Lake City, UT: Gilbert Peak Via Henry’s Fork Trail

On this 20-mile overnighter, find seclusion and endless Uinta Mountain panoramas from one of Utah’s highest peaks.

Salt Lake City, UT: Grandeur Peak (West Face)

Climb the steep west face of Grandeur Peak for huge views of Salt Lake City and the surrounding Wasatch Range.

Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, UT: Cottonwood Narrows

Wander through an ethereal wonderland of Navajo Sandstone on this easy stroll in Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument.

Capitol Reef National Park: Chimney Rock Canyon to Pleasant Creek

Discover a private paradise in Capitol Reef National Park by crossing the park’s convoluted Waterpocket Fold on this 32-mile point-to-point.

Capitol Reef National Park: Chimney Rock Canyon to Spring Canyon

This 10-mile, cathedral-like hallway in Capitol Reef National Park combines easy canyon hiking and foolproof routefinding with life-list sights.

Capitol Reef National Park: Capitol Gorge to Pleasant Creek

Spend the night at a five-star campsite tucked in the broad slickrock bowls between Capitol Gorge and Pleasant Creek on this 7.7-miler in Capitol Reef National Park.

Zion National Park: Double Arch Alcove

Get all the red rock magic without the crowds on a kid-friendly, 5.2-mile out-and-back in Zion’s off-the-radar Kolob Canyons area.

Weekends in Capitol Reef National Park

Deep in Central Utah’s Waterpocket Fold, Capitol Reef is a classic National Park that slips under the radar. Download three select trips for serious adventure and classic canyon country scenery.

Short Hikes in Arches National Park

Survey a slickrock wonderland and stride beneath towering sandstone formations on five easy hikes in Arches National Park.

Hikes in Zion National Park

In this trip bundle, get the Narrows of the Virgin River–a life-list national park trip and one of the finest river gorges on Earth–plus five classic hikes through the redrock canyons of Zion National Park, including the breathtaking scramble up Angel’s Landing.

Canyonlands National Park: Alcove Spring to Upheaval Canyon

Circle through giant gorges and sleep at a riverfront campsite on this 19.3-mile loop in Canyonlands National Park.

Canyonlands National Park: White Rim Trail

Ride the park’s famed 4WD road on this classic route in Canyonlands National Park.

Canyonlands National Park: Colorado-Green Packrafting Route

You’ll explore some of most remote corners of Canyonlands National Park and paddle down the Colorado and Green Rivers on this multi-day, 55.2-mile packrafting route.

Canyonlands National Park: Chesler Park to Salt Creek Canyon

Hit up the park’s highlights—slickrock scrambles, mesa-top views, and hoodoo-dotted canyons—on this seven-day trek in Canyonlands National Park.

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