Hikers in Utah travel paths through alpine forests, slickrock lands, jagged peaks and lush waterways in search of the great reward around the next bend. Sometimes the reward is a mountain top above 13,000 feet, a hidden sandstone arch or a waterfall oasis in the desert. Sometimes, you won't be able to reach that reward in the span of a single day or the reward itself is in the journey. It's time to pack your bag for the long haul and adjust your compass for Utah's magnetic declination (or check the battery in your GPS).
There is no more varied place on earth than Utah to backpack. To begin such an adventure in Utah, to step into its thousands of miles of wilderness, can be an extremely cathartic experience. The season can determine whether you choose to head for the mountains, make a pilgrimage to the desert, or both. More than 70 percent of Utah is public land: five National Parks, nine million acres of National Forest, millions of acres belong to the National Monuments and National Recreation Areas, and 42 percent of Utah is managed by the Bureau of Land Management. That adds up to unbelievable choices for backpacking that would take more than a lifetime to complete.
Regardless of where you choose to hike, be cautious. Never hike alone, always tell your friends and family where you are going and when you plan to return. Always carry plenty of water in both the deserts and mountains. Bring a first-aid kit and a water filter. Be prepared to be truly self-reliant. It's a good idea to take more food and water than you think you'll need in the event you become stranded. Most importantly, have a safe, fun, and rewarding experience.
Many professional guides offer hiking treks throughout Utah, including National Parks and Wilderness Areas. Find your next extended adventure below: