Hiking in Utah can mean standing atop a 13,000 foot mountaintop staring out over alpine lakes and dense forests of pine and aspen thousands of feet below. It can also mean trekking in a stream with water shoes through a mystical desert canyon, periodic swim breaks beneath beautiful waterfalls, walking through natural bridges, and wondering what life must have been like for the Anasazi who lived here a thousand years ago.
There are hundreds, even thousands, of miles of great hiking trails throughout Utah. Some trails are most well-suited to rugged, multi-day backpacking. However, there are innumerable "out and back" and "loop" hikes than can be done in, from just a few hours up to a full day, all over the state. Many excellent guide books and web sites are available that provide important information, such as a hike's difficulty ratings, descriptions, and cautionary advice.
The season can determine whether you choose to head for the mountains or opt for a desert hiking experience. 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 hiking trails 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. Each person should carry one liter of water for every two hours of hiking time. For a full day hike, that adds up to one full gallon per person. It's important to keep hydrated, even if you don't feel thirsty. Bring plenty of high energy snacks that will help to keep your energy up all the way back to your car. Most importantly, have a safe, fun, and rewarding experience.
For more information on hiking in Utah visit www.yourhikeguide.com.