Perks of Going with a Guide
Utah’s diverse collection of outdoor guides has all of the expertise you need to have an adventure worth getting stoked about.
Whether you’re dipping a timid toe into outdoors experiences for the very first time or you’re a seasoned pro hungry to try something new, one of the most rewarding ways to see Utah’s parks and wilderness areas is by going with a guide.
Guides wear a variety of hats — rock hound, river rat, enthusiast, historian — but their main mission is to make outdoor adventures more accessible and safe for individuals of all skill levels. Guides are terrain experts that supply you with the know-how, the planning, and the gear you need to navigate a new area. With the help of a guide, you can learn about local wildlife, try new activities like rock climbing or skiing, and travel deep into areas you’ve never been before, some of which require special permits or expertise to enter. You can also see familiar landscapes through new eyes.
“It’s just a different experience,” says Nushin Huq, a journalist living in Texas.
In summer 2019, Huq and her family ventured away from their standard camping trips to go on their very first river rafting experience on Utah’s Green River. With the help of their guide Tyler from Dinosaur River Expeditions, the Huqs were able to experience an activity they otherwise might never try. They learned about the history and geology of the Gates of Lodore area, were taught the ins and outs of being on the river, and discovered new hikes and places through Callantine’s expertise (You don’t have to imagine it, see a video of their trip). They also didn’t have to worry about logistics like meal preparation.
“We had a lot of fun and it was safe,” Huq says. “I don’t see how it would have been the same trip without a guide.”
Guiding in Utah
In Utah, if you can dream it, you can probably find a guide for it. There are guides for whitewater rafting, climbing and canyoneering, horseback riding, off-road tours, ziplining, hot air ballooning, mountain biking, skiing, stargazing and more. Many of them offer part-day or full-day excursions, and you can find one for every season. (Watch: Canyoneering Robbers Roost and A Guided Ride on Gooseberry Mesa)
“Just about any outdoor activity that you can think of in Utah, there’s somebody who is offering a guided experience doing that,” says Brian Merrill, owner of Western River Expeditions.
One thing you can expect when looking to hire a guide or outfitter in Utah is a group of conscientious companies that hire individuals with great work ethic and a deep passion for the places and people they serve — about 80 to 90 percent of guides are local to Utah, Merrill said.
“Every year, I have a richness of applicants. Every year, I turn down dozens of people who I would love to hire, because we have such a deep pool of people who have a lot of integrity,” he says.
How to Find a Guide
There are several places where you can start looking for a specialized guide in Utah. Visit Utah has compiled a list of inspirational content for traveling with a guide (like llama packing!), as well as a list of resources, such as TripAdvisor, Viator, Airbnb Experiences and local contacts. Find guided offerings in Utah
Slot Canyons: A Guided Hike Through Nature's Masterworks
It's said that southwestern Utah offers the highest concentration of slot canyons in the world. Well-prepared visitors can hike right into some of them, but the best experience is with a guide.
Dinosaur National Monument
Northeastern Utah’s dinosaur legacy comes to life at Dinosaur National Monument, where geological and climatic forces have tilted, warped, and eroded the earth’s crust to reveal a treasure trove of fossils.
Guides and Outfitters
Guides and outfitters allow you to deeply experience the outdoors, without any planning or wayfinding stressors.
Enjoy a family adventure in Vernal, UT, with a list of hotels and fun things to do with kids in the area.
Remote Adventure on the Green River
150 years after John Wesley Powell mapped the Green, experience the same solitude and scenery with plenty of (safer) spills and thrills
Scenic Boat Tours of Lake Powell
Lake Powell boat tours are one of the best ways to explore the breathtaking sights of this man-made wonder. Learn all you need to know to book your own tour!
6 Surprising Activities That Take Place at The Homestead Crater
From scuba diving and yoga to swimming and snorkeling, this hot springs offers a lot in addition to a relaxing soak.
Two Trips, Two Worlds, Two Years Apart: Returning to Raft in Dinosaur National Monument
Nushin and her family of four returned to Utah's Dinosaurland for the "best four days ever!" of guided rafting on the Green River. Explore their journey today!
Discover a Love for Sailing on Utah Lake
Utah Lake is one of the largest freshwater lakes west of the Mississippi, with a rich history of sailing and plenty of options for getting on the water, from sunset cruises to educational opportunities.
3 Best Rafting Trips on the Colorado River
For those looking to raft the Colorado River, here's three trips offering incredible experiences like those had by explorers of yesteryear — with much better equipment, of course.
5 Reasons to Hire a Guide to Run Utah’s Rivers
While we eat and splash in the river to escape the early morning heat, the four guides will wash the dishes, break down camp, load our bags on the rafts and discretely stow the toilet.
How to Slow Travel in Utah
Avoid the mad scramble and consider slow travel as a better approach to your Utah trip.
Bridesmaids Gone Boating
If you and your bride tribe are more outdoorsy than indoorsy, consider booking a whitewater rafting trip in southern Utah instead of club night at a casino. Half-day, full-day, and multi-day river trips are easy to plan and are great for groups of all sizes and abilities.
Fisher Towers River Rafting
Join Bob Wassom, and a few others, as they raft down the Fisher Towers stretch of water disproving any idea or stereotype suggesting disabilities hinder outdoor recreation.
What to Wear on a River Rafting Trip
There are a variety of Utah river trips to be had, from rafting the Green River’s whitewater, to leisurely floating the Colorado. Here's your packing list.
Guided Rafting Through the Gates of Lodore
Explore guided rafting expeditions through the Gates of Lodore, one of Utah's most sought-after whitewater rafting trips with Dinosaur River Expeditions.
Utah's Outdoors Are Wide Open for All Abilities
Utah’s National Ability Center is known for changing lives through its adaptive recreation programs. Truth is, just setting foot on the center’s 26-acre ranch can feel transformative.
Why Your Kids Need a Utah Trip
Discover where adventure and learning converge across iconic rivers and ancient canyons.