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, 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
A First-ever Camping Trip on BLM Lands
As a new resident of the western United States, I’ve discovered the gift of recreating on public lands. Though daunting at first, after researching and waiting too long, the time finally felt right to try camping on BLM lands in Utah’s dinosaur country. There is no shame in trying something new.
Ashley National Forest
Elevations in the Ashley National Forest range from 6,000 feet to over 13,500 feet. The crown jewel of this forest is Flaming Gorge National Recreation Area.
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.
Dinosaurland Top 5
Vernal, Utah, is an adventure base camp to the best of eastern Utah. Uintah County around Vernal — called Dinosaurland — is home to diverse outdoor recreation and natural history at three state parks, Dinosaur National Monument and countless trailheads to the Ashley National Forest.
Dowd Mountain Loop
The deep, colorful canyons of Flaming Gorge have long been a favorite destination for water loving people, but more recently the trails along its rim and in the surrounding mountain hills have caught the attention of mountain bikers. The Dowd Mountain bike loop may just be one of the area’s best kept secrets.
Guides and Outfitters
Guides and outfitters allow you to deeply experience the outdoors, without any planning or wayfinding stressors.
Looking for the best place for outdoor recreation? Utah is just the spot for you. Explore our outdoor activities, from backpacking to rafting!
Pelican Lake is the fishing pond you always wish your grandparents had on that farm in the country. It isn’t a big lake, but it is a productive fishery.
Red Fleet State Park
Known as “Little Lake Powell,” Red Fleet State Park offers fishing, hiking, camping, biking and more in a gorgeous sandstone lake setting. Plan a trip!
Steinaker State Park
Utah’s Steinaker State Park offers outdoor action for everybody. Swim in the reservoir, camp, bike, paddle, wakeboard, ride ATVs and more! Check it out now.
Travel Guides & Maps
Resources to help plan your trip to Utah
Utah Field House of Natural History Park Museum
Explore the incredible amount of geologic history of Utah area at the Field House of Natural History Park Museum. See dinosaurs, interactive exhibits and more!
Enjoy a family adventure in Vernal, UT, with a list of hotels and fun things to do with kids in the area.
Vernal Equinox: A New Season in Vernal, Utah
Looking for things to do in Vernal, Utah? Read our guide to the town here for attractions, restaurants, breweries and more. Make plans to visit Vernal!