Farther Away From It All
Searching for solitude? Follow this six-day itinerary to find unspoiled wild places, hidden trails, open spaces and perfect peace. It's a great escape from the hustle and bustle.
Utah writer Edward Abbey famously referred to wild places as “not a luxury but a necessity of the human spirit, and as vital to our lives as water and good bread.” This six-day itinerary will provide you with plenty of wild spaces to soothe your soul and boost your spirits along your journey.
For well-prepared backpackers with a permit and a shuttle, you could use this time to spend five spectacular days backpacking the 48-mile Trans Zion Trek with its deep canyons, high ridgelines, and all the striking views of Zion National Park you could imagine.
Or you can split up your Utah trip across several wild spaces. Start with the rugged scenery of Joshua Tree Scenic Backway or the Mars-like landscape of Gooseberry Mesa and then add the expansive views and natural quiet of Red Cliffs National Conservation Area.
You’ll find full solitude in Ashdown Gorge Wilderness Area, where only 10 miles of trail sprinkle the 7,000-acre expanse. Later, you can drop deep into Bryce Canyon National Park’s spire-filled backcountry, where few tourists ever venture.
Capitol Reef National Park will provide you with a national park experience without the usual crowds. After a spectacular sunset, you can gaze at the Milky Way in one of Utah’s internationally-certified Dark Sky Parks.
Towering sandstone buttes stand as silent sentinels over the spirit of the desert at Monument Valley and ancestral cliff dwellings hide in the canyons of Bears Ears National Monument. Soak up the vast expanses and cloistered spaces of the Needles District of Canyonlands National Park, where you can you feel like the only person in the world.
Spend a few days away from the hustle and bustle and gain a new appreciation for the peace you’ll find in wild places.
Read these resources to learn how to travel thoughtfully and experience Utah most fully on your journey.
A Winter’s Desert: Visiting Southern Utah in the Slow Months
Experiencing the peace of canyon country in the winter is an attraction of its own.
Backpacking in Canyonlands National Park
Canyonlands National Park offers a spectrum of backpacking opportunities — from short trips at designated backcountry campsites to longer, adventurous trips that require extensive planning and desert canyon navigational knowledge.
Capturing the Milky Way: Kodachrome Basin by Night
Need tips on how to take pictures of stars? Utah's Kodachrome Basin State Park is the perfect location to put the tips from an award-winning photographer into action.
Desert Shutter Speed
After lunch isn't the prime time to head to the desert. Come early or late, and Utah's deserts will reward you with their isolated landscapes, sunrises and sunsets, and stargazing opportunities.
Elevate Your Hiking with Mindfulness
Incorporating simple mindfulness techniques into your next hike can take the edge off anxiety and enhance your overall well being.
Exploring Mule Canyon: House on Fire and Cave Tower
Driving the up the dusty, terracotta-colored road toward Mule Canyon in Cedar Mesa, you get a sense that this is a special place, though you might not be able to put a finger on why.
Find a Winter Refresh in a Utah State Park
The best Utah state parks will entice you with ice fishing, white sand and snow-dusted scenery. Take a winter break to refresh with a visit to a few of these places.
Finding Strength and Inspiration Deep in the Utah Desert
How a series of hiking and camping trips in Utah’s parks and wilderness put Elisabeth Brentano on a transformative journey from urbanite to nature lover.
Gravity and Water: Mark Making in a Winter’s Desert with Anne Kaferle
Finding Helper at a time when she “needed it the most,” landscape artist Anne Kaferle has put down roots in Utah, thanks to plein-air painting and the healing power of time alone in the landscape.
Ice and rock, snow and splendor: Winter in Southern Utah
For an extraordinary adventure, plan winter hikes in Utah’s Zion National Park. Winter rewards hikers with stunning sights of stalactites and snow covered mountains.
In Search of Robbers Roost
Robbers Roost Utah, one of the infamous hideouts of Butch Cassidy and his Wild Bunch, is not easy to find even with directions from the locals. Explore Utah.
It’s About Time We All Unplugged
After months of being at home, we’ve all been disconnected from each other but connected permanently to our screens. It’s time to pull the plug—literally. In Utah, you can find far-flung places to reset, wellness resorts that promote digital detox, and destinations where you can swap screen time for much-needed adventure time.
Knobby Tired Nomads: Bikepacking the Utah High Country
If you’re into bikepacking, Utah is a place you’ll want to check out. Read about a self-supported tour of Utah’s backcountry here, and start planning your trip.
Lost and Found in Desolation Canyon
Fully unplug on a return trip down the Green River through the remote Desolation Canyon. Along the way, read as the author navigates a few friends through tricky rapids and pauses on stillwater and at night to appreciate the beauty, stillness and solitude of desert wilderness. It's a 100-mile journey for dedicated adventurers, but it comes with real healing power.
Paddling the Escalante River: Surfing Spring’s Runoff Through the Grand Staircase
Four friends embark on an otherworldly standup paddle journey through the heart of the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, assisted by a local guide and his team of llamas.
Permit of Solitude
Watch this video of a guided experience canyoneering in the remote Robbers Roost. Find a guide to take you canyoneering in Utah.
Reclaiming the Stars
Utah’s public lands are beautiful and dramatic during the day, but they might well become famous for how awe-inspiring they are during the night.
Stay Warm in Southern Utah: How to Pack for a Winter Trip
For most travelers, Southern Utah winters prevent comfortable camping, and occasional snowfall can make outdoor adventure a little more challenging. With a little extra planning, good layers, and the right equipment, however, you can enjoy Utah's national parks in the solitude of winter.
Winter Wonders in Greater Zion
As you’re mapping out your winter trip through southeastern Utah, consider adding the following parks and natural wonders to your itinerary.