There are thousands of miles of great hiking trails throughout Utah. Some trails are most well-suited to rugged, multi-day backpacking, but there are innumerable "out and back" and "loop" hikes ranging from quick trots to stunning formations, and moderate paths than can be done in a few hours to full-day explorations.
On a hike in Utah, you can stretch out at 13,000 feet above sea level and gaze out over alpine lakes and dense forests of pine and aspen thousands of feet below. Or, pull on shoes suitable for hiking in water and step into a stream for a journey through a mystical desert canyon with periodic swim breaks beneath beautiful waterfalls. Crane your neck as your pace slows, walk beneath natural bridges, and wonder what life must have been like for the Anasazi who lived here a thousand years ago.
All of these locations add up to unbelievable choices for hiking trails that would take more than a lifetime to complete. So, it's time to get hiking.
In Northern Utah, spend some time checking out trails in the Salt Lake City area. Then gain a little elevation in the High Uintas, Utah's highest mountain range, accessed from Kamas, Utah, only 20 minutes east of Park City, or 45 minutes from Salt Lake City.
If your Utah trip takes you to Southern Utah, see our guide for hiking in Southern Utah, as well as our guide for hiking in Moab, for family and adventure hikes across that famous Utah red rock in Zion and other destinations.
Before setting out on any hike, check with local rangers or guidebooks about a hike's difficulty ratings, descriptions and cautionary advice.
Observe the seasons. Trail conditions vary with each season and can determine whether you choose to head for the mountains or opt for a desert hiking trail.
Never hike alone, always tell your friends and family where you are going and when you plan to return, and keep them updated on your location if possible.
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 keep your energy up all the way back to your car.
Practice Leave No Trace principles along the trail and respect nature’s desired and needed permanence.