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Brighton Resort   |  Andrew Burr

Hiking

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.

Winter Hiking Backpacking

Where to Hike

More than 70 percent of Utah is public land. This includes five national parks, nine million acres of national forest, millions of acres belonging to the national monuments and national recreation areas (including the monumental Grand Staircase-Escalante and diverse Flaming Gorge) and 42 percent of the state's land managed by the Bureau of Land Management. 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.

Northern Utah

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.

High Uintas Hiking Salt Lake Hikes

Southern Utah

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.

Hikes in Southern Utah Moab Hikes

Cedar-Breaks_Hiking_Dash-Jay_2020

The brilliant geology and vibrant environment of Cedar Breaks National Monument makes for a stunning hiking location.

Photo: Jay Dash

Hiking Tips

  • 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. Learn more about how you can support Utah’s local search and rescue teams with a Utah Search and Rescue Assistance card.

  • 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. (Read: How to Visit Rock Imagery Sites Like an Archaeologist)

  • See these resources for traveling thoughtfully and experiencing Utah most fully.

  • Most importantly, have a safe, fun and rewarding experience hiking in Utah — oh, and let us know your favorite hikes by posting on social media with the hashtag #VisitUtah.

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