Backpacking in Utah

Hikers in Utah travel paths through alpine forests, slickrock lands, jagged peaks and lush waterways in search of the great reward around the next bend. Sometimes the reward of the trip is a mountain top above 13,000 feet, a hidden sandstone arch or a photo-worthy waterfall oasis in the desert. Sometimes, you won't be able to reach that reward in the span of a single day, but as with many things, there is always a reward in the journey itself. It's time to pack your bag with enough meals and gear for the long haul and adjust your compass for Utah's magnetic declination (or check the battery in your GPS).

There is no more varied place in the world than Utah to backpack. To begin such a travel adventure in Utah, to step into its thousands of miles of wilderness, can be an extremely cathartic experience. The season can determine the destination – whether you choose to head for the mountains, make a pilgrimage to the desert, or both. More than 70 percent of Utah is public land: five National Parks, nine million acres of National Forest, millions of acres belong to the National Monuments and National Recreation Areas, and 42 percent of Utah is managed by the Bureau of Land Management. That adds up to unbelievable hiking choices for backpacking that would take more than a lifetime to complete. Whether you’re a beginner or expert-level hiker, there’s a trail here for you.

Regardless of where you choose to hike, keep safety in mind and be cautious. Never hike alone, always tell your friends and family where you are going and when you plan to return. Always carry plenty of water in both the deserts and mountains. Bring a first-aid kit and a water filter. Be prepared to be truly self-reliant. It's a good idea to take more food and water than you think you'll need in the event you become stranded. Most importantly, have a safe, fun, and rewarding experience.

Many professional guides offer hiking treks throughout Utah, including our fantastic National Parks and Wilderness Areas. Choose one of these backpacking destinations below and find your next extended outdoor adventure:

Wasatch Range Backpacking

Find trailheads to beautiful multiday hikes within minutes of downtown, then find solitude in the mountains.

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Uinta Mountains Backpacking

Explore deep into Utah's highest mountain range with these popular multiday hike options.

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Backpacking Utah's Red Rock Country

Backcountry trails fill Southern Utah's vast canyon country. Here are six of the best multiday hikes.

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