World-famous hiking, rock climbing, and white-water rafting are great choices for adventure, and all are easily accessible in the great state of Utah, USA; you could live here your whole life and not do or see everything that deserves attention. Even though there are limitless possibilities when it comes to Utah outdoor activities, a favourite for most travellers is hiking — and there are lots of great hikes in Utah. With that said I’ve put together a list of five of the best, bucket-list hikes that range in difficulty from novice to advanced.
Every year millions of people visit Zion National Park, located in southern Utah, about 160 miles (260 km) north of Las Vegas, NV. Zion is teeming with hikes for any level of experience, but one of the most popular and stunning is the Zion Narrows. The route winds through a slot canyon with walls towering 610 meters overhead and a mere six meters apart in some spots. You’ll hike 16 miles (25 km) one way through varying depths of the Virgin River, which runs along the entire length of the trail. Visitors can either complete the hike in one day or camp at one of the many sites in the canyon. If you are only hiking one way, make sure that you have a plan to get home — you’ll need a car or a ride to get back afterwards.
Delicate Arch is one of the most famous sites in all of Utah and possibly the world. Located in Arches National Park (four hours from Salt Lake City) the hike itself is fairly simple and only about three miles round-trip. However, it is a very popular trail and can be over-crowded depending on what time of the year and day of the week you go. Be sure to get there around sunrise or sunset to truly enjoy the magnificent beauty of this great arch.
Peek-a-boo and Spooky Gulch
Located 26 miles from Escalante in Southern Utah, Peek-a-boo and Spooky Gulch are more slot-canyon hikes that are great for beginners; the trail is a moderate 3.5 mile (6 km) loop. These canyons are great because you can get some temporary relief from the hot Utah sun. However, be wary of these hikes during bad weather as these canyons can quickly fill up with water, causing flash floods.
Grand Daddy Basin
For those adventure seekers who want more of a challenge, Grand Daddy Basin is one of the secret gems of Utah. Two hours east of Salt Lake City, the basin is home to dozens of fresh-water lakes which make it a great fishing spot. It’s a steady uphill climb for three miles until you reach Grand Daddy Lake, and from there you can explore the surrounding area for your own personal lake to camp by and enjoy.
Not for the faint of heart, Mt. Timpanogos is a grueling 15 mile (24 km) hike that gains over 1,370 meters when all is said and done. Reaching the summit gives you a spectacular view of the Salt Lake and Heber Valleys. Many people hike through the night and reach the summit just before dawn and watch an amazing sunrise.