Utah Hiking Guide: 17 Best Utah Hikes & Trails
The state of Utah is home to five U.S National Parks, and there are thousands of great Utah hiking trails to enjoy inside and outside of the parks. This guide is a brief summary of our favorite Utah hikes. In my opinion, these are some of the very best hikes in Utah!
The southern part of Utah state has much of the wonderful desert scenery and slot canyons this state is famous for, while the Salt Lake City area has mountains and alpine lakes that might remind you of Colorado.
There are even a bunch of nice waterfalls scattered across Utah. We’ve spent months exploring this state and it never disappoints. Regardless of where you go while hiking in Utah, you’re sure to find some unique and fantastic scenery around every corner.
From the canyons of Escalante to the lakes of the Wasatch Range, here’s our complete Utah hiking guide!
Best Hikes In Utah
1. Angels Landing Hike (Zion)
Angels Landing is the king of Utah hikes. If you only do one hike in the national parks, make it this one.
It’s an epic and scary trail that takes you up the side of a steep sandstone mountain, with chains to grab onto for safety, and amazing views of Zion National Park surrounding you on all sides. Permits are required since 2022.
The Angels Landing chain section is especially noted for being hair-raising and hazardous, and there have been a number of falling deaths on this hike over the years, although it’s plenty safe if you stick to the trail.
At times, the trail will only be a few feet wide, and you’ll have to hug the side of the mountain. Not all of this section has chains, but the most sketchy parts do for your safety.
I wouldn’t say the Angels Landing trail is for everyone, but if you enjoy adventure, photography, and a good adrenaline rush, then definitely add it to your bucket list!
The final Angels Landing view gives you a 360 degree panorama of Zion Canyon, along with the tiny roads and shuttle buses below, and you can even look down at the gigantic peak you just climbed.
It’s easily one of the best views in Zion National Park, but it’s also one of my favorite views on any hike we’ve ever done.
Read More: Angels Landing Hike
2. Observation Point Trail (Zion)
The Observation Point trail is easily one of the best and most underrated hikes in Utah’s Zion National Park. This one takes you to a viewpoint above the entire national park.
Spread out in front of you are many of Zion’s best sights like the Great White Throne, Cathedral Mountain, and Angels Landing. We could even see the tiny people hiking to the top of Angels Landing, and the roads and shuttle buses looked like toys in the distance.
The elevation here at Observation Point is more than 700 feet above Angels Landing, so you really do have a bird’s-eye view of Zion National Park.
It’s fantastic scenery, and since this hike is less popular than other places in Zion, you don’t have to worry about sharing it with massive crowds like at The Narrows.
In fact, if you go early on a weekday you may even have the place to yourself, except for a few chipmunks running around looking for snacks.
The main trailhead for this hike was closed as a result of a big rockfall in 2019 that wiped out part of the trail and switchbacks.
However, you can still access Observation Point from the East Mesa Trail, which is actually an easier hike anyway. From this route it’s a simple and short hike with stunning end views, so definitely add it to your Zion bucket list!
Difficulty: Easy / Moderate
Read More: Observation Point Trail
3. The Narrows (Zion)
Of course I have to mention the mother of all slot canyons, the Zion Narrows!
This is a giant gorge with walls a thousand feet tall, and the Virgin River flowing through it. Hiking the Narrows involves walking in water, and it’s 16 miles total.
The good news is that the Narrows is open to all fitness levels because you don’t have to hike to the end of the gorge. You can stop and turn around whenever you want.
It’s possible to hike the entire Narrows in one full day if you get a permit in advance, but most people just go partway and then turn back (no permit required for that).
The bad news is that the Narrows is getting extremely popular. The crowds kind of ruined it for us. Unless you’re really intent on seeing the Narrows, I would recommend going to one of the other places in this Utah hiking guide.
Difficulty: Easy / Moderate
4. Kanarra Canyon & Falls (Zion)
The Kanarra Creek slot canyon is unique for also having two waterfalls inside, and it’s just a 1 hour drive from Zion National Park. It’s definitely one of our favorite Utah canyons!
The first waterfall is near the start of the slot canyon, and it’s easy to pass thanks to a new metal ladder that was just installed by the city of Kanarraville. The second waterfall comes into view a bit later.
Overall, I’d probably rate this hike as easy, even though it’s a bit longer and has more elevation gain than many of the slot canyons in Utah.
Nowadays you have to pay for a permit to do the Kanarra Creek hike because of its popularity, and there are a limited number of permits available per day. These sell out often, so you’ll want to plan ahead.
5. Corona Arch Trail (Moab)
The Corona Arch trail is a nice, short hike near Moab, Utah with a total of three different natural sandstone arches.
It’s a fairly easy hike for all ages, and you get to see the Pinto Arch (optional), plus the Bowtie Arch, and then finally the impressive Corona Arch at the end of the trail.
Even though Corona Arch isn’t part of the Arches National Park, it’s definitely one of the best arches in the Moab area! It’s 140 feet wide and 105 feet tall, and you can walk through the arch to the other side, so it’s great for pictures at any time of day.
Best of all, the Corona Arch trailhead is located right outside the town of Moab and the Arches National Park, in eastern Utah. It’s on Potash Road, which is home to some prehistoric dinosaur tracks and a bunch of other interesting sights.
Difficulty: Easy / Moderate
Read More: Corona Arch Trail
6. Delicate Arch Hike (Moab)
The one-of-a-kind Delicate Arch is probably Utah’s most famous state symbol, appearing on everything from license plates to souvenir shirts, calendars, postcards, and more. It’s a beloved icon of the United States.
I really like this arch. There is nothing else like it in the world. Even though there are more than 2,000 natural rock arches at the Arches National Park in Moab, none of them can really compare to this one, in my opinion. It’s too extraordinary.
The hike to Delicate Arch is about 3 miles roundtrip, and the path is family friendly, but the difficulty level largely depends on how hot it is when you go. A blistering hot day will make it tougher.
Along the way, you can also see a historic wooden cabin and some Ute Indian petroglyphs near the start of the trail. All in all, we think it’s one of the best Utah hikes!
Difficulty: Easy / Moderate
7. Tower Arch Trail (Moab)
The Tower Arch trail is one of the best kept secrets in Arches National Park, with a still-primitive access road and no crowds.
It’s a short and beginner-friendly trail that leads you to a gigantic sandstone arch, which gets its name from the big rock steeple that seems to rise from the top of the arch when you view it from the front. This hike takes about 45-60 minutes each way.
The first sight of Tower Arch is exciting, but I think the view from the opposite side is even better! This arch is 92 feet wide, and like some other arches in the park, you can walk through the middle and look at the arch from the other side, where you get a real sense of its size.
It’s a huge arch, so even with a wide angle lens you have to do a little bit of scrambling on the slick rock in the corner below the arch to get the best pictures of it. The shadow under the arch makes a nice spot to relax and rest in the shade!
Read More: Tower Arch Trail
8. Double Arch (Moab)
The five minute hike to Double Arch is probably one of the shortest and easiest hikes in Utah or the Arches National Park, but you’re rewarded with a view that is just fantastic.
These are two giant arches joined together in the middle, claiming the record for the tallest and second-longest arch in the national park.
You can climb up to the main window below the arches if you’re feeling brave, and it’s a nice place to enjoy the breeze and some shade from the sun.
You can find this spot in the ‘Windows Section’ of Arches National Park.
9. Windows Trail (Moab)
This is another short and easy hike in Moab with amazing rock formations. It’s located right next to the Double Arch trail in Arches National Park, and you can do both hikes from the same parking lot, although the trailheads start on opposite ends of the parking.
This Utah hike features the gigantic sandstone North and South Windows, plus a quick spur trail to Turret Arch. There’s also a longer and more primitive trail that goes around the back side of the two Windows for a unique view where they combine to look like eye glasses (called ‘the Spectacles’).
The North Window is huge — 50 feet high and 90 feet wide — so you have to see it from a distance with people near the Window to get a real sense of scale! It’s not possible to climb on any of these arches, but you can walk through the Turret Arch or into the North Window for a nice view of the other side.
There are lots of fun photo ops on this hike. One of them involves framing Turret Arch through the North Window, so you can see an arch through an arch! Overall, we think it’s one of the easiest and best Utah hikes.
10. Wire Pass / Buckskin Gulch (Escalante)
Buckskin Gulch is the longest slot canyon in the United States, and it’s believed to be the longest slot canyon in the world — 21 miles one way!
It’s located by the Utah-Arizona state border, so you can reach it in 1 hour of driving from the town of Page, Arizona, or about 2 hours from Zion National Park.
The best way to visit this slot canyon is by entering from Wire Pass, that way you get to see two slot canyons for the price of one!
Wire Pass is a side canyon that intersects with Buckskin Gulch, and it’s actually easier to enter Buckskin through this route, since you spend much less time walking in the hot sun.
We thought the slot canyon section at Wire Pass was even more photogenic than Buckskin itself.
It’s narrow and the colors are terrific. There’s even a little wooden ladder that’s great for pictures. Best of all, this slot dumps you right at the intersection in Buckskin Gulch where you can see some Native American petroglyphs on the canyon wall.
It’s definitely one of the best Utah slot canyons!
Difficulty: Easy / Moderate
Read More: Wire Pass To Buckskin Gulch
11. Peekaboo Canyon / Spooky Gulch (Escalante)
This is an amazing hike in Escalante with a total of three slot canyons, ranging from easy to moderate difficulty.
The Peekaboo Slot Canyon is like an adult playground, with lots of fun obstacles to cross and wonderful red rock walls to admire. It’s one of the most gorgeous slot canyons in Utah, featuring a heart shaped passage and arch ceilings.
Peekaboo is also moderately difficult and I wouldn’t describe it as an entry level slot, although beginners can still do it. The slippery ledge at the start of the slot is the main challenge, and it could be dangerous if you fall.
The other slot on this hike, called Spooky Gulch, is notable for being extremely tight. There are parts where you have to shuffle sideways just to fit your body through the slot, and backpacks have to be carried awkwardly overhead.
You don’t need any special gear or technical skills to do either of these slots, but you do need to be in good shape and not at all claustrophobic. In spite of the difficulty and awkwardness, we still had tremendous fun doing this trek, and it’s undoubtedly one of the best hikes in Utah!
If you want something easier, there’s even a third slot canyon here called the Dry Fork Narrows. It’s wider and tamer than the slot canyons at Spooky and Peekaboo, so you can just relax and enjoy the scenery as you walk through.
The trailhead for this hike is located in the Escalante area of southern Utah, about 1 hour from Bryce Canyon National Park. Escalante is also roughly halfway between Moab and Zion, so it’s a great place to add to your Utah road trip itinerary!
Read More: Peekaboo & Spooky Slot Canyons
12. Coyote Gulch Trail (Escalante)
Coyote Gulch is a photogenic canyon far off the beaten path in the Escalante area of southern Utah.
Go prepared. It’s a long hike and many people do it as an overnighter with camping permits, which are free and can be picked up at the trailhead. This is hiking in Utah at its best!
It’s also possible to do Coyote Gulch in one day if you have a good pace and know what you’re doing. Either way, you’ll want to bring lots of water, as well as a water filter to use in the streams.
This hike has four different trailheads to choose from, so you’ll need to research your route before you go. It’s well worth the effort, though, because you get to see multiple arches and waterfalls, including the massive Jacob Hamblin Arch!
Difficulty: Moderate / Hard
13. Lower Calf Creek Falls (Escalante)
This is a unique-looking waterfall in the desert near Escalante. The colors are very unusual and nice.
The Lower Calf Creek Falls are 130 feet tall and there’s a cold pool below the waterfall for swimming.
The hike to the falls is easy and family friendly, and even the drive to the trailhead is scenic. Parking is limited though, and the hike is very popular, so you’ll want to start early and go on a weekday if possible!
This beautiful loop hike is the perfect tour of Bryce Canyon National Park, with stunning orange and red rock walls and hoodoos surrounding you on all sides.
The Queen’s Garden / Navajo Loop is 3 miles roundtrip, and takes about 2-3 hours depending on your pace. It’s not a very hard hike overall, but there is a fair amount of elevation gain at the end.
The best way to do this trail is to start from Sunset Point and hike counterclockwise to Sunrise Point. Mornings are ideal to avoid some of the crowds and heat. It’s the most popular hike in Bryce, and for good reason!
Difficulty: Easy / Moderate
15. Stewart Falls (Provo)
The state of Utah may not be known for giant waterfalls, rainbows, and alpine scenery, but it has some of that too!
Stewart Falls is a 200-foot waterfall near Provo city. It’s an easy and family friendly hike to the falls, although the final path to go down to the base of the falls is a bit steep and tricky.
This is a great summer hike and nothing beats standing by a misty waterfall on a hot day!
16. Lake Blanche (Salt Lake City)
Lake Blanche is a beautiful alpine lake trail near Salt Lake City and Provo, Utah. During the autumn, you can see amazing colors here.
The hike is never technical or dangerous, but it has a hefty 2,800 feet of elevation gain, so it’s strenuous. Bring plenty of water and count on hiking at least 4 hours roundtrip.
At the lake you get nice close up views of Sundial Peak, and sometimes there’s even a moose or two bathing in the lake!
Difficulty: Moderate / Hard
17. Antelope Canyon (Arizona)
Of course I can’t make a list of the best hikes in Utah without mentioning Antelope Canyon, which is famous for being one of the most beautiful places in America!
This one is technically located in Arizona state, but it’s very close to the southern border of Utah and you can visit it on a day trip from there.
Antelope Canyon is a favorite with photographers, and for good reason. It’s spectacularly colorful and photogenic. It would be hard to take a bad photo here.
The only con is that it’s extremely popular, so a tour guide is required nowadays, and you might have to make a reservation months in advance.
Difficulty: Easy / Guided
Map Of The Best Utah Hikes
Here’s a map of Utah hikes you can use to plan your own road trip. You can click the icons to get more info on each point of interest, but keep in mind some of the locations on this map may be approximate.
For more detailed information on how to find the exact trailheads for these Utah hiking trails, you can check out my individual travel guides for each hike.
As always, please remember to keep the trail clean, be considerate of other hikers, and leave no trace. Thanks and happy travels!
More Utah Hiking Guides
Thanks for looking! I hope you enjoyed this list of some of the best hikes in Utah.
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Slot Canyon Utah Safety Tips
Flash Floods. Always be aware of the weather forecast. Do not enter any slot canyon if rain is in the forecast, even if it's outside of your immediate area. Flash flooding can be very dangerous in a slot canyon.
Sunscreen. Even on a slot canyon hike, there are still plenty of parts on the trail where you'll be exposed to direct sun, so you might want sunscreen. A hat helps too.
Water. Try to pack at least 3-4 liters per person. In Utah, you should always bring more water than you think you need.
Map. It's a good idea to download an offline map of your hiking area on an app like Google Maps, that way you can keep using it to navigate or find your position even when you're out of reception. Getting lost in the desert can be dangerous.