Utah is the perfect representation of all that the US Southwest has to offer. There are world class national parks and recreation areas to explore, yet you never know when you might stumble upon a gem tucked away in its wild lands.
Looking for a visual representation of all the trips on this site? Check out the map!
Only accessible through Lake Powell, Labyrinth Slot Canyon has the same colorful sandstone walls as the famous Antelope Canyon.. but without the crowds and fees!
Skylight Arch near Page, Arizona is an inverted arch hidden above the main highway with gorgeous views of Lake Powell that requires some off roading to get to.
Lower Calf Creek Falls is well worth braving the crowds to enjoy a 120ft. waterfall in the middle of the desert
The Zebra Slot Canyon is one of my favorite hikes in the Grand Staircase-Escalante area. The red, smooth, striped walls make for unique photo opportunities.
Willis Creek Slot Canyon is a a little oasis in the middle of the Escalante desert! The short hike leads you through beautiful section of narrows.
Rainbow Bridge is one of the largest arches accessible by foot or boat. It stands almost 300 feet wide and tall! Getting there by boat makes it a short and easy 1.3 mile hike to see the arch, and I love the 50 mile boat ride up the gorgeous Lake Powell.
Alstrom Point in Arizona is one of the most scenic views of Lake Powell that gives expansive views of the lake, and remains one of my favorite campgrounds
This is the narrowest slot canyon I've ever been in, and if you're in the area this would be a fun stop.. but not for the claustrophobic!
Coral Pink Sand Dunes is a small state park off the beaten path that is worth staying a night, or more if you have any dune toys like buggies, motor bikes, or ATVs. The campground had the nicest facilities of any park I've stayed at, and the pink dunes were impressive to see in the middle of the desert.
If you can snag permits, the Subway in Zion is my favorite semi-technical canyoneering route. This day hike covers the most unique and iconic features of Zion
The Zion Narrows is another classic hike with a unique twist - you'll be hiking in the water! Trust me, for these stunning views, it's worth it
A classic hike for anyone visiting Zion. The dramatic climb uses chains to traverse a sheer ridge to an incredible view of the valley
Hidden Canyon is a strenuous hike up the side of the canyon wall, but it has great views of a hanging canyon, waterfall, and even a natural small arch! Warning: lots of switchbacks! Not recommended for people who are scared of heights, since there is a section of slickrock and a chain to guide you.
Island in the Sky was our favorite district within Canyonlands. Although it was definitely more crowded, you can drive between all of the attractions, and the hikes are all short and easy with just as rewarding payoffs. If you only have the time or energy for one, definitely do Grand View Overlook (at sunset for an extra bonus), because the view of the white rim is stunning.
The Grand View Overlook parking lot is easy to reach by car, and there were plenty of other hikers at this very popular overlook. It's a very easy but scenic trail - Clark and I actually hiked it all in flip flops. If you only have time for one short hike at Island in the Sky, I would recommend this one!
Buckskin Gulch was like no other backpacking trip I've done - it was amazing to be in one of the longest slot canyons in the world.
The Chesler Park/Joint Trail has some unique rock features and offers great views of the Needles. Plus, it is a short hike, keeping the amount of sun exposure to a minimum.
Arches NP is a unique park in that all of the points of interest are quite far apart and there aren't too many hiking trails. We decided to do a car tour with minor hiking, and it was nice to be a tourist and just get out of the car to take pictures, since it was so hot. Even though the park is a little out of the way, it is worth the trip to see some rock arches.
If you're really up for an adventure, Orderville Canyon is a great hike with slot canyons, short rappels, swims, and the Virgin River Narrows all in one
Bryce canyon is a relatively small National Park, but if you are in Utah you should definitely make a small side trip to see this unique canyon. There aren't too many trails to choose from, but if you have a couple hours to spare, this easy dayhike is the perfect way to see all the best parts of the canyon up close. The trail is well-maintained with not much elevation change, the only downside is that it is quite exposed, dusty, and can get pretty hot in Utah sun. No matter how long you expect to hike, be sure to bring extra water.