List of The Best Hiking in Utah National Parks

One of the best ways to see the natural beauty of the landscape, is hiking in Utah National Parks.

We created this list of the best hiking trails you’ll find at all 5 Utah National Parks to help you plan.

We live just hours away from all the National Parks in Utah so we’ve been able to visit during every season and during all types of weather.

Utah National Parks Best Hiking Trails

Check out our Utah National Park road trip itinerary that includes travel guides, packing checklists, and tips to help you plan your dream vacation!

Since we are able to visit these parks during all seasons and months of the year, we’ve put together a packing list for Utah National Parks. You can get a free printable by clicking the graphic below!

Utah National Parks packing lists Optin box
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Hiking Gear for Utah National Parks

Hiking Shoes – Injuries from improper footwear is a common problem that casual visitors and hikers encounter. To make your trip as safe and enjoyable as possible, avoid smooth-soled shoes and only wear sturdy shoes with ample tread. Check out the Merrell Moab hiking shoes we use.

Hydration and Food – Due to the high desert and altitude in Southern Utah, you should drink at least one gallon of water per day, and always carry water with you during all hiking activities. Check out these healthy snacks and food ideas. We use Camelbak hydration packs or carry Hydroflask bottles in our packs.

Lip Balm and Lotion – Utah’s high elevation and dry air can be hard on your skin. You’ll want to carry lip balm with sunscreen and hydrating lotion to apply as needed when you’re out exploring the trails.

Clothing – Summers in southern Utah mean soaring temperatures, unrelenting sunlight, and low humidity. To keep cool, wear light colored, loose fitting clothing that does not absorb sunlight. Also avoid sun burn by wearing a wide brimmed sunhat and by generously applying sunscreen to any parts of your body that are exposed to the sun.

During the winter, wearing the right winter clothing for hiking is important to stay dry and warm. Take note that snow and ice can accumulate and make popular trails quite slippery. That’s why traction devices for your shoes are essential. It’s also just as easy to become dehydrated in the cold as it is in the heat. It’s important to carry plenty of water during the winter, and not just during the summer.

A Photo Tour of Utah National Parks

Take a visual tour through all five Utah National Parks to see the stunning landscapes you’ll see when you visit!

Best Time to Hike at Utah National Parks

Deciding the best time to visit Utah National Parks is different for everyone.

There are important things to know about visiting these parks during the different seasons of the year. You’ll need to be aware of the busy seasons at the parks.

Check out these articles to know all about planning a trip during a specific season or month so you know in advance what to expect.

List of the Best Hiking in Utah National Parks

This list includes easy, moderate, and strenuous hiking trails at all five Utah National Parks.

You’ll definitely want to pack your photography gear for hiking to capture the natural beauty you’ll see as you hike through the Utah National Parks.

Arches National Park hiking trails

Hiking at Arches National Park

You’ll enjoy a stunning landscape of 2,000 natural stone arches, hundreds of stone pinnacles rising into the sky, immense rock fins, and large balanced rocks as you hike through Arches National Park.

Arches Timed Entry: Stay updated on the latest Arches National Park TIMED ENTRY program. During the busy spring, summer, and fall seasons timed entry tickets will be required to enter the park from 6 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily and will allow visitors to enter the park during a one-hour specified window of availability. 

If you don’t have an entry ticket, plan to head into the park BEFORE 6am or after 5pm. During the summer, you’ll want to hike in those cooler hours anyway!

Arches Weather: Arches is part of the Colorado Plateau high desert region; this area will experience enormous temperature variations by as much as 40 degrees in twenty-four hours.

In terms of Arches National Park weather, the most temperate and popular seasons at the park are in spring between April and May, and in fall between September and October.

  • Spring and fall: average highs 60 to 80 and lows 30 to 50 degrees F.
  • Summer: highs can exceed 100 degrees F and lows in the 50s.
  • Winter: highs 30 and 50 and lows 0 and 20 degrees F.
Bryce Canyon hikes

Hiking at Bryce Canyon National Park

One of the most popular Bryce Canyon activities is hiking. It’s important to know what to expect before hitting the trail.

Most day hikes and their trailheads are found in the Bryce Amphitheater area. You’ll find that many trails connect to create longer combinations of hikes.

We always recommend you talk to a park ranger to get the most updated information about trail conditions and weather.

Bryce Canyon elevation: You’ll be over 9,000 feet in the park. Many visitors can feel light-headed and nauseated with just mild exertion. Keep in mind that most hikes at Bryce Canyon begin by going DOWN and end with a climb back UP. Leave yourself enough energy for your return trip.

Bryce Canyon weather: Lightning at Bryce Canyon is a year-round danger, especially during the summer monsoon season. If you can hear thunder, lightning is within 10 miles and you need to seek the shelter of a building or your vehicle immediately. Bryce Canyon National Park weather varies from season to season, and even month to month.

Bryce Canyon winter hiking: Traction devices are recommended for all winter hikes at Bryce Canyon. They can be rented in Bryce City if you don’t bring your own.

We also recommend you talk to a park ranger to get the most updated information about trail conditions and weather. Some trails close in the winter due to unsafe conditions.

14 Canyonlands Island in the Sky hiking trails

Hiking at Canyonlands National Park

Canyonlands is subdivided along the Green and Colorado Rivers into four unique districts: Island in the Sky, The Needles, The Maze and The Rivers. Hiking is the number one activity at Canyonlands:

Canyonlands National Park Island in the Sky is the most accessible district. It also offers fantastic, panoramic views of the park.

In contrast, when you visit Needles Canyonlands, you’ll experience a remote, backcountry experience with an assortment of natural geologic formations that can only be reached by using one of the many Canyonlands hiking trails or four-wheel driving trails.

Canyonlands Weather: The Canyonlands National Park weather is ideal in the spring and fall for hiking. Summer temperatures often exceed 100ºF! Hiking should be limited to the cooler morning and evenings. Late summer monsoon season brings violent storm cells which often cause flash floods that affect Needles Canyonlands.

In the winter is cold with highs averaging 30º to 50ºF and lows 0º to 20ºF! Large amounts of snow in the park are uncommon, but even small amounts of snow or ice can make the park trails and roads impassable.

Canyonlands Services: Due to the remote location of Canyonlands, always be prepared with water, food and proper clothing so you can be self-reliant. There is no gas, food or lodging at Canyonlands National Park Island in the Sky or Needles Canyonlands.

In the winter after a snow storm, paved roads may close temporarily so crews can plow. Unpaved backcountry roads may be impassible for longer periods of time so check Canyonlands road conditions before you head out!

Day hikes at Capitol Reef

Hiking at Capitol Reef National Park

Hiking the trails between Fruita and the Waterpocket Fold in the south should be at the top of your list of Capitol Reef activities!

Your safety while hiking in Capitol Reef requires good judgment, adequate preparation, and constant awareness. It is your responsibility to know your abilities and limits.

Flash Floods: When it rains heavily over a short period of time the result can be flash floods. Get up-to-date Capitol Reef weather information and watch for changing weather conditions. DO NOT enter a narrow gorge or slot canyon if storms are threatening!

Capitol Reef Weather: Do your research to know what the Capitol Reef National Park weather will be at various times of year. The most temperate seasons are spring and fall. In the summer the temperatures will be hot so plan your hiking for the cooler mornings and evenings! During the winter, the activities may be a bit more limited due to cold or snowy conditions!

Zion National Park hiking trails

Hiking at Zion National Park

The landscape at Zion National Park includes narrow sandstone canyons, high plateaus with spectacular views, and the Virgin River as it flows through the park. The hiking trails at Zion are world-famous and fun to explore.

All of the hiking trails remain open year-round, but some Zion hikes can be slippery from packed snow and ice and may require traction devices and trekking poles. 

Some trails may close due to bad weather and conditions like the popular Angel’s Landing. If you want to hike The Narrows, the water will be COLD and you’ll need full-body dry suits that you can rent from local outfitters.

Angels Landing Permit: Hikers going to Angels Landing will need a permit. The National Park Service will issue permits using online lotteries at Recreation.gov.

Shuttle and Parking at Zion: From spring to fall (and during the Christmas holiday) most Zion Canyon hikes are accessible only by the Zion National Park Shuttle. Plan ahead to know the shuttle schedule and the shuttle stop near the trailhead. Be sure to arrive early to find parking at Zion National Park, especially during peak summer season!

Flash Flooding in Zion: Flash floods can be DEADLY! Therefore, learn all you can about flash floods before you explore any of the Zion National park hiking trails.

  • Check the weather forecast and stop by the Visitor Center for up to date information
  • Watch for changing weather and a buildup of clouds
  • Heed warnings
  • Be aware of areas that are likely to flood and avoid those areas
  • Have a plan in case you encounter a flash flood
  • Leave an itinerary with someone and check in when you are done

Utah Travel Guides & Maps

Utah guides and maps

Travel Guides for Utah National Parks

Check out our Utah National Park travel guides that detail the best things to see, do and photograph at all 5 parks!

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