Utah is a nature-lovers paradise, with its stunning landscapes and incredible hiking trails. Whether you’re looking for an easy day hike or something more challenging, there are a variety of Utah Summer Hikes to explore!
Utah offers some of the most spectacular summer hiking trails in the country. Here’s a list of places to visit in Utah that have amazing summer hiking trails!
In Northern Utah, hikers can explore the Wasatch and Uinta Mountains. In Southern Utah there are a variety of trails at all five Utah National Parks.
Use our Utah Packing Lists to make sure you have the right clothing and gear for hiking in the summer (UV protection clothing, sunscreen, lotion)! Grab your free printable packing checklist by clicking the image below!
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Utah Summer Weather for Hiking
The Utah weather in the summer will vary between Northern and Southern Utah. The higher elevation temperatures will be cooler than the lower elevations by 10 to 20 degrees.
We’ve written detailed guides for the weather and temperatures you can expect each month during the summer in Utah:
Hiking in the summer in Utah means HOT temperatures, sometimes exceeding 100 degrees F! And late summer monsoons can cause flash floods in Southern Utah.
It’s important to stay hydrated, use sun protection, and get the latest weather information before hitting the trails in the summer!
List of the Best Utah National Park Summer Hikes
Check out these guides for a list of summer hiking trails in the Utah National Parks:
- Arches National Park Summer Hikes
- Bryce Canyon National Park Summer Hikes
- Canyonlands National Park Summer Hikes
- Capitol Reef National Park Summer Hikes
- Zion National Park Summer Hikes
Map of Utah Summer Hiking Trails
Experience the breathtaking views of Utah’s summer hiking trails with this interactive Google map! Simply click the graphic below to see the location of all 15 hikes mentioned below!
List of the Best Utah Summer Hikes
We’ve asked our hiking friends to share their favorite Utah summer hiking trails and tips! After reading about all these hikes, you’ll be ready to hit the trail and experience the majestic beauty of Utah’s great outdoors!
Angel’s Landing Summer Hike
Angel’s Landing is one of the most iconic hikes in all of the National Parks, particularly the American Southwest. The trail is a challenging one and will require you to trek up about 1,500 feet with the last half-mile being the most intense part of the hike. This last section requires scrambling over rocks while holding onto chains that have been bolted into the sides of the cliff face.
In the summer you’ll need to ride the Zion National Park shuttle to access the trail. AND you’ll need a permit to hike the final 0.5-mile section! You can apply ahead of time or the day before. Rangers frequently patrol the trail and ask to see permits!
Even if obtaining a permit or completing the last steep section is not feasible or desirable, it is still highly recommended to undertake the first 3/4ths of this trail since the views are stunning. In total, the trail is 4.3 miles long.
On the trail, you will encounter a succession of switchbacks that will lead you up the canyon wall. These switchbacks are quite spacious, so even if you are not comfortable with heights, you can stay near the wall and far away from the edge without difficulty.
For this hike, really good shoes and lots of water are strongly recommended – especially for the summer! There is little shade so hydrating often is important. Additionally, it is best to do the hike first thing in the morning before it gets too hot and crowded. (Recommended by Kelsea, Out of Office Mindset)
Cecret Lake Summer Hike
If you’re looking for a beautiful hike in the Utah mountains, hiking Cecret Lake at Alta ski resort is hard to beat. Located just outside of Salt Lake City, this stunning alpine lake is a popular summer destination for hikers of all levels.
At just under 2 miles round trip, and only about 450 ft of elevation gain, this is a hike that’s suitable for kids, but it’s beautiful enough that even the most seasoned hikers love coming here. The trail is well-maintained and relatively easy, though the parking is pretty limited.
Plan on getting to the trailhead early! This hike is one of the best Little Cottonwood Canyon hikes and is best done in July when the wildflowers are abundant. You’ll cross through several meadows and a few little stream crossings before you make it to the edge of the lake – a perfect place to stop and have a picnic lunch!
Whether you’re a seasoned hiker or just looking for an incredibly beautiful day hike near Salt Lake, hiking to Cecret Lake is a trail you won’t want to miss. (Recommended by Jessica, Utah Kids Explore)
Delicate Arch Summer Hike
Delicate Arch is perhaps the most famous hike in Utah. This iconic landmark is even featured on the Utah license plate. Located in Arches National Park, just outside of Moab, Utah, the trail is an unforgettable experience for outdoor lovers.
The in-and-out hike to the arch is approximately 3 miles round trip, and although it can be strenuous at times, the view of this massive, freestanding natural arch is well worth the effort.
As you hike through the desert, you’ll pass by towering red rock formations and stunning vistas of the surrounding landscape.
Standing underneath the 52-foot Delicate Arch, you’ll feel a sense of awe and wonder. But it’s a popular Arches National Park photo spot so you’ll have to wait in a line or queue.
Don’t expect to have this stunning geological feature to yourself. This renowned hike draws crowds year round, but the trail is especially busy in the peak summer months.
Be sure to bring plenty of water, snacks, and wear sunscreen and a hat to shade you from the blistering heat and sun rays. The hike through the desert offers no shade from the harsh exposure, so dehydration and heat exhaustion are very real threats when hiking to Delicate Arch.
For that reason, plan to start your hike early in the morning so you are done before the peak heat of the day. (Recommended by Melissa, Parenthood and Passports)
Double O Arch Summer Hike
Double O Arch in Arches National Park is a great summer hike. This arch is one of the most unique and remote formations in the entire park.
It takes about 30 minutes to drive through the park and reach the Devils Garden Trailhead.
The trail can be both an out-and-back or a loop hike. The distance for an out-and-back trail is 4 miles. The loop hike takes a mile longer. Budget at least 2 hours to complete either trail.
The trail is strenuous. Most of the elevation gain takes place over a 1,000-ft stretch just past Landscape Arch. There is virtually no shade.
Follow a few tips to make the most from your Double O Arch summer hike:
- Get an advance reservation to visit Arches in the summer
- Start your hike as early in the morning as possible
- Wear comfortable sturdy shoes to hike the trail’s uneven surfaces
- Bring a little more water than you think you might need
- Use sunscreen and wear a hat
- Enjoy formations along the way, like Tunnel Arch, Landscape Arch, and Fin Canyon
(Recommended by Anastasia, Travel Realist)
Emerald Pools Summer Hike
In Zion National Park you’ve likely heard of popular hikes like Angels Landing and the Narrows, but one underrated hike is Emerald Pools Trail. This moderately challenging hike is a 3-mile loop that gains ~600 feet in elevation and takes about an hour a half to complete.
To get to the trailhead, you’ll need to take Zion National Park’s free shuttle to the Zion Lodge stop. You’ll cross the river and begin the hike.
In summer, what makes Emerald Pools Trail special is that it has reprieves from the summer heat with water. There are actual emerald pools along the trail at a couple points, so you can stop, dip your feet in and cool off. Water shoes and bathing suits are helpful if you plan to take a full dip in the pools.
Note that the trail is quite rocky, but safe to complete even for kids! Whether you’re visiting Zion for a weekend or merely stopping by on an Arizona to Utah road trip, be sure to add Emerald Pools Trail to your Utah hiking bucket list! (Recommended by Alanna, Periodic Adventures)
Ensign Peak Summer Hike
Ensign Peak is one of Utah’s easier and shorter hikes making it the perfect start to your summer of hiking. Located in Salt Lake City, the Ensign Peak trail is well-maintained and nearly one mile long, but what it lacks in distance, it makes up in incline.
However, don’t be scared off by its steepness, as you will not want to miss out on the view of the city waiting for you at the top of the mountain. It takes around 40 minutes to complete the hike, there and back, and I would highly recommend visiting around sunset for the best view.
Salt Lake City summer temperatures typically range from lows in the 60s to highs in the 90s to even 100! Don’t forget to fill up your water bottle before you hit the trails.
During your hike, be sure to stop and read the informational signs alongside the trail as Ensign Peak has big historical significance for Salt Lake City. Take your time on this hike to soak in the views and learn more about the area. (Recommended by Alex, Twenty Something Traveler)
Fairyland Loop Summer Hike
The Fairyland Loop trail in Bryce Canyon National Park is an excellent option for hikers that are trying to get a bit off-the-beaten path.
This 7.8 mile hike is moderate and accessible for most hikers in reasonably good shape, climbing up and down rolling hills beneath the park’s famed hoodoos, pink and orange rock spires jutting out of the earth. In total, you’ll gain 1,545 feet of elevation along this hike,
You can either start this hike at Fairyland or Sunrise Point, both of which are stunning overlooks into Bryce’s dramatic amphitheater. Regardless of where you start the hike, you’ll hike below the rim of the canyon, snake between countless hoodoos, and eventually climb up to the rim of the canyon, overlooking the ethereal rock formations below.
While Bryce’s high elevation keeps it cooler than the rest of the Mighty Five Utah National Parks, it still can get pretty warm in the park, come summer, so consider starting your hike early or in the late afternoon to beat the heat and bring lots of water. There’s minimal shade along the trail, other than under the otherworldly hoodoos! (Recommended by Jessica, Uprooted Traveler)
Figure 8 Combination Summer Hike
Located in Bryce Canyon National Park, the Figure 8 Combination hike is a strenuous and rewarding adventure.
This hike is a combination of three trails: Queens Garden Trail, Peekabo Trail, and Navajo Loop. With a duration of approximately 4 to 5 hours and a distance of 6.4 miles, it is perfect for those seeking a challenging and immersive experience.
Starting at Sunrise Point, the hike follows a clockwise route and hikers descend into the breathtaking canyon. It is recommended to embark on this adventure in the early morning or late afternoon to avoid the scorching midday sun.
With an altitude of 8,000 feet, the temperatures in Bryce Canyon National Park in the summer remain warm but not excessively hot.
It is important to note that the Figure 8 Combination hike requires a good level of fitness and stamina due to its steep ascents and descents. Proper hiking gear, including sturdy footwear, is essential for a safe and enjoyable hike. Additionally, you should carry enough water as there is no opportunity to refill.
The Figure 8 Combination in Bryce Canyon promises an unforgettable adventure, immersing you in the natural wonders of this extraordinary national park. (Recommended by Anne and Anne, PerspektiVan)
Grand Wash Summer Hike
The Grand Wash trail in Utah’s Capitol Reef National Park is an experience that no outdoor enthusiast should miss. This 4.4-mile round trip hike draws you into a world of red rock and sky, as the trail winds its way through sandstone cliffs that rise majestically on either side.
Keep in mind that the heat can get pretty brutal at Capitol Reef National Park in the summer, but one of the best things about this roughly two-hour hike is that it provides shade much of the way.
The area that most captivated me was the section known as the Narrows, where the canyon walls seem to reach out and draw closer together. Walking through the slender passageway, I was instantly reminded of the famed Narrows hike in Zion National Park, another of Utah’s spectacular natural wonders.
The beauty of the Narrows in Capitol Reef, while slightly less visited, is every bit as breathtaking and intimate as its Zion counterpart, making it a hidden treasure.
Remember to bring plenty of water and watch for weather changes–it can be dangerous to be in a slot canyon when it rains! (Recommended by Alex, Alex on the Map)
Hickman Bridge Summer Hike
Easily one of the best Utah summer hikes of them all, Hickman Bridge is a fantastic, moderately difficult, 1.7-mile, out-and-back trail in Capitol Reef National Park.
In fact, it’s one of the best hikes in Capitol Reef that will take your around an hour to complete as you hike back fascinating historic sites from the Fremont people that include Fremont pit houses, a granary (hidden in the Kayenta formation), and the Fremont River Valley.
Additionally, this famous hike is also filled with incredible natural landmarks that include Nels Johnson Bridge, Cohab Canyon, and Capitol Dome in the background.
However, in the summer daily highs can get up to 90 F during the day and as low as 62 F in the evening. Therefore, to avoid intense crowds and heat exhaustion, be sure to bring plenty of water and to start this hike well-before the sun comes up.
You’ll also want to wear UV-protecting clothing, a sun hat, a fleece in the morning, sunscreen, and a headlamp to navigate the darkness of the early morning. (Recommended by Meg, Fox in the Forest)
Jacob Hamblin Arch Summer Hike
Jacob Hamblin Arch via the “sneaker route” is a natural wonder nestled deep within Coyote Gulch in the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument of southern Utah.
This majestic arch, spanning approximately 130 feet and reaching over 100 feet in height, stands as a testament to the extraordinary forces of nature that have shaped this awe-inspiring land. Composed of Navajo sandstone dating back over 180 million years, the arch was sculpted by the same erosive powers that created the canyons and rock formations surrounding it.
This trail spans a round trip of 4 miles, offering a journey that will leave you with memories to last a lifetime. The Jacob Hamblin Arch hike is rated as moderate to hard, presenting some challenging sections that will test your limits.
The best time to visit Jacob Hamblin Arch are spring and fall, as the temperatures are milder during these times. However, if you’re up for a challenge and prefer the summer heat, keep in mind that the desert can scorch with temperatures exceeding 100 degrees Fahrenheit.
We suggest you start your hike early in the morning to avoid the peak heat of the day. (Recommended by Nicoll, Living Tiny With A Wolf)
Kanarra Falls Summer Hike
Located in Southern Utah, Kanarra Falls is a popular hiking trail any time of year. The hike follows a scenic slot canyon and leads to beautiful waterfalls, making it an ideal summer adventure for hikers and outdoor enthusiasts.
The hike is about 3.7 miles roundtrip and takes approximately 3-4 hours to complete, depending on your pace. The trail is well-maintained and mostly flat, with a few moderate sections that require climbing over rocks and boulders.
One of the main highlights of this hike is Kanarra Creek, which runs through the slot canyon and creates a series of waterfalls and pools. In the summer, the water provides a refreshing escape from the heat. This is great because you’ll have no choice but to walk in the water for a good portion of the hike.
If you’re planning to hike Kanarra Falls, it’s important to know that a permit is required and should be purchased in advance. As with any popular destination, the trail can get crowded during the summer months, so arriving early is recommended to avoid the crowds and fully enjoy the trail at your own pace. Overall, hiking Kanarra Falls in the summer is a must-do adventure for anyone visiting southern Utah. (Recommended by Melissa, Hello Wanderlust Family)
Mesa Arch Summer Hike
Mesa Arch is one of Utah’s most popular summer hikes. It’s located in Canyonlands National Park, near Moab, Utah. This trail is just a bit over half a mile long and is easily navigated by most visitors.
This loop hike typically takes visitors about 15 minutes up to the arch and 15 minutes back down, for a total of thirty minutes to complete. The trail consists of both dirt and slickrock and has an elevation gain of 88 feet. The red rock and desert canyons offer quite a view along this walk.
There are many tips to consider when visiting Mesa Arch, especially in the summertime. Keep in mind that this part of Utah gets very hot during the summer months.
If possible, plan your hike for the early morning hours before the desert landscape heats up. Or better yet, get up early so you can enjoy one of the iconic Canyonlands sunrise photo spots!
Also, dress appropriately for sun protection and always have water on hand. Utah is full of different summer hikes to choose from, but don’t miss out on Mesa Arch! (Recommended by Candice, CS Ginger)
Mount Timpanogos Summer Hike
Hiking Mount Timpanogos is one of the best hikes in Northern Utah. Many people will start the hike before midnight. When they reach the top of the mountain they will see the beautiful sunrise.
It is a 13.8 – 14.1 mile hike (depending on which point you start) and takes about 8- 9 hours to complete. It is an amazing, difficult, and a long experience.
For those who prefer a little shorter hike, Timpanogos Cave National Monument is a great option. It is located in the American Fork Canyon and is part of the National Forest area. You will need a Timpanogos Cave tour reservation if you wanted to join a guided tour.
Timpanogos Cave Trail is 3.1 miles round trip. This hike involves a lot of switchbacks and an intense incline to the top but coming down is easy. When you reach the top you will be greeted by a park ranger and given a guided tour of the caves. It is one of the best kid-friendly hikes in Utah!
In the summer, the heat can be intense. It is best to do this hike in the morning or evening. However, no matter what part of the day the cave tour will be cold. You will want to pack a light jacket to wear inside.
Mount Timpanogos Cave Trail is a fantastic summer hike. Plus, the cave tour is only available during the summer months, so it is a perfect time to go! (Recommended by Lisa, Planning Away)
The Narrows Summer Hike
Summer is way too hot in Utah, but there is a hike that can be surprisingly refreshing! The Narrows in Zion National Park is a popular hiking trail that takes you through the narrowest section of Zion Canyon, and the Virgin River serves as the path.
The hike through the river-carved gorge can be done as either a day hike or an overnight backpacking trip. The day hike typically starts at the Temple of Sinawava, which is the last stop on the Zion National Park shuttle. The full hike to the end of the maintained trail at Big Springs is approximately 9.4 miles round trip. Overnight trips will need a permit.
The Narrows hike is primarily a water hike, as you wade through the river for the majority of the trail. Hiking in the river can range from ankle-deep to waist-deep, depending on the water levels and the time of year. The river bed can be slippery, so wear good hiking boots and bring a walking stick. Also, wear layers and opt for quick dry clothes. Always make sure to check the weather and water levels beforehand. (Recommended by Marquis of Kiki La Gringa)
The Subway Bottom Up Summer Hike
The Subway hiked from the bottom up in Zion National Park is a strenuous non-technical ascent into a beautiful canyon that looks like a glimmering subway tunnel.
The hike is one of the most amazing canyon adventures in the Southwest due it’s remoteness, waterfalls, and multicolor slot canyon. Cascades create a scenic staircase up the trail to the Subway. Emerald pools and shining canyon walls are the highlights of the Subway canyon.
This Zion National Park hike takes between 5-10 hours and involves many stream crossings and navigation skills. It starts at the Left Fork Trailhead on the Kolob Terrace Road near Virgin, UT. The distance to the lower Subway canyon and back is about 9 miles.
In the summer, the stream crossings of the chilly river help with the heat. There is little shade enroute so make sure you bring sufficient water or a way to treat the river water.
Day hikers are required to have a Zion wilderness permit for this trail. A lottery system allocates 80 permits per day. The scarcity of permits makes this hike even more special.
It’s monsoon season at Zion National Park in the summer. Postpone the hike if flash floods due to thunderstorms are forecast. It’s always good to check with the Park Rangers before heading out on this trail! (Recommended by Karen, Outdoor Adventure Sampler)
The Vortex Summer Hike
This hike near the town of Gunlock is known as The Bowl or The Vortex. It is a hidden gem hike and one of the best things to do in Utah that often gets overlooked.
Located 30 minutes outside of St. George, this hike offers captivating panoramic views and a unique bowl-like formation made of sandstone that is reached at the end of the trail. As you hike, you’ll enjoy plenty of cool red rock formations and lush desert vegetation.
Though moderate in difficulty level, what really makes this 2.3-mile out-and-back trail tough is the lack of shade. It typically takes hikers 1.5 to 2 hours to complete, but the scorching desert sun can really slow you down, especially in summer. Make sure to bring plenty of water, a hat and sunscreen.
To make the most of the experience, start as early as possible to avoid the midday heat. The trail can be a bit tricky to follow at times as you’re traversing across big stretches of rock, so downloading an Alltrails map offline before you set off can really make or break your hike.
Overall, this is a beautiful hike with rock formations reminiscent of The Wave or White Pocket—no permits or tours required! (Recommended by Michelle, Live Like It’s the Weekend)
Where to Stay in Utah
- Coolest Hotels in Utah
- Where to Stay in Utah National Parks
- Hotels in Utah
- VRBO Vacation Rentals in Utah
To help make your trip planning easier, we’ve compiled this comprehensive list of must-do activities that belong on every Utah Bucket List: things to see, do and taste all around the state! Grab the free download by clicking the graphic below!