If you’re looking for the most stunning hiking experiences in Utah we’ve got everything you need to know! This incredible region is home to some surprisingly diverse landscapes: dense forest, stunning lakes, mystical deserts, and of course, epic summits. To give you a little travel inspiration, we’ve pulled together the ultimate list of the 10 most epic trails in the Beehive State. Whether you’re a pro looking for a new challenge, or a complete beginner looking for a new adventure, this beautiful state has plenty of amazing hiking experiences just for you.
Clayton Peak, around SLC
Short and massively rewarding.
Of all the short hiking trails in Utah, this is one of the best. Clayton Peak is about 50 minutes away from Salt Lake City. The peak provides an epic 360-degree view of the surrounding canyons all year round. You can spot wildflowers in the summer and skiers riding the Great Western ski lift in the winter. For some summit snacks, grab a gourmet bagel on your way out of the city from Einstein Bros Bagels.You’ll want a reason to sit down and take in this peak’s views as long as possible!
The route climbs steeply at first, and then settles into a series of easy switchbacks. After you’ve passed the first shoulder, the ridge ahead is easy to see and makes for a very satisfying trek. However, it’s the views at the top that will really blow you away – you’ll have a truly epic panorama that takes in the Wasatch Mountains and all of the stunning peaks that surround them.
This is one of our favorite Salt Lake city hikes, and we’re sure you’ll love it too.
Fairyland Loop, Bryce Canyon
3 hours of desert fairy-tale beauty.
Fairyland Loop has expansive views with a variety of rock formations and colours. The trail is really well maintained – with truly spectacular scenery – making it perfect for the whole family. The best time to hit up this trail is during the spring, early summer and fall. Carry plenty of water and energy bars during this trek!
Of all the Utah hiking trails, this magnificent route is the perfect opportunity to gaze upon the weird and wonderful ‘hoodoos’ – strange rock formations that are said to resemble ‘fairy chimneys’. They are caused by the annual freezing and thawing of snow and ice, but it’s easy to imagine them as homes for supernatural creatures! This is a place to allow your imagination to run wild – the Fairyland Loop is truly a hike for dreamers! This beautiful trail is one of our favourite hikes in Bryce Canyon National Park, and one of the standout Utah hikes. Check out ranger-guided activities at Bryce Canyon for a history, geology, or hiking tour!
Angels Landing, Zion
Most famous hike in the national park.
Photo credit: http://hikingshenandoah.blogspot.ca/
The epic hiking trail up to Angel’s Landing is one of the most infamous of all Zion National Park Hikes and an iconic Utah hiking trip. The trail passes first through Refrigerator Canyon, so-named for its shady, cool climate, before ascending Walter’s Wiggles, a series of switchbacks that will get your legs working! As the trail climbs with a series of chains to the peak, it gets narrower and more precarious, so you’ll need to have a head for heights! However, the view from the summit will make your jaw drop.
This trek, while difficult and intimidating, is still one of the park’s most popular trails. There are constant breathtaking views along the way. It’s understandable why so many people take on the challenge. Once you reach the famous chains that will assist you in crossing the narrow ridge, you will soon be rewarded with the bucket-list-worthy view at Angel’s Landing.
If you are looking to experience more than hiking in Zion check out the climbing, canyoneering, ice climbing, or mountain biking tours provided by Zion Mountaineering School.
Mt Raymond, around SLC
Take in the sunset, peacefully.
This beautiful spot is a short distance from Salt Lake City and is rarely busy. Mt. Raymond is a great trail for fit hikers looking to get elevated for some epic views, and is rightly considered one of the best hikes in Utah. Start later in the day to catch the sunset, don’t forget your headlamp! This trail is one of our favorite Salt Lake City hikes, and can be attempted l all year round.
One of the best features of this beautiful trail is the vegetation you’ll see along the way. The first part of the hike passes through a stunning cottonwood forest, before climbing through expansive meadows, littered with wildflowers. You can expect a steep climb with a little scrambling, but the views from the summit are truly magnificent, overlooking the breathtaking Wasatch Mountains. Make sure you build in a little time to admire the views from the top – this is a wonderful place to sit and contemplate the majesty of nature.
Feel better with a guide? Check out Salt Lake City Big Cottonwood Canyon Guided Tour!
Dead Horse Point Loop, Moab
What adventure will you find?
Dead Horse Point is a beautiful desert trail with a rich history. Better yet, you can bring your pup while hiking along the historic rim trails. Enjoy phenomenal views of the Colorado River and red canyons either on foot or mountain bike! This trail is fairly easy to hike and mountain bike, meaning it’s great for beginners looking for epic views and is one of the best easy hikes in Utah.
The Dead Horse State Park sits on top of a magnificent high plateau, offering a panoramic view over the canyons, pinnacles and buttes of this eerie desert landscape. According to legend, this area gets its name from the fact that 19th-century cowboys used to use the canyon as a makeshift corral, leading to the premature deaths of many of their horses from exposure. Visitors today might recognize it from the tragic final scene of Thelma and Louise. Today, it’s one of the best hikes in Moab and Arches National Park.
Download the Free App provided by MTB Project to enjoy your online mountain biking guide for the best on-trail navigation throughout Moab!
Sunset Peak, around SLC
Wish this was a hidden gem.
You’ll have to drive over an hour from Salt Lake City to reach this incredible spot. Try to leave as early as possible to beat the crowds and enjoy the summit peacefully. Sunset Peak is a constant incline with great views from start to finish. Keep your eyes out for wildlife and the blooming wildflowers in the spring and summer.
Our favorite aspect of this lovely hike has to be the lakes. The trail will take you past four beautiful lakes – Dog Lake, Lake Mary, Lake Martha, and Lake Catherine – each one more lovely than the last. If you’ve got plenty of time, make sure to stop at Lake Mary and admire the beautiful natural cliffs that surround the water. Lake Catherine, just before the summit of Sunset Peak, is situated in a stunning alpine bowl, surrounded by a series of gorgeous mountains. Don’t forget your camera, as you’re sure to want to snap some Instagram-worthy photos! This is one of the best Salt Lake City hikes, and perhaps even one of the best hikes in northern Utah.
Make sure to stop at Baked & Brewed after your hike for some well-deserved cappuccinos and locally made ice cream.
Portal Overlook, Moab
Spectacular Arch Formations.
Of all the Utah hikes, Portal Overlook is an incredible route with stunning views and a changing terrain. There is way less traffic here than most of the popular trails in the area. Although it involves more climbing than is typical for the region, it is well graded and definitely worth the effort. In the late summer, it’s better to take on this hike in the afternoon so you are well covered by shade.
This hike involves a steep climb up a sandstone slope, before arriving at the Portal Overlook itself, a sandstone slab perched precariously on a sheer cliff. The views from here are simply phenomenal, extending all the way to the beautiful rock formations of the Arches National Park. You’ll also see the Moab Valley and the La Sal Mountains in the distance, which may be still covered in snow early in the season. The glistening white of these peaks is the perfect contrast to the red desert that you’re walking in.
Pfeifferhorn Ridge, around SLC
For confident, experienced hikers looking for a challenge.
Drive about an hour to Pfeifferhorn Ridge from SLC from July to September. Make sure you are comfortable with steep trails, rock hopping, and using your hands before starting this hike. When you summit you will find the most breathtaking views of the valley and if you’re lucky you can spot mountain goats summiting the surrounding peaks.
This trail begins with a steep ascent from a river, right up to Red Pine Lake, a stunning alpine lake with wonderful views of Thunder Mountain and White Baldy. You’ll need to be a skilled route-finder as the trail is sometimes hard to pick out, and there are some steep scrambling sections. However, once you crest the ridge you’ll realize that all your efforts are worth it – you’ll have an unbelievable panorama over the nearby mountains and valleys. This route is easily one of the best hikes in Utah.
If you’re 21-years-old and over, reward yourself afterwards with the “Epic Pfeifferhorn Lager” back in Salt Lake City. You deserve it!
Observation Point, Zion
Start early, it gets hot.
Observation Point is a strenuous 3-4h hike, but it’s worth it if you’re after the most scenic view in the entire park. Looking to avoid the crowds in Zion National Park? This trail is a must. Please come prepared and bring LOTS of water.
The trail starts with a series of switchbacks up the canyon wall, which will be hard on your legs, but offers some wonderful views over to Angel’s Landing. From here, you’ll really start to understand the scale of the epic Zion Canyon, and the power of the water that, over time, has carved through the rock. The views from the top are best appreciated at sunrise, when the first rays of the day hit the canyon walls and illuminate the entire gorge. This is one of our favorite Utah hiking trails. Make sure to pop by Springdale Candy Company after the hike for some Utah Turtles and other delicious candies!
Peek-A-Boo Loop, Bryce Canyon
Mind them Cowboys!
Peek-A-Boo is a short loop trail that descends under the rim of Bryce Canyon and promises the densest number of hoodoo formations in the park. Be prepared to make way for cowboys leading horse riding groups through the trail. Start early to avoid the heat and the crowds!
The landscape on this beautiful hike is out-of-this-world, and it’s easy to see why it’s considered one of the best hikes in Utah! You’ll feel as though you’re walking through a forest of rock, transported to an alternate world, where fields of stone towers are occasionally punctuated by bright green trees. The route may be short, but it involves a number of ascents and descents, so you’ll definitely get a good workout.
If you are planning your trip to Utah make sure to check off some of these amazing trails and discover more of Utah! These epic Utah hiking trips are a wonderful way to experience the other-worldly landscapes of this fantastic corner of the United States. Whether you’re looking for dramatic canyons, eerie hoodoo fields, glittering high-altitude lakes or awe-inspiring peaks, Utah has a hike for you.
And if you’re already familiar with these hikes, let other people know! Share your experiences on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram, we’d love to connect with you.