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30+ Scenic Hikes in Southern Utah to Add to Your Bucket List


If you’re looking for the ultimate desert hiking destination, look no further than Southern Utah. From the unique hoodoos of Bryce Canyon National Park, to the vast expanses of Utah’s canyon country, to the geological wonders in Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, Southern Utah is home to millions of acres of public land that is prime for exploring. With so many hikes in Southern Utah to choose from, it can be hard figuring out where to begin!

This post shares over 30 of my favorite hikes in Southern Utah. Truthfully, it was difficult narrowing the list down because there are so many incredible hikes to choose from, but I did my best to put together a guide that showcases some of the best hikes Southern Utah has to offer.

A crow standing in front of Delicate Arch in the snow in Southern Utah.
Delicate Arch in the snow.

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Recreating Responsibly in Southern Utah

Before I dive into the best hikes in Southern Utah, it’s important to take some time to discuss how to recreate and hike responsibly when visiting. Southern Utah is becoming an increasingly popular destination for hikers, and for good reason! The landscape is gorgeous and largely undeveloped by modern standards. In order to help keep Southern Utah clean and pristine, it’s important that everyone who visits recreates responsibly.

Zion Canyon

Here’s how you can recreate responsibly while hiking in Southern Utah:

Leave No Trace

Follow the 7 Leave No Trace principles. This means:

  1. Plan ahead & prepare. Hiking in the desert comes with unique considerations, so make sure you research trails and pack appropriately. Always carry the 10 essentials!
  2. Travel & camp on durable surfaces. Stay on trails or other durable surfaces like slickrock and washes.
  3. Dispose of waste properly. Pack out all waste and trash, including food scraps and human waste.
  4. Leave what you find. Don’t carve into, take, or stack rocks.
  5. Minimize campfire impacts. Check for fire bans and practice campfire safety. This means creating your campfire in an existing fire ring; making sure the fire is attended and doesn’t get out of control; and making sure the fire is out completely (stir the ashes until they are cool to the touch).
  6. Respect wildlife. Never feed wildlife. Make sure to maintain a safe distance from wildlife.
  7. Be considerate of others. Wear headphones instead of blasting music over a bluetooth speaker. Remember uphill hikers have the right of way.

The member-driven Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics teaches people how to enjoy the outdoors responsibly. This copyrighted information has been reprinted with permission from the Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics: www.LNT.org.

Keep Your Dog Under Control

Many of the trails on this list are located on BLM land where regulations require dogs to be “under control” at all times. This means either keeping your dog on a leash (the preferred method), or under strict vocal control. There are a few dog-friendly trails on the list that explicitly require dogs to be kept on-leash. These are noted in the trail descriptions.

If your dog doesn’t have strong recall they should be kept on-leash. Always keep a leash handy while hiking with your dog off-leash in case you encounter other dogs on-leash or small children. While large predators aren’t much of a concern in Southern Utah (although mountain lions, bears, and coyotes are out there), lizards and snakes are common during warmer months. Only you know whether your dog can hike off-leash responsibly, but you will likely see other off-leash dogs on most of these trails so I want you to be prepared!

Pack out pet waste!

Pet waste should always be packed out. This is required by law in many areas of Southern Utah. Please do not leave poop bags on the side of the trail. This is littering and encourages others to do the same. Carry pet waste with you back to the trailhead and dispose of it properly!

Black dog on a leash on a hike in Southern Utah.

Respect Archaeological Sites

None of the hikes on this list take you directly to archaeological sites, however a few trails have petroglyphs in the vicinity. These sites are protected by federal laws, including, but not limited to, the Archaeological Resources Protection Act and the National Historic Preservation Act. Damaging, defacing, or destroying archaeological sites is a federal crime. Please treat the land and any archaeological sites or petroglyphs you encounter with respect when hiking in Southern Utah.

Here are some best practices when visiting an archaeological site:

  • Never sit, touch, lean, or stand on walls of archaeological sites. 
  • Don’t touch petroglyphs and pictographs (the oils from your fingers can break them down faster). 
  • Leave all artifacts where you find them. 
  • Don’t allow pets or small children in archaeological sites. 
  • Don’t share locations or coordinates of archaeological sites online.

Don’t bust the crust!

Many areas across the Colorado Plateau are covered in biological soil crust, otherwise known as cryptobiotic soil. Cryptobiotic soil plays a critical role in the desert ecosystem and is extremely delicate. It can take years to decades to recover from damage, so it’s important to stay on developed trails, or travel over durable surfaces like dry washes or slickrock, to avoid damaging the cryptobiotic soil!

Cryptobiotic soil.

Stay Slot Canyon Safe

Before you head out on a slot canyon hike, it’s incredibly important to be prepared and know the risks involved. All of the slot canyons on this list of hikes in Southern Utah are non-technical slot canyons. This means that you do not need canyoneering gear, like ropes, a harness, and helmet, to navigate through them. However, scrambling is often required and because flash floods can change conditions in an instant, the difficulty of a particular slot canyon may change over time.

Remember that flash floods can be triggered from rain MILES away from where you’re hiking. Even if there are blue skies above you, if you see storm clouds in the distance you should avoid going into a slot canyon. Flash floods are usually most common during monsoon season in the summer, however they can happen any time of year if the conditions are right.

30+ Best Hikes in Southern Utah

This list of the best hikes in Southern Utah is broken down by general location based on the national park or nearest town. It includes hikes in all of Utah’s Mighty 5 national parks, along with off-the-beaten-path hidden gems. Keep in mind, there are hundreds of beautiful hikes in Southern Utah, so this list just scratches the surface on what’s out there!

Woman standing with a peace sign in the air in front of Corona arch while hiking in Southern Utah.

Hikes in Southern Utah in Arches National Park

1. Delicate Arch

It’s hard to kick off a list of the best hikes in Southern Utah with any trail other than Delicate Arch. This is arguably the most iconic hike in Utah, with the trail’s namesake arch prominently featured on the state’s license plate.

The trail to Delicate Arch is a great introduction to hiking in the desert. It’s short, easy to follow, and the terrain alternates between sand and slickrock. It’s a great option for beginner hikers. The star of the hike is, of course, Delicate Arch. While there’s often a line to take photos at the arch, it’s a pretty epic rock formation and worth the wait to memorialize your trip to Moab.

Woman sitting on a rock looking out at Delicate Arch in Arches National Park.

Trail Stats for Delicate Arch

Location: Arches National Park

Trailhead Location: Google maps

Trailhead Parking Difficulty: Difficult. This is by far the most popular hike in Arches National Park. Be sure to arrive early (ideally at sunrise) for the best likelihood of finding a spot.

Distance: 3.2 miles (out-and-back)

Elevation Gain: 630 ft.

Difficulty: Easy-moderate (4-5/10)

Estimated Hike Time: 1 ½-2 hours 

Fee: Arches National Park entrance fee required ($30/vehicle) or use an America the Beautiful or other federal recreation pass. Be aware, Arches National Park requires timed-entry reservations from April-October.

Dog-Friendly?: No.

Best Time of Year to Hike: Fall, winter, and spring.

AllTrails Link

2. Devils Garden Loop

Devils Garden Loop is my favorite hike in Arches National Park and not to be missed if you’re looking for a true desert adventure. If you complete the full loop, you’ll pass 7 unique arches and find numerous places that are prime for photo opps. Be aware, some easy scrambling is required to hike the full loop.

If you’re hiking with kids or have members in your party that aren’t up for an adventurous hike, you can easily access Landscape Arch, Pine Tree Arch, and Tunnel Arch before the trail becomes “primitive” and challenging to follow.

Trail Stats for Devils Garden Loop

Location: Arches National Park

Trailhead Location: Google maps

Trailhead Parking Difficulty: Easy-moderate. There’s a large parking lot and people tend to regularly come and go.

Distance: 8 miles

Elevation Gain: 1050 ft.

Difficulty: Difficult (7.5-8/10)

Estimated Hike Time: 3 ½-4 ½ hours (You’re definitely going to want to factor in time to take photos on this hike!)

Fee: Arches National Park entrance fee required ($30/vehicle) or use an America the Beautiful or other federal recreation pass. Be aware, Arches National Park requires timed-entry reservations from April-October.

Dog-Friendly?: No.

Best Time of Year to Hike: Fall, winter, and spring.

AllTrails Link

3. Fiery Furnace

Hiking in the Fiery Furnace is a choose-your-own-adventure experience. The hike takes you deep into the pinnacles of the Fiery Furnace, which is a unique geologic formation in Arches National Park. There technically isn’t an “official” trail, and you’re free to explore the rocks at your leisure, however there is a marked route that most hikers follow. Having a map is essential in the Fiery Furnace!

Permits are required to hike the Fiery Furnace in order to limit the number of hikers per day and protect the environment. Hikers are also required to watch a short video on recreating responsibly in the Fiery Furnace before getting your permit.

Woman jumping under Surprise Arch in the Fiery Furnace in Arches National Park.

Trail Stats for the Fiery Furnace

Location: Arches National Park

Trailhead Location: Google maps

Trailhead Parking Difficulty: Easy. Since the hike is permitted you shouldn’t have any issues finding a parking spot.

Distance: 2-3 miles

Elevation Gain: ~500 ft.

Difficulty: Moderate (5/10) due to the route-finding and possible scrambling required.

Estimated Hike Time: 2-2 ½ hours

Fee: Arches National Park entrance fee required ($30/vehicle) or use an America the Beautiful or other federal recreation pass. Be aware, Arches National Park requires timed-entry reservations from April-October. Permits are $10/person.

Dog-Friendly?: No.

Best Time of Year to Hike: Fall, winter, and spring.

AllTrails Link


Hikes in Southern Utah in Canyonlands National Park

4. Syncline Loop

The Syncline Loop is one of the longest and most difficult trails in Canyonlands National Park’s Island in the Sky District. The hike takes you below the rim and loops through a canyon, providing breathtaking desert views along the way. The Syncline Loop packs tons of adventure into one day hike, which is why it’s one of my favorite hikes near Moab.

Portions of the trail can be challenging to navigate, so it’s incredibly important to carry the 10 essentials, including a physical map. The Syncline Loop requires some scrambling to complete and is not for beginner hikers, but it’s a fun adventure if you’re a seasoned explorer.

Trail Stats for Syncline Loop

Location: Canyonlands National Park, Island in the Sky District

Trailhead Location: Google maps

Trailhead Parking Difficulty: Moderate-difficult. Parking spaces are limited and since Syncline Loop shares the same trailhead as Upheaval Dome, the parking lot can fill up.

Distance: 8 miles (loop)

Elevation Gain: 1,625 ft.

Difficulty: Difficult (8-9/10)

Estimated Hike Time: 5-6 hours

Fee: Canyonlands National Park entrance fee required: $30/vehicle or use an America the Beautiful or other federal recreation pass.

Dog-Friendly?: No.

Best Time of Year to Hike: Spring, fall, and winter.

AllTrails Link

5. Mesa Arch

The trail to Mesa Arch is short and sweet. In fact, some people may not consider it a “hike” at all, but since it follows a trail, it qualifies in my book. Mesa Arch is one of the most popular sunrise locations in Southern Utah, because the east-facing arch frames the rising sun perfectly. While you certainly won’t have the arch to yourself at sunrise, it’s worth making the pilgrimage to capture a shot.

Mesa Arch is perfect for families with young kids, photographers, and anyone who underestimated how long the drive to Canyonlands is from Moab and is now short on time. It’s a great low-effort hike with an epic view.

Sunrise at Mesa Arch in Moab, Utah.

Trail Stats for Mesa Arch

Location: Canyonlands National Park, Island in the Sky District

Trailhead Location: Google maps

Trailhead Parking Difficulty: Moderate. Since the hike to Mesa Arch is so short, people often come and go, except at sunrise when people tend to spend more time at the arch.

Distance: ¾ mile (out-and-back)

Elevation Gain: 88 ft.

Difficulty: Very easy (1/10)

Estimated Hike Time: 30 minutes

Fee: Canyonlands National Park entrance fee required: $30/vehicle or use an America the Beautiful or other federal recreation pass.

Dog-Friendly?: No.

Best Time of Year to Hike: Year-round.

AllTrails Link

6. Upheaval Dome

If you’re not up for a big hike in Canyonlands, like the Syncline Loop, then hiking the Upheaval Dome trail is a good alternative. The trail takes you to two viewpoints overlooking the Upheaval Dome, which is a unique geologic formation that has mystified scientists. There are a couple of theories about how it formed, but no one knows for certain.

The majority of the hike traverses slickrock, and there are a couple of steep pitches if you head out to the second overlook. Overall, the hike is relatively easy and extremely scenic, but it may be challenging for small children despite how short it is.

Woman stands on a rock overlooking the Upheaval Dome in Canyonlands National Park.

Trail Stats for Upheaval Dome

Location: Canyonlands National Park (Island in the Sky District)

Trailhead Location: Google maps

Trailhead Parking Difficulty: Moderate-difficult. Parking spaces are limited and since Upheaval Dome shares the same trailhead as the Syncline Loop and other trails, the parking lot can fill up.

Distance: 1.3 miles (out-and-back)

Elevation Gain: 185 ft.

Difficulty: Easy (3-4/10)

Estimated Hike Time: <1 hour

Fee: Canyonlands National Park entrance fee required: $30/vehicle or use an America the Beautiful or other federal recreation pass.

Dog-Friendly?: No.

Best Time of Year to Hike: Fall, winter, and spring.

AllTrails Link

7. Druid Arch

Located in the Needles District of Canyonlands National Park, the hike to Druid Arch is a challenging journey through multiple canyons that ends at a towering milk jug-shaped arch. Druid Arch is one of the most unique rock formations in Southern Utah, so while the hike is arduous, it’s worth the trip.

The hike to Druid Arch branches off from the Chesler Park Trail, so if you aren’t up for a 10-mile hike, you can still explore this lesser-trafficked area of Canyonlands National Park. Be prepared for a full day of hiking and make sure your camera is charged because you’re going to want to take lots of photos on this hike!

Woman jumping in front of Druid Arch in the Needles District of Canyonlands National Park while on a hike in Southern Utah.

Trail Stats for Druid Arch

Location: Canyonlands National Park, Needles District

Trailhead Location: Google maps

Trailhead Parking Difficulty: Moderate-difficult. The trailhead serves a number of trails and spaces are limited, so it can fill up. 

Distance: ~10-11 miles (out-and-back)

Elevation Gain: 1,500 ft.

Difficulty: Difficult (8-9/10)

Estimated Hike Time: 5-7 hours

Fee: Canyonlands National Park entrance fee required: $30/vehicle or use an America the Beautiful or other federal recreation pass.

Dog-Friendly?: No.

Best Time of Year to Hike: Fall, winter, and spring.

AllTrails Link


Hikes in Southern Utah Near Moab

8. Corona Arch

If you’re looking for an epic arch hike in Moab outside of Arches National Park, then Corona Arch should be at the top of your list. This can’t miss hike packs in incredible views on a relatively short trail. While it’s a popular hike, there are plenty of places to spread out and explore near the massive arch.

In addition to seeing Corona Arch, you’ll also pass Bowtie Arch and can easily tack on a trip to Pinto Arch to maximize your hike. Be aware, there’s a short section of trail where chains have been installed to help you scramble up the rock, which some people or dogs may find challenging.

Woman dressed for a winter hike sits on slickrock in front of Corona Arch in Moab.

Trail Stats for Corona Arch

Location: Moab BLM land

Trailhead Location: Google maps

Trailhead Parking Difficulty: Moderate. There are a decent number of parking spaces at the trailhead along with overflow parking across the road.

Distance: 2.5 miles (out-and-back)

Elevation Gain: 485 ft.

Difficulty: Easy-moderate (3.5-4/10)

Estimated Hike Time: 1 ½-2 hours 

Fee: None

Dog-Friendly?: Yes. Dogs should be kept on-leash to protect bighorn sheep breeding habitat. Some dogs may have trouble scrambling up the rock at the chain section.

Best Time of Year to Hike: Fall, winter, and spring.

AllTrails Link

9. Jeep Arch

Jeep Arch just might be my favorite dog-friendly hike in Moab, especially during late fall and early spring. The trail has a lot to offer including slickrock traverses, desert canyons and the star of the hike- Jeep Arch. Note: Jeep Arch is also known as Gold Bar Arch in some circles.

The hike to Jeep Arch is a lollipop loop, which I recommend hiking clockwise for the best views behind the arch. From there, you’ll scramble up to the arch and hike underneath it to complete the hike. The hike to Jeep Arch isn’t as popular as many of the other arch hikes in Moab, so it’s a good backup plan if the trailhead at Corona Arch is super busy. 

Woman hiking in front of Jeep Arch in Southern Utah.

Trail Stats for Jeep Arch

Location: Moab

Trailhead Location: Google maps

Trailhead Parking Difficulty: Easy-moderate. The parking lot for the Jeep Arch Trailhead is small, but there is overflow parking across the road.

Distance: 3.6 mile lollipop loop

Elevation Gain: 950 ft.

Difficulty: Moderate (5-6/10)

Estimated Hike Time: 1 ½-2 hours

Fee: None

Dog-Friendly?: Yes. Dogs should be kept on-leash to protect bighorn sheep breeding habitat.

Best Time of Year to Hike: Fall, winter, and spring.

AllTrails Link 

10. Grandstaff Trail 

Grandstaff Trail to Morning Glory Bridge is a popular dog-friendly trail in Moab that takes you through a scenic canyon with a perennial stream to a jaw-dropping natural bridge. The hike can be completed year-round, but is particularly enjoyable in late spring when it’s warm, but not too hot out.

The highlight of the hike is Morning Glory Bridge, which is the 6th longest natural bridge in the U.S. While the hike is a crowd favorite, there’s plenty of room to spread out and explore beneath the bridge if there are other hikers around. Be aware, there is a lot of poison ivy growing along the trail!

A giant sandstone bridge in a canyon in Moab, Utah.

Trail Stats for Grandstaff Trail

Location: Moab BLM land

Trailhead Location: Google maps

Trailhead Parking Difficulty: Moderate. There are a limited number of parking spaces at the trailhead, but there is overflow parking available at parking lots across the street.

Distance: 5.7 miles miles out-and-back

Elevation Gain: 830 ft.

Difficulty: Moderate (5/10)

Estimated Hike Time: 2 hours

Fee: None

Dog-Friendly?: Yes.

Best Time of Year to Hike: Year-round.

AllTrails Link

11. Fisher Towers Trail

The Fisher Towers are one of the most unique and visually striking geologic formations in Moab. The red Cutler and Moenkopi sandstone towers attract rock climbers from all over the world, but for those who prefer hiking, there’s an incredibly scenic trail along the base of the towers that can’t be missed.

Fisher Towers Trail is a scenic hike from start to finish, but some of the best views come at the end of the trail where you can look back at the towers. The drive out to the trailhead along River Road is also one of the best scenic drives near Moab.

Woman standing in front of the Fisher Towers near Moab while hiking in Southern Utah.

Trail Stats for Fisher Towers Trail

Location: Moab BLM land

Trailhead Location: Google maps

Trailhead Parking Difficulty: Moderate-difficult. The trailhead for Fisher Towers is at the end of a scenic, dirt access road. The parking lot had limited spaces available and good overflow parking along the road is minimal. Rumor has it the BLM is building additional parking. There is also a small, first-come, first-serve campground with 5 sites at the trailhead, but I wouldn’t put your faith into getting a spot there.

Distance: ~4 ½ miles (out-and-back)

Elevation Gain: 750 ft.

Difficulty: Moderate (6/10)

Estimated Hike Time: 2-3 hours

Fee: None

Dog-Friendly?: Yes, but there is a ladder along the trail that dogs may have trouble getting past.

Best Seasons to Hike: Fall, winter, and spring.

AllTrails Link

12. Mill Creek Trail

Mill Creek Trail is a great waterfall hike in Moab that is fun for the whole family. You’re guaranteed to get wet on this hike, so it’s best completed during warm weather. In fact, Mill Creek is one of the only trails near Moab I’d recommend hiking with a dog during the heat of the summer because of the ample access to water. 

In order to get to the waterfall up the canyon, you’ll have to ford Mill Creek. Be aware, crossing Mill Creek usually isn’t difficult, but during late spring it may run high from snowmelt in the La Sals.

Woman standing in a pool of water in front of a desert waterfall in Moab.

Trail Stats for Mill Creek Trail

Location: Moab BLM land

Trailhead Location: Google maps

Trailhead Parking Difficulty:  Moderate. There are a decent number of parking spaces, but because the trail is so popular spots fill up, especially on weekends during peak season. There is some additional parking further down the road, but please be respectful of the private residences.

Distance: 1 ½ miles (out-and-back)

Elevation Gain: 60 ft.

Difficulty:Easy (2/10)

Estimated Hike Time: 1-1 ½ hours

Fee: None

Dog-Friendly?: Yes.

Best Time of Year to Hike: Spring, summer, and fall.

AllTrails Link


Hikes in Southern Utah Near Hanksville

13. Goblin’s Lair

Would you dare to enter the Goblin’s Lair? This unique hike in Goblin Valley State Park takes hikers across a moonscape landscape to a deep crevice known as the Goblin’s Lair. You can down climb into the Goblin’s Lair if you’re brave, or you can just enjoy the view from outside.

Most people who visit Goblin Valley State Park spend their time exploring the hoodoos, so hiking to the Goblin’s Lair is a great way to get off-the-beaten-path and away from any crowds. If you’re up for even more of an adventure and have canyoneering experience, you can rappel into the Goblin’s Lair from above.

Woman in an orange jacket stands in front of a giant cave in Goblin Valley State Park.

Trail Stats for Goblin’s Lair

Location: Goblin Valley State Park

Trailhead Location: Google maps

Trailhead Parking Difficulty: Easy. There’s plenty of parking at Goblin Valley State Park.

Distance: 2.3 miles (out-and-back)

Elevation Gain: 200 ft.

Difficulty: Easy-moderate (3-4/10)

Estimated Hike Time: 1-2 hours

Fee: $20/vehicle or use a Utah State Park pass.

Dog-Friendly?: Yes, dogs must be leashed.

Best Time of Year to Hike: Fall, winter, and spring.

AllTrails Link

14. Little Wild Horse & Bell Canyon

There are a seemingly endless number of slot canyons around Hanksville in the San Rafael Swell, so it can be overwhelming deciding where to go. Little Wild Horse & Bell Canyon is an easily accessible, non-technical trail that makes for a great introduction to slot canyon adventures.

While there is a little bit of scrambling required if you want to complete the full loop though Little Wild Horse and Bell Canyon, the hike is easy to navigate. If you’re looking for an easier hike, then opt for an out-and-back through Little Wild Horse Canyon. You can access some of the most photogenic portions of the canyon before things get too difficult. Be aware, both canyons are prone to flash floods, so do not attempt this hike if rain is ANYWHERE in the vicinity!

Woman hiking in a slot canyon in Southern Utah.

Trail Stats for Little Wild Horse & Bell Canyon

Location: BLM land near Hanksville

Trailhead Location: Google maps

Trailhead Parking Difficulty: Easy-moderate. This can be a popular hike, but the parking lot is fairly big, so it can accommodate a fair number of vehicles.

Distance: 8 miles (loop)

Elevation Gain: 800 ft.

Difficulty: Moderate (6.5-7.5/10)

Estimated Hike Time: 4-6 hours

Fee: None

Dog-Friendly?: Yes, however dogs may find the scrambling sections challenging if they don’t have experience with it.

Best Time of Year to Hike: Year-round, however be aware of flash flood risks during monsoon season during the summer!

AllTrails Link

15. Wild Horse Window

Wild Horse Window (also known as Skylight Arch) is a unique geologic formation that can be accessed with a short hike just outside of Goblin Valley State Park. The majority of the hike to Wild Horse Window is across slickrock and hikers should come prepared to climb a couple of steep pitches.

After hiking about a mile, you’ll find Wild Horse Window at the back of a large sandstone alcove. This is a great trail if you’re hiking with kids or are short on time, but want to get a taste of the San Rafael Swell.

A woman and dog hike beneath a large arch in an alcove while hiking in Southern Utah.

Trail Stats for Little Wild Horse Window

Location: BLM land near Hanksville

Trailhead Location: Google maps

Trailhead Parking Difficulty: Moderate. It’s a dirt road out to the trailhead and there isn’t much parking available.

Distance: 2 miles (out-and-back)

Elevation Gain: 315 ft.

Difficulty: Easy (3-4/10)

Estimated Hike Time: 1-1 ½ hours

Best Time of Year to Hike: Fall, winter, and spring.

Fee: None

Dog-Friendly?: Yes.

AllTrails Link


Hikes in Southern Utah in Capitol Reef National Park

16. Cassidy Arch via The Frying Pan Trail

Hiking to Cassidy Arch via the Frying Pan Trail takes you deep into the heart of Capitol Reef National Park. This scenic desert hike takes you through Cohab Canyon before linking up with the Frying Pan Trail to Cassidy Arch. 

Cassidy Arch is a massive rock formation, which you’re allowed to walk across (walking across arches is prohibited in many places in Southern Utah, including Arches National Park). If you’re not up for such a long hike, Cassidy Arch can also be accessed via Grand Wash.

Woman hikes across an arch in Capitol Reef National Park.

Trail Stats for Cassidy Arch via The Frying Pan Trail

Location: Capitol Reef National Park, Fruita District

Trailhead Location: Google maps

Trailhead Parking Difficulty: Easy. There’s a large parking lot at the trailhead, along with other parking lots nearby.

Distance: 8.3 miles (out-and-back)

Elevation Gain: 2,400 ft.

Difficulty: Difficult (7.5-8.5/10)

Estimated Hike Time: 4 ½-5 ½ hours 

Fee: $20/vehicle or use an America the Beautiful or other federal recreation pass. Capitol Reef National Park doesn’t have an entrance booth, but you could be asked by NPS staff to show your pass.

Dog-Friendly?: No.

Best Time of Year to Hike: Fall, winter, and spring.

AllTrails Link

17. Upper Muley Twist

Upper Muley Twist is one of my husband’s favorite hikes in Southern Utah and once you’ve experienced the trail, it’s easy to understand why. The trail takes you through a scenic canyon before climbing on top of the Waterpocket Fold; a 100-mile long monocline that dramatically rises from the Earth.

Upper Muley Twist is a challenging hike that packs in a variety of unique features along a roughly 10-mile lollipop loop trail. Along the way you’ll pass arches, seasonal waterfalls, colorful rock formations, and epic views of the Henry Mountains. While this a very remote trail, it’s definitely worth the trek if you’re looking for an epic, off-the-beaten-path hike.

Woman stands in front of a unique geologic formation with an arch while hiking in Southern Utah.

Trail Stats for Upper Muley Twist

Location: Capitol Reef National Park, Waterpocket Fold District

Trailhead Location: Google maps

Trailhead Parking Difficulty: Moderate-difficult. You need a high-clearance vehicle to drive up the wash to the trailhead. There are places for low-clearance vehicles to park near Burr Trail Road, but this will add additional miles to the hike. Do not attempt to drive to the trailhead if rain is in the forecast due to flash flood risks!

Distance: 10 miles (lollipop loop)

Elevation Gain: 1,350 ft.

Difficulty: Difficult (8-9/10)

Estimated Hike Time: 5-6 hours

Fee: $20/vehicle or use an America the Beautiful or other federal recreation pass. Capitol Reef National Park doesn’t have an entrance booth, but you could be asked by NPS staff to show your pass.

Dog-Friendly?: No.

Best Time of Year to Hike: Fall and spring.

AllTrails Link

18. Chimney Rock Loop Trail

The Chimney Rock Loop Trail packs some big elevation gain on a relatively short hike, so prepare to get your blood pumping. It’s a fantastic hike if you’re short on time or are just passing through Capitol Reef since it’s located right along the highway. The views of the national park from the top of the Chimney Rock Loop Trail are absolutely breathtaking, so it’s worth the steep climb.

Woman hiking Chimney Rock Loop in Capitol Reef National Park.

Trail Stats for Chimney Rock Loop Trail

Location: Capitol Reef National Park, Fruita District

Trailhead Location: Google maps

Trailhead Parking Difficulty: Moderate-difficult. The trailhead serves multiple hikes, and since the parking lot is fairly small and right next to the highway, it often fills up quickly.

Distance: 3.3 miles (lollipop loop)

Elevation Gain: 800 ft.

Difficulty: Moderate-difficult (6.5-7.5/10)

Estimated Hike Time: 1 ½-2 hours 

Fee: $20/vehicle or use an America the Beautiful or other federal recreation pass. Capitol Reef National Park doesn’t have an entrance booth, but you could be asked by NPS staff to show your pass.

Dog-Friendly?: No.

Best Time of Year to Hike: Fall, winter, and spring.

AllTrails Link


Hikes in Southern Utah Near Escalante

19. Lower Calf Creek Falls

Lower Calf Creek Falls is one of the most popular hikes in Southern Utah, and for good reason. The trail takes you through a scenic canyon alongside a creek before reaching Lower Calf Creek Falls; a towering 126 ft. waterfall that truly feels like an oasis in the desert.

 Lower Calf Creek Falls is truly a sight to behold and hikers will find its cool mist refreshing on a hot day. The trail to the waterfall is pretty mellow and very easy to navigate. Once you arrive you can swim at the base, but prepare for the water to be cold. Since hiking to Lower Calf Creek Falls is so popular, it’s extra important to stay on the trail to avoid impacting the surrounding environment.

Woman standing under a towering desert waterfall while hiking in Southern Utah.

Trail Stats for Lower Calf Creek Falls

Location: Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument

Trailhead Location: Google maps

Trailhead Parking Difficulty: Moderate-difficult. Lower Calf Creek Falls is extremely popular, and even though there’s a well-developed parking lot, spaces are limited and can fill up.

Distance: 6 miles (out-and-back)

Elevation Gain: 530 ft.

Difficulty: Moderate (4-5/10)

Estimated Hike Time: 2-3 hours

Fee: Parking is $5/vehicle or use an America the Beautiful or other federal recreation pass.

Dog-Friendly?: Yes, dogs should be kept on-leash.

Best Time of Year to Hike: Year-round.

AllTrails Link

20. Upper Calf Creek Falls

Lower Calf Creek Falls isn’t the only waterfall hike worth checking out in Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument. Located right up the road, Upper Calf Creek Falls is a lesser-known hike to a gorgeous waterfall.

The trail to Upper Calf Creek Falls is much steeper than the hike to Lower Calf Creek Falls, but it’s much less-trafficked so it’s a great option to get away from the crowds. You can also hike to both the top and bottom of Upper Calf Creek Falls to take in the views from different vantage points. I have a detailed route description for Upper Calf Creek Falls HERE.

Woman in a wide-brimmed black hat stands in front of a desert waterfall.

Trail Stats for Upper Calf Creek Falls

Location: Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument

Trailhead Location: Google maps

Trailhead Parking Difficulty: Easy-moderate. It can be easy to miss the turnoff for the Upper Calf Creek Falls trailhead from the highway, but there are a decent number of parking spaces once you reach the parking area.

Distance: 2.2 miles (out-and-back)

Elevation Gain: 600 ft. 

Difficulty: Moderate (5-6/10)

Estimated Hike Time: 1-2 hours

Fee: None

Dog-Friendly?: Yes.

Best Time of Year to Hike: Spring and fall.

AllTrails Link

21. Golden Cathedral

Southern Utah is home to countless geologic wonders and the Golden Cathedral is one of the most mystifying. It’s a jaw-dropping rock formation located in Neon Canyon in Glen Canyon National Recreation Area that requires fording the Escalante River numerous times to access.

The hike to the Golden Cathedral is rugged and remote, and not recommended for beginner hikers or those who are not familiar with hiking in the desert. There are a couple of routes that you can take, but I recommend hiking down Egypt Bench, to the Escalante River, to Neon Canyon. Once you have your fill of the Golden Cathedral, hike back out near the mouth of Neon Canyon, up a sand dune, and across slickrock back to the trailhead. It’s incredibly important to carry the 10 essentials, including a reliable map, when hiking to the Golden Cathedral.

Woman stands beneath the Golden Cathedral.

Trail Stats for Golden Cathedral

Location: Glen Canyon National Recreation Area

Trailhead Location: Google maps

Trailhead Parking Difficulty: Difficult. The road to the trailhead is sandy and rocky, so a high-clearance, 4WD vehicle is necessary. 

Distance: 10.2 miles (loop)

Elevation Gain: 2,125 ft.

Difficulty: Difficult (8-9/10)

Estimated Hike Time: 4 ½-5 ½ hours 

Fee: None

Dog-Friendly?: Yes.

Best Time of Year to Hike: Spring & fall.

AllTrails Link (Note: this route features an out-and-back, but you can see the trail that you follow to create a loop, as described above.)

22. Peek-a-Boo & Spooky Slot Canyons

For a challenging and adventurous slot canyon hike in Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, look no further than Peek-a-Boo & Spooky Slot Canyons. The trail begins at the Dry Fork Narrows trailhead and takes you through a narrow canyon to the entrance of Peek-a-Boo Slot Canyon. While these are non-technical slot canyons, there is a lot of scrambling required to complete the loop.

Be aware, Spooky Slot Canyon gets extremely narrow. There is a signpost at the trailhead that you can practice sliding though to make sure that you can safely get through both slot canyons. If you’re not comfortable with tight spaces or scrambling, hiking through Dry Fork Narrows is still a worthwhile experience.

Woman stands in a red slot canyon in Southern Utah.

Trail Stats for Peek-a-Boo & Spooky Slot Canyons

Location: Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument

Trailhead Location: Google maps

Trailhead Parking Difficulty: Easy-moderate. There’s plenty of parking at the trailhead, but be prepared for a bumpy drive down Hole-in-the-Rock Road!

Distance: 6 miles (lollipop loop)

Elevation Gain: 650 ft.

Difficulty: Difficult (7.5-8.5/10)

Estimated Hike Time: 3-4 hours

Fee: None

Dog-Friendly?: No.

Best Time of Year to Hike: Spring-fall. Be aware of flash flood risks during monsoon season in the summer!

AllTrails Link

23. Panorama Trail

Located in Kodachrome Basin State Park, the Panorama Trail takes hikers through the desert and past some of the funky rock formations. While the hike is relatively short, it packs in a ton of great views, including some of the park’s famed sedimentary pipes

If you’re up for a longer hike there are a few spur trails that you can tack on to the Panorama Trail, including Panorama Point (+1 mile), Cool Cave Loop (+2 miles), and Shepherd’s Loop (+3 miles off the Cool Cave Loop). If you’re making the trip out to Kodachrome Basin, I recommend camping in the park and taking advantage of the dark skies and nicest camp showers I’ve ever seen!

Photo of the "hat shop," a unique rock formation along the Panorama Trail in Kodachrome Basin State Park.

Trail Stats for Panorama Trail

Location: Kodachrome Basin State Park

Trailhead Location: Google maps

Trailhead Parking Difficulty: Easy. There’s a large parking lot with plenty of room for RV’s and trailers.

Distance: 3 miles (loop)

Elevation Gain: 265 ft.

Difficulty: Easy (2.5-3.5/10)

Estimated Hike Time: 1-2 hours

Fee: $10/vehicle or use a Utah State Park pass.

Dog-Friendly?: Yes, dogs must be leashed.

Best Time of Year to Hike: Fall, winter, and spring.

AllTrails Link


Hikes in Southern Utah in Bryce Canyon National Park

24. Wall Street & Queens Garden Trail

Get up close to the unique hoodoos of Bryce Canyon National Park with a hike along the Wall Street & Queens Garden Trail. The beginning of the trail takes you down Wall Street, which is a series of switchbacks through a photogenic canyon complete with tunnels carved through the rocks. It’s easily one of the most scenic trails in Southern Utah.

There are a number of other trails in the area in addition to Wall Street & Queens Garden Trail so you can choose your own adventure and make the hike as long as you want. Be aware, Wall Street closes during the winter due to rockfall risks, but you can create a loop with the Navajo Trail and Queens Garden instead.

A woman stands on a winding trail in an orange sandstone canyon while hiking in Bryce Canyon National Park.

Trail Stats for Wall Street & Queens Garden Trail

Location: Bryce Canyon National Park

Trailhead Location: Google maps

Trailhead Parking Difficulty: Easy-moderate. There’s ample parking at the trailhead, but it’s a very popular trail and overlook area so things can get crowded.

Distance: 3.2 miles (loop)

Elevation Gain: 650 ft.

Difficulty: Moderate (4-5/10)

Estimated Hike Time: 1-2 hours

Fee: $35/vehicle or use an America the Beautiful or other federal recreation pass.

Dog-Friendly?: No.

Best Time of Year to Hike: Year-round, however portions of the trail may close during the winter.

AllTrails Link

25. Mossy Cave Trail

Mossy Cave Trail is a short and easy hike to a cave with seeping springs and hanging gardens. Since the trailhead is right along Scenic Byway 12, it makes a great pitstop to stretch your legs on a Southern Utah road trip.

The well-maintained trail takes you through a scenic orange canyon and across a bridge to Mossy Cave. If you hike the trail during the winter you’ll be able to see icicles in Mossy Cave (be careful not to walk beneath them!). You can also take a marked spur trail to a desert waterfall that flows seasonally.

A bridge along a hike in an orange canyon surrounded by ponderosa pines.

Trail Stats for Mossy Cave Trail

Location: Bryce Canyon National Park

Trailhead Location: Google maps

Trailhead Parking Difficulty: Moderate-difficult. Parking is fairly limited and since the trailhead is located right along the highway it’s a popular stop.

Distance: 1 mile (out-and-back)

Elevation Gain: 150 ft.

Difficulty: Easy (1-2/10)

Estimated Hike Time: 30-60 minutes

Fee: $35/vehicle or use an America the Beautiful or other federal recreation pass. You don’t drive through the ticket booth to get to the trailhead for Mossy Cave, but an entrance pass is still technically required to hike.

Dog-Friendly?: No.

Best Time of Year to Hike: Year-round.

AllTrails Link


Hikes Near Kanab, Utah

26. Toadstool Hoodoos Trail

The Toadstool Hoodoos Trail is an easy hike to a landscape filled with otherworldly rock formations. The trail packs a lot of bang for your buck with epic views and plenty of cool features to explore, making it a great hike for families with young kids. Even though it’s a short trail, don’t forget water, especially during the summer!

Woman with her arms up in front of the Toadstool Hoodoos.

Trail Stats for the Toadstool Hoodoos Trail

Location: BLM land near Kanab

Trailhead Location: Google maps

Trailhead Parking Difficulty: Moderate. The trailhead is right along the highway so it’s easy to access, but it’s a popular hike so it may be busy.

Distance: 1.8 miles (out-and-back)

Elevation Gain: 140 ft.

Difficulty: Easy (1-2/10)

Estimated Hike Time: <1 hour

Fee: None

Dog-Friendly?: Yes.

Best Time of Year to Hike: Year-round.

AllTrails Link

27. Red Hollow Canyon

Red Hollow Canyon is another short and easy hike in Southern Utah that takes you through a wash to a sinuous sandstone slot canyon. Unfortunately, you can’t hike very far through the slot canyon before things become technical, but the section you can easily navigate is incredibly photogenic and worth the hike out.

This is a great hike if you’re looking for something family-friendly and you want to get away from the crowds in nearby Zion National Park. Be sure to check the weather before heading out to avoid flash floods!

Woman looking up in a slot canyon while hiking in Southern Utah.

Trail Stats for Red Hollow Canyon

Location: Orderville, Utah

Trailhead Location: Google maps

Trailhead Parking Difficulty: Moderate. Parking spaces are somewhat limited.

Distance: ~1 mile (out-and-back)

Elevation Gain: 150 ft.

Difficulty: Easy (2-3/10)

Estimated Hike Time: <1 hour

Fee: None.

Dog-Friendly?: Yes.

Best Time of Year to Hike: Year-round.

AllTrails Link

28. Cottonwood Narrows Trail

Located along Cottonwood Wash Road, the Cottonwood Narrows Trail takes hikers through a picturesque canyon on a point-to-point hike between two trailheads. If you don’t have two vehicles you can easily hike the Cottonwood Narrows Trail as an out-and-back hike.

Like most canyon hikes in Southern Utah, Cottonwood Narrows Trail is pretty easy to navigate. There is a little bit of scrambling required, along with a couple of side canyons you can easily explore. Since it’s a lesser-known and trafficked trail, it makes a great option if you’re looking for solitude.

Trailhead sign for the Cottonwood Narrows North trailhead.

Trail Stats for Cottonwood Narrows Trail

Location: Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument

Trailhead Location: Google maps

Trailhead Parking Difficulty: Moderate. There isn’t much parking available along the road.

Distance: ~3 miles (out-and-back)

Elevation Gain: ~300 ft.

Difficulty: Easy (2.5-3.5/10)

Estimated Hike Time: 1 ½-2 hours 

Fee: None

Dog-Friendly?: Yes.

Best Time of Year to Hike: Year-round.

AllTrails Link


Hikes in Southern Utah in Zion National Park

29. Observation Point

If you want epic views of Zion Canyon without having to climb Angels Landing, then head to Observation Point. The East Mesa Trail takes you through a pinyon-juniper forest and past towering ponderosas before opening up to Observation Point, which is one of the best views in Zion National Park (you’ll be able to see Angels Landing in the distance). 

Be advised, the East Mesa Trail is currently the ONLY trail you can hike to access Observation Point. There used to be an alternative way of hiking to Observation Point from Weeping Rock in Zion Canyon, but the trail is closed due to rockfall.

Woman overlooking Zion Canyon while hiking in Southern Utah.

Trail Stats for Observation Point

Location: Zion National Park

Trailhead Location: Google maps

Trailhead Parking Difficulty: Difficult. Parking at the trailhead is on public land, but the surrounding land is private. This means you either have to snag one of the limited parking spots or pony up $5 to take a shuttle from the Zion Ponderosa Ranch Resort. Be aware, the road to the trailhead may become impassable after rain or snow.

Distance: 7 miles (out-and-back trail)

Elevation Gain: 700 ft.

Difficulty: Moderate (5.5-6.5/10)

Estimated Hike Time:  2 ½-3 ½ hours (Factor in time spent at Observation Point!) 

Fee: There’s no fee to park at the trailhead, but you technically need an entrance pass to hike in Zion. I recommend having an America the Beautiful or other federal recreation pass.

Dog-Friendly?: No.

Best Time of Year to Hike: Year-round (road to the trailhead may be inaccessible in the winter due to snow).

AllTrails Link

30. Angels Landing

Angels Landing is without a doubt one of the most iconic hikes in Southern Utah. The trail takes hikers up a seemingly endless series of switchbacks before climbing up a cliff with chains drilled into the rock to help keep hikers safe.

Permits are required to hike Angels Landing and can be obtained two ways. You can enter the seasonal lottery on rec.gov, or you can score a last-minute permit the day before your hike by submitting an application between 12:00 am-3:00 pm MST.

If you’re unable to secure permits to hike Angel’s Landing you can still hike up to Scout’s Lookout for breathtaking views of Zion Canyon. You can also continue hiking from Scout’s Lookout along the East Rim Trail if you want a longer hike, but the best views are at the lookout.

Woman hiking in Zion.

Another way to hike Angels Landing if you’re unable to get your own permit is to hire a permitted guide:

Trail Stats for Angels Landing

Location: Zion National Park (in Zion Canyon)

Trailhead Location: Google maps

Trailhead Parking Difficulty: You will need to take the Zion Canyon shuttle to the trailhead during most times of the year, unless you are staying at the Zion Lodge.

Distance: 4.5 miles (out-and-back)

Elevation Gain: 1,830 ft.

Difficulty: Difficult (7.5-8.5/10)

Estimated Hike Time: 2 ½-3 ½ hours 

Fee: $35/vehicle or use an America the Beautiful or other federal recreation pass. The permit lottery application is $6, with an additional $3 charge if you pull a permit.

Dog-Friendly?: No.

Best Time of Year to Hike: Spring, summer, and fall.

AllTrails Link

31. Canyon Overlook Trail

For a short and sweet hike in Zion National Park with breathtaking views, check out the Canyon Overlook Trail. The trail is located right along the scenic Mount Carmel Highway in Zion, making it a great pit stop to stretch your legs. Since the trail is so short, it’s a great hike to do at sunrise or sunset when you can watch alpenglow illuminate the canyon walls.

Sunrise at Observation Point in Zion.

Trail Stats for Canyon Overlook Trail

Location: Zion National Park 

Trailhead Location: Google maps

Trailhead Parking Difficulty: Difficult. Parking is extremely limited and this is a popular hike, so arrive early!

Distance: 1 mile (out-and-back)

Elevation Gain: 190 ft.

Difficulty: Easy (2-2.5/10)

Estimated Hike Time: <1 hour

Fee:  $35/vehicle or use an America the Beautiful or other federal recreation pass. 

Dog-Friendly?: No.

Best Time of Year to Hike: Year-round.

AllTrails Link


Trailhead Map: Hikes in Southern Utah

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