12 Epic Hikes in Utah

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Last updated Jun 26, 2023

Trying to find the best trails in Utah? That may be more challenging than you initially thought. Utah is a hikers’ wonderland. It has everything from arid deserts with sand dunes to pine forests in mountain valleys and you will not regret choosing any of the hikes in this beautiful state.

We spent a few weeks in September 2020 hiking and exploring and this is our list of 12 epic hikes in Utah. These hikes range from easy to difficult and all offer amazing viewpoints.

12 Epic Hikes in Utah

  1. Chesler Park/Joint Trail Loop
  2. Peek-a-boo and Spooky Gulch
  3. Devils Garden
  4. Figure 8 Loop
  5. Lake Blanche
  6. The Narrows
  7. Observation Point
  8. Cassidy Arch
  9. Lower Calf Creek Falls Trail
  10. Hickman Bridge
  11. Canyon Overlook
  12. Delicate Arch
Chesler Park/Joint Trail LoopCanyonlands National Park – The Needles District10.4-miles1800 ftYesBathrooms & Water @ Trailhead. Additional Bathroom on the Joint Trail
Peek-a-boo and Spooky GulchGrand Staircase-Escalante National Monument – Off Hole-In-The-Rock Road3.5-mile300 ftYesBathrooms & Water @ Trailhead  
Devils GardenArches National Park7.9-miles1130 ftYesBathrooms & Water @ Trailhead
Figure 8 LoopBryce Canyon National Park6.4-miles1600 ftYesBathrooms & Water @ Trailhead Additional bathroom on the Peek-a-boo Loop
Lake BlancheSalt Lake City6.6-miles2,800 ftYesBathrooms @ Trailhead  
The NarrowsZion National Park9.4-miles330 ftYesBathrooms & Water @ Trailhead  
Observation PointZion National Park6.7-miles695 ftYesNo
Cassidy ArchCapitol Reef National Park3.4-miles670 ftYesBathrooms @ Trailhead  
Lower Calf Creek FallsGrand Staircase-Escalante National Monument6.7-miles520 ftYesBathrooms & Water @ Trailhead  
Delicate ArchArches National Park3.0-miles480 ftYesBathrooms & Water @ Trailhead  
Canyon OverlookZion National Park1.0-miles160 ftYesBathrooms @ Trailhead  
Hickman BridgeCapitol Reef National Park1.8-miles400 ftYesBathrooms @ Trailhead  
Table with detailed information on all hikes | 12 Epic Hikes in Utah

1. Chesler Park/Joint Trail Loop

Needles Hike Chesler Park Loop
Chesler Park/Joint Trail Loop | 12 Epic Hikes in Utah

We fell in love with this hike right away and we almost didn’t even do it. The drive to The Needles District from Moab is almost 2 hours south and we were debating whether the hike was worth the drive. We are so glad we decided to do it.

What makes this hike so great is that it is a combination of walking on the slick rock, climbing up, down, and over the rocks, walking through flat grassy areas or sand, and even narrow cut between the rocks on the ‘Joint Trail’ that makes it feel like you are walking through a slot canyon. For more details about this hike, you can read our post The Best Hike in the Canyonlands Needles District – Chesler Park/Joint Trail Loop.

2. Peek-a-boo and Spooky Slot Canyon Loop

Peekaboo Spooky Loop
Peek-a-boo and Spooky Slot Canyon Loop | 12 Epic Hikes In Utah

Just thinking about this hike puts a smile on our faces. It is one of those hikes where you must use your hands and feet to maneuver your way around and wiggle out of the most claustrophobic areas. It is a fun hike that everyone should enjoy at least once. You can also combine this with Dry Fork Trail.

Getting to the trailhead for this hike can be nerve-wracking. From HWY 12 you will have to get on the Hole-In-The-Rock road, an unpaved gravel/sand road with potholes and ruts for 26 miles. I remember GPS showing us that it will take an hour to drive the 26 miles and thinking, no way! Unfortunately, it takes every bit of that, and just keep your fingers crossed that you do not end up with a flat tire.

If you are interested in more details about things to do in Escalante, check out our post Must Do Hikes in Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument.

3. Devils Garden

Arches National Park
Landscape Arch | 12 Epic Hikes in Utah

Devils Garden is by far the best hike in Arches National Park! Most people only go as far as Landscape Arch but there is so much more to this hike than that.

Do not get us wrong, Landscape Arch is one of our favorite arches in the park, but the rest of this hike is a must-do! It requires climbing over huge rocks and boulders and closely following the trail signs, so you do not get lost. Not that getting lost in the Devils Garden is a terrible thing, it just takes longer to complete the loop.

4. Figure 8 Loop

Figure 8 Loop | 12 Epic Hikes in Utah

No question in our mind that this is the best hike in Bryce Canyon National Park. Figure 8 loop is a combination of Navajo Loop, Peek-a-Boo Loop (not to be confused with Peek-a-Boo slot canyon in Escalante), and Queens Garden and gives a hiker a great feel for the park and its surroundings. Most of the park highlights can be seen on this loop: Thor’s Hammer, Wall Street, Wall of Windows, Hoodoos, Tunnels, Queen Victoria, and scenic Bryce Amphitheater. Our post Figure 8 Loop – Ultimate Hike in Bryce Canyon goes into all the details you need to know before doing this hike.

5. Lake Blanche

Lake Blanche Trail Salt Lake City | 12 Epic Hikes in Utah

What a beauty Lake Blanche is! Warning it is steep but definitely worth it. We did this hike at end of the September, right at the beginning of fall, and saw beautiful fall colors. Ran into some moose on the trail too!! You can also get to Lake Florance and Lake Lillian from here.

6. The Narrows

The Narrows – Zion National Park | 12 Epic Hikes in Utah

One of the most popular hikes in Utah and with that come the crowds. As cold as the water may be first thing in the morning, the earlier you can start the hike the less crowded it will be.

Depending on the time of the year, the water can be deep up to your waist or higher. Make sure you bring a hiking pole with you; it is almost impossible to walk without one, wear quick-drying clothes, and if carrying a backpack secure the items in the backpack from getting wet. Other than that the beauty of this hike will leave you in awe.

7. Observation Point

 Zion National Park
Observation Point | 12 Epic Hikes in Utah

Most people talk about Angel’s Landing, and it is a great hike plus there is a hype attached to it since you are walking on the ridge, but the view from the Observation Point is the most beautiful view in the park. However, because of the large rockfall on the trail to the Observation Point from inside the canyon has been closed for a couple of years. But don’t worry we got you covered! There is an alternative way to get to the Observation Point from East Mesa Trail easier hike but same beautiful view.

8. Cassidy Arch

Capitol Reef
Cassidy Arch – Capitol Reef | 12 Epic Hikes in Utah

If there is only one hike you have time to do in Capitol Reef, make sure it is Cassidy Arch! Walking on slick rock and with all distinct colors (Painted Hills of Utah) is a site to see. Some people find this hike intimidating when it gets windy as you do walk on the ridge for a portion of the hike. You can also walk up on top of the arch or rappel into it if skilled in such activity.

9. Lower Calf Creek Falls Trail

Grand Staircase Escalante
Lower Calf Creek | 12 Epic Hikes in Utah

The trail to the unassuming 126 feet falls in the middle of the desert – the oasis. This hike is a good workout too, as you have to walk through the sand for a portion of it. At the end of the canyon, you will arrive at the waterfalls with a sandy beach and a nice pool to cool off in during the sweltering summer months.

10. Delicate Arch

Arches National Park
Delicate Arch | 12 Epic Hikes in Utah

Delicate Arch – The Star of the Arches National Park. This may be the arch that most people come to see in the park. As amazing as Delicate Arch is we find Landscape Arch and Mesa Arch so much more fascinating…sorry. It is an extremely popular hike, and it will be crowded. For the best colors, it is best to come and see it during the sunset and if the full moon is out, it is priceless.

11. Canyon Overlook

12 Epic Hikes in Utah
Zion Canyon Overlook Viewpoint | 12 Epic Hikes in Utah

If coming from an east entrance into Zion, the Canyon Overlook trail is located before the park. It is a quick hike to an amazing view of the lower Zion Canyon. We could have stayed here for hours sitting and enjoying the view. Just absolutely stunning!

12. Hickman Bridge Trail

Capitol Reef National Park Hikes
Hickman Bridge | 12 Epic Hikes in Utah

This is a short hike with an elevation gain of about 400 ft to the natural bridge that is 133 ft long and 125 ft high. The hike starts by walking toward the ‘Capitol Dome,’ a round rock that resembles the Capitol building in Washington D.C., and then walking up the steps. The trail is mostly walking on slick rocks or sand. The trail leads you under the bridge and behind it to loop around back onto the original trail to head back. This is an exceedingly popular hike, and you will be dodging people the entire time.

Other helpful posts…
2 Week Utah Road Trip
5 Day Road Trip – Zion, Bryce & Grand Canyon
4 Adventure Filled Days in Moab
Easy Must-Do Hikes in Capitol Reef
The Best Hike In The Canyonlands – Chesler Park/Joint Trail Loop




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