Dangerous Things on Utah’s Hiking Trails

Sep 3, 2018 | Article


What are the most dangerous things on Utah’s hiking trails?  Well, if you’ve hiked a great deal, or if you’re a wildlife ranger or national park worker in Southern Utah, you likely have some hair-raising stories to tell, either of what happened to you or to someone you rescued or heard about.

Mother Nature

Venturing to the outdoors opens up a variety of risks over staying in that climate-controlled apartment or house.  But hey, staying inside poses its own risks to mental and physical health, so let’s assume you like adventures.  This article presents some of the most dangerous things on Utah’s hiking trails.  Remember the five Ps: Prior Planning Prevents Poor Performance.  This certainly applies to hiking in the magnificent scenery of Southern Utah.

The topography of certain hikes will expose you to the dangers that Mother Nature can inflict.  The Narrows, for example, of Zion National Park is the perfect trap for a flash flood to carry you away to injuries or drowning.  Your physical athleticism is no match for the torrid currents down a narrow canyon.  Check three forecasts for rain on the day of your hike, and talk to the people at the Visitors Center.  Hikes that take you high in elevation and near trees will increase the chances of a lightning strike, so again, triple-check the forecasts.  In the event of lightning in your area, get to a car, if possible; the rubber tires break the electrical circuit to the ground, so that may save your life.

Rain can also make trails slippery.  If the trail runs along a cliff drop, you’re better off getting “inland” where mud won’t throw you to your death.  Also, cold weather can bring hypothermia if you’re not prepared with waterproof gear.

Besides Mother Nature, animals can become some of the most dangerous things on Utah’s hiking trails.  Bears, mountain lions, coyotes, dogs, skunks, rattlesnakes, deer, elk, geese, and insects are noteworthy in Southern Utah.


Black Bears normally won’t bother you, if you don’t bother them; however, if a mama bear thinks you’re a threat to her cub, you could be in big trouble.  Avoid, avoid, avoid, and be noisy.  Leave your headphones in the car so you can hear movement around you, and do not climb a tree.  Black bears climb trees better than you.

Mountain lions are carnivorous predators, so make sure you don’t appear like a good meal for the mountain lion by running from it.  Get big with arms holding coat up high, and have a knife ready, just in case.

The same goes for coyotes.  Get big and loud.  Throw things, scare it away.  Dogs are unpredictable.  Avoid eye contact, and keep doing what you’re doing.  Share the trail.  Move away from a skunk.  If it feels threatened, you may get a stinky shower.  Keep an eye out for rattlesnakes.  They’re very quiet until they get nervous.  Go around it.  Deer and elk normally avoid you, but if they feel threatened, they have been known to attack.  Without a weapon, you can’t win this fight.

Some of the most dangerous things on Utah’s hiking trails are surprisingly small and normally innocuous.  Geese are famous for going after your feet and legs when they feel you are a danger to them.  The bites can be painful.  Bees, wasps, and mosquitoes can become a problem, especially if you’re allergic to them.  If so, have your EpiPen on hand and ready to thwart the anaphylactic shock.  Fortunately, mosquitoes in Southern Utah don’t carry the dengue fever virus.  That’s for South America and Africa.  But, mosquito bites are annoying and usually very itchy.  Apply bug repellent before you hit the trails.

So, the most dangerous things on Utah’s hiking trails are weather and wildlife.  Be prepared like a boy scout.



Dangerous Things on Utah’s Hiking Trails

Article By: Clear Content Marketing

Skip to content