The Hiker’s Guide to Southern Utah

Southern Utah is a hiker’s paradise, whether you’re into leisurely strolls with beautiful scenes or challenging hikes to catch rare and magnificent beauty.  There is too much for just a day or two, so if you want to see most of Southern Utah’s beauty, you’ll need to make it an annual tradition for several years or spend a few weeks when you can.  This article presents what a hiker should know about Utah’s five national parks, hotels, restaurants, footwear, and a few of the best hikes from easy to treacherous.

Utah’s Five Mighty National Parks

It’s hard to beat the magnificent scenery and variety of hiking adventures offered by Utah’s national parks.  Arches National Park, Bryce Canyon, Canyonlands, Capitol Reef, and Zion National Park all welcome photographers, hikers, campers, and sightseers.  They feature breath-taking vistas, other-worldly rock formations, a rainbow of colors, and vast wilderness to challenge you.

Zion and Bryce National Parks stand in Southern Utah, and Zion is the third most-visited national park in America.  Zion features easy trails for families, such as the Emerald Pools trails, as well as moderate to rigorous treks like the Narrows.  The Narrows wanders through canyons bottomed by the Virgin River. You’ll need good water shoes. Take snacks and drinking water along, and be sure to check the forecast for rain.  Some flash floods have tragically washed away hikers, trapped in the Narrows.

The most iconic hike in Southern Utah is at Zion National Park: Angels Landing, which is both strenuous and scary, especially if you fear heights.  Narrow ridges and sharp switchbacks make Angels Landing a great hike for thrill seekers and the more athletic. Along the narrow ridge toward hike’s end, chains are installed to hold onto to keep from becoming buzzard scraps.  The view from the climactic landing is spectacular. Don’t go if you’re unfit or have acrophobia.

Bryce National Park is known for its weird Hoodoos.  The hoodoos are statues of orange sandstone, sculpted over thousands of years by wind and water.  They look like alien guards, keeping watch over Bryce’s valleys and canyons.

The Taylor Creek trail at Kolob Canyons is a perfect hike for families who can do five miles round trip.  It’s located about 40 miles north of the main part of Zion National Park; but because of no connecting road from the more visited southern part, it is less crowded.  Showing off awe-inspiring vistas, this trail crosses over a creek many times. Toward the end of the trail, you’ll see some cabins, built in the early 20th Century.  The hike’s intensity is rated easy.

Hiking Boots or Shoes

You’ll need both shoes and boots for hiking in Southern Utah.  The boots will give more ankle support and protection from sharp rocks that want to scrape your ankles or bruise the soles of your feet, and the shoes will be lighter and faster for the flatter, smoother trails.

Hotels

If you’re not into camping, there are many nice hotels near Zion National Park.  The Watchman Villas are first-class condos, fully equipped with kitchen appliances and beautiful furnishings.  Choose from five different villa styles, which range in cost from $250 to $550 per night. Other hotels in Springdale are classy, too, but don’t include kitchen appliances.

Restaurants

Southern Utah’s best restaurants (near Zion National Park) are located in Springdale, Utah, and they are award-winning.  Local, traditional recipes are delicious, and other cuisine options are imported by out-of-state chefs. Choose from Mexican, American, Italian, bistro, gourmet coffee shops, and, of course, fast food.

Southern-Utah

The Hiker’s Guide to Southern Utah

Article By: Clear Content Marketing