The Most Popular Hikes of Southern Utah
Utah is famous for its five “mighty” national parks, and rightly so. It’s hard to beat the magnificent scenery and variety of hiking adventures offered by Utah’s national parks. From Arches National Park to Bryce Canyon to Canyonlands to Capitol Reef to Zion National Park, this article describes the most popular hikes of Southern Utah.
Taylor Creek—Kolob Canyons
Taylor Creek—Kolob Canyons is a perfect hike for families who can do five miles. It’s located about 40 miles north of the main part of Zion National Park; but without a connecting road from the more visited southern part, it is less crowded. Showing off colorful and awe-spiring vistas, this trail crosses over a creek many times. Toward the end of the trail, notice some cabins, built in the early 20th Century. The hike’s intensity is rated easy.
Cedar Breaks National Monument and Spectra Point are parts of the geologic formation of Bryce Canyon National Park and sit about a half-hour drive from Cedar City, Utah. At a higher altitude than most hikes of Southern Utah, Cedar Breaks will exhibit aspen trees, evergreens, and colorful wildflowers. The huge, natural amphitheater is filled with rust-colored and red-rock spires. Hikers can choose between a two-mile and a four-mile hike to Ramparts Overlook. This way, you’ll meet with a stark contrast of scenery. On one side grows an alpine forest, and on the other side rests an alien scene of hoodoos and cliffs. This hike is rated at an easy intensity.
The Cascade Falls of Dixie National Forest is definitely one of the most popular hikes of Southern Utah. Only one mile long, it’s great for families and pets, too. It’s rated as easy intensity. The trail follows the Virgin River and allows a view of Zion National Park in the distance. Waterfalls wash down the cliffs on one side of the trail. The trail provides spectacular views throughout the hike, and you can sit on the occasional benches to enjoy your snacks and water. At the return point of the trail, see a waterfall pouring out of a cave that drains part of Navajo Lake and feeds headwaters of the Virgin River.
Observation Point at Zion National Park has been a hiker’s favorite for many years because of the workout it offers and its spectacular views from a high elevation. The eight miles round-trip will have steep ascents and descents, which test your fitness level and your shoes. The trail begins at the Weeping Rock parking lot, works up to a view of the Big Bend of the Virgin River, and then reaches Echo Canyon. From here, enjoy a gorgeous region of sandstone formations, pretty waterfalls, and steep canyon walls. Water, snacks, fitness, and good hiking shoes are recommended. Observation Point is one of the most popular hikes of Southern Utah, though strenuous.
Queen’s Garden And Navajo Loop
Queen’s Garden of Bryce Canyon and the Navajo Loop Trail require moderate effort. You have your choice of two or three miles to see Bryce Canyon in all its glory. Beginning at Sunrise Point, take the Queen’s Garden Trail hike down to a maze of hoodoos (vertical columns off colorful sandstone that look other-worldly). Eventually, you encounter the eerie namesake for the trail: a natural hoodoo sculpture that resembles Queen Victoria. Take a picture.
Kanarraville Falls hike runs about five miles and is best to venture in summer or fall. A moderate-level hike, it is famous for its slot canyons, natural waterfalls, and stream to wade through a stream, bordered by steep walls of rock. Be sure to check the weather forecasts for rain because a flash flood can trap you between the great rock walls.
Angels Landing at Zion National Park is known the world over for being strenuous and scary, especially if you fear heights. Narrow ridges and sharp switchbacks make Angels Landing a great hike for thrill seekers. Because of the narrow ridge toward hike’s end, chains are installed to hold onto for dear life. Don’t go if you’re unfit or have acrophobia.
The Most Popular Hikes of Southern Utah
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