Backpacking in Utah

Zion National Park 

Utah is filled with some of the greatest National Parks, mountains, and monuments, but above all else it is a playground waiting to be discovered by any person who enjoys the outdoors and seeks adventure. With this being said, a major attraction for tourists visiting Utah is to explore the top destinations through backpacking and camping. A tourist attraction that brings all types of people to every time of year is Zion National Park. Located in Southern Utah it contains a wide variety of backpacking trails and destinations within the park itself. 

A popular trail to backpack is the West Rim Trail. While hiking along this trail, backpackers often take in scenery of the canyons. Throughout this route, there are multiple campsites to be found, that backpackers enjoy staying at, in addition to natural springs that serve as a water source. While all times of year are beautiful to visit, this trail is frequented the most in the late spring, summer and fall, as the winters tend to be snowy.

Among the numerous trails in Zion National Park, Angel’s Landing seems to be the most talked about. While this trail provides breathtaking views, the hike is a bit advanced. With a steep drop and ledge on one side, backpackers must pay attention to their footing while making their way up. This hike is not like this the whole way as it starts out slow and level and gradually becomes steeper. Not to deter those eager to backpack this trail, but to inform visitors this trail may be a little more advanced. Once Backpackers make it to the top of Angels Landing the views are spectacular, making the hike worth it. 

Zion National Park is a bucket list destination for any person looking to backpack the canyons of southern Utah and explore what the state has to offer. 

If you find yourself in Southern Utah for an extra day, you can make your way to Casto Canyon's OHV Trails for a day of exploring in ATV's.

West Rim Trail

For more information on the trail's map, click below.
Trail Map

Angel's Landing

For more information on the trail's map, click below.
Trail Map

Grand Staircase National Monument

Grand Staircase National Monument in Escalante Utah has something for everyone. With miles of beautiful natural rock formations to explore, it is a favorite for campers, fishermen, and ATV fiends. However this spot, located only roughly a six hour drive from Salt Lake City, is best known for its hiking and backpacking trails.

There are two reasons that outdoor adventurists flock to the Grand Staircase. The first being, as mentioned above, the beautiful views. The monument features the beautiful red rocks that Southern Utah is famous for! Backpackers can choose to hike along the bottom of the rock formations and gaze up in awe at the layers of red as they walk by. On the other hand, there are also trails that lead on top of hills which give stunning views far and wide of the surrounding area, which is largely untouched by roads and buildings. There are also waterfalls, rivers, wildlife as well as other non-red-rock beauties to see.

The second reason Grand Staircase is so beloved is the wide selection of trails available at varying difficulties. With paths such as Willow Creek Narrows and Toadstool HooDoos being easy enough for the whole family. Moderate trips for the semi experienced like Zebra and Upper Calf Creek. All the way up to advanced backpacking hikes such as Red Breaks and Boulder Mail. The variety makes this the perfect place for any backpacker, no matter the comfort level.

With the beautiful sights, countless trails, and endless supply of fun, it is no wonder Grand Staircase National Monument is so cherished from locals and visitors alike.

Grand Staircase Trail

For more information on the trail's map, click below.
Trail Map

The Uinta Mountains

If you’re looking to escape the heat and head into the mountains, the Uinta mountains are a great destination to explore and camp in the summertime. The Uintas are the only major range in the U.S. that have an east to west orientation. There are over 1,000 natural lakes located in the Uintas, many of them stocked with cutthroat and rainbow trout so don’t forget your rod! Here are a few recommendations for those new into the sport, as well as those looking to cover some ground.

Ruth Lake

Ruth Lake is a great lake for beginner backpackers. It is a two mile out and back to a beautiful lake. This is an easy hike in with many campsites as you approach the lake on the left. Be sure to take a walk around the lake while you’re there! After an adventurous weekend backpacking to Ruth's Lake, head into Salt Lake City which is just under two hours away to check out all of the best breweries!

Amethyst Lake

Amethyst Lake is a little bit lengthier (13 miles out and back) but is still manageable to hike in a day and still have time to set up camp. The hike to this lake is very scenic, passing waterfalls and meadows, just be ready to cross a lot of streams. There are many camp spots along the lake so you can take off your pack and enjoy the rest of the evening in some high mountain country.

King's Peak

Kings peak is the highest mountain in the Uintas, at 13,528 feet in elevation. The best way to get there is by going on a 23 mile round trip trail that would be tackled in a multi day trip. This is the perfect adventure for you if you seek long backpacking trips, and if you want to bag a new peak.

Ruth Lake Trail

For more information on the trail's map, click below.
Trail Map

Amethyst Lake Trail

For more information on the trail's map, click below.
Trail Map

King's Peak Trail

For more information on the trail's map, click below.
Trail Map
Another popular hike we love in the Utah Valley is Mount Timpanogos, also known as the second tallest peak in the Wasatch Range!If you find yourself in Utah and aren't able to make it to these destinations, check out these popular backpacking spots closer to Salt Lake City!

Seven Slopes

Seven Slopes in a local's guide to what to do in Salt Lake City and the Wasatch Mountains.  The articles on this site were written by students from the University of Utah as part of a digital marketing curriculum.
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