We quickly discovered the amazing hiking and adventure located in Utah. Everyone knows about Moab and its two dramatic National Parks, but there is so much more. These hiking destinations are just a quick journey from Montrose. The combination of alpine hikes in Colorado with canyon hikes in Utah provides a combination that is pretty tough to beat. It’s the best of both worlds. We’re going to share this hiking treasure with you.
Our hiking and adventure focus is on southern Utah. It started with a hike through Bell and Little Wild Horse Canyon after an overnight stay in a motel near Capitol Reef National Park. This discovery led to the continuous pursuit of more and exciting WOW hikes. We’ve experienced some amazing hikes and adventures and are working hard to find more.
Here is how we have segmented our Utah hikes. We’ll start in Moab with Arches and Canyonlands National Parks and then move around the state.
Arches National Park is amazing in its own right and a good reason to visit Moab. Delicate Arch shown below is a good reason.
However, there is just as much or maybe more to see in Canyonlands National Park’s Island in the Sky District and Dead Horse Point State Park. There are lots of awesome hikes throughout this area.
I segmented Canyonlands because there are three distinct districts or sections of the park and each has its own appeal. Island in the Sky, near Moab, offers wonderful expansive views of the White Rim. The Needles is located to the south of Moab and is more remote. It is expansive and offers great views and hikes. The Maze District lies across the Colorado River and is accessed either by floating the Colorado River or driving in from Highway 24 adjacent to the entrance to Goblin Valley State Park.
“The Swell” as it is called is a geologic mass of rock that was pushed above the earth’s crust. It offers majestic cliffs, slot canyons, arches, and crazy rock features. It intersects Interstate 70 with multiple access point, most notably Highway 24.
Capitol Reef National Park is in many ways undiscovered, at least compared to other Utah National Parks. It lies to the east of the San Rafael Swell and is accessed by Highway 24. You can also travel Scenic Byway 12 from Escalante to reach the park. The Park has a fabulous variety of hikes for every skill level, including slot canyons.
Grand Staircase-Escalante is the largest national monument in the United States encompassing 1.9 million acres. It is a diverse geologic region that includes monoliths, slot canyons, natural bridges, and arches. Scenic Byway 12 is the primary access to this vast area. Driving the highway is worth the time even if you don’t hike.
We started hiking in Cedar Mesa before Bears Ears National Monument became a reality in 2016. Like Grand Staircase – Escalante it is a vast and remote area that encompasses approximately 1.35 million acres. The new Monument extends from the Dark Canyon Wilderness in the Manti-La Sal National Forest south to the Navajo Indian Reservation and includes Natural Bridges National Monument. There are abundant hiking opportunities that include deep sandstone canyons, desert mesas, countless ancient cliff dwellings, and archaeological sites. It is a remote and special place.
Some Other Areas
Other areas we have explored and will cover include Kanab which includes Bryce Canyon National Park, Zion National Park, and Coyote Buttes North and South (the Wave). We have visited these areas and will have thoughts on hiking and exploration opportunities in these areas soon.