Adventurism

Best Southern Utah Trails: Know Before You Go

Utah is among the most gorgeous places to live or visit in the United States. This is due to many reasons, such as its stunning mountains, fantastic national parks, and its strong economy. However, have you considered going on some of the many trails of Southern Utah? If so, what are the best ones?

According to AllTrails, Utah has 3194 hiking trails, backpacking trips, mountain biking routes, and more. However, the best ones are mentioned below:

 

  • Red Reef Trail 
  • Belly of the Dragon
  • Babylon Arch 
  • Canyon Overlook 
  • Bristlecone Loop Trail
  • Panorama Trail 
  • Huntress Slot Canyon
  • The Narrows 
  • Kanab Sand Caves 
  • Lower Pine Creek Falls 
  • Yant Flat 
  • Observation Point 
  • The Wave 
  • Mansard Great Diverse Trail 
  • Fairyland Loop Trail 
  • Water Canyon

 

This article discusses each trail, from easiest to intermediate to advanced. We have put these trails for your convenience. For example, consider taking more accessible trails if you have young children and want to go hiking. 

On the other hand, those who want something more challenging should take the intermediate or advanced routes. We hope this article will be helpful to you and your adventure partners. Continue reading for more information. 

 

What Are the Best Southern Utah Trails?

 

Although we have provided a quick list of the best trails above, the true knowledge is in the reading and figuring out how many miles said trail is. We have delved into a ton of research to ensure you find what you are looking for!

Easy Trails:

 

First, we will discuss the easy trails. Depending on how you look at it, some of these trails may be considered easy or intermediate, but we put them in this category anyway. 

 

1. Red Reef Trail – Red Cliffs National Reserve

 

The first trail on our list is Red Reef Trail, located near Leeds, UT. It will take roughly 51 minutes to complete, assuming you do not stop and enjoy the scenery, which we highly recommend doing! 

This 2.2-mile out-and-back trail is extremely popular for walking and hiking, so you may encounter many people and dogs (which are welcome on leash). The best time to visit this area is between February through October.  

Lastly, Red Cliffs Recreation Area charges a one-day fee pass to enter, so consider that before choosing this location.

 

2. Belly of the Dragon – Orderville

 

Our next easy trail is Belly of the Dragon, a 1.8-mile out-and-back trail near Orderville, UT. This popular area is perfect for running, walking, or hiking and will only take 41 minutes to complete

Dogs are welcome and can be off the leash in specific areas. You will most likely encounter other people, which is perfect for families. We recommend going between March and October as this is the best time to visit. You will experience the “belly of the dragon” at the hike’s beginning, so take plenty of memorable photos! 

Lastly, parking is located near the beginning of the tunnel. Although the base of this small cave may have an awkward downclimb, many reported it to be easy. Many hikers also mention that the cave is the best part, but it is worth the stretch your body may need, especially if traveling.

 

3. Babylon Arch – Red Cliffs Reserve 

 

If you love adventure, look no further than Babylon Arch in Red Cliffs Reserve. As mentioned above, this particular place has a one-day parking fee to get in, but it is entirely worth it, as this 1.6-mile out-and-back trail provides many nooks and crannies for you to explore that are slightly off-trail, so to speak. 

However, it will take roughly 48 minutes to complete if you remain on track. This area is trendy for hiking, so running into people is possible. Make sure to visit this hike between October and April. Lastly, feel free to bring your dog, but keep it on a leash. 

 

4. Canyon Overlook – East Side, Zion National Park 

 

Canyon Overlook is named after the beautiful scenery overlooking the canyon. This relatively easy route is worth stopping by and checking out. Many hikers mention that walking has elevation, but it is minimal for most people. However, the view at the end of the hike is worth it! 

This hike is only 0.9 miles long and takes 25 minutes to complete. However, this area is extremely popular, so parking may be challenging. 

One of the downsides is that dogs are not allowed, so if you have your favorite fur baby with you, consider this before stopping. Also, some sandstone on the rocks may be slippery, so bring good traction shoes. 

 

5. Bristlecone Loop Trail – Bryce Canyon National Park

 

If you want a good experience, we recommend going to Bristlecone Loop Trail, which is only 1 mile long and takes 23 minutes to complete. This loop is a trendy area for walking, hiking, and snowshoeing. Dogs are prohibited on this walk, so we recommend keeping them home.

The best time to visit this area is April through November, but be aware during the snowy season. If it snows during your visit, we recommend wearing appropriate footwear, like boots. 

Another suggestion is adding extra time to navigate the map during rough terrain. However, this hike provides gorgeous views, so it may be worth the struggle! 

Keep in mind that Bryce Canyon National Park has an entrance fee. There are specific days when the fees are waived, and more information is available here

 

6. Panorama Trail – Kodachrome Basin State Park

 

For those wanting to see some fantastic views, we recommend going on the Panorama Trail, a 2.9-mile loop near Henrieville, UT. It takes a little over an hour to complete it unless you go on the off paths. In that case, it will take 3 to 6 miles to complete, depending on which direction you want to go. 

This area is trendy for hiking, walking, bird watching, and dog owners, although dogs must be on a leash. The best time to visit this trail is between March and November. 

 

7. Huntress Slot Canyon – Kanab

 

The Huntress Slot Canyon is a 2.6-mile out-and-back trail in Southern Utah. Although steep at the beginning, it remains relatively easy throughout the rest of the journey. It has beautiful scenery and is perfect for walking and hiking. This hike will take about 59 minutes to complete. 

However, we recommend this trail for those wanting some seclusion on their getaway, as it is less busy than many others mentioned above. The best time to visit this trail is between March and May. 

Intermediate Trails:

 

We recommend the intermediate trails if you are looking for a greater challenge. They are more complex than the easy routes and provide more scenery. Let us take a look at them below. 

 

1. Sand Caves – Kanab

 

Consider the Sand Caves in Kanab, UT if you want a short but slightly challenging route. This trendy hiking and walking area is only 1.2 miles long. 

Also, this trail is open all year round, so it is gorgeous to visit, whether in mid-December or the hottest parts of July. However, make sure you dress appropriately regardless. 

 

2. Lower Pine Creek Falls – Main Canyon, Zion National Park

 

This particular trail contains a waterfall, and you will need to be creative to navigate the hidden waterfall, but it is entirely worth it in the end! However, this may not be hard to do as the trail itself is only a 0.7-mile out-and-back long.

The Lower Pine Creek Falls is considered moderately challenging and is a popular area for many who love to hike. It is open all year round and will be beautiful anytime you visit! Dogs are prohibited on this trail, so keep them safe and warm at home. 

 

4. Yant Flat – Dixie National Forest 

 

Yant Flat is an excellent scenic 3.4-mile trail that goes out and back near Leeds, UT. More specifically, it is located inside Dixie National Forest. This particular area is best visited between October and May and is extremely popular. If you decide to bring your dogs, make sure to keep them on a leash. 

It will take you roughly 1 hour and 19 minutes to complete Yant Flat. Some people recommend bringing gaiters as the first mile is very sandy. This area is trendy for those who love horseback riding, camping, and hiking. You will likely encounter people along your journey. 

 

5. Observation Point – Zion National Park

 

Observation Point is considered a moderately challenging route inside Zion National Park (you will need a fee to get inside). This trail is 7 miles long and takes an average of 2 hours and 44 minutes to complete—that is if you do not stop and check out its gorgeous views! 

The best time to visit this trail is anywhere between April through October. Keep your fur babies at home, as this is not a trail they are allowed on. Another thing to consider is to bring plenty of water! 

Private vehicles are not allowed on the Zion Canyon Scenic Drive during shuttle season. However, you can travel on a shuttle, which does not cost much. Lastly, this trail may be difficult to walk after a storm, so remember these things before going. 

 

6. The Wave – Vermilion Cliffs National Monument

 

For those wanting a longer walk that takes up half their day, consider going on The Wave Trail, which is approximately 6.7 miles long near Kanab, UT. It is regarded as an intermediate trail and will take about 3 hours and 11 minutes to complete. 

Be mindful of where you are, as you may get off the trail sometimes. However, you can enjoy these views year-round and take your dogs. They can be off the leash in some areas, too! 

 

7. Mansard Great Diverse Trail – Kanab

 

This trail is considered moderately challenging and is 5.3 miles long out and back. It will take about 2 hours and 48 minutes to complete. The best time to hike this trail is September through November.

Although this trail is famous for running, walking, and hiking, you can still enjoy quiet during times of the day that are the most tranquil. You will thoroughly enjoy the many petroglyphs and scenery this trail offers! 

Advanced Trails:

 

The last trails we will discuss are advanced ones. These are for those who know exactly what they are doing or would like a challenge during their journey. We recommend going to these trails only if you are experienced enough. Otherwise, we encourage you to take your time. 

 

1. The Narrows – Zion National Park (Bottom-up) 

 

The Narrows is not a “trail”, per se, but a river you hike from the bottom up. Nevertheless, it provides a unique experience for you and your family or friends to enjoy! This 8.9-mile out-and-back trail is considered a challenging route. 

Many hikers enjoy this experience, so be prepared to see many people. Keep your dogs home, as they are not allowed on this trail. We recommend going to The Narrows between April through July. 

Because it is in a national park, be prepared to pay a fee to get inside. Another thing to consider is that sometimes the water height will get up to your chest, so kids will have a hard time. Make sure to go slow and take your time. Lastly, we highly recommend renting gear from Zion Guru, like dry bibs, water socks, walking poles, and water boots. 

 

2. The Narrows – Zion National Park (Top-down)

 

Going from The Narrows from the top down will experience many hardships along the road, so come highly prepared if you go on this hike. For example, bringing or renting waterproof shoes, socks, a walking pole, or a dry bib is essential. 

It is a 16.1-mile point-to-point trail near Orderville, UT, and will take an average of 7 hours and 31 minutes. However, some people take longer or shorter depending on the challenge. 

It is imperative to leave your dogs at home. Many people explore this area for camping, backpacking, and hiking, so you will likely encounter people while exploring. It is best to visit this trail between April and October. 

 

3. Fairyland Loop Trail – Bryce Canyon National Park

 

The Fairyland Loop Trail is one of the most stunning loops in Southern Utah! This particular trail is 7.9 miles long and is considered a moderately challenging route. It will take less than four hours to complete and is perfect to visit from April through July. 

Some people mention this trail may have mud in certain areas, but it is simple enough to overcome. It is very enchanting! Another perk is that there is still snow throughout the earlier months, making it a breathtaking experience. 

Bryce Canyon National Park charges a fee to enter. Lastly, ensure you keep your dogs home as they cannot come inside. 

 

4. Water Canyon – Dixie National Forest

 

The last trail we will mention is Water Canyon, considered a challenging route. It is a 6.7-mile out-and-back trail near Henrieville, UT. Many people enjoy camping, bird watching, and hiking in this area. Dogs are most welcome, but they must be on a leash.

The best time to go on this trail is April through November, and you can enjoy solitude during the quieter times of the day. 

Final Thoughts

 

There are so many trails to visit in Utah! We hope that you can find some time to check out these awesome trails mentioned above! We encourage you to check out our other articles if you need more information on hiking or being outdoors. 

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