Resources

All Trails (www.alltrails.com) Excellent website and app for all of Utah's major trails.

CUSA (www.canyoneeringusa.com) Excellent resource for Utah canyoneering routes.

Lonely Planet (www.lonelyplanet.com/usa/southwest/utah) Destination information, hotel bookings, traveler forum and more.

U.S. Forest Service (www.fs.fed.us) Tips for visiting the many forest service areas that offer great hiking and mountain biking.

Utah.com (www.utah.com) Utah's Office of Tourism; lots of free info.

Utah Mountain Biking (www.utahmountainbiking.com) Great tips and trails across the state.

Top Tips

  • Go beyond the national parks. In the public lands of Utah you will find plenty of adventure and one-tenth of the crowds.
  • Get out of the car. While the scenic drives are amazing, it's the views from the trail that really inspire.
  • Bring more water than you think you'll need. A gallon per person per day should do during summertime.
  • Be respectful of Mother Nature and other people. Walk in quiet respect of the people around you.
  • Shop before you get there. It's easier and cheaper to get your picnic goods in the towns outside the park.
  • Consider a backpack. The backcountry brings a whole new dimension to the splendor and mystery of Utah.
  • Get up early. The early bird truly gets the worm, with less crowds and better wildlife watching.
  • Stay up late. The Utah skies are some of the most pristine and clear in the US.

What to Take

  • Good walking shoes that are already broken in
  • Suncreen, sunglasses and a sunhat (it's really sunny here)
  • A gallon of water per person per day
  • Quick-dry clothing
  • Daypack
  • A map and compass if you're headed into the backcountry

What to Wear

Modern outdoor garments made from new synthetic fabrics (which are breathable and actively wick moisture away from your skin) are better than cotton or wool. The exception is if you’re hiking out of the canyon in midsummer, when cotton is a godsend. Soak cotton shirts or bandannas with water at every opportunity, for the evaporative cooling effect.

In winter, you need enough clothes to keep warm in a snowstorm. Summers can be hot as Hades. Temperature swings are huge from day to night; expect to tack on a long-sleeved shirt and pants, rain jacket and beanie cap.

For rivers and canyoneering, expect to get wet. On a bike, you could skip the Lycra for some riding shorts with good padding.

Pre-Departure Checklist

  • Before you leave home, go through all your hiking and camping gear and make sure it's in working order.
  • Since this region is best explored by car, go ahead and give your ride a checkup.
  • On major holidays, you'll want to plan your park stays months in advance to ensure camping reservations.