Utah Hiking

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The number one reason visitors flock to Zion National Park each year is for the incredible hiking opportunities. With the park covering a vast 150,000 acres of land, there is plenty to explore. When it comes to different hikes within the park, Zion presents nearly endless possibilities. Hikers can enjoy strenuous hikes that take days to complete or just take a light stroll through paved walkways.

Since there are many choices of easy, moderate, or strenuous hikes, visitors of all experience and fitness levels will enjoy the trails of Zion. Even those who are not avid or experienced hikers will be able to fill many days with entertaining hiking excursions. With three difficulty levels to choose from and something different to enjoy on each trail, every hike through Zion will be an unforgettable adventure.

Easy

 Just because a hike is easy doesn’t mean it’s boring. The easy hikes throughout Zion National Park have many amazing views of the landscape. Most easy hikes take less than two hours to complete and will be on smooth trails. Hikers will not encounter difficult obstacles to overcome during these hikes, either. Though the hikes are short and leisurely, they are packed with experiences that will create unforgettable memories.

Canyon Overlook Trail

This short, easy hike has an unbelievable scenic view without having to hike for miles or drudge up steep ascents. At about a mile long, this hike takes less than an hour to complete, which means many hikers will spend more time marveling at the view than they spend hiking.

To get to Canyon Overlook Trail, visitors should go to the east end of Zion National Park. They will park their vehicles just before the Zion-Mt. Carmel tunnel. From here, it is a short hike from the road that leads into a large, breathtaking cave. When hikers emerge from the cave, they will be treated to an amazing view of the park. This is the perfect hike for every visitor who wants to see the best of Zion and take some Instagram-worthy photos.

Lower Emerald Pools Trail

Round trip this hike is about 1 mile and takes about one hour. The paved trail leads you to 3 stunning waterfalls and a lower pool that makes it all worth it. The access for this trail is extremely convenient as well. You enter through the opposite side of the lane from the Zion Lodge parking lot. Unffortunately, this trail is closed during winter months, but for those visiting during the other parts of the year, be sure to add this to your Zion Hike Bucket List.

Pa’rus Trail

This trail takes about one and a half hours to complete and is approximately 3.5 miles. The hike is ideal for beginners. The paved trail takes you from the Virgin River near the south campground to the Zion-Canyon junction. The access for this trail is conveniently located near the south campground at Zion.

Beautiful iconic scene of The watchman at sunset, Zion National Park, Utah.

Riverside Walk

This hike is about as leisurely as a stroll through Zion can get. An even walking surface and shaded environment make this trail perfect for families. There are many incredible sights to see, including surroundings that are coved with hanging gardens of wildflowers especially during summer and spring, and a refreshing surprise at the end of the trail.
Riverside Walk takes hikers from the Temple of Sinawava to the Virgin River. This two-mile-long hike is known as the Gateway to the Narrows because the end of this trail is the beginning of the popular Narrows trail. When the entrance of the Narrows is reached, hikers can wade and splash through a refreshing pool of water before they head back. This short hike, which takes most hikers around two hours to complete, is an incredible way to experience the beauty of Zion without embarking on a long, strenuous journey.

Watchman Trail 

Among the many beautiful rock formations throughout Zion National Park is the Watchman. This formation shoots from the ground, towering above the vast red rock landscape. The Watchman Trail doesn’t climb to the staggering heights of the Watchman, but it does give a fantastic view of the formation from ground level.

The Watchman Trail is a three-mile-long hike that is a hidden gem within Zion. It is usually not crowded, so hikers can enjoy some peace and quiet on this hike. This hike takes about three hours to complete and will lead hikers along a red rock trail which is rough in some portions but can be completed by even the most inexperienced hikers. Since this trail is not shaded, it is best done in the morning or evening to avoid the scorching midday sun. Hikers and their families will love the connection they will feel with Zion during this light hike.

Weeping Rock Trail

Round trip to weeping rock trail is about 0.8km/0.5mi and to reach the trail it takes about half hour. The trail is about 98 feet, easy hike, and minor drop-offs. Smooth trail ends at rock-alcove with drenched springs. The walls are decorated with wildflower hanging gardens during summer and spring time. Trailside exhibits are possibly not available and access to weeping rock trail is through weeping rock parking lot.

Weeping Rock Trail--Under the Weeping Ledge
Photo Credit: justmecpb on flickr

Moderate 

Trails that are deemed moderate are usually difficult enough to challenge hikers of all experience levels in terms of distance and technical challenges. However, they are not so difficult that a physically fit novice wouldn’t be able to complete them. Moderate hikes can take anywhere from a few hours to a full day. They can be challenging both physically and mentally, but these challenges are well worth it. After completing one of these moderately difficult hikes, hikers will feel an overwhelming sense of accomplishment.

Zion Narrows 

There are two ways to hike the Narrows, but the least strenuous way to hike it is from the bottom up. This route doesn’t require technical skills like climbing and rappelling, but it still gives an incredible view of the slot canyon. Steep canyon walls, beautiful rock formations, and a floor of shallow water from the Virgin River will engulf hikers in the Zion landscape.
The entrance of the Narrows, at the end of Riverside Walk, ushers hikers into a completely different world. The average length of this hike is anywhere from three to eight miles and takes anywhere between two to six hours to complete. This narrow slot canyon is an out and back trail, which means hikers can turn around whenever they please. However, making it to the Wall Street portion of the Narrows should be the goal, as this portion of the canyon, with its high, smooth walls, is an unforgettable experience. Hiking any portion of Zion Narrows will be the highlight of a trip to Zion.
Zion NarrowsPhoto Credit: zionify by ramesh iyanswamy on 500px.com

Observation Point

There is no better view of Zion National Park than the one found at Observation Point. For hikers that can handle it, this moderately strenuous hike is a must-see while in Zion. Not only are the views incredible, but the physical challenges along the way will bring out a sense of pride and accomplishment in all who complete it.
The Observation Point Trail begins at the Weeping Rock Trailhead and leads up to the area of Observation Point. The trail is eight miles long and will take the average hiker around four to six hours to complete. The climb is steep and leads hikers up to elevations of over 2,100 feet. The trail is hard paved rock, manmade from the canyon walls, so the rocky terrain isn’t an issue in most areas. The strenuous part of this climb is the steep elevation and the unrelenting sun. However, once the trail is completed, the view at the top is one of a kind.

Middle Emerald Pools Trail

The Middle Emerald Pools trail takes you to both the middle and lower pools. Round trip, the trail covers about 2 miles and takes approximately 2 hours to complete. As with the Lower Emerald Pools Trail, the Middle Emerald Pools Trail is closed during the winter.

Views to Zion National Park from Angels Landing hike

Angels Landing 

Perhaps the most well-known trail in Zion National Park, Angels Landing is full of incredible views, staggering heights, and daring challenges. The high elevations and narrow trails on this path will test the mental and physical fortitude of all who attempt it.
Angels Landing begins at the Grotto trailhead and leads hikers along a precarious red rock ridge. This five-mile-long trail, which takes around two to four hours to complete, features switchbacks, rocky terrain, and breathtaking heights. This trail gets so high and so precarious that it is not recommended for hikers who are uneasy with heights. Once hikers have reached the end of the hike they will have an unbelievable view of Zion. Those who dare embark on this journey will find that is was well worth the trip.

Difficult

Difficult hikes are certainly not for inexperienced hikers. These hikes are long, grueling, and can take many days to complete. They often involve camping in the wilderness, using technical skills like rappelling and climbing, and having advanced knowledge of the landscape. The terrain of difficult hikes is incredibly unpredictable, ranging from steep climbs to deep pools of water and everything in between. Embarking on a difficult hike through Zion will be one of the most difficult and rewarding experiences of a hiker’s life.

Kolob Arch

 This gorgeous trail along the red rock landscape leads to a massive arch formation with a beautiful scenic backdrop. Seeing Kolob Arch, which is the second largest arch in the world, is something that experienced, physically fit hikers can do in Zion National Park. It is one of the most beautiful formations in the park and provides endless photo opportunities.
This hike will take an entire day but will not require camping overnight. The 14-mile-long trail takes most hikers a full twelve-hour day, hiking from dawn to dusk. The trail is long, exposed to the harsh sun in many places, and has moderately rocky terrain. Whether hikers take Kolob Canyons Road at Lee Pass or Hop Valley Trailhead to get to Kolob Arch, it will be a long journey with a beautiful, scenic payoff.

The Barracks 

Avid hikers who are looking to get away from the crowds on more popular trails will love hiking The Barracks. This section of Zion is on the East Fork of the Virgin River. It gives visitors all the amazing views they would see on the North Fork, but none of the crowding.
This 20-mile-long journey is not for the faint of heart. This hike takes most people two or three days to complete. Parts of this hike are along Parunaweap Canyon where the layers of red rock on the canyon walls surround hikers. Other portions are in the heat of the sun on the rocky landscape. Since this hike requires camping, hikers will need to obtain the proper camping permits and make sure they adhere to park rules.

Zion National Park, Utah, USA

West Rim Trail

 The West Rim Trail packs all the scenic beauty of Zion into one journey. Along the trail, hikers will see gorgeous trees and other plant life, small streams, wildlife, and, of course, stunning red rock. This strenuous hike is not for inexperienced hikers, but those able to make the journey will be glad they did.
This trail begins at Lava Rock and winds its way through the most beautiful areas of the park. If hikers desire, they can even take a side trail to hike Angels Landing. When hiked straight through without detouring to other trails, West Rim Trail is about 18 miles long and takes two days. The amazing sights on this trail should put it on every experienced hiker’s Zion bucket list.

Pick a Trail and Enjoy the Hike 

Hikes through Zion give visitors the chance to see many incredible natural sights, test their physical and mental strength, and feel a sense of pride and accomplishment after hiking any of the above trails. Around every turn, there is something new and exciting to experience while on a hike in Zion National Park. All visitors have to do is pick their trail and let their journey begin.

More people seem concerned with selecting the best hiking footwear than they are about choosing the best water treatment system. When selecting water treatment, there are several factors to be considered before making your final purchase. You need to take into account the different sizes, treatment time and weight, and some of the more difficult categories, such as longevity of the treatment system, filter medium, and what kind of organism the treatment is effective at removing.

Sawyer Squeeze Water Filter

Photo Credit: ITS Tactical on flickr

Why Treat Water?

In olden days, many hikers used to drink water directly from an old creek when they happened to pass by one. Back then, the fresh mountain water was clear, crisp, cold, and refreshing. But now it is totally different scenario. We are having to be more concerned about pollution and water contamination than ever before.

In recent research, it is proved that a hinterlands source at elevation, the water is possibly still cleaner than what the researchers actually thought before. One way that you can try to determine if water is contaminated is by looking at the source of the water, typically the highest elevation point. If you cannot fid any packs of animals, grazing cattle, or any other obvious pollutants, then you could guess that the water is not severely contaminated. However, that takes a lot of effort to find that out and still leaves room for mistake.

How Does It Work?

When you are filtering water, it goes through a filter area that catches particles and permits the water to go through. The size of the pore in the filter element will decide what is removed from the water. For example, if you pour water on a piece of tent-screen, the larger pores of the tent-screen element will only catch large impurities, such as sand and sticks, and allow smaller particles to pass through. If you move to a filter that has medium pores, such as a neckerchief, it catches smaller particles than the tent-screen, such as tiny bugs and more dirt, but still allows tiny particles to pass through. And last, if you pour water through a coffee filter that has very small pores, it will catch even more dirt and other tiny particles than the other two filters.

These processes described only catch visual impurities. But, the actual dangerous impurities such as bacteria, cysts, and viruses are not visible to a naked eye. To remove these impurities, you need commercial water purifiers or filters.

What Are Some Options?

Filter Treatment:

There are two main types of water treatment systems readily available for hikers. The first type is called a Pump Filter. In a pump filter purifier, one end, or the hosepipe, is placed in the water container and another end into the water supply. The water is pumped through the filter element and into your water container. This process takes quite a lot of time and effort, but is a very famous filtering process.

The second type of  water treatment system is a Gravity Water Filter. In this process, the water is poured in an impure container and placed it at a high elevation. The container contains an outlet pipe through which the water comes down through the filter element before being deposited into the clean water container. This process also takes quite amount of time, as the earth’s gravity is doing the job and it also takes its own sweet time to purify the water.

UV Light Treatment:

Another comparatively new method of water treatment is by using UV Light. Small equipment attacks the organisms that are in the water using UV light and it destroys their reproductive system. This process is fast and easy to use because it is very light weight. While this is also a very affordable option, you do need batteries for the device. This means that you will need to pack extras with you, just in case.

Chemical Treatment:

This method is considerably the easiest and most light-weight way to purify water. In this process, a few drops of chemicals are added into the water that you have collected. These chemicals kill the bacteria and other impurities in the water. Although it is the easiest method, it takes time for the chemicals to do their job and is also very expensive. Another thing to consider is that without a filtration system, it leaves all the dead organisms in the water.

No matter which system that you decide is best for you, it is important to make sure that you carry some form of water treatment or clean drinking water whenever you go out hiking. Dehydration can occur quickly in desert climates, so make sure that you stay hydrated!

Utah offers the best hiking spots in the United States. If you are a passionate individual who likes to hike in hot temperatures, then Utah is the right place that offers Arches National Park, Zion National Park and the famous Bryce Canyon National park to one and all. These three parks are unique and different geological structures which are distinct in their own ways.

Delicate Arch
Photo Credit: David Clucas on flickr

1. Utah offers the highest mountain top, you can happily hike 13,000 foot mountaintop and enjoy watching dense pine forests and the beautiful alpine lakes from that distance. You can also trek in water stream at mystical desert canyon, and also you get to see sporadic swim breaks under spectacular waterfalls, walking on the natural bridges and thinking about the famous Anasazi who lived in this place nearly a thousand years ago.

2. You can find thousands of miles of trails in the entire land of Utah. Some trails offer the most rugged trials, which suites for multi-day backpackers. Not just that, you can also find several loops and outback trials, which you can finish it in just a few hours, are it just takes one full day. You can also get guide books and browse through the websites for more information including hikes complexity ratings, cautionary advice and descriptions.

3. You should also consider the best season for hiking, only in certain seasons you can climb top of the mountains and you can enjoy your desert hiking experience. 70 percent of land in Utah is public-land. The states offers 5 National Parks, 9 million acres of National Forests and National Recreation Areas and National Monuments occupied millions of acres. And the Bureau of Land Management manages 42 percent of Utah. Altogether offers incredible choices for best hiking trails, which take complete lifetime to complete the trails.

Conclusion: No matter where you choose to hike, you should be cautious at all the time. The vital step is, do not hike alone, join a group of hikers or hike with friends or a family but never hike alone. Carry lot of water and keep hydrated throughout the trial. Also carry some energy bars for instant energy while hiking. The important thing is have fun, be safe and have a rewarding experience.

Many people are aware of the fact that people can survive without any food for several days and weeks, but without water they cannot survive even for a couple of days. But did you know that those survival periods are based on the weather conditions and activities that you are participating in as well? When you are hiking in thick forest line or when the sun comes out, you usually feel like drinking a lot of water. This is because these activities require a lot of water, because you lose most of your body water through sweating and even breathing. So when you’re visiting Zion National Park, and specifically if you’re going to be doing any hiking in Zion, take note of these hydration tips so you can stay safe and enjoy the park to its fullest.

Aly-Virgin-River-small

Carry Your Own Water

You will want to avoid drinking from streams, rivers, or ponds unless you have a water purification system handy. Even if they look clean, as they can contain bacteria that makes the water unsafe for drinking or even cooking. If you get sick, you can become dehydrated even faster than if you had not drank the contaminated water in the first place. Therefore, it is important to carry plenty of safe drinking water or a water treatment system with you to keep hydrated all through the day.

Take Advantage of Opportunities to Refill

It is important to become familiar with hydration spots prior to starting your hike, if the trail offers them at all. Make sure to refill any empty bottles that you have wherever you find fresh water. Don’t be worried about the weight of carrying the water, as you will be using it at regular intervals and it provides you with energy.

Know the Signs of Dehydration

Dehydration infographicWhile hiking people occasionally get sick due to dehydration. It may surprise you that even in tropical areas hiking that have an abundance of water, people can still become dehydrated. With Zion being a dry, desert landscape, it is even more important to take hydration seriously.

Many people are unaware that feeling thirsty is actually the first sign of dehydration. Once you start to feel thirsty, make sure to start drinking small amounts of water at first. Don’t wait until you are extremely thirsty and then drink a bunch of water, as this can cause stomach discomfort. Your body absorbs the water easier if you can take it in smaller doses.

Conserve Your Drinking Water

One of the easiest ways to conserve your precious water is by taking a look at your meal preparation. While cooking, use minimal water for washing and cooking. If you have to cook, make sure that you choose foods that are easy to cook and don’t require much water. Even making choices like instant noodles instead of rice can make a big difference.

If you are camping and water is scarce at your campsite, only use the minimal amount of water necessary for hygiene. You can conserve water by choosing to use mouthwash instead of brushing your teeth after every meal or swishing with water and then swallowing instead of spitting it out. Carrying baby wipes can help with your desire to feel clean while still helping conserve drinking water.

Eat Snacks to Help with Electrolytes

If you are on a long hike or camping trip, it is helpful to pack some vitamins, protein bars, and salty snacks. These will help keep hunger at bay as well as make sure that you are replenishing any electrolytes that you may be sweating out. If you get limited on your food supply, try chewing your food 20 times before swallowing. You may remember hearing this in elementary school, but this trick can help you feel fuller quicker and help you consume less food.

Water discipline is very important when you are hiking and camping in a place like Zion National Park and it is critical that you stay hydrated. Therefore you should understand clearly how you can save water and consume water only when it is required.

Other Tips For Hiking in Zion

  1. Avoid wearing or packing cotton clothes, as they are bulky and take a good amount of time to dry if you happen to get wet. Polyester clothes are better at wicking water and are more resilient. Consider packing rain gear to help keep you dry.
  2. Microfleece or polarfleece are also suggested as your first choice of cooler weather clothing, however wool can come in handy during an intense survival situation.