November 30, 2023

The Top Hiking Trails You Need to Experience in Southern Utah

Hiking is one of the most popular ways to experience Southern Utah. It allows you to get closer to the region’s remote and rugged landscapes, to challenge yourself physically and mentally, and to get back to nature.

Southern Utah is a destination for hikers from around the world. Its many diverse landscapes mean that it’s home to a wide variety of terrains. You can hike through lush aspen forests, dry deserts, and climb towering cliffs to take in the sweeping views of the region’s many canyons.

If you’re planning to do some hiking during your stay at Cliffrose Lodge, there are a few trails you won’t want to miss. Keep reading to learn the top five hiking trails you need to experience in Southern Utah.

Angels Landing

If you know anything about hiking in Southern Utah, you likely know about this trail. Angels Landing is not only one of the best trails to experience Southern Utah, but is also one of the most famous trails in the country—or perhaps even the world! This title is well-earned. The incredible trail takes hikers to the top of a 1,500-foot high sandstone peak, with stunning views of Zion’s Lower Canyon far below. 

While the view from the peak of Angels Landing is what makes this challenging trail worth it, it might not be its most famous feature. Instead, that would likely be the harrowing ridgeline walk, which has hikers traversing a narrow ridge with 1,000-foot drops on either side and only a metal chain handrail to hold onto. Other features, like the trail’s steep climb and Walter’s Wiggles, a set of narrow, steep switchbacks, make this 5.4-mile trail a challenging feat.

It’s no surprise that this incredible trail draws a crowd. To help cut down on crowding, the National Park Service implemented a new permit system in 2022. Under the Angels Landing Permit Program, hikers must enter a lottery to get a permit for the date of their hike. There are two lotteries; the Seasonal Lottery, which opens four times each year and awards permits for the following season, and the Day-Before Lottery, which opens daily for permits for the following day.

The Narrows

The next trail on this list is also located in Zion National Park, and is nearly as famous as Angels Landing. The Narrows is a 16-mile trail that’s perhaps one of the most unique in the country. It has hikers trekking through sometimes waist-deep water in the Virgin River as they navigate the narrowest part of Zion Canyon (hence the trail’s name).

The Narrows is actually two very different hikes. The first is the Top-Down hike. This full 16-mile hike requires hikers to get their own transportation to Chamberlain’s Ranch, about an hour away from the park. From there, you’ll hike downstream through the Virgin River, staying overnight in the backcountry.

While a Top-Down hike of The Narrows requires the right gear and training, anyone can experience the other portion of this trail. After riding the Zion Canyon Shuttle to the end of the line, hop off at the last stop and hike the short Riverside Walk. At the end, take a few steps down to the banks of the Virgin River. You can hike up the Virgin River to get a taste of this unique trail, and turn around to hike back whenever you’re ready.

Delicate Arch

Zion National Park is no doubt one of the most popular ways to spend a day during a stay at Cliffrose Lodge. But there are several other national parks, as well as many state parks, that make for great day trips during your visit. One great option is Arches National Park. Known for its beautiful red-orange landscapes and the hundreds of natural arches that earn the park its name, this national park is as iconic as Zion.

If you’re planning a side trip to Arches National Park during or after your visit to our Zion resort, you’ll definitely want to check out this next Utah hiking trail. Delicate Arch is a symbol of Arches National Park. 

The Delicate Arch trail takes hikers close to this incredible natural landmark. The trail is three miles roundtrip, with a moderate amount of elevation and some scrambling on slickrock required. You’ll not only enjoy awesome views of the arch, but also panoramic views of the park. This trail is especially popular at sunrise and sunset.

Bryce Amphitheater

Located even closer to Zion and Cliffrose Lodge than Arches is Bryce Canyon National Park. While not as widely known as Arches or Zion, this park offers landscapes that rival the more popular parks. 

The park’s central landmark is the massive natural amphitheater, which is filled with hundreds of rock formations called hoodoos. The Bryce Amphitheater Trail takes hikers eight miles around the amphitheater. This longer trail has some challenging elevation change and switchbacks, but is one of the most beautiful trails in all of Utah.

Experience Southern Utah With These Iconic Hiking Trails

If you plan to do some hiking during your stay at Cliffrose Lodge, these iconic trails are the best way to experience Southern Utah. 

The hiking trails on this list are for experienced hikers. Most are long, with lots of elevation change. If you’re planning a stay at our Zion resort with your family or less experienced hikers, don’t fret; there are plenty of other incredible trails to enjoy during your stay! Check out this list of kid-friendly hiking trails to start planning your family’s visit!

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