Thursday, February 16, 2017

6 Awesome Day Hiking Trails in Utah

Mesa Arch in Canyonlands National Park.
The Windows Trail
Arches National Park
Day hikers can walk across the remnants of dinosaur-era desert on The Windows Trail at Arches National Park near Moab. About 180-140 million years ago during the Jurassic, shifting dunes of fine-grained sand covered what is now Utah and parts of Colorado and Arizona. Over time, as sediment filled over dunes, they hardened into salmon-colored rock known as Entrada Sandstone.

Mesa Arch
Canyonlands National Park
Perhaps one of the most beautiful views of the rugged West is the vista seen through Mesa Arch in Canyonlands National Park. The arch stretches 50 feet atop a 500-foot high cliff overlooking a a valley and buttes of ancient red stones. Day hikers can see the view on the looping 0.5-mile Mesa Arch Trail.

Emerald Pools Trails
Zion National Park
Day hikers can enjoy a natural hanging gardens in the desert on the Emerald Pools Trails in Zion National Park. A combination of paths meander 2.4 miles through a desert oasis in which waterfalls over red sandstone support a lush array of vegetation around three pools.

Hidden Pinyon Trail
Snow Canyon State Park
Day hikers can cross ancient black lava flows and dinosaur-era red Navajo sandstone on the Hidden Pinyon Trail at Snow Canyon State Park in St. George. The route described here combines the Hidden Pinyon Trial and several segments of three others to form a loop that runs roughly 1.5 miles.

Navajo Loop Trail
Bryce Canyon National Park
Where does the superhero and Norse god Thor leaves his hammer when not fighting evil?Some day hikers swear it’s to the northwest of the Navajo Loop Trail in Bryce Canyon National Park. The 1.3-mile trail heads past several hoodoos as it descends from Sunset Point into Bryce Canyon.

Capitol Reef National Park wildflowers
Hear the word “desert,” and you probably don’t think of wildflowers. But some desert locations – such as Capitol Reef National Park – offer a diverse array of wildflowers and other plant life. In fact, 887 plant species have been identified in Capitol Reef. More than 40 of them are rare and endemic. This incredible diversity occurs because of the 7000 feet range in elevation, resulting in a number of microclimates throughout the park. 

Learn more about national park day hiking trails in my Best Sights to See at America’s National Parks series.