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Calf Creek Falls is a great hiking destination in the Grand Staircase National Monument.

Best Short Trips and Hikes to Utah’s National Parks

People come from all over the world to savor the views at Utah's National Parks. These remote outposts are in our backyard and we should take advantage and see these wonders too.

Taking a weekend trip is always a fun thing to do. It’s not too long, but it’s not too short either. It’s always nice to take a break from normal life, and go have fun. National parks are an especially fun thing to do, because you get to see nature and do many fun things while you’re there.

Moab / Arches National Park

Moab is a town of around 5000 that’s right next to Arches National Park and Canyonlands National Park. The temperatures are quite cool, but not too cold. When you get there you can start by doing some hiking. There are many hiking trails in the park, like the Corona Arch hike. It’s a fairly easy 1.5 miles that has a 400 foot elevation gain. Moab is a very fun place that you should definitely visit.

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Easy Hike: Landscape Arch, 1.6 miles

Moderate Hike: Grandstaff Canyon, 4.3 miles

Strenuous Hike: Fisher Towers Trail, 5.2 miles

Springdale / Zion National Park

Springdale lies right next to Zion National Park, and it is a very fun place to spend a weekend. There are lots of vacation rentals that you can use while you are there, so you have a lot of options on where to stay. Springdale also has a lot of spots to hike, like the Canyon Overlook Trail, where you can enjoy a view of the red rock mountains. Springdale is a very fun place to go, and with Zion right around the corner, it’ll make for a great place to vacation.

Easy Hike: Emerald Pool Trail, 1.5 miles

Moderate Hike: Hidden Canyon, 3 miles

Strenuous Hike: Angels Landing, 5.4 miles

Boulder / Grand Staircase National Monument

Boulder has a population of just a few hundred, and has that small town charm. It is surrounded by Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument. There are also millions of years of fossil records embedded in the stone. Boulder may not be the biggest place, but it is still a very fun place to go.


Easy Hike: Toadstool Hoodoos: 1.8 miles, 88 feet elevation gain

Moderate Hike: Zebra Canyon: 5.2 miles with a 377 feet elevation gain

Moderate Hike: Lower Calf Creek Falls: 6.7 miles with 521 feet elevation gain

Difficult Hike: Bull Valley Gorge: .9 miles with 75 feet elevation gain … includes scrambling

Torrey – Hanksville / Capitol Reef and Goblin Valley

Goblin Valley State Park and Capitol Reef National Park are sandwiched between the towns of Hanksville and Torry. Goblin Valley is a very cool place that has a lot of rocks that look different due to erosion. Capitol Reef is an amazing place with a lot of spots to go hiking and sightseeing. 

Easy Hike: Sunset Point, 0.4 miles, 50 ft elevation

Moderate Hike: Hickman Bridge, 0.9 miles, 400 ft elevation

Strenuous Hike: Rim Overlook, 2.3 miles, 1,110 ft elevation

Bryce Canyon

Bryce Canyon is an Alpine forest that also has many red rock hoodoos. The park has two established campgrounds that are absolutely perfect to camp at for a day or two. There are many horseback riding guides that will take you on trails, and they are extremely fun. Bryce Canyon is a perfect spot to practice your photography skills as well.

Easy Hike: Mossy Cave, 0.8 miles, 200 ft elevation

Moderate Hike: Queen’s/Navajo Combination Loop, 2.9 miles, 600 ft elevation

Strenuous Hike: Peekaboo Loop, 5.5 miles, 1571 ft elevation


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