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12 Must-Do Adventures On Your Utah Road Trip

Tap into Utah's endless supply of adventure.

By: The Outbound Collective + Save to a List

Utah is an outdoor-adventure paradise: It’s got alpine forests to deserts and dinosaurs, all inside a five-hour box (St. George to Logan: 5:11; Wendover to Moab: 4:59). With endless potential for different activities, you could spend a lifetime exploring and barely scratch the surface — and most of us don’t even have that kind of time.

An efficiently epic road trip will have to do the trick, so rally the crew, throw the essentials in the trunk and hit up these 12 must-do adventures on your road trip through Utah.

1. Hike to Bell Canyon’s Waterfall

A waterfall flows from the left of the camera into the distance over a rocky cliff.
Photo: Eric Bennett

Distance: 4.64 miles
Elevation: 1,529 feet
Type: Out-and-back

No matter where you’re going, Salt Lake City is probably on your way. Make it more than a pit stop with an easy day hike to incredible views of the valley below and a beautiful waterfall.

2. Camp by the Spiral Jetty

A person is sihouetted in black on a water or salt flat that perfectly reflects the sky. The person looks as if they're in infinity!
Photo: Prajit Ravindran

The combination of free, dispersed camping, the otherworldly salt flats of the Great Salt Lake and the world’s preeminent work of land sculpture make this camping spot inimitable. 

3. Backpack Mount Timpanogos

A field of purple lupins with rocky mountains in the background.
Photo: Lindsay Daniels

Distance: 15.72 miles
Elevation: 4,970 feet
Type: Out-and-back

Mt. Timpanogos is one of the most iconic peaks in the Wasatch Front. Get into the Utah backcountry for an up close view. 

4. Take a Dip at Fifth Water Hot Springs

A rocky steppe with steaming pools of water in blue and green hues. There is snow on the shoreline next to the hot springs.
Photo: Jacob Moon

Distance: 4.63 miles
Elevation: 663 feet
Type: Out-and-back

Nothing cures sore road trip butts like soaking in some hot springs. Take a hike, pick your pool, sit back and relax. 

5. Hike Angel’s Landing in Zion National Park

A person is standing on a rocky outcropping in a valley looking out over the canyon.
Photo: Derrick Lytle

Distance: 4.41 miles
Elevation: 1,512 feet
Type: Out-and-back

Head into Zion National Park and tackle some of the hikes that have put Utah on the map for adventurers around the world. Angels Landing is an exhilarating hike along a notoriously narrow ridge. If you have time, check out Zion’s Narrows as well. 

6. Camp in Goblin Valley

A person stands on a rocky cliff overlooking a large field of hoodoos rising from stone.
Photo: Andy Earl

Goblin Valley, with topography straight out of a science fiction movie, is the weirdest-best. Hoodoo? You should. 

7. Hike Through Wire Pass Slot Canyon

A person stands in a slot canyon with striated red walls rising up on either side of them.
Photo: Nick Oman

Distance: 3.75 miles
Elevation: 325 feet
Type: Out-and-back

Hiking through slot canyons is incredible, unless you’re claustrophobic or boring. But please be careful.

8. Night Hike to Calf Creek Falls

A waterfall mists over a tall red rock wall at night. The sky is navy with stars.
Photo: Kiki Lamm

Distance: 5.74 miles
Elevation: 515 feet
Type: Out-and-back

This trek can take as little as two hours if you're not stopping to take photos! Plan for longer if you want to set up a tripod and get some awesome shots of the sky here. Plan your road trip with the tides and look for dates with no moon for bright stars and a full moon for great waterfall and canyon visibility.

9. Hike Riggs Springs Loop in Bryce Canyon National Park

Red rock hoodoos rise above a valley of evergreen trees.
Photo: Jason Shepherd

The colors and sandstone formations of Bryce Canyon National Park are unbelievable and you’ll see a lot more if you go further the big, obvious viewpoints.

10. Beach Camping on Lake Powell

An SUV with a rooftop tent is parked next to another tent. There is a body of water in the background with a large rock rising out of it.
Photo: Dustin Landon

Lake Powell is a great summer camping spot that also flies under the radar for most people outside of Utah. Daytime is hot, but the water is refreshing and you can find some incredible, secluded fingers in the canyon-turned-lake.

11. Hike Park Avenue in Arches National Park

A series of tall rock structures reach out of red rock cliffs in a desert.
Photo: Lee Cuellar

Stop in Arches National Park and do your best to grasp the scale of the massive sandstone cliffs and plateaus on this popular hike. 

12. Backpack Coyote Gulch

Trees rise out of the desert next to tall red rock cliffs.
Photo: Colton Marsala

This beautiful backpacking route has options for a one- or two-night adventure. Make it a quick stop or explore for a few days. 

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Cover photo: Nick Oman

We want to acknowledge and thank the past, present, and future generations of all Native Nations and Indigenous Peoples whose ancestral lands we travel, explore, and play on. Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations. Please explore responsibly!

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