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Home / Articles / Guides / Outdoor Recreation Guide /  Majestic Miles
Outdoor Recreation Guide

Majestic Miles

Five Utah hikes you'll want to brag about.

By Lexie Levitt
Posted // June 8,2012 -

With five national parks—Arches, Bryce Canyon, Canyonlands, Capitol Reef and Zion—in addition to the Grand Canyon, Mesa Verde, Monument Valley and Lake Powell, a journey of a thousand eye-popping miles begins and ends right here in Utah. So lace up your boots, grab your CamelBak and take a hike ... of a lifetime!

Arches National Park
Devils Garden Primitive Loop
With a vista grand enough for the opening scenes of Indiana Jones & the Last Crusade, Arches National Park is a place unlike any other. When in the park, you’ll want to see as many awe-inspiring arches and massive sandstone fins as you can. Devils Garden and the Primitive Trail pack a punch with the sheer number of formations on just one easy, relatively short hike. On the 7.2-mile loop, hikers pass seven unique arches as well as the aptly named Dark Angel, a 150-foot sandstone tower. With stunning arches at every turn, there’s never a dull moment on this trail.
7.2 miles round trip
400 feet elevation gain

Arches_DevilGarden.jpg
PHOTO BY DOM DARLING

Zion National Park
The Subway
Zion National Park is a playground for those who like to take hiking to the next level. A good number of trails here require technical canyoneering and climbing skills, including the Subway. This technical hike will not disappoint the truly adventurous. Expect to navigate your way through a tight natural tunnel, clambering over boulders, rappelling down waterfalls and swimming through icy-cold water. If you can survive these obstacles, the payoff will be reaching the fabled Subway, where penetrating sunlight reflects off algae, giving the narrow passage a surreal turquoise glow.
9.5 miles round trip

Slot_ZionHike.jpg
PHOTO BY DOM DARLING

Bryce Canyon National Park
Queen’s Garden Trail
For the young, and young at heart, Bryce Canyon is the place to go to transport oneself into another world. The park is famous for its unique geological formations known as “hoodoos” or “fairy chimneys.” Most of the hikes in Bryce offer views of these structures from above, but the Queen’s Garden trail takes hikers down onto the canyon floor, giving them an impressive new perspective. The hoodoos and features on this hike resemble the shapes you might see in an English garden. If you use your imagination, you might catch a glimpse of Queen Victoria on her throne watching over her greenery.
1.8 miles round trip
320 feet elevation loss

Bryce_QueenLoop.jpg

Canyonlands National Park
The Maze Overlook
Named one of America’s 10 most dangerous hikes by Backpacker Magazine and a place where Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid hid from the law, the Maze section of Canyonlands is not for the faint of heart. Few venture into the Maze, but those who do get a look at one of the most remote and majestic areas on the planet. Hikers descend a steep slickrock trail into the depths of South Fork Horse Canyon. At the bottom, the trail continues to pictographs painted 2,000 years ago by the Native Americans who inhabited this rugged and wild terrain.
5.8 miles round trip
580 feet elevation loss

MazeOverlook-BillChurch-Summit42AT_1.jpg
PHOTO COURTESY BILL CHURCH, BACKCOUNTRYPOST.COM

Capitol Reef National Park
Sulphur Creek Hike
With summer temperatures rising over 100 degrees Fahrenheit, you might dread the idea of hiking in Capitol Reef National Park. Fear not: The Sulphur Creek river hike allows you to beat the heat through a cool slot canyon. The trail begins at Chimney Rock, an attraction in itself, and continues along a dry gulch. But it’s not until hikers reach the creek that the real fun begins. The whole family will love the natural water park, complete with wading pools, natural waterslides and waterfalls up to 15 feet high.
12.5 miles round trip
550 feet elevation loss

SulphurCreek_AndrewASmith.jpg
PHOTO BY ANDREW A. SMITH

 
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