Location: The eastern quadrant of the state to the south of I70 encompassing Arches, Canyonlands, Cedar Mesa (including Grand Gulch) and the Comb Ridge area.
Distance: 3.2 - 5.6 miles (Round Trip)
Moon House, one of the best archaeology sites on Cedar Mesa, consists of three separate structures with 49 rooms. Well preserved pictorgraphs grace the walls of an interior courtyard and some of the rooms.
Distance: 5.4 - 10.9 miles (Loop)
A long, entertaining circuit through a stunning landscape of sandstone spires, pinnacles, knobs, fins and monoliths surrounding a scenic expanse of desert grassland in the Needles District of Canyonlands National Park.
Distance: 7.2 miles (Round Trip)
A nice hike to the Great Gallery, a phenomenal Barrier Canyon style rock art panel in a remote, detached unit of Canyonlands National Park.
Distance: 2.8 miles (Round Trip)
Without a doubt, my favorite rock art site along the Lower Butler Wash Road is the amazing Procession Panel, a 15-ft long petroglyph panel though to represent a ceremonial gathering or migration story.
Distance: 10.4 miles (Round Trip)
A great hike to a high bench near the head of Elephant Canyon offering spectacular views of Druid Arch, a massive, uniquely-shaped angular arch. Along the way the trail travels through scenic Elephant Canyon, beneath sandstone walls sculpted into amazing shapes.
Distance: 4.8 miles (Round Trip)
This strenuous hike travels down stunningly beautiful Owl Creek Canyon to Nevill’s Arch, an imposing span located atop a high fin.
Distance: 2.5 miles (Round Trip)
A short, relatively easy trail leads to stunning Corona Arch and its fascinating neighbor, Bowtie Arch, situated in a huge sandstone amphitheatre high above the northwest wall of Bootlegger Canyon.
Distance: 2.8 - 4.4 miles (Round Trip)
This short hike travels down scenic Road Canyon to an amazing archaeology site with seven kivas.
Distance: 11.5 - 15.8 miles (Round Trip)
This strenuous hike leads to two fascinating ruins, Perfect Kiva and Jailhouse Ruin, in scenic Bullet Canyon. Past the ruins the trail continues down canyon to the confluence with Grand Gulch.
Distance: 3.1 miles (Round Trip)
A short hike to a stunning, iconic arch perched on the edge of a huge sandstone bowl and framed by the scenic La Sal Mountains.
Distance: 1.6 - 7.7 miles (Loop)
Seven amazing arches set amid a landscape of weird and wonderful sandstone fins, spires and knobs are the rewards for hiking the Devils Garden Trail, my favorite trail in Arches National Park.
Distance: 0.8 - 1.4 miles (Round Trip)
The Wolfman Panel is fascinating both for its precise artwork as well as its interesting figures. The easy access and short hiking distance make this site a popular spot for rock art enthusiasts passing through the Bluff and Mexican Hat area.
Distance: 10.4 miles (Round Trip)
Two life-sized red and white pictographs, depicting a man and a woman, are the central focus of this fascinating rock art panel, located on a ledge high above Grand Gulch.
Distance: 8.7 - 10.0 miles (Loop)
Spectacular canyon scenery awaits hikers on this varied loop hike traversing sandy washes, climbing slickrock benches and crossing steep sandstone ridges as it travels through three scenic canyons.
Distance: 7.0 - 9.7 miles (Round Trip)
Grand Gulch is often likened to an open air museum of Ancestral Puebloan ruins and rock art. This trail offers a great introduction to the canyon, visiting Junction Ruin and Turkey Pen Ruin and passing a nice viewpoint for Stimper Arch.
Distance: 9.0 miles (Round Trip)
This easy trail descends to scenic Grand Gulch and then travels up canyon to visit impressive Bannister House Ruins. Along the way the trail passes an old cowboy camp, an abandoned rincon, a small granary and small pictograph panels.
Distance: 8.0 - 10.4 miles (Round Trip)
The Amasa Back trail offers a challenging, view packed hike to a ridge overlooking the Colorado River and the red rock country beyond.
Distance: 2.0 - 9.2 miles (Round Trip)
This easy hike offers an excellent opportunity to discover well preserved ruins tucked into alcoves and along the walls of side canyons in the scenic South Fork of Mule Canyon.
Distance: 8.4 miles (Loop)
This interesting and challenging trail travels around Upheaval Dome, a fascinating geological feature in the Island in the Sky district of Canyonlands National Park. The trail, recommended for experienced hikers only, descends rugged Upheaval Canyon and climbs out via a beautiful and difficult trail up the Syncline Valley.
Distance: 4.0 miles (Round Trip)
Wonderful views of a stunning canyon, solitude and an impressive jeep-shaped arch more than compensate for the difficulty in following a trail, which is poorly defined in places.
Distance: 2.0 - 6.6 miles (Loop)
Amazing vistas of the sculpted canyons, pinnacles and buttes defining the landscape along the Colorado River and nearby Canyonlands National Park are the highlights of this easy 6.0 mile loop hike traveling around the southern end of Dead Horse State Park.
Distance: 2.0 miles (Round Trip)
Spectacular panoramic views of the red rock canyon between the Colorado and Green Rivers, the Needles and Maze Districts of Canyonlands National Park and beyond are the scenic rewards for this easy hike to the southern tip of the Island in the Sky mesa in Canyonlands National Park.
Distance: 3.0 - 5.4 miles (Round Trip)
This short, moderately-easy hike leads to a stunning rock art panel along the north side of the San Juan River.
Distance: 3.0 - 12.2 miles (Round Trip)
This hike can either be done as a short, moderately-easy walk to see Fallen Roof ruins or a long, more difficult trip that also visits Seven Kivas.
Distance: 8.6 miles (Loop)
This great loop hike in Natural Bridges National Monument visits three majestic natural bridges, crosses a high desert landscape and wanders along two scenic canyons with rock art panels and ancestral Puebloan ruins
Distance: 1.6 miles (Round Trip)
This short, easy trail leads to an impressive ruin, situated in a deep, east facing alcove beneath a pour-off. The site includes an interesting structure with rounded walls along with rock art, pottery shards and grinding stones.
The Region, the Hikes & the Base Camps
The high desert plateaus of southeast Utah are carved into a maze of intricate canyons, mesas, buttes, fins, arches and spires. Two national parks, two national forest a huge recreation area and millions of acres of BLM land protect this amazing landscape. Hiking informatioin is available for Arches National Park, Canyonlands National Park, Moab, Grand Gulch, Blanding, Monticello, Mexican Hat and Bluff.
This guide highlights the best hikes in the region, the trails that travel through scenic canyons, visit magnificent arches and lead to spectacular panoramic viewpoints. Numerous hikes offer the opportunity to discover Ancestral Puebloan cliff ruins and rock art in a natural setting.