Utah has become a well-known mecca for outdoor enthusiasts of all kinds. From base jumping, mountain biking, rock climbing, and hiking, there is a little something for everyone. Still, sometimes it is hard to find solitude in these wild spaces.
We put together a list of five breathtaking hikes that aren’t usually on the “must-do” travel list. This list is to help hikers or even locals get to know a few more hiking trails in Utah. These hikes will give you the best of Utah’s landscapes with a fraction of the crowds.
Utah is subject to various seasonal weather changes depending on the area. Be sure that you research weather conditions before your hike.
Green River, UT
The solitude scale gauges the likelihood of seeing other people on the trail. One on the scale means very limited solitude, and five on our scale means you may not see anyone else on the trail.
Yellow Pine Trail
Uinta-Wasatch-Cache National Forest
9.2 Miles | Out & Back
Dog/Pets: Allowed On Leash
The Yellow Pine Trail is near Kamas, Utah. It is a lightly trafficked escape from many other places in the Uinta Mountains. If you live near Salt Lake City, Utah, this is a great weekend getaway. However, you will be able to experience an even higher level of solitude if you can make it during the weekdays.
The hike is not overly challenging but prepare for about 2700 feet of elevation gain. The wooded trail is a serene trek in the backwoods with beautiful overlooks of the Wasatch Mountains. Your turn around point will be at Castle Lake.
You can hike this trail year-round, but you will need snowshoes for winter and early spring hikes. However, access roads may be inaccessible during certain months.
Wild Horse Window
Crack Canyon Wilderness
2.8 Miles | Out & Back
Dog/Pets: Allowed On Leash
Any part of the San Rafael Swell in Utah is the perfect wilderness getaway if you’re looking for an escape. In the Southeastern section of the Swell, you’ll find the Wild Horse Window trail. This short out and back trail is near Green River, Utah.
Wild Horse Window is a natural sandstone bridge. We recommend that you hike to it between April and September. Although it is a short hike to the Wild Horse Window, the trail is not well marked. You’ll follow a wash most of the way, and near the end will enjoy a small slot canyon.
A wash is a path water takes when it rains. It can sometimes be a dried-up creek or river. They're easy to walk in because there isn't much vegetation and it will be flat.
Be advised that there is minimal shade cover on the trail. Bring plenty of water and be mindful of the weather before your hike.
Hunters Canyon Trail
3.2 Miles | Out & Back
The Moab area of Utah is famous for its hiking trails that lead to grand sandstone arches and towers. However, if you are traveling through the area, it can be hard to find a trail that isn’t overrun with tourists. Some trails will take some extra time to get to, and may even be difficult to locate on a map.
Hunters Canyon Trail is a mostly flat and accessible trail for most skill levels. It is very sandy, so prepare to walk through the sand. This trail receives less traffic than others. So certain times of the year pathfinding can be a challenge. The vegetation will overgrow the trail. You'll cross a creek several times, which can be fun if you are hiking with your dog.
Paria Canyon-Vermilion Cliffs Wilderness Area
11.2 Miles | Out & Back
Dog/Pets: Dogs Allowed (If staying overnight dogs also need a permit)
Buckskin Gulch to Wire Pass Trail is near Kanab, Utah. You can hike either as an out and back or loop trail. We prefer the out and back option as you can make it into an overnight stay with a BLM camping permit.
You can make this a shorter trip or 5.6 miles by exiting at the Wire Pass Trailhead. However, you will need a way to get back to your car. Some hikers have been able to hitch rides back to the Buckskin trailhead, while others will leave a vehicle at both locations to avoid backtracking.
Paria Canyon is a beautiful slot canyon with many hiking options. Be mindful of the possibility of flash floods, especially during monsoon season (July-September). It is not advised to hike during this time, but observe the weather if you do.
This area is also a habitat for rattlesnakes. Tread lightly!
Fishlake National Forest
2 Miles | Out & Back
The last hike on our list has less of a desert feel as you will be hiking to a waterfall. It's near Maryvale, Utah, in the Fishlake National Forest. It is best to hike between May and September.
The road to get to the trailhead is quite rocky and washed out, depending on the time of year. We recommend having a vehicle with 4-wheel-drive. On the trail, you will pass one small waterfall about halfway in on your left. Finally, the 60 foot tall Bullion Falls will greet you at the end of the trail, making it all worth it.
This area does not see too many hikers throughout the year. Yet, you can expect a lot of ATV and UTV traffic on the roads, so be careful when hiking with dogs and children.
For more great hiking ideas, check out our other trail guides:
- How to Hike the Glacier Trail & Packing Guide
- Hiking the Havasupai Trail – What You Need To Know
- How to Hike the 100 Mile Wilderness – Appalachian Trail
And for gear recommendations, check out our expert buying guides -
Utah is full of adventure, and there are so many wild areas to explore. Don’t always rely on the “most popular” or “most traveled” trails.
These trails may be beautiful but will lack the solitude and wild feeling than the listed trails. Sometimes all it takes is asking a local or taking a chance driving down a dirt road in the desert.
Let us know which of these hikes you plan on checking out first and happy hiking!
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