We’ve been really good at social distancing – keeping a six foot distance, wearing our masks – but is there a word for society distancing? The weather is warming here in Utah and we’re getting a little stir crazy. For those of us around SLC, we’re dying to get out in the sun but our favorite trails seem to be getting busier and busier as the pandemic continues. So, how can we get outside, away from the city, but do so in a healthy and courteous way?
Look no further than this guide. We’ve vetted each hiking spot on our list, ensuring that they’re lightly trafficked and secret enough that they’re new to even the most experienced hikers, plus you’ll be able to maintain a healthy distance from any other potential hikers. And of course, they’re short and easy enough that your youngest kids can tag along (or maybe ride on dad’s shoulders for half a mile). From Bear Lake down to St. George, this is what we found!
Singing Canyon is aptly named – use nature as your microphone and sing your heart out here to get a listen to the amazing acoustics that this hike has to offer. At just 0.3 miles, mostly shaded, and 167 feet of elevation gain, this quick hike is great for little ones. Plus, the drive to get there is world-renowned. https://www.alltrails.com/trail/us/utah/singing-canyon-trail
If you’re looking to stay near the city and want to check out some world-class wildflowers, then Albion Meadows Trail is the place for you. At 3.7 miles, it can be a great challenge for older kids to get them interested in longer and more difficult hikes. It’s a well-shaded, hidden path with flora and fauna that is positively picturesque. https://www.alltrails.com/trail/us/utah/albion-meadows-trail
This area, just north of Cedar City, is home to a collection of ancient, unknown Native American petroglyphs. It’s a great road trip pit stop if you’re heading south; the trail is just 0.4 miles and has an elevation gain of only 19 feet, plus dogs are allowed on leashes. Have little ones guess what they think the petroglyphs mean! https://www.alltrails.com/trail/us/utah/parowan-gap-petroglyphs-trail
Strawberry River offers more than just a hike – this trail is known for its angling and fly-fishing opportunities! Stroll along the 2.3 miles of path that wind around the river and bring some poles, or pack a picnic and watch the fly fishers stunt their skills. You may also see some wildlife, and dogs are allowed on leashes. Just remember to watch your step – it can be a little overgrown since it’s so hidden! https://www.alltrails.com/trail/us/utah/strawberry-river
We should start by saying that Paul Bunyan’s Woodpile isn’t really a woodpile, but rather a fascinating geological formation of ancient lava that’s a must-see secret for locals. It’s a quick hike at just 1.6 miles, but it’s relative steepness presents a fun challenge for young hikers. Don’t forget a camera – there are plenty of Kodak moments on this trail! https://www.alltrails.com/trail/us/utah/paul-bunyans-woodpile-trail
Twenty-plus miles south of Vernal, you’ll find that this trail is well-concealed but has earned its magical name. This 0.5 mile trail is short, but the whole family could spend hours exploring the dozens of rare, skeletal sandstone formations. There’s also a good chance you’ll find a prehistoric fossil along this winding trail. We just advise you to bring plenty of water and wear sunscreen – there’s not too much shade on this little hike. https://www.alltrails.com/trail/us/utah/fantasy-canyon-trail
We highly recommend this northern Utah trail for beginning hikers. It’s just 1.3 miles and has enough elevation change to be rewarding but not too difficult. There’s lots of rocks to rest on, but also be careful to not trip! If you want a longer hike, this trail connects to Bonneville Shoreline, which will take you along the foothills of the Wasatch range. You can also stray towards Quail Trail Loop, making this hike easily modifiable. https://www.alltrails.com/trail/us/utah/power-line-trail
Our Camp Wild Lifers love this one! Situated in the Lone Peak wilderness, the close distance to civilization makes it a great weekday hike. At just 0.7 miles, this well-maintained and smooth trail is perfect for even the youngest hikers. If you can, dip your hand in the gorgeous Rocky Mouth Falls at the end of the hike to cool off! This is one of the busier hikes on this guide, so avoid visiting during prime hiking hours just in case. https://www.alltrails.com/trail/us/utah/rocky-mouth-falls-trail
Okay, so this one isn’t in Utah. But, it’s closer to SLC than the ever-popular southern national parks and has a ton to offer. This half-mile hike is easy, educational and a popular spot for ornithologists, plus you might spot some wildlife around the beaver streams. It’s situated near the Ruby mountains, where there are dozens of other trails and outdoor activities if you want to turn it into a weekend adventure. Make sure to pick up a free brochure at the trailhead! https://www.alltrails.com/trail/us/nevada/changing-canyon-trail
This is another favorite from Camp Wild Life. Plenty of shade, tall granite rockfaces and a gorgeous waterfall make this hike unforgettable. The kids will love dipping their toes in the mountain water, but watch for slippery rocks. You can climb to the top too, though keep in mind it’s for hikers who are slightly more experienced. Great photo opportunities here, too! https://www.alltrails.com/trail/us/utah/lisa-falls-trail