50 Best Short Hikes in Utah's National Parks

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  • Edition: 2nd
  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2014-04-01
  • Publisher: Wilderness Press
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Utah’s five national parks—Arches, Bryce, Canyonlands, Capitol Reef, and Zion—hold some of the most awe-inspiring geology on the planet. Each park offers visitors the dramatic scenery that invites exploration and discovery.

In 50 Best Short Hikes in Utah’s National Parks, veteran hiking guide Greg Witt shares the best routes in each park, hikes that are both “must see” and accessible. Park visitors who are short on time will find this book to be the ideal traveling companion, quickly helping readers identify the hikes and sights, making the best use of their time and provide maximum enjoyment.

Each hike in the book includes distances, highlights, area maps, and easy-to-follow trailhead directions to make hike selection fast and efficient. Once on the trail, the detailed maps, route description, and interpretive details insure that hikers get the most out of their trip.

Even avid hikers and experienced desert explorers will find new insights and discoveries as Witt’s interesting and approachable style details the geologic forces that created this landscape. He brings to life the human history—prehistoric cliff-dwellers, native tribes, ranchers, farmers, loggers, miners, and outlaws—that adds to the color of the Colorado Plateau where these five parks are set.

Author Biography

Greg Witt has lived the adventures he writes about and shares with audiences around the world. His journeys have taken him to every corner of the globe. He has guided mountaineering expeditions in the Alps and Andes and paddled wild rivers in the Americas. He has dropped teams of adventurers into golden slot canyons, trudged through deep jungles in Africa, Central America, and Asia, and guided archeological expeditions across the parched Arabian Peninsula. His passion for adventure has always focused on sharing his experience with others

Greg is the founder and Chief Adventure Officer of Alpenwild, the leading operator of hiking and trekking tours in the Swiss Alps. Some weeks, Greg hikes more miles than he drives, which means he wears out his boots faster than he wears out his tires. He has crossed the Grand Canyon on foot many times, climbed Colorado’s three highest peaks in three days, and in a recent summer in the Alps he hiked over 700 miles and gained nearly 100,000 vertical feet of elevation—the equivalent of climbing Everest 9 times.

Now he leads readers on the most breathtaking hikes and exciting outdoor adventures on the globe. He comes ready to discuss the geology, history, archaeology, weather patterns, culture, flora, and fauna of the exciting locales he loves. Other titles include 60 Hikes within 60 Miles: Salt Lake City and Ultimate Adventures: A Rough Guide to Adventure Travel. He is the US Editor of Off the Tourist Trail: 1000 Unexpected Travel Alternatives (DK Eyewitness Travel) and a contributing editor of Make the Most of Your Time on Earth, A Rough Guide to the World. He lives in Provo, UT.

Table of Contents

The Very Best Short Hikes
Using This Book
About the Author
Map Legend
Arches National Park Regional Overview
Hikes 1-9
1. Park Avenue
Sidebar: Biological Soil Crusts
2. Balanced Rock
3. Windows Loop
4. Double Arch Trail
Sidebar: How Do Arches Form?
5. Delicate Arch & Delicate Arch Viewpoint Spur
6. Sand Dune Arch & Broken Arch
Sidebar: Fallen Arches
7. Devil's Garden Arches: Pine Tree, Tunnel, Landscape, Partition, Navajo, and Double O
Sidebar: What Qualifies as an Arch?
8. Tower Arch Trail
Sidebar: Where Are the Leaves on Mormon Tea?
9. Fiery Furnace
Bryce Canyon National Park Regional Overview
Hikes 10-17
10. Queens Garden & Navaho Loop
Sidebar: How long does a hoodoo last?
11. Bristlecone Loop
Sidebar: Ebenezer Bryce
12. Sunrise to Sunset Rim Trail
Sidebar: What Makes Those Colors?
13. Hat Shop
Sidebar: What Is a Hoodoo?
14. Peekaboo Loop Rim Trail
Sidebar: What Is the Grand Staircase?
15. Fairyland Loop
Sidebar: Pinon Pine
16. Tower Bridge
Sidebar: Is it an Arch or a Bridge?
17. Water Canyon & Mossy Cave
Sidebar: The Tropic ditch
Canyonlands National Park Regional Overview
Hikes 18-30
18. Horseshoe Canyon
Sidebar: Petroglyphs
19. Mesa Arch Loop
Sidebar: John Wesley Powell
20. Neck Spring Loop Trail
Sidebar: Dead Horse Point
21. Murphy Point Trail
22. White Rim Overlook Trail
Sidebar: Juniper
23. Grand View Trail
24. Aztec Butte Trail
25. Whale Rock Trail
26. Crater View Trail
27. Upheaval Dome Overlook
Sidebar: The Confluence
28. Syncline Loop Trail
29. Slickrock Trail
30. Elephant Hill to Chesler Park
Capitol Reef National Park Regional Overview
Hikes 31-40
31. Hickman Bridge
Sidebar: Cottonwood Trees
32. Cohab Canyon
Sidebar: Desert Varnish
33. Golden Throne Trail
Sidebar: Bats
34. Chimney Rock Loop Trail
Sidebar: How the Black Boulders Got Here
35. Fremont Gorge Viewpoint Trail
Sidebar: John C. Fremont
36. Grand Wash
37. Capitol Gorge Trailhead to the Tanks
Sidebar: Life in the Potholes
38. Rim Overlook at Navajo Knobs Trail
Sidebar: What Is a Monocline?
39. Upper Muley Twist Canyon
40. Sulphur Creek
Sidebar: Why Is it Called Capitol Reef?
Zion National Park Regional Overview
Hikes 41-50
41. Angles Landing
Sidebar: Building Walter's Wiggles
42. Riverside Walk
Sidebar: Flooding in the Virgin River
43. Weeping Rock & Observation Point
Sidebar: Seeps in Sandstone
44. Hidden Canyon Trail
45. Emerald Pools Trail
46. Canyon Overlook Trail
47. Sand Bench Trail
48. Watchman Trail
Sidebar: Leaving the Car Behind
49. Pa'rus Trail
50. Cable Mountain Trail
Sidebar: Cable Mountain Draw Works
Bonus: Taylor Creek Trail

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