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10 must-do easy hikes in Utah

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Are you one of those people who has lived in Utah for years and never hiked a mile? Do you live at the foot of a glorious mountain and yet you don’t know a chipmunk from cryptobiotic crust? (Hint: Don’t step on either of them.) Well, noobs, hiking season is underway and it's better late than never when it comes to exercise and fresh air. Hiking is a great way to see wildlife, wildflowers, waterfalls, arches and other people taking pictures of all of the above. And if you feel overwhelmed by the number of hikes Utah has on tap, or by photos you’ve seen of trails that are above your pay grade, we can help. Here’s a list of 10 easy-to-moderate trails around the state to get you started.

1. Cecret Lake

  • Location: Salt Lake Valley (Little Cottonwood Canyon)
  • Distance: 1.5 miles round trip

The cecret’s out! This hike is strewn with wildflowers AND other people enjoying the alpine lake views. Put your clothes back on! The lake is part of the Wasatch watershed so there’s no swimming.

Get trail info here.

2. Lake Mary

  • Location: Salt Lake Valley (Big Cottonwood Canyon)
  • Distance: 2 miles round trip

A favorite vacation destination for nude sunbathing moose. Don’t stare or they’ll make a weird face at you. Wait — that's just their faces.

Get trail info here.

3. City Creek

  • Location: Salt Lake City
  • Distance: 5.6 miles round trip (or more if you decide to hike past the paved road)

A pleasant walk through the canyon, five minutes from downtown Salt Lake. Stick to the paved road or wander about on the various dirt trails.

Get trail info here.

4. Birdsong Trail

  • Location: Ogden Canyon
  • Distance: 1-mile round trip

Photo courtesy of Kelli Barkema

Shady, short and perfect for the little ones. If you listen close you’ll hear birds singing “We Are the World” by Michael Jackson.

Get trail info here.

5. Adams Canyon

  • Location: Layton
  • Distance: 3.5 miles round trip

An accessible hike to a sparkly waterfall. This isn't the easiest hike on this list, as it has switchbacks and gravelly bits, so give yourself plenty of time. Once you’re an expert hiker, put on your crampons and do it again in winter to see the waterfall frozen.

Get trail info here.

6. Goblin Valley

  • Location: San Rafael Swell
  • Distance: Variable (you can roam around the goblins as much or as little as you want)

Great winter or early spring destination (summer = burning hell-pot). Kids love scrambling around the goblin rock formations. Goblins love eating kids. Everyone wins.

Get trail info here.

7. Corona Arch

  • Location: Moab
  • Distance: 3 miles round trip

A real purdy red rock hike to the beautiful Bowtie and Corona Arches. The trail is a bit adventurous and includes a short section with a ladder and rope. You got this. (Unless you don’t. Don’t hurt yourself.) Also, don’t carve your initials into the arch. Please and thank you.

Get trail info here.

8. The Watchman Trail


Sunrise or sunset are the perfect times for this scenic hike. The colors of Zion’s canyon walls will be saturated with pink light. Keep yourself saturated (with water) if you do this hike midday in the summer.

Get trail info here.

9. Hickman Bridge Trail


Yet another red rock hike to a beautiful arch. It has some switchbacks at first and then levels out. Keep your eyes peeled for ruins from the Fremont culture.

Get trail info here.

10. Spectra Point Trail


At 10,000 feet this hike is perfect for escaping the summer heat. Lowlanders might huff and puff, but the view from the overlook is worth every gasp.

Get trail info here.

On your marks, get set, hike! But don't forget snacks and water. And a hat and sunscreen. And leave the spray paint for tagging national monuments at home. Better yet: Read the Hiker’s Code to educate yourself on trail etiquette. And once you get your easy hiking merit badge, check out more great trails around Utah. Congratulations! You’ve been bitten by the hiking bug! It’s like the spider that bit Peter Parker except instead of shooting spider webs out of your wrists you’ll just develop a taste for trail mix. But you will start wearing more spandex.