Adventure is on the menu: 4 great southern Utah hiking trips for foodies

Adventure is on the menu: 4 great southern Utah hiking trips for foodies

By Craig Rowe & amp; Mo Edwards
November 26, 2018

An adventurous person like yourself could spend years hiking the vast compendium of deep red canyons and sun-drenched desert peaks that characterize southern Utah. But if you only have a few days, a guided tour from Wildland Trekking Company can take you to not only the best trails, but the best restaurants as well.

Just because you are in one of the most remote and beautiful places in the world doesn’t mean you need to eat freeze-dried beef stroganoff from a bag. What about elk tri-tip with green chile butternut squash, goat cheese fondue and a locally brewed beer to wash it down? That’s right, foodies — hiding in between the cliffs and canyons are award-winning culinary delights that taste especially satisfying after hiking your heart out.

Here are four Wildland Trekking Company trips that combine unforgettable hikes with the best food Utah has to offer.

Cordwood Trip:

Best of Zion and Bryce Inn-Based

Over four days, guests hike each national park's highlight trails, including Zion & lesser-visited Observation Point and the twisting ups and downs of Bryce Canyon's stunning Fairyland Loop.

Cordwood is the on-site restaurant of Zion Mountain Lodge, a common lodging option on this trip that rests on the hillside of a buffalo-trodden prairie. The rustic, farm-to-table menu is rich in local ingredients and an old-west ambiance. The seasonally adjusted meals delicately blend tastes for all palettes. It’s fresh, elegant, and especially good when seasoned with sunset views.

Hell's Backbone Grill & Farm Trip:

Bryce & Escalante Inn-based

After dipping into the magic of Bryce's bizzare limestone towers, this trips enters the canyon-strewn region known as Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument.

Getting to Hell's Backbone Grill & Farm in Boulder, UT really is half the fun, thanks to Scenic Byway 12, a two-lane rollercoaster carved into the pale white and orange petrified sand dunes of the Staircase.

This easy-going establishment touts the highest Zagat ratings in Utah, and was selected as a semifinalist in 2017 and 2018 for the James Beard Award.

The greens and fruits are grown on site and its meat is sourced within arm's reach of the kitchen. Winner of multiple distinguished dining awards and written about in every magazine that matters, a meal at Hell's Backbone is often the top subject of a Wildland Trekking trip review.

Stone Hearth Grill Trip:

Zion, Bryce & Grand Canyon

The "Grand Circle" includes looks into the most classic canyons of the American southwest. Zion, Bryce and the North Rim of the Grand Canyon are the grand dames of national parks: old, extravagant, and well-respected.

The tiny town of Tropic sits at the eastern foot of Bryce Canyon, and hides the elegant and hearty Stone Hearth Grill. The reservation-recommended eatery is shadowed by a piñon pine and juniper grove with views of redrock plateaus. The patio is a prime spot to capture the desert moonrise over dinner.

Rocking V Cafe Trip:

Best of Utah

This six-day expedition sets foot in Zion, Bryce, and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument to celebrate everything that characterizes this unique region. Six days may seem long, but rest assured, you'll consider calling your airline.

In the western-film showcase that is Kanab, UT, sits the quirky, art-filled Rocking V Cafe. This casual eatery prints a menu defined by fresh, and it can't be better stated than, "Scratch is a valuable ingredient in slow food." They do it by hand at Rocking V, and make sure everyone is having fun while you're waiting for it. Slow food at its best. Wildland Trekking guides are experts in the logistics, and always try their hardest to ensure you see (and eat) everything on your list, and experience everything these destinations have to offer.

Restaurants cited here are among many dining options on these trips and are subject to reservations and availability. Visit for more information about these fantastic Utah Hiking Tours.

Restaurant Partners:


Hell’s Backbone Grill & Farm

Stone Hearth Grill

Rocking V

Cafe Soleil

The Spotted Dog Cafe

Escalante Outfitters

Wild Thyme Cafe