Hikers_stock - A group of hikers enjoying the mountains

10 Best Easy Hikes in Utah

By Jake Wilhelmsen
May 04, 2018 | Updated July 13, 2023

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.

What’s that? 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. Please note that easy and accessible hikes are often the most popular and will be more crowded. But that just means there will be more people around to take triumphant photos of you atop a mighty peak.

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. But your clothes back on — the lake is part of the Wasatch watershed so there’s no swimming.

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.

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.

4. Birdsong Trail

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

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

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, go back with crampons and do it in winter to see the waterfall in its frozen form.

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.

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.)

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.

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.

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.

On your marks, get set, hike! But don't forget snacks and water. And a hat and sunscreen. And keep 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 bit 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. You will start wearing more spandex, though.