The Mighty 5 Family Friendly Hikes

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The Mighty 5

Utah’s Mighty 5 is a marketing campaign by the state tourism office that inspired many travelers throughout the world to take a trip to Utah. What is the Mighty 5? It’s southern Utah’s five national parks from Moab to St. George. People from all parts of the country and every corner of the globe travel to Utah to see and experience these natural wonders. Arches, Bryce Canyon, Canyonlands, Capitol Reef, and Zion have become names as recognizable as Paris, Rome, London, and New York.

The Mighty 5 aren’t just for sight-seers, but they’re also for adventure seekers wanting an outdoor hiking experience within the parks. Here are five hiking trails that are idea for all age groups from grandkids to grandparents.

Zion National Park
Many Pools Trail – Located on the eastside of the main section of Zion past the Zion-Mt. Carmel Highway Tunnel. This hike is great for all ages and challenging enough to make it interesting for the more adventurous. Parking is limited, I recommend going early morning or late afternoon. If you go after it rains the sand pocket pools will be filled with water. Click here to learn more about Many Pools.

Other suggestions: Zion Narrows, Taylor Creek Middle Fork

Zion National Park

Bryce Canyon National Park

Queens Garden/Navajo Loop Trails – Trail begins at Sunset Point and ends at Sunrise Point, or you can reverse the direction. This is a good way to experience Bryce from above and below where you can see the hoodoos from different perspectives. Beginning at Sunset Point, the hike descends a steep switchback trail where you pass through a towering section of hoodoos called Wall Street.  As you ascend to Sunrise Point the trail passes by a short spur that leads to where a rock formation in the shape of Queen Victoria can be seen. A long gradual ascent ends at Sunrise Point where you can follow the rim trail back to Sunset Point. I recommend starting at Sunset Point to take some of the steepness out of the climb out of the canyon. Click here to learn how you can visit Bryce Canyon in a day.

Other suggestions: Mossy Cave

Capitol Reef National Park

Hickman Natural Bridge – Capitol Reef is home to 20 plus natural arches. Hickman Bridge, technically an arch, is probably the best known of the bunch and easy to get to. The trailhead is located on State Route-24, which is the main road through the park, about two miles from the visitor center. The trail begins by following the Fremont River a short distance before ascending a moderately steep switchback trail. Several interesting points of interest are seen along the trail including a smaller arch, and a Fremont pit house ruin. The trail passes underneath the 133 ft. Hickman Bridge. The return trip offers spectacular views of the canyon below.

Other suggestions:Grand Wash, Capitol Gorge

Hickman Bridge

Photo: Discover Utah Kids Magazine

Canyonlands National Park

Upheaval Dome – Located in the Island In the Sky District of the park. This is a lesser known trail that leads to a large crater shaped depression with the center pushed up into a circular structure called a dome, or anticline. The hike is on the Green River side of the canyon with other interesting points of interest along the drive to the trailhead. Click here to learn how you can visit Canyonlands and Arches in a day.

Other suggestions: Mesa Arch

Canyonlands

Arches National Park

Windows Section – This section is one of the main attractions of the park and offers two distinctly different trails that lead to fascinating arches that you can walk right up to and underneath. On the south side is Double Arch that is exactly what the name implies, two arches side by side. Underneath the arches is a craggy sandstone slope that is popular for scrambling up to enjoy views of the windows section across the way. There’s a surprise along the trail that most visitors are unaware of. To the north across the parking lot are the North and South Windows and Turret Arch. The parking lot is large but fills quickly. If you go early in the morning you shouldn’t have any problem finding parking spaces. Don’t give up if they are filled, keep circling the loop until someone leaves. Click here to learn how you can visit Canyonlands and Arches in a day.

Other suggestions: Landscape Arch, Sand Dune Arch

Turret Arch

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