Backpacking in Utah can take you through alpine forests, red rock lands, jagged peaks or lush waterways. If you're packing your bag with enough food and gear for the long haul, then adjust your compass for Utah's magnetic declination and check the battery in your GPS.

Backpacking Tips and Tricks

There is no more varied place in the world than Utah to backpack. Here are a few tips to help get you in the right mindset for backpacking in Utah.

  • The season can determine the destination, whether you choose to head for the mountains, make a pilgrimage to the desert, or both.
  • Two-thirds of Utah is public land: Five national parks, nine million acres of national forest, millions of acres within national monuments and national recreation areas, and vast areas managed by the Bureau of Land Management.
  • Regardless of where you choose to hike, keep safety in mind and be cautious.
  • Never hike alone, always tell your friends and family where you are going and when you plan to return. Learn more about how you can support Utah’s local search and rescue teams with a Utah Search and Rescue Assistance card.
  • Always carry plenty of water in both the deserts and mountains, no matter the season, no matter the outside temperature. You are hiking at high elevation.
  • Bring a first-aid kit and a water filter. It's a good idea to take more food and water than you think you'll need in the event you become stranded.
  • Be prepared to be truly self-reliant.
  • Most importantly, have a safe, fun, and rewarding experience.

The Seven Leave No Trace Principles

  • Plan ahead and prepare.
  • Travel and camp on durable surfaces.
  • Dispose of waste properly.
  • Leave what you find.
  • Minimize campfire impacts (be careful with fire).
  • Respect wildlife.
  • Be considerate of other visitors.
  • Learn more here.


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