The arid desert that makes up the landscape of Glen Canyon can be beautiful and unforgiving. There is little to no shade, questionable cell phone reception, and no water available on these trails. During the warmer months dangers include exposure to extreme heat, dangerous desert wildlife and potential flash floods. Prepare for your hiking adventure by following these steps:
Drink plenty of water. Even when you are not thirsty your body can lose large amounts of water without you realizing it. Be aware of balancing fluid and electrolyte levels. Have with you at least 1 gallon (4 L) of drinking water per person, per day.
Wear proper clothing for hiking on hot, unshaded trails.
Hike in canyon drainages and on slick rock when possible. Avoid creating a network of social trails. By using existing paths and campsites you prevent unnecessary damage. Don't bust the crust. Cryptobiotic soil crusts are alive and essential for arid ecosystems. Once stepped on, this fragile crust takes years to regrow.
I Want To Hike Near: Navigation
Horseshoe Bend One of the most iconic features at Glen Canyon National Recreation Area. Hike the accessible hardened trail leading to an overlook viewing platform. Much of the rim of the canyon remains exposed, so watch footing and keep track of children and pets. Be prepared with plenty of water and know there is little shade along the trail. Avoid hiking at the hottest parts of the day.
Trailhead: Approximately 5 mi (8 km) south of the Carl Hayden Visitor Center on Highway 89, just south of highway marker 545, turn west to enter the parking lot. Non-NPS Fee required when parking at Horseshoe Bend. Learn more about parking fees by visiting the website for the City of Page .
1.5 mi (2.4 km)
Glen Canyon Rim Trail
A sometimes rough and rocky, sometimes sandy trail that offers views of unique geological formations, the Colorado River and the Vermillion Cliffs.
Trailhead: Enter the trail near Glen Canyon Bridge, Dam Overlook, or Horseshoe Bend. Look for a trail lined with natural stone.
12 mi (19.3 km)
Follow the trail down steep, uneven rocky steps to views of Glen Canyon Dam and the Colorado River. Hand railing provided intermittently.
Few shade pavilions. Steep cliff edge in some parts; Use caution.
Trailhead: From Highway 89, turn west on Scenic View Road about 1.5 miles (2.4 km) south of the Carl Hayden Visitor Center. Take the first road to the right and park in the parking area at the end of the road.
940 ft. (286 m)
Securely hidden by Jurassic Navajo sandstone, this seep spring quickly takes hostage every drop of rainwater it can absorb creating a lush plant and animal habitat.
Trailhead: The turn-off is 1/4 mile (0.4 km) east of Glen Canyon Bridge (the opposite side of the bridge from Carl Hayden Visitor Center) on Highway 89. Trailhead parking is 500 yards (455 m) off of Highway 89.
1.5 mi (2.4 km)
Explore this area with a self guided adventure through slickrock sand formations. Great views of canyon walls and the Glen Canyon Dam. Lakeshore access is possible depending on the current lake elevations.The lake is very deep at this location and good swimming skills are required.
Trailhead: Just east of Glen Canyon Dam, take a gravel road heading north off of Highway 89. Turn left pass the Hanging Gardens parking area, and continue down the rough dirt road to reach the first of two parking areas.
Explore the area across from the Wahweap Entrance road for a self-guided adventure through slickrock sand formations. Watch your step, fragile rock shelves underfoot.
Trailhead: Parking to explore this area is reached near the Beehives Campground, across from the Wahweap South Entrance road.
Stud Horse Trail
Build your own adventure when exploring the 6.5 mi (10.4 km) network of trails. Explore an area with large hoodoos scattered throughout and distance views of Lake Powell and Skylight Arch.
Trailhead:Take Highway 89 north 7.6 mi (12.2 km) past the Carl Hayden Visitor Center. Turn left on to Seismograph Road and follow for 0.75 mi (1.2 km) and turn left. Continue 1.5 mi (2.4 km) until a BLM wayside and a fork in the road, keep left. Continue on this road as it curves right to head west to connect to Powerline Road. Stay on this Powerline Road for approximately 1.1 mi (1.7 km) and turn right heading north and up onto the mesa. High clearance vehicles are recommended.
This sandy wash takes you through a small canyon and requires some scrambling and detours. Look for cairns (small stacks of rocks that act as trail markers) to lead you out. Wayfinding required.
Trailhead: From Page, drive north on Highway 89 about 12 miles (19 km) to Big Water, Utah. Between mile posts 7 and 8, turn right, in the opposite direction of the Big Water Visitor Center. Turn right again in 0.3 mile (0.5 km), at a sign reading, “Glen Canyon National Recreation Area – State Highway 12.” Drive 4.6 miles (7.5 km) to the Wiregrass Canyon Back Country Use Area and park in the pullout.
Hike time: About 3 hours
Easy to Moderate
The arch is located about 1.5 mi (2.4 km) from the road, snuggled in along the western cliffs. When you spot the arch, you will need to traverse roughly 0.75 mi (1.2 km) west over sandy uphill slopes. To get directly under the arch requires caution as you scramble up and over loose rocky ledges. Getting to the top requires some work and backtracking to find your way up. The slot canyon is on the opposite side of the box canyon and is fairly easy to spot from the arch. It is worth the cross-country trek to see this very narrow, short slot canyon.
Trailhead: Located off Highway 89 at mile marker 9 3/4, about 17 mi (27.3 km) northwest of Carl Hayden Visitor Center, this pleasantly simple, easy to moderate hike in a sandy and partial bedrock sandstone draw leads you south to a box canyon, a large arch and a small slot canyon. Park your car on the south side of Highway 89, just at the west end of the metal railing, and head down the sandy slope through the gate into the draw. Driving time from Carl Hayden Visitor Center: 20 minutes.
Many established trails of varying distances
Easy to Moderate to Difficult
Trailhead(s): 27 miles north of the Carl Hayden Visitor Center, near milepost 18 on Highway 89, the Cottonwood Road winds 46 miles north through the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument to Cannonville, Utah, where it connects with Highway 12. Traveling north, the road crosses through diverse scenery: badlands that look like a moonscape, the Paria River with its cottonwood trees, up and over the Cockscomb, and the stone monuments of Grosvenor Arch and Kodachrome Basin State Park. Hiking opportunities are numerous and include Hackberry Canyon, Yellow Mountain, Cottonwood Canyon Narrows, the Cockscomb, and Grosvenor Arch. Hike for an hour or take a longer journey — the choice is yours. Books have been published about hiking along the Cottonwood Road. It may help to read ahead if you want to do some serious hiking. The Cottonwood Road is not passable when wet. Check road conditions before traveling.
1.5 mi (2.4 km) round-trip
Dirt trail with minor scrambling required over trail obstacles. When you think you are at the end, guess again. Scramble up the trail obstacle and find your way to the hoodoo garden.
Trailhead: Drive north on Highway 89 from Glen Canyon Dam. Turn into the dirt parking area on the right just past Mile Marker 19. Slip through the hikers gate, sign the register, and head up the wash. Maps are available at the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument Visitor Center in Big Water, UT.
Hike time: 30-60 minutes
A 5-mile dirt road leads to the structures and artifacts that tell the story of many former inhabitants who settled or visited the area — and of a once-ideal Hollywood movie set for some of our most memorable Western films. Both Paria and Pahreah are pronounced the same: They rhyme with Maria. The Paria River runs slow and muddy most of the time, but occasionally it will exceed its banks. Use caution, but feel free to go ahead, as this river will beckon you to cross it and walk upstream or in stream to get a stronger sense of the area’s rich history.
Directions: Paria Movie Set, Pahreah Cemetery, and Pahreah Town Site are located 5 miles off of Highway 89 near Mile Marker 30.5, about 39 miles from the Carl Hayden Visitor Center. Driving time: 45 minutes
Descend into the rocky wash, traveling through the Kaibab Limestone and Toroweap Formations of the Grand Canyon Group. Many interesting formations and fossils may be seen, along with plants and desert critters.The trail ends as the bottom of the wash as it spills into the the Colorado River. Some rock scrambling and wayfinding required. Do not hike when there is a potential for flash flooding.
Trailhead: Follow the Lees Ferry access road 1.3 miles (2.1 km). The trailhead is at the pull out on your left. You can access both upper and lower Cathedral Wash from this parking area. No overnight parking.
3 mi (4.8 km)
Lonely Dell Ranch
The self-guided walking tour follows an improved dirt road leading back to the ranch and orchard with two uneven dirt trails leading to the ranch buildings and grassy picnic area. Walk among the fruit trees and pick what is in season. Watch your step, as hand dug irrigation channels help bring water to the orchard.
Trailhead: Follow the Lees Ferry access road approximately 5.1 miles (8.2 km). On the left a gravel roads leads you back to a small parking area at the start of the ranch. Take a walk through the gate to the orchard, ranch, and cemetery beyond. No overnight parking.
1 mi (1.6 km)
The self-guided walking tour follows the trail along the river front of Lees Ferry. Starting near the gravel parking lot by the boat ramp, walk alongside old stone buildings that line the once busy river crossing area. Mix of gravel to rocky to sandy terrain with no shade. Practice caution during extreme heat.
Trailhead: Follow the Lees Ferry access road 5.8 miles (9.3 km) to the boat launch. A gravel parking lot at the end of the paved area will give you access to the start of the historic district. No overnight parking.
3 mi (4.8 km)
A short but strenuous hike with amazing views of the Colorado River and the City of Page, this rocky climb up switchbacks ascends out of the canyon surrounding Lees Ferry.
Avoid hiking during the hottest part of the day. Best times include Spring and Fall.
Trailhead:Follow the Lees Ferry access road 5.8 miles (9.3 km) to the boat launch. A gravel parking lot at the end of the paved area will give you access to the start of the historic district. Divert from River Trail roughly .36 miles (.58 km) at posted junction. No overnight parking.
4.4 mile (7km) Elevation Gain:
1,700 ft. (518.2 m)
Visitors will enjoy scenic views of towering cliffs and deep canyons. Paria Canyon offers an outstanding three to five day wilderness backpacking experience. The colorful swirls of cross-bedded sandstone in Coyote Buttes are an international hiking destination. There are also opportunities to view wildlife, including California condors. There are two developed campgrounds just outside the monument: Stateline and White House. Dispersed camping is allowed outside the wilderness area in previously disturbed areas.
Red Wash Hike
A sandy hike that involves rock scrambling to lead in and out of the wash. Great beginner trail that illustrates how the power of water formed much of the local landscape. Be prepared to get muddy and wet. Do not hike when there is a potential for flash flooding.
Trailhead: Access near the Bullfrog Visitor Center.
1 mi (1.6 km)
Bullfrog Campground Hike
A fun trail to acclimate for longer desert excursions. Slight elevation gains allow for great views of Bullfrog Marina, Halls Crossing, Navajo Mountain and the Waterpocket Fold. Some areas the requires a small amount of steep rock scrambling. Use caution. Do not hike when there is a potential for flash flooding.
Trailhead:Start the hike from the Bullfrog Campground Loop B, or park at the ferry lot and walk up to the trailhead approximately 100 yards to the trailhead. The trailheads of this point-to-point trail are .4 miles (.64 km) apart.
1.5 mi (2 km)
Pedestal Alley Hike
Experience towering rock sculptures as red canyon walls surround a hike not heavily traveled. Follow along the wash approximately 1 mi (1.6 km) until rock formations appear in the distance. Do not hike when there is a potential for flash flooding.
Trailhead:From the Bullfrog Visitor Center drive 4.4 miles (7 km) north on Hwy 276 to the marked junction with the Burr Trail. Turn left and drive 4.8 miles (7.7 km) down the Burr Trail. The parking area can be found on the opposite side of the Burr Trail, approximately 50ft (15.2 m) north of the trail head.
3 mi (4.8 km)
Defiance House ( Accessible by Boat ONLY)
Boat into Forgotten Canyon as far as lake levels allow. Some wayfinding through a sandy wash may be necessary to find the trail. Keep an eye on the cliff to your left to spot the pictographs that inspired the name. There are steps leading up to the 800 year old archeological site. Visit With Respect. The structures are made of local materials and mortar that can easily be damaged. Pets are not allowed in the site.
Getting There: A boat trip up from Bullfrog, approximately. 40 minutes,15 miles (24 km) by water.
1 mile (1.6km) varies with changing
Dance Hall Rock
Hike at your leisure over sandy/rocky terrain into a natural red rock amphitheater.
On the Hole-in-the-Rock Road 36.5 miles south from Highway 12, turn east at the BLM interpretive sign and continue to the parking area.
3 mi (4.8 km)
Hike at leisure over sandy/rocky terrain among hoodoos and arches. On the Hole-in-the-Rock Road 13 miles south from Highway 12, turn right at the sign for Devil's Garden. Continue 1.5 miles to the parking area. Picnic tables, grills, and pit toilets provided by BLM. No overnight camping.
1 mi (1.6 km)
Day use does not require a backcountry permit, but please sign the trail register. Learn more about trailhead options for day hikes by visiting the Coyote Gulch webpage.