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The Wave

10 Most Beautiful Day Hikes in the Desert Southwest

Soak in the Desert Southwest's jaw-dropping scenery on these 10 stunning day hikes!

Hiking Easy, Moderate, Difficult, Severe

Also in Utah, United States of America

The Wave
The Wave Photo: Praveen


The USA's Desert Southwest is one of the most dramatic landscapes in the world. Wide-open expanses of sagebrush, sand, and rocks have served as the set for countless movies. Towering rock formations burst from the ground in every variation imaginable—from upthrust cliffs to soaring spires, freestanding arches, blocky monoliths, and everything in between. The rock formations drop down into the earth as well, forming narrow slot canyons and massive river gorges.

In the Desert Southwest, the sky is massive, water is scarce, the landscape is harsh and unforgiving, and yet... this rugged terrain radiates a magical beauty that has captured the hearts of millions of visitors. The vistas found here in the desert are second to none, inspiring poets to write, photographers to shoot, and city dwellers to escape the confines of their concrete jungle in exchange for a wilder, more primal existence.

But you don't have to permanently abandon your urban life to experience the desert's beauty. Whether you are visiting from afar or live close by, the hiking trails that permeate the desert provide access to this incredible natural beauty. While you can, of course, tackle a longer multi-day hike, the 10 routes included in this guidebook can all be completed in a single day. With just a little time commitment, you can visit some of the most incredible wonders that the Desert Southwest has to offer!

Routes included

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