Guidebook

10 Most Beautiful Day Hikes in the Desert Southwest

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

Description

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!

The Wave
The best Routes on FATMAP, hand-picked by FATMAP’s Editorial team.

The Wave

2 - 3 hrs
10.5 km
446 m
446 m
Hike to the Desert Southwest's most famous photographic destination!
Difficult
Private
Peek-a-Boo and Spooky Slot Canyons
The best Routes on FATMAP, hand-picked by FATMAP’s Editorial team.

Peek-a-Boo and Spooky Slot Canyons

1 - 2 hrs
4.5 km
146 m
146 m
Combine two of the most beautiful slot canyons in the Desert Southwest into an otherworldly loop!
Severe
Private
Delicate Arch
The best Routes on FATMAP, hand-picked by FATMAP’s Editorial team.

Delicate Arch

1 - 2 hrs
5.0 km
196 m
196 m
Hike to the iconic arch in Arches National Park.
Moderate
Private
Druid Arch
The best Routes on FATMAP, hand-picked by FATMAP’s Editorial team.

Druid Arch

3 - 4 hrs
15.7 km
450 m
450 m
One of the most popular hiking destinations in the Needles District of Canyonlands National Park.
Severe
Private
Devil's Garden
The best Routes on FATMAP, hand-picked by FATMAP’s Editorial team.

Devil's Garden

2 - 3 hrs
11.1 km
307 m
293 m
The most difficult maintained trail in Arches National Park.
Severe
Private
Angels Landing
The best Routes on FATMAP, hand-picked by FATMAP’s Editorial team.

Angels Landing

Zion National Park
2 - 3 hrs
7.2 km
532 m
532 m
Zion National Park's iconic vertigo-inducing hike to a heavenly view.
Severe
Private
The Narrows
The best Routes on FATMAP, hand-picked by FATMAP’s Editorial team.

The Narrows

Zion National Park
3 - 4 hrs
14.2 km
489 m
489 m
One-of-a-kind hike through a flowing stream, between soaring sandstone walls, in one of the world's most dramatic slot canyons
Moderate
Private
Bright Angel Trail
The best Routes on FATMAP, hand-picked by FATMAP’s Editorial team.

Bright Angel Trail

Grand Canyon National Park
3 - 4 hrs
14.5 km
118 m
1,447 m
Iconic trail from rim to river in the Grand Canyon.
Difficult
Private
South Kaibab Trail
The best Routes on FATMAP, hand-picked by FATMAP’s Editorial team.

South Kaibab Trail

Grand Canyon National Park
6 - 7 hrs
20.2 km
1,481 m
1,492 m
A jaw-dropping journey into the Grand Canyon, and the most direct route from rim to river.
Difficult
Private
Queens Garden -> Navajo Loop
The best Routes on FATMAP, hand-picked by FATMAP’s Editorial team.

Queens Garden -> Navajo Loop

1 - 2 hrs
4.9 km
189 m
189 m
The most popular hike in Bryce Canyon National Park.
Easy
Private