World → North America → S.W. USA
One of the best hiking regions in the world is the
SOUTHWEST UNITED STATES Top 10
- four super hiking states: Utah, Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona
- high, dry desert
- Grand Canyon is the most famous attraction, but there are a half dozen more attractions just as exciting: Canyonlands, Zion, Bryce, Paria, The Wave, Monument Valley, etc.
- colourful, sculpted sandstone
- easy walking on slip rock
- great hiking almost anywhere
- best weather Oct-Nov, Mar-May
WHY WE LIKE THIS REGION
- most of the best slot canyons of the world
- almost all the natural stone arches of the world
- some of the best day hikes in the world including Angel’s Landing and Zion Narrows
- very few biting flies
- easy access from Salt Lake City, Vegas, Phoenix and other major airports
- it’s a photographers dream: sandstone monoliths, towers, and other unique geological structures
- the “Grand” canyon of the Colorado river is not nearly the deepest in the world, but we feel it’s the most beautiful
- the tourist infrastructure is surprisingly undeveloped
- very few good hostels. Tent or stay in chain motels.
- includes all of the amazing Colorado Plateau
- many special geological features
- First Nations cultural and spiritual associations
- by far the biggest downside of this region is lack of water
- real risk of getting lost
- in the desert you can suffer heat stroke in the day, hypothermia at night
- you could hike year round, but Jul-Aug is very, very hot
- very basic backcountry campgrounds. Few huts or cook houses. Tenting essential
- you really need a personal vehicle. Public transportation is terrible.
- backcountry permits are required on most major hikes
- mobile phones probably will not work
- flooding is a slight concern. Drowning in slot canyons a much larger worry.
- black widow spiders, centipedes, scorpions, rattlesnakes and tarantulas live here. They are normally not a bother.
- human/dog waste bags required in the Grand Canyon
- On the Colorado river the Hoover Dam (1930s) and the Glen Canyon Dam (1960s) altered the landscape drastically, not always for the worse