Want to impress your visiting family or friends with the beauty of Utah? Learn how to plan for things like altitude change so they have a good time!
We’ve been getting readers emailing and asking us what hikes they should take their visiting family on. I actually have a lot of family that visits from Kansas and Missouri each year, and I’ve finally gotten it down to a science!
Here are five problems we’ve learned to plan for over the years:
- Factoring in altitude change: How that will effect them on a hike. If they are used to a lower altitude the hike will be a lot harder for them than you.
- Planning for jetlag: Chances are…an early morning hike is NOT going to work the day after they fly in!
- Catering to families with different skill levels: (Especially if they have kids of different ages!) Will they have kids that need to be carried? Did they bring a hiking carrier?
- Time constraints: You might be dying to show them every national park in Utah, but be realistic! They might not like the idea of roadtripping around Utah after traveling hundreds of miles to get here. (Also, cramming a hike in a busy day might not be the best idea…dedicate at least one day for hiking.)
- Travel budgets: Be thoughtful when it comes to planning for paid activities, and how much that will cost them on top of their travel to get here. ‘Bigger families’ also means they will have to spend a lot more than you for simple things like a cave tour.
Usually our go-to hike for visiting family has been Stewart Falls: the trail is relatively easy, it is close to us and it ends in a really impressive waterfall finale. What you choose will depend on your own individual circumstances.
Most of the time, our family doesn’t have time to go down to Zion (or they just drove two days to get here and would rather not). However, if your visitors have time, I definitely recommend a weekend trip down to at least Zion National Park (check our post on how to do Zion in a Day).
I am going to include three of our personal choices for hikes to show visiting family, but keep the above five considerations in mind and how they apply to your situation! No one is going to have fun if they collapse halfway down the trail!
1. Stewart Falls hike: About 3.5 miles roundtrip, no switch-backs and a stunning waterfall finale! A crowd pleaser for sure, but plan for a crowded parking lot (unless you go midweek). If you do this hike swing by Bridal Veil Falls on your way back down the canyon. It is not a second hike, but it is the largest waterfall in Utah and has a lot of picnic tables to eat at together. For more info and pics click here.
2. “The 6 Most Adventurous Family Friendly Hikes in Utah” list: Anything on this list should work for visitors with young kids, low stamina or extreme time constraints. Each hike on this list is only 1-2 miles long, but will give you the most bang for your buck! My favorite is Grotto Falls, but you can just choose one closest to you. For more info and pics click here.
3. Fifth Water Hot Springs hike: What is more impressive than a natural hot spring pools with a waterfall in the middle of a canyon? Nothing. Unless your visitors don’t have swimming suits… This trail is a bit longer, but again has no switch backs. If you do this hike, swing by Red Ledges Recreation Area, so you can show them the red rock beauty of Utah without traveling all the way down to Moab! For more info and pics click here.
Also, anything up American Fork Canyon would be gorgeous. My family enjoyed the Timp Cave hike, but it was a bit steep for those dealing with altitude change difficulties.
A drive up American Fork Canyon for a bonfire or picnic and a look at Tibble Fork Reservoir would also be a fantastic way to show them the beauty of Utah!
Most of our readers are in Northern Utah, but if you are in Southern Utah you obviously should show them the National Park favorites or Kanarraville Falls! (My favorite park in Southern Utah is Zion.)
If your visitors have a whole week to see Southern Utah, then check out this awesome one week itinerary to seeing the Southern Utah National Parks by clicking here.
Tip: If you want to know what current trail conditions are, then check Alltrails.com. The most recent comments are from those that have hiked it recently (check the upper right corner for when they hiked it). This is great for knowing if the lake has already dried up late summer or if there is still snow early spring.
I could go on and on! Utah has so much to offer! (You could also just send your visitors a link to Wanderookie and let them choose a hike themselves that they think fits them well.)
If you have specific questions related your your visitors and area then ask us in the comments. We’d love to help you out!