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Safety Tips for Visiting Southern Utah State Parks

Sep 27, 2023 | Our Blog, Things to do in Utah | 0 comments

Utah’s Mighty 5 national parks are some of the state’s most popular outdoor destinations. From the sandstone arches of Arches and Canyonlands to the towering canyon walls of Zion National Park, there’s a lot to see during your stay in lodges in Utah.

While you’ll certainly want to plan to spend a lot of time in Capitol Reef National Park during your stay in Cougar Ridge, it isn’t the only outdoor destination you should see during your visit. Some of the region’s most incredible sights can be found in Southern Utah state parks.

From the other-worldly formations in Goblin Valley to the replica of an ancient Native American dwelling in Anasazi, Southern Utah state parks have a lot to offer. Much like the region’s national parks, there are plenty of hiking trails and backcountry areas to explore in these state parks. While these trails might not be as well-known as those you’ll find in Capitol Reef and other parks, it’s just as important to practice some safety tips during your visit. Keep reading to learn a few essential safety tips for visiting Southern Utah state parks.

Keep to Designated Trails

Capitol Reef National Park is home to some incredible, undeveloped backcountry. Experienced hikers and backpackers can trek to the remote edges of the park on Capitol Reef hikes. Even day visitors can take a drive on unpaved roads to experience the natural beauty of this park.

While Southern Utah state parks might not have as much wide open backcountry as Capitol Reef, don’t assume that because it isn’t a national park doesn’t mean that they aren’t some remote trails.

As tempting as it may be to wander off the trail, this is perhaps the biggest mistake any visitor could make. With no trails to follow, you’ll be crossing treacherous terrain. Cell phone service is limited enough in the developed areas of the park; in the backcountry, you’re unlikely to ever see a bar. This means if you do get into trouble or even just get turned around, you won’t be able to call for help or use your GPS.

Whether you’re looking for an afternoon stroll or a challenging multi-day trek, stick to established trails. Not only will you be keeping yourself safe, but you’ll also be doing your part to protect the natural resources of Southern Utah state parks.

Know Where You’re Going

Southern Utah state parks like Goblin Valley make for a great day trip during your stay at lodges in Utah. But just because it’s a day trip doesn’t mean that it should be an afterthought.

Just like planning a day in a national park like Capitol Reef or Arches, it’s important to make a plan and know where you’re going. Research hiking trails and attractions ahead of your visit so that you can prioritize what you’d like to see when you arrive. If you’re driving a couple of hours to the park, start your day early to make the most of your time and avoid winding up on a trail after dark.

Planning ahead what you’d like to do during your day trip to a Southern Utah state park will also allow you to pack the right gear, like a day pack, trail snacks, and water bottles.

Carry Plenty of Water

Dehydration is one of the biggest causes of emergency responses in any national or state park. Southern Utah is primarily red rock desert, with plenty of steep trails and often little shade in the middle of the day.

An active, healthy hiker on a moderate trail needs to drink an average of one liter of water every two hours. If you are hiking a more difficult trail, temperatures are high, or you drink more than average, you may go through much more. Always pack more water than you plan to use. Refill your bottles before you start a new trail. And remember to keep drinking as you walk, even if you don’t feel thirsty.

Planning a Safe Visit to Southern Utah State Parks

Southern Utah state parks can make a great addition to your next stay at lodges in Utah. Whether you want to wander among the spires in Goblin Valley or see the stunning views of Kodachrome Basin State Park, there are plenty of options to choose from during your Cougar Ridge stay.

Ready to start planning your own Southern Utah adventure? Fall is a great time to do so. Cooler temperatures and fewer crowds make this a great chance to enjoy some of the more popular Capitol Reef hikes. Check out this list to learn the best hiking trails to enjoy during your fall visit.

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