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First time hiker going to Utah...need advice


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Hello all,

Work is sending me to Salt Lake City in Utah for a business trip, and I'm taking a bit of an advantage of it and bookending the meetings with visits to a few national parks. I'll be spending Memorial Day weekend in Zion, and the following weekend will be about a 1.5 day visit to Bryce Canyon.

I have never done any sort of hiking or mountain climbing in my life, nor have I ever been in a desert or similar environment, so this is going to be a very new experience to me. I was hoping you all could help me out with figuring out what I need to bring with me. Here's what I've managed to come up with so far:

Hiking boots (I got a pair of Merrell Moab Mids)

Wool socks


Toilet Paper

Garbage bags

Trail food (jerky, nuts, raisins)

Camera Gear

Hydration pack (haven't figured out a specific model, but something at least 3L in capacity. I may carry two to be safe)

First Aid Kit



Lifestraw (just in case)


Anything else I should bring? I do plan on going into the Narrows, so please factor that in as well.

Also, any idea what type of clothing I should wear? I've heard some people say that shorts and a shirt are fine, while others say I should wear a wetsuit, long shirts and long pants, to try and not lose too much water.

Also, any advice for hiking in environments like this alone? I'm not planning on camping out (I have hotel rooms every night), don't plan on staying very late in the evenings in the park, and by and large, I only plan on doing the established trails (Emerald Pools, the Narrows, Angel's Landing [whether I do the final portion of the ascent is not certain right now], so I won't be completely going off the beaten path. There should be others on the trails, especially during the busy holiday weekend, but I do worry a bit. Again, first time nerves for sure, but as the boy scouts say (which I never was): Be prepared.

Thanks in advance!

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Aaron Zagrodnick

Here's a nice read on the 10 essentials which are always good to have covered:


In regards to clothing, a lot of it comes down to personal preference. I pretty much always hike in synthetic convertible pants and a synthetic t-shirt with some type of hat, combined with a lightweight long sleeve shirt packed away for sun protection or warmth when needed, and trail runners on my feet. The setup has worked well in UT both in the canyons / rivers and out in the sun as well although I haven't done those specific hikes...I could see some type of dedicated water shoe (as long as it still protects the feet) or even just a spare set of running shoes serving that purpose being useful, perhaps. Have a good trip...hope this helps!

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It's just walking in the woods. Don't over-think it. Bad things happen extremely rarely, and experience is the best teacher.

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What a fun work trip! Zion & Bryce are two of my favorite places. :)

If you are not camping/backpacking and staying mostly on trails, then you should be fine with the basics as mentioned above. Both parks should be pretty busy this time of year. Just a few extra thoughts:

For the Narrows, assuming you are doing the upstream/dayhike from the Riverside Walk, remember your gear will likely get wet, so protect the camera, phone, etc. I hiked upstream for a couple of hours, and ran into several places where the water was chest-deep. Don't forget to check the forecast for rain, as flash floods are very real... you'll see signs saying the same. It started to rain while I was in there, and the water moved faster and rose quite quickly. If you plan to do more hiking after the Narrows, a spare pair of shoes & quick-dry fabrics might be nice.

Bryce is great... it does get hotter as you go lower into the canyon/amphitheater; bring enough water for your hike. They say it takes twice as long to get back up out of the canyon as it does to go down into it, so keep that in mind.

Try to relax and enjoy yourself while you are out there. Have fun!

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