Utah Backpacking with Little Kids?

Ben R.

New Member
Jun 7, 2017
My family is thinking of taking a trip to southern Utah in October to see some of the National Parks and other areas of interest. We’d like to do a backpack trip for part of the time (between 2 and 4 nights), and then spend some time driving around other areas. We’ve never been to Utah before.

Any suggestions for backpacking routes in the area appropriate for young kids? Our kids will be 5.5 and nearly 3. If we carry the little one, the older one can do 3 to 5 mile days, but if we leave the kid carrier at home, we’re limited to about 2 miles a day. We are experienced family backpackers, but live in the northeast. An area with more open camping regulations and flexibility might work better, as distances between designated campsites aren’t always in tune with really short mileage days. Prerequisites are scenic hiking and camping, and water availability. Bonus items for the kids would be waterfalls, wildlife, etc.


Sounds like something with a constant water source in a canyon would be the ticket. The Escalante River gorge from the town trailhead down would be a good pick. Go as far as you want each day and back out the way you came. Huge walls, alcoves, a small stream and rock art. It's in Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument.
Nick - awesome, thanks. Yes, constant water and freedom to camp anywhere along it would be ideal. I found one of your trip reports on the trail, and it looks great. Are there places to camp consistently down the river, or should I be aware of any lengthy sections that we may need to plan to hike thru to reach the next good spot?
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