Hurst Natural Bridge is located in the San Rafael Swell, high above Ernie Canyon. There is no trail to reach Hurst Bridge, making a fun day for those who like adventuring and exploring. Make sure you have a downloaded topo map of the area, as there is no cell service. There is no shade, nor water so be prepared to be self-reliant. This is a dog friendly hike, but the sand will burn their paws if you start too late - we started hiking at 10am and I wished we had started no later than 7-8am. This hike is best during Winter, early Spring and late Fall when the temperatures have cooled off. If you like hiking to lesser known ares of The Swell, this is the trail for you!
Toquerville Falls is located near St.George in Toquerville, UT. The falls flow from La Verkin Creek over two pour offs - the first a cascade of falls, and the second a complete drop off to about 20 feet to the bottom of the creek. No hiking is required, but you better have a 4x4 car. The sign along the road says "4x4 recommended", but there's no way anything less will make it. The dirt road is only 5.3 miles, but driving it will take you around 45 minutes. We drove a Tacoma and put it in 4-wheel drive several times, all while driving very slow.
Rattlesnake Gulch in Millcreek Canyon is one of my go-to after work hikes. You don't have to drive very far up the canyon to have great access to this moderate trail, which leads to a beautiful overlook of the Salt Lake valley. I highly recommend this as sunset hike - bring a thermos of hot chocolate or tea and sit at the overlook to enjoy the view. This trail works steadily up the mountain for the first mile, then is level for the second mile, making this a great trail run. There is plenty of shade, but no water.
The Anasazi Trail (aka Tempi'po'op, which means "rock writing" in Southern Paiute) in St.George is a casual trail that leads to ancient Pueblo & Paiute remains, as well as petroglyphs. This is more of a walk, rather than a hike, and is great for the whole family to do since it is only 2.2 miles RT. There is zero shade nor water, and the trail gets hot quickly. If you bring your dogs make sure to start early in the day so they don't burn their paws. The path itself consists of long switchbacks, which lead you to a very small hill where the old farmstead was located, and is now fenced off. After checking that out, continue walking uphill (to the South) to see the petroglyphs.
The Farmington Canyon Trail and waterfall is one of my new favorite trails in Davis County. I was surprised at how big this canyon felt, how green it is in Spring, and I loved the 40 ft waterfall. Our dogs had a blast on this trail since there were plenty of stream crossings for them to drink from and play in.
Red Mountain is located in Dammeron Valley, UT not far from Sand Hollow and Gunlock State Parks. Because it's not actually apart of the state parks and is wilderness area, dogs are allowed off leash. Be sure to start early in the morning so the sand doesn't burn their paws. The first 1.5 miles of the trail is very boring and uneventful, but what the trail does lead to is amazing. The Red Mountain Overlook looks down into Sand Hollow, and the white and red slick rock with Signal Peak in the Pine Valley Mountains to the East is incredibly beautiful. This trail is great for the whole family, as it only gains a mere 360 ft. It's a mix of sand and rock, but plenty of shade if you do need a break.
The Lower Sand Cove Trail is located in Dammeron Valley, outside of St.George, Utah. It's located within the Red Mountain Wilderness, making this a dog-friendly hike. Local's know this hike as "The Vortex", due to the interesting geology that created this large pot hole in the slick rock.
Chair Peak (6,194 ft, aka "Chair Hill") is a small peak located at Deer Creek Reservoir. It's only 1.2 miles to the summit, but be prepared for a great calf workout. There is no trail to the top, making this a fun route with no "right way". This is a great hike to do year round, or especially when avalanche danger is too high in winter for other major peaks.
Bells Canyon Waterfall is in the canyon just south of Little Cottonwood Canyon, and apart of the watershed, so dogs are banned from this trail. The trail passes Bells Canyon Reservoir, passes the waterfall, and actually leads to an upper pond, 4.5 miles one way. This was our goal on Saturday, but as we quickly got soaked from the downpour of rain at 7am, we knew that wasn't going to happen for us.
Rainbow Bridge National Monument sits within Lake Powell on the Utah side, and although is one of the largest natural bridges in the world, this national monument is one of the smallest managed by the National Park Service. Rainbow Bridge itself stands 290 ft tall from the base to the top of the arch, and is 275 ft across, making it nearly as tall as the Statue of Liberty. The most popular way to access Rainbow Bridge is via boat on Lake Powell. You can take a boat tour to this area, then walk 1 mile to the bridge. This is a very expensive option, but again, the most popular. If you are looking for more of an adventure, plan to backpack the 15 mile trail instead.