Ask Me: A Recommendation For a Family Backpacking Trip in Southern Utah


Your site is fantastic. I found it while researching a trip to Spring Canyon at Capitol Reef. I live in Portland and have been packing with my two boys since they were in diapers (they are now 5 and 7). We do about three trips per year. There’s nothing better than being out there with the kids, and I’m glad your site is promoting that.

I was wondering if you have any suggestions for trips in southern Utah in June, in the 15-25 mile range? Hopefully something that has a spring somewhere along the way.  I’ve been eyeing Capitol Reef and the Escalante canyons.

Thanks again for your site!

Portland, OR

Hi Keith,

Thanks for writing and the nice compliment. I’m glad you like The Big Outside. I hope you’ll subscribe to the email list. Your kids are reaching a great age for backpacking; I found my kids, at that age, rapidly grew stronger and more capable and eager, and have only continue to do so.

June is a tough call, it can get pretty hot in the Southwest, especially later in the month.

You already saw my first Capitol Reef story. Spring Canyon is a good choice. We elected not to try to ford the Fremont River at the bottom end of the canyon, it was high and fast and typically is in spring, though it could be fine this June. We hiked in and back out via Chimney Rock Canyon, which was gorgeous. Park rangers told me they weren’t sure the spring would be flowing, but we found plenty of water in late March, and a local guide friend there tells me it’s always flowing (which is why they call it Spring Canyon).

Check out my story at TBO about backpacking in Zion. There are two fairly reliable springs on the West Rim Trail, which is high enough that it might not be too hot in June (check the forecast, though). You’ll see from the photos it’s a spectacular hike.

In late March this year, we backpacked Coyote Gulch in Escalante, which has a year-round stream, with our kids and another family (four kids age 9 to 12). Beautiful hike, too.

Thanks again for writing. Keep in touch. Let me know how your trip goes, or share it at my TBO Facebook page.

Michael Lanza

Hi Michael,

Thanks for your reply.  Coyote Gulch does look lovely.  The WOW guide says it’s a zoo around spring break, but I wonder if that’s true given how remote it is. Paria Canyon from the White House TH looks spectacular as well, but the fact you have to pack out your human waste with two kids makes it less appealing, to say the least.

I’ll keep following your site for sure.


[In Ask Me, I share and respond to a reader question. Got a question about hiking, backpacking, gear, or any topic or trip I write about at The Big Outside? Send it to me at or tweet it to @MichaelALanza. I will answer the ones I can in a post, using only your first name and city, with your permission.]



Trail Food Review: Trail Butter

Nature In Your Face: Hiking the Columbia Gorge


Leave a Comment