Hiking in Southern Utah on a Budget

Danger, beautiful photos, and no real need to be in physically good shape. Does this interest you? If so, with 400 bucks, a six-hour drive, and 4 days to spare, you can have one of the most awesome adventures of your life. What the hell am I referring to? I’m referring to southern Utah. Here is what I did during my four-day stay and how I kept it under 400 bucks.

Day 1: On the first day, I decided to hit up Bryce Canyon. I would recommend taking the “figure 8” route, which will let you hit up pretty much every part of the park. This route is long but pretty easy if you take it slow and steady. No need to bring a heavy pack. I would recommend starting your hike around 11am. That’ll give you more than enough time to finish before the sun goes down. Expect pretty flat terrain overall, though some areas are a little hilly. Nothing crazy. Everything is doable.

Day 2: Definitely check out Observation Point. Once again, not tough - just long and steady. This one would most likely take you about six to seven hours, round trip. Possibly aim to start around 10am. That way you’ll be at the top by 1pm, when lighting is perfect for great photos and views.

Day 3: Angle’s Landing. Probably my favorite hike. On video this hike looks dangerous. But because of the safety chains embedded in various points of the mountain, it really isn’t. I’ve gone in the summer, fall and winter and it’s safe across the board. At the top you’ll find everyone from athletes to old ladies. I’ve even taken my dad and mom on this hike before and they found it easy. Definitely worth it. Great pictures. Great views. I would recommend starting at around 10am for this one. You should need no more than 4 hours to finish, round trip. 

Day 4: Antelope Canyon. This one is not actually in southern Utah, but at the very edge of northern Arizona. Either way, it’s a very easy detour and definitely worth the extra two-hour drive. No physical fitness necessary at all for this one. You just need amazing eye sight.

Where did I stay? 

Whenever I go to Zion and Bryce Canyon, I prefer to stay at Pioneer Lodge. It’s pretty cheap and very well maintained, and it’s easy to access all the parks from there. 

When is the best time to go?​

I prefer the winter time around mid-December. All the pictures above are from this time of year. I prefer to go in the month of December because everything is super cheap—plus there are no crowds whatsoever. The parks basically turn into ghost towns at certain portions of the day.  

What to wear during December?

The weather is all over the place in December. Could be really sunny one day and snowy the next. Mind set should be better to have it and not need it, then need it and not have it.

How did you only spend $400?


-Pioneer lodge. $70 per night for 4 nights equals $280. I went with my girlfriend and we split the cost in half, so that was $140. In the past I have gone with 3-4 friends, making it even cheaper.


-You can also set up a tent at a campground or sleep in your car. That’ll reduce the price tremendously.


-We spent $100 for gas, which once again we divided in half. That’s $50. We drove a C-Max Hybrid from the OC to Southern Utah and back.


-Throw in $120 bucks for food and you’re at around $310 for one traveler at this point. You can go way cheaper on this one if need be by simply packing your meals - which we didn't do. 


-To get a seven-day pass for Zion and Bryce Canyon, the rate will be $60 bucks: $30 for Zion and $30 for Bryce. So that runs down to $30/person.


-And last but not least, checking out Antelope Canyon will run you $60.