As a light dusting of snow falls over Utah’s brilliant red rocks a sense of tranquility cloaks Southern Utah. Wintertime is the perfect time of year for a quieter, more solitary getaway. With some special preparation and an appreciation for the beauty the seasonal weather often reveals, a winter visit to Southern Utah can be both safe and unforgettable.
What to Do? Everything
You’ll find a wide range of things to do during the winter in Southern Utah, including downhill and cross-country skiing, snowshoeing and snowmobiling, as well as hiking, mountain biking and off-roading (trails condition permitting, be sure to keep an eye on closures and conditions). Camping and backpacking are also possible, though each requires additional skills and experience. Consider going with a guide if you’re unfamiliar with winter recreation. Otherwise, there are lodging options year-round allowing you to spend your days exploring and your nights in a cozy bed.
Where to Go: East or West?
In Southwestern Utah, ideal wintertime base camps include St. George, Cedar City and Kanab. Three national parks are found in this portion of the state — Zion, Bryce Canyon and Capitol Reef — as well as Cedar Breaks and Grand Staircase-Escalante national monuments.
In Southeastern Utah, the most popular winter base camp is Moab. But consider also the amenities in towns like Monticello, Bluff and Green River or at Goulding’s Lodge near Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park. This region includes Arches and Canyonlands national parks, as well as Natural Bridges and Hovenweep national monuments. The area is especially rich in Native American heritage sites designated to protect and preserve important rock imagery and cliff dwellings.
Traveling With a Plan
As you travel, consider how to follow Forever Mighty principles to keep these destinations beautiful year-round.
Special tips for wintertime travel include:
- Plan to be self-reliant with food, water and sleeping
- Check for seasonal closures for roads, restaurants, visitor services and supply stores
- Be sure to call ahead when considering lodging and dining options
- Be weather-wise and plan for snowy road and trail conditions
- if in doubt, hire a guide.
- Prepare to Leave No Trace, including avoiding stepping on fragile biocrusts, packing out all trash and traveling with “wag bags” for when nature calls.
Learn more at visitutah.com/winter-southern-utah