In case you hadn’t noticed, it’s wintertime. And here in Southern Utah we’re lucky to get perfect winter weather. We do get some snowfall, especially in the higher-elevation regions, but we also get lots and lots of sunny, mild days. Which means that if you want to play in the snow, you definitely can, or if you want to wander around one of our national parks, you can do that too. Here’s some ideas of what you can do on a trip to Southern Utah in winter:
Winter is a great time to visit the parks – no matter the weather. They’re a lot less crowded, so you’ll basically have the whole place to yourself. Plus, there are special perks to going in winter. In Zion, you can drive your own car up Zion Canyon, instead of taking the shuttle. And in Bryce Canyon, you can join a ranger-led snowshoe hike among the hoodoos.
In some places, like Capitol Reef and Zion, it only snows a few days out of the year. And while the temperature might not get above 50 degrees, the sun is usually shining. Which means, with the right clothing, you can hike most of the trails in the parks. Check out the local conditions at the park visitor center before you start, and read how you can be winter ready at any of the national parks here.
Of course, as any experienced winter visitor to Southern Utah knows, the national parks are just the tip of the metaphorical iceberg. There are lots of winter sports that you can enjoy in Southern Utah. Like skiing! There are lots of trails in the high mountain plateaus that are perfect for cross-country skiing. Pretty much any trail in Dixie and Fishlake National Forests are great, provided there is enough snow-pack. But each forest maintains groomed trails specifically for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing. We particularly like the the Deer Hollow Non-Motorized Winter Recreation Area in Dixie.
And if you’re in the mood for downhill skiing, we actually have a couple of great resorts here in Southern Utah. Check out Brain Head and Eagle Point ski resorts, and read this post comparing the difference between the two.
If you aren’t in the mood for lots of exercise, but still want to experience the fun of tearing through that powder, think about going snowmobiling. Because, it turns out, Utah is a great place for snowmobiling. There are over 850-miles of groomed trails in the state. We recommend that you check out the Cedar Mountain Snowmobile Complex/East Snowmobile Complex . Located near Cedar Breaks, it’s one the most scenic snowmobile areas in the country and it alone has over 160 miles of groomed trails. You can check the condition of groomed trails at this Utah State website.
The fishing never stops in Southern Utah! With the right gear, and a good lakeside location, you can catch ‘em all year long. Our number one pick for ice fishing in Southern Utah is at Fishlake (or nearby Johnson Reservoir). The views are great, the lake is big, and the trout are hungry.
One Last (Christmas) Thing
If you are looking for a chance to get your own Christmas Tree this year, Dixie National Forest has a program to let you harvest your own tree. It’s the perfect winter activity in Southern Utah for kids and families! Check out this link here to get a permit.