Winter is far from an off-season in Southern Utah. While the weather might be cooler and crowds thinner, you’ll find no shortage of activities and adventures to choose from throughout the region.
If you’re planning a trip this season, keep reading to learn 6 winter activities to enjoy in Southern Utah.
1. HIT THE SLOPES
When you’re hiking along sandstone cliff faces in triple-digit temperatures during the summer months, it’s tough to imagine snow in Southern Utah. But head to some of the highest elevations in the region, and you’ll find just that all winter long.
There are two ski resorts to choose from in Southern Utah. Brian Head Resort, in Brian Head, Utah, is the southernmost option. Eagle Point Resort is a bit further north, in Beaver, Utah.
At each resort, you’ll find a variety of slope options for skiing and snowboarding. Rental options abound, so you don’t need to worry about bringing your own gear.
If skiing and snowboarding isn’t your style, don’t worry, there’s another way to experience the slopes. Snow tubing is a fun, exhilarating way to ride the slopes with the whole family.
Snow-shoeing is one awesome winter activity you can enjoy this season. Because you don’t need slopes, it’s far easier to enjoy throughout Southern Utah.
Snow-shoeing is not only a fun winter sport but also a necessity if you want to explore some regions during the winter. When there are several feet of snow on the ground, snow-shoes help you stay on top of the drift so that you can get around and enjoy the sights.
Cedar Breaks National Monument is one of the best spots to go for snowshoeing in Southern Utah. The main road from the Monument closes in the winter, but you can take state road 143 past Brian Head Ski Resort to get into the park.
If you’re new to snowshoeing, be sure to plan a visit to Cedar Breaks on a Saturday, when Park Rangers lead guided hikes to the winter ranger station. Once you get there, they’ll treat you to hot chocolate and cider before you start your return trip. The guided trip is free of charge, but you will need to sign up online in advance. They even provide snowshoes for you to use if you don’t have your own! If a tour isn’t your thing, you can still snowshoe on many of the popular summer trails, like Alpine Pond Trail, on your own.
3. CROSS-COUNTRY SKIING
Like Snow-shoeing, cross-country skiing is another great way to get around and see the sights, even with a few feet of snow on the ground.
Bryce Canyon is one of the best places to go for this sport. Only a small section of the park is accessible by car once snow has fallen. But you can cross-country ski on many of the closed roadways and trails. This means you can access overlooks and other destinations in the park, as long as you’re on skis!
4. RIDE THE SNOWY LANDSCAPE ON A SNOWMOBILE
If you’re looking for something a bit more exciting than cross-country skiing or snow-shoeing, a ride on a snowmobile might be just the thing.
Several outfitters in the lower half of the state offer snowmobiles. If you have experience driving one, you can rent a snowmobile and head out in the snowy wilderness for a fast-paced adventure. If it’s your first time on one of these big machines, it’s best to join a beginner’s tour. You’ll still get to see the sights, but with the help of an experienced guide.
5. HIKE A WINTER-ONLY TRAIL
Some trails, and especially those in higher elevations in the region, close when snow and ice make them impassable or dangerous. But there’s a trail in Snow Canyon State Park that does the opposite.
Johnson Canyon Trail is around 1.8-miles roundtrip and an easy hike, making it great for families or those who are short on time. But come to the park in the summer and you’ll find the trailhead closed. That’s because the trail usually opens for the year at the end of October or early November, and closes again in mid-March.
On the trail, you’ll wind along bright red rock walls, black lava flows, and some persistent greenery. Near the end of the trail, look up and you’ll enjoy a wonderful view of Johnson Canyon Arch, the trail’s namesake.
6. ENJOY POPULAR DESTINATIONS WITH FEWER CROWDS
Another way to experience Southern Utah during the winter months is to do the same things you would in the summer. But rather than fighting the crowds, you can enjoy some of your favorite trails almost entirely on your own.
Much of Southern Utah enjoys mild winters, so you can still hike, sightsee, and more, as long as you have the right gear.
PLANNING A WINTER ADVENTURE IN SOUTHERN UTAH
With so many activities to choose from, there’s something for everyone in Southern Utah this winter. If you’re planning to bring the whole family along, check out these tips to plan the perfect group vacation that every generation will enjoy.