Zion in the Winter

Zion in the winter – yes or no?

For avid hikers who can handle the cold, it’s a definite yes. The beauty of Zion National Park during the winter makes it almost a different park than you see during the warm months of the year, when visitors flood the park to enjoy the beauty and warmth of southern Utah. This lightly frosted landscape in the winter has a sense of untouched beauty to it, when park visitation numbers go down, and fewer people trek the sloping trails of Zion – especially after Christmas, from January-March.

For those who are less inclined to thrive in the cold, hold off on Zion until the spring, or keep your eye on the warmer days of winter and go during that time. While Southern Utah does flaunt mild, short winters, that doesn’t mean that it doesn’t get cold in Zion – this desert landscape still braces itself against cold temperatures during the late fall through early spring. The weather and temperatures fluctuate in the winter, so check the weather before your trip so you can pack and dress accordingly.

Be wary of ice

When visiting Zion during the winter, the most important part is to be wary of ice on the trails. While most trails are open year-round, they can be icy and slick once the sun melts the snow. It’s important to check the Zion Canyon Visitors Center beforehand to get an update on these trails, especially for trails like Angels Landing, Weeping Rock, Riverside Walk, Observation Point, and Emerald Pools, that experience sun and moisture and can lead to dangerous hiking conditions.

Get the right gear to stay dry

With proper gear, camping overnight in the park is feasible as well – even in a tent during the winter months. It’s important to use waterproof gear designed for zero-temp weather to accommodate for the cold, staying warm and dry even during the coldest nights of the year.

Be aware of road closures

The Zion and Springdale shuttle system is not in operation during the winter season, so private vehicles can drive through Zion Canyon using the Zion Canyon Scenic Drive. Keep your eye on the Current Conditions Page to check for any roads that are closed due to bad weather. Although Zion roads and the roads leading to Zion are open year round, like Kolob Terrace Road, Kolob Canyons Road, and Mt. Carmel Highway, these roads all experience frequent closures due to snow and other hazardous conditions during the winter, so it’s important to check this beforehand and plan your route accordingly.

Zion Winter Season Hours of Operation

Zion Canyon Visitor Center
8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Closed Christmas Day

Zion Canyon Wilderness Desk
8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Closed Christmas Day

Zion Human History Museum
Closed during winter

Kolob Canyons Visitor Center
8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Closed Christmas Day

Hidden Gem Hikes Around St. George

Red Mountain Trail 

Just 12 miles north of Bluff Street on SR-18, Red Mountain Trailhead is a quiet but stunning trail that overlooks Snow Canyon. This overlook has a similar feel and grandeur overlook of Angel’s Landing, without the danger of the infamous last stretch of narrow rock and chains required to traverse the last portion of Angel’s Landing in Zion National Park.

The trailhead starts just past Diamond Valley, with a grand view of the Pine Valley Mountains. A small marked sign points westward as you approach the turnoff, and the trailhead starts close to SR-18. Bathrooms and a parking lot are available at the turnoff. Once you start on the hike, a slight incline on a rocky trail continues as you travel in a southwestern direction. The further you go on the trail, the forest of juniper and pinion becomes denser. While the trail is easily distinguishable most of the time, if it’s difficult to tell what direction to go at any time, continue to take the wide, left-ward paths.

Occasional cairns (stacks of rocks, and in this case, red sandstone) will mark the direction of where to go in situations where it’s a little harder to discern. Overall, the trail is fairly even and steady, without any sections that are overly steep or require you to climb on your hands and knees. Towards the end of the trail, the trail becomes sandy, which can be difficult to walk through for the elderly, small children, or those who have a hard time walking. Once you have reached the end of the trail, you are greeted with a stunning view overlooking the dead center of Snow Canyon from the back (north) side of the state park. White and red sandstone cliffs tower over the gentle terrain at the bottom of the canyon, and in the distance, you can view parts of Ivins, Santa Clara, and St. George. To head back, take the same route back to the trailhead.

This trail is 4.8 miles roundtrip, and generally takes 1 hour and 15 minutes each way (2.5 hours round trip) at a steady pace. At a slower pace, this hike will take closer to 3 hours. Bring plenty of water, as there are no water sources along the trail. This is an easy to moderate trail that’s free, beautiful, and great for all hiking skill levels  

Red Mountain Trail, Overlooking Snow Canyon

Anasazi Trail in Ivins

Another beautiful trail with little traffic is the Anasazi Valley Trail, or Tempi’po’op trail. This hike is an easy trail as well, and 3.5 miles roundtrip. For those interested in Native American history, this trail showcases plenty of petroglyphs – right in the open. This can also be an educational hike for the kids.

To get there, head west on Sunset boulevard for 7 miles. On the left, a sign will say, “Santa Clara River Reserve – Anasazi Valley Trailhead”. After a short dirt road that is less than a few hundred feet long, the trailhead will be on your left. Again, bring plenty of water on this hike, especially if it’s during the hotter months of the year.

There are two trails available to get to the top. The trail to the right is the shorter, steeper trail, although it is encouraged to take the left trail, as this one is the official trail and is easier for kids and stroller access. At the top of the trail, not only are there a striking array of petroglyphs to view, but old Anasazi Farmstead ruins are at the top of the trail as well. Not only does this hike have historical and cultural value, but it’s a beautiful hike showcasing Southern Utah’s red rock as well.

3 NASA Approved House Plants

Until you add some wildlife in your home, you don’t know what you’re missing. FYI we’re talking plant wildlife, not squirrel monkeys and hedgehogs.

Not only do plants make your home feel more alive, they also clean the air. According to NASA’s Clean Air Study, the following plants will do the best job of purifying your air.

Add some extra luxury to your custom St. George home with these hygienic plants:

Garden Mumm

This little plant is the air purifying king. (We’d even argue that it’s the prettiest on the list.) They can readily be found at any garden store and can even survive outdoors. They like direct sun and regular waterings.

red-mumPollutants removed: ammonia, benzene, formaldehyde, and xylene.

Spider Plant

This low maintenance plant is known as one of the easiest to grow. It’s named after the “spiderettes” than dangle down from the mother plant like spiders on a web. Provide them with bright, indirect sunlight and well drained soil.

Pollutants removed: formaldehyde and xylene.

spider-plantPeace Lily

Flowering most of the summer, Peace Lilys are easy to grow. Find a shadier spot for them and allow the soil to dry between waterings.

Pollutants removed: ammonia, benzene, formaldehyde, and trichloroethylene.

Fun Halloween Decoration Ideas

Halloween is right around the corner and instead of buying those Christmas decorations that are on sale for some reason, do some fun Halloween ideas. There are a lot of different ideas out there but these are some of our favorites.


  • Headless Horseman


  • candySpider Plates


  • platesPumpkin Cats


  • Cobwebs… Lots of cobwebs



  • Ghosts

Photo Credit: Thinkstock

  • Tombstones


  • Bats



  • Pumpkin Family









Backyard Essentials

Now that it is getting warmer here in Utah, it is time to take in this beautiful weather with your loved ones. We suggest spending time in the backyard day or night. Here are four backyard essentials for you and your guests to enjoy!

Backyard essentials

Picnic table

A picnic table is a great addition to your backyard. Imagine spending your time here while enjoying a snack or reading your favorite book.

picnictableBackyard furniture set

Comfy chairs, a table and an umbrella to keep you and your guests in the shade. You can enjoy an ice-cold lemonade and chat with a friend in a pretty backyard setting.



Fire pit

Summer nights create some of the best memories with your loved ones. You can roast marshmallows and hot dogs with this fire pit.



Add some lights to your gazebo and it will light up your backyard in the most delightful way. Set up your table and grill under your gazebo for the perfect barbecue.


We hope these backyard essentials will help you create a nice setting in your very own backyard. Please contact Ence Homes if you are interested in building a home in southern Utah.

Fun Summer Activities for Kids at home

The kids are out for the summer and you’re looking for ways to keep them busy over break. Though they have chores to do and summer homework and reading assignments to complete, they should have some fun, right? Here are six pleasurable activities for your kids to enjoy at your new home in St. George.

  1. Have your aspiring horticulturalists make a potted plant with their favorite flower or veggie to water, nurture and watch grow all summer long. It’ll also help them be responsible.
  1. Invite your kid’s friends over for a backyard camp out. You can help them pitch their tent while setting the ground rules for the night. They can try to catch lightning bugs and make S’mores in your fire pit, with your supervision of course. They’re sure to have a good time staying up all night telling stories and having fun inside the tent.
  1. Encourage your kids to stay fit during the summer by turning your new home in St. George backyard into a play land. A tree swing is sure to keep them busy all summer long while running through a sprinkler or down a water slide will help them cool down from the summer heat.
  1. For bragging rights amongst siblings, set up a friendly tournament or challenge with their favorite video games and board games.
  1. Plan a night outside to stargaze. This is perfect for parents with elementary and middle school-aged children to teach them about the solar system in a fun way. Turn it into a neighborhood event by inviting your fellow Ence Homes neighbors over for some BBQ and then an evening of stargazing.
  1. Take an arts and crafts project to a higher level. Help your kids put together a bird feeder. This is sure to keep them occupied for hours. After it’s decorated and the feeder is filled with seeds, hang it up in your backyard. We suggest placing it in an area that’s easy to see from your new home in St. George. This is one summer activity that you and your family can enjoy throughout the year as the birds come to visit and eat the seeds you’ve put out for them.

Travel tips for summer vacations

You and your family are looking forward to some rest and relaxation away from your new homes in St. George humble abode. Before you pack your bags and go on holiday, take a look at these travel trips to ensure you have a wonderful and safe vacation.

Book your flight, rental car and housing reservations in advance to try to get the best deals. If you’re flying to your destination, try to book a non-stop flight versus a connecting flight. It’s easier and more convenient, especially if you’re traveling with young kids. If traveling by car, get your car checked out by a mechanic to ensure it’s ready for the road. Keep a spare tire, gas can and battery cables in your car.

Pack light and smart. There is no need to bring everything you own on vacation. Pack any medications your family members will need for the entire trip. Limit the number of credit cards and debit cards you take, leave your valuables at home and keep them all out of sight and in a safe place.

Look up the weather forecast for your trip. Bring a rain slicker or umbrella just in case you get an unexpected downpour.

Check around your home to make sure everything is locked up. Keep a light or two on to give the appearance you’re home. Don’t announce to the world you’re away, especially on Facebook and Twitter. The last thing you want to do is tell people you’re away from your new homes in St. George. Doing so is pretty much an open invitation for someone to break into your home.

Drink plenty of water to stay hydrated and to prevent fatigue and jet lag. Don’t bring sunburn home as a souvenir. Pack plenty of sunscreen and apply it at least 20 minutes before heading out in the sun.

Have a buddy system and a contingency plan if someone gets lost. Keep your phones charged and make sure every one has each other’s numbers. Let a relative or friend know your itinerary and where you’ll be at all times in case of an emergency.

You may want to suspend mail and newspaper delivery if you’re going to be away from your new homes in St. George for an extended period of time. If you don’t want to do that, you can always entrust a family member, friend or Ence Home neighbor to pick up your deliveries.

Leave your worries and stress at home. Have fun and enjoy your vacation.

Summer Grilling Guide for your new home

With its picturesque setting, your new St. George Home’s backyard provides the perfect backdrop for barbecuing. Here’s your summer grilling guide.

Make sure your grill is far enough away from your home and keep a fire extinguisher close. To avoid over-charring and having your previous meal as an unwanted seasoning, clean your grill before turning it on. Clean the grates with a grill brush, empty out your grill pans and empty out the inside to get rid of debris. Apply non-stick spray to avoid food sticking to your grill before firing it up.

The more you check on your food the more the temperature goes down. Keep the grill covered to maintain optimal temperature. And don’t become the flip master because your meats only need to be flipped once.

Loin and round select cuts of meat are grilling friendly. Instead of prime grades of meat, go for select or choice grades of beef. Trim excess fat from your meats because it’s healthier and reduces grease from spraying and juices dripping into the grill causing it to smoke up.

A common grilling mistake is putting your food on too early. Allow your grill to warm up. It takes about 30 minutes when you’re using coal or wood. Though gas grills don’t take as long, make sure it’s warm enough. To ensure your meats will cook evenly, allow your meats to get to room temperature inside your home before putting it on the grill.

Grilled eggplant slices or Portobello mushrooms are great substitutes for burgers. Toast your buns and dress it up with roasted vegetables, caramelized onions, avocados and other toppings of your liking. Use a vegetable grilling basket or wrap your veggies in aluminum foil, venting just a tad for air to flow. Grilled fruits, like pineapples or tomatoes, go well with pork chops, chicken or salads. A heat thermometer is suggested to make sure your food isn’t undercooked or overcooked.

This guide should help you have a great grilling season. Happy barbecuing and have a wonderful summer.