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

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