Visiting Canyonlands National Park in February

A trip to Canyonlands National Park in February is amazing!

Use our tips below and our Canyonlands National Park guide to help you decide if a February vacation is the right time for you to enjoy outdoor winter adventures at this park.

We share fun things to do, what to pack, where to stay and services available in February at Canyonlands.

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What to Pack for a Winter Vacation

1.  Hiking Gear

2. Clothing – Layers

3. Daypack

4. Other

WHERE TO STAY NEAR CANYONLANDS

There are no lodging facilities in the park, but there are campgrounds.

Here are 4 places we recommend:

  •  Holiday Inn Express Hotel & Suites Moab – we enjoyed our stay and highly recommend this hotel due to its location close to Canyonlands.
  •  Purple Sage – our all-time favorite place to stay in Moab – walking distance to shopping, full kitchen, and only 8 units so you don’t feel lost in a large hotel.
  •  Red Cliffs Lodge – rooms up to 6 people – located 17 miles from Moab, this lodge is known for its beautiful location, winery and activities like horseback riding, fishing and more!
  • Townhomes south of town – we really like the townhomes in Spanish Valley with kitchen, washer and dryer in the unit and a swimming pool/hot tub (just a 5 minute drive south of Moab).
  • Rent an RV – have it dropped off at your vacation destination!

Where to Stay Near Canyonlands Needles

There are no lodging facilities in the park, but there is one campground.

You can visit Needles and stay in Moab, and most people do that.

The town of Monticello is a bit closer to Needles, but the lodging, food and shopping options aren’t as good. It’s a much smaller town than Moab.

TOP REASON TO VISIT CANYONLANDS IN FEBRUARY

Winter is a quiet time at this Utah National Park. You’ll enjoy the park with fewer people and avoid the heat of summer.

In February you won’t wait in line to enter the park and you often have the parking lots and trails to yourself!

Green River Overlook at Canyonlands with snow

BIGGEST DRAWBACK

Visitor services are reduced at Canyonlands in February. You’ll need to be more self-reliant when visiting Canyonlands National Park in the winter.  

The hiking trails remain open year-round, but you may encounter snow and ice which may require traction devices and trekking poles. 

If you’re ok with those two things, then you should definitely visit Canyonlands in February!

CANYONLANDS WEATHER IN FEBRUARY

The weather at Canyonlands in February is cold. And if a snow storm rolls through, trails and roads may become impassable.

The average highs are around 52 degrees with the lows around 28 degrees.

Remember that Canyonlands National Park Island in the Sky is located at 6,100 feet above sea level, and Needles Canyonlands is 5,920 so it does get cold in the winter, even if the sun is out.

Dress in layers when visiting Canyonlands in February. Take warm winter clothing and dress in layers so you’ll actually want to get out of the car when you get to the trailhead. Wear waterproof hiking boots so you don’t get soggy feet!

After a snow storm, the park road might be closed for plowing for a few hours. Keep in mind that the roads, parking lots, and pullouts in the park can still be icy, especially in shaded areas.

You can see current weather conditions on the NPS website.

Canyonlands in the winter with snow

Things to Do at Canyonlands in February

Check out all the fun things to do at Canyonlands National Park.

Here are some tips for visiting Canyonlands National Park Island in the Sky and things to do at Needles Canyonlands.

  • Check road and weather conditions so you’re prepared to enjoy the outdoors.
  • Be flexible with your schedule, especially in the winter as conditions may close parts of the park.

HIKING

Exploring Canyonlands hikes in the winter is very enjoyable when the sun is out. It’s quite different from summer when you’re sweating and worrying about heat exhaustion.

Remember it’s still important to stay hydrated and wear sunscreen in the winter!

Most of the Island in the Sky hikes and Needles hikes are fully exposed to the sun, which is perfect for your visit in February.

Keep in mind you may encounter ice, snow and mud in shady areas of the trails because of the cold temperatures so wet areas don’t dry out.

You may need traction devices on some trails. Check with the visitor’s center for the most current trail conditions.

Permits are required for backcountry hiking. Services to get those permits are limited in February so plan ahead!

Also, It gets darker earlier at Canyonlands National Park in the winter, which may limit the time you spend hiking.

PHOTOGRAPHY

We often wish for snow when we take our February trip to Canyonlands. The landscape of red rocks with white snow is so pretty!

Be prepared for all types of winter photography due to weather. You can still capture amazing photos with rain, snow and fog.

The best times to photograph the park are sunrise and sunset. The colors are vibrant and the light creates a spectacular glow on the red rocks that cannot be missed.

CHECK OUT our Arches & Canyonlands Photography Guide to capitalize on all the best places and times to take pictures in the park!

Mesa Arch at sunrise might be the most famous image to photograph in the park. It won’t be as crowded in the winter, and you may get lucky on a week day to have the area to yourself!

And since it will be cold, we like to use photographer gloves and keep rechargeable hand warmers in our coat pockets!

Mesa Arch at sunrise with snow

FAQ’S FOR VISITING IN FEBRUARY

Is Canyonlands National Park Open in February?

You bet! The park is open 24/7, but check the NPS site to get the updated winter hours.

Does it Snow at Canyonlands in February?

Yes, it may snow in February, but it’s not usually large amounts. When a storm rolls through, the park can get a dusting of snow, or even a few inches.

Do the Roads Close at Canyonlands in February?

The park road might be closed after a snowfall for several hours for plowing. For road conditions getting to Canyonlands, check the Utah Road Weather Forecast or call 1-866-511-UTAH (8824).

Park roads, parking lots, and pullouts can still be icy, especially in shaded areas. Check at the visitor center for the latest information on road conditions.

What Park Services are Available in February?

  • There is no gas, food or lodging at Canyonlands. There are toilets at the visitor center and various overlooks.
  • Water is available at the Canyonlands Island in the Sky Visitor Center only from 9 am to 4 pm. You can only get water at the Needles Visitor Center. It’s recommended you pack ALL the water you’ll need for your visit just in case these facilities are closed.

What is the Best Time to Visit Canyonlands National Park?

Here’s a helpful guide of the best time to visit Canyonlands National Park with information for visiting during each season and specific months of the year.

ALWAYS remember to check the forecast and road conditions because conditions change from day to day.

Plan Your Canyonlands Vacation

national park packing lists

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