Visiting Moab in January

Are you wondering what it’s like to visit Moab in January? Winter is one of our favorite times to enjoy Moab adventures!

Use this Moab Utah Vacation Guide to plan a trip in January: weather, activities, what to pack, where to stay and more!

moab utah in January

This guide includes expected weather, what to pack, where to stay and things to do in Moab in January!

We live close enough to Moab that we can visit at various times throughout year so we have lots of ideas and tips to share for visiting in the winter.

Moab packing lists for spring summer fall and winter
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What To Pack for a Trip to Moab

A Photo Tour of Moab, Utah

Take a visual tour through the Moab, Utah area to see the stunning landscapes you’ll see when you visit!

Where to Stay in Moab

There are many types of accommodations to choose from in Moab: budget-friendly hotels to higher-priced resorts. You’ll also find vacation rentals, a hostel, campgrounds and RV parks in Moab.

main street Moab Utah


One of the best places to visit in Utah for budget travel is Moab. The off season rates make it much more affordable than the other times of the year.

Moab during the busy season gets a bit crowded. There may be traffic getting into the town, long waits at restaurants and lines to get into the nearby national parks.

During Moab in the winter the town slows down a bit. The stores and eateries are still open, but you can let yourself enjoy the town without worrying about the crowds!

There are a few negatives for going to Moab in January.

The hiking trails at Arches, Canyonlands and around the Moab area remain open year-round. But… many of the trails can be slippery from packed snow and ice and may require traction devices and trekking poles. 

And for anyone who wants to do off-roading in their Jeep or ATV, some roads may be impassible due to weather and road conditions.

If you’re ok with that, and can be flexible with your plan, then you should definitely visit Moab in January!

If you’re wondering what it’s like to visit Moab at other times of the year, check out our article: Best time to visit Moab.


The weather at Moab in January is cold and can be unpredictable if a storm rolls through. The average highs are near 40 degrees with the lows near 20 degrees. Remember that Moab is about 4,000 feet above sea level so it does get cold in the winter, even if the sun is out.

Dress in layers when visiting Moab in January. Take warm winter clothing so you’ll actually want to get out of the car and enjoy the outdoor activities! Your hiking boots should be warm and waterproof. No one wants soggy feet!

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

You can see current weather conditions at Arches on the NPS website and updated photographs of trail conditions at the Arches visitor center. 


Here’s a fun list of things to do in Moab and ways to get to know the history and geology of the area.

National and State Parks Near Moab

When visiting Moab you must add National Parks and the Utah State Parks to your itinerary. These guides can help you plan your trip for visiting these parks in January! 

Moab Hiking Trails in January

The Moab Utah hiking trails along with the hikes at Arches, Canyonlands Island in the Sky and Dead Horse Point are some of the best you’ll find anywhere in the US!

January is a terrific time to 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 trails in Moab are fully exposed to the sun, which is perfect for your visit in January.

Keep in mind you may encounter ice, snow and mud in shady areas of the trails because January is the coldest month of the year and the wet areas don’t dry.

You may need traction devices on some trails. Check with the Moab Information Center or the park visitor’s centers for the most current trail conditions.

Also, It gets darker earlier in January, which may limit the time you spend hiking.

biking trail along the Colorado River in Moab Utah

Moab Biking Trails in January

Even after a snowfall, there are Moab mountain bike trails you can ride. The Moab landscape is filled with “petrified” sand dunes and slick rock that have become famous for bike rides.

During the summer the parking lots are full and the trails are lined with riders. In January? You could have the lot and trail to yourself, or there may be a handful of other bikers!

Multiple bike shops stay open in the winter to rent gear, tune a bike, or recommend a trail. Or join a Moab bike tour to explore the amazing landscape in Moab!

Photography Around Moab in January

Snow may not be the best for hiking or jeeping, but it makes for amazing photos! The landscape of red rocks with white snow creates an amazing contrast in the landscape.

Be prepared for all types of winter photography at Arches, Canyonlands or Dead Horse Point due to weather. You can still capture amazing photos with rain, snow and fog.

The best times to photograph the areas around Moab 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 and Canyonlands 3 day itinerary and photography guide that lists all the best places and times to take pictures, as well as some of our favorite ‘lesser known’ places around Moab!

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

take jaw-dropping photos at Arches & Canyonlands

Stargazing Around Moab in January

Definitely take one evening to get away from the Moab city lights, go outside and LOOK UP!

Arches, Canyonlands and Dead Horse Point are internationally recognized as one of the best places for stargazing because of the remote location, accessibility, altitude and clear skies.

The Milky Way will not be visible in Moab in January. It’s best viewed from March to October.

jeep driving a trail across slickrock in moab utah

Off-Roading Around Moab in January

Off-roading is one of the best Moab adventures! In the winter you should wear warm clothing and waterproof boots.

If you opt to do a guided tour, the jeeps are heated, but you will want to be bundled up so you can get out and explore the scenic stops along the way.

Local tour companies offer 4×4 rentals, but for inexperienced drivers, it’s best to join a tour or have a guide ride along with you to navigate and teach. We have used and recommend Outlaw Jeep Tours.


Can you visit Moab in January?

Yes! There are lots of things to do in Moab in the winter. The national parks in the area are open 24/7. Visit the NPS site to get the updated winter hours.

What is the best time of year to go to Moab?

Spring and fall are great times to visit Moab when the temperatures are perfect for long days of hiking, mountain biking and most outdoor activities.

Does Moab get snow?

January is the second-snowiest month for Moab. When it does snow, it’s not usually large amounts. When a storm rolls through, the area can get a dusting of snow, or even a few inches. The landscape is beautiful in the snow!

Do the roads close in Moab?

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

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