A Travel Guide to Moab Winter Weather

Moab is an outdoor lover’s paradise. As long as you’re prepared for the Moab winter weather, you can still enjoy many activities like hiking, biking, photography, and scenic drives!

When visiting Moab in the winter it’s important to know the specific weather and temperatures for the months of December, January, and February.

Moab weather in the winter

Moab’s winter season spans from December to February, with January being the coldest month. The average temperature during this time ranges from 32°F (0°C) during the day to below freezing at night.

But don’t let these numbers discourage you – with proper preparation and gear, you can still enjoy Moab winter activities without the crowds during the other seasons, or the heat of summer!

We live only a few hours away from Moab so we’ve had the opportunity to visit many times during all four seasons. The tips we share in this Moab, Utah Vacation Guide are based on our experiences visiting the area throughout the years, and specifically during the winter months.

Use our Moab, Utah packing list to make sure you have the right clothing and gear for visiting in the winter! Grab your free printable packing checklist by clicking the image below!

Moab packing lists for spring summer fall and winter
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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!

Visiting Moab in the Winter

Moab, Utah is located in Southeastern Utah close to Arches, Canyonlands, and Dead Horse Point State Park. These parks are known for their iconic red rock landscapes!

We think winter is one of the best times to visit Moab because it’s the off-season. There are fewer visitors and the rates to stay are lower than any other time of the year.

You can enjoy Moab winter activities like hiking, biking, canyoneering, photography, and scenic drives at the National Parks, State Park, and around the Moab area.

Before heading out on any of the many Moab winter hikes, check with the Rangers at the parks, or the BLM office in town to check current trail conditions. If the hikes are snow-covered or icy, you might need traction devices.

Moab Winter Weather

Before heading out to admire the stunning red rock landscapes of this desert town, understanding the Moab weather and climate and how to prepare for it is crucial.

Moab is about 4,000 feet above sea level so it does get cold in the winter, even if the sun is out. Snow is a rare occurrence in Moab, so most of the time you won’t have to worry about trudging through heavy snow or dealing with icy roads.

When it does snow, the roads in Arches National Park and Canyonlands and Dead Horse Point 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 and updated photographs of trail conditions at the Arches Visitor Center or on the National Park Service website. 

Here are the specific temperature and weather details for each month in the winter when visiting Moab!

Photographer at Arches National Park in the winter
Sunrise at Arches National Park in the winter

Moab Winter Weather in December

If you don’t mind colder weather, and a chance of snow, Moab in December is a wonderful time to visit. Expect temperature highs 45 / lows 22 degrees F. The average rain/snow days in December is 3.

Moab is also a bucket list destination for photographers. Sunrise and sunset are the best times for Moab photography because the light at this time creates a spectacular glow on the red rocks that’s so beautiful! In December you won’t need to get up “as early” or stay out “as late” as you do during the summer months which is nice!

We definitely recommend packing photographer gloves and having rechargeable hand warmers in your coat pockets!

Snow on the road to Canyonlands
Snow on the road to Canyonlands

Moab Winter Weather in January

We enjoy visiting Moab in January to escape the crowds you find the rest of the year. Expect temperature highs 44 / lows 22 degrees F. The average rain/snow days in January is 3.

The Moab winter hikes, including Arches and Canyonlands, 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. 

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 it’s cold and the wet areas may not dry out.

We recommend you check with the National Park Rangers or the BLM office in Moab to get the most updated conditions for the hiking trails you want to do.

Winter in Moab along the Colorado River
Winter in Moab along the Colorado River

Moab Winter Weather in February

Snow storms can happen in Moab in February. When a storm rolls through, the area can get a dusting of snow, or even a few inches. Expect temperature highs 52 / lows 26 degrees F. The average rain/snow days in February is 3.

Off-roading in Moab in the winter can be enjoyed by jeep, side-by-side or other such vehicles. In February we recommend you wear, or at least have packed in your vehicle, warm clothing and waterproof boots.

If you opt to do a guided tour, the jeeps are heated, but you’ll want to dress in layers 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.

Winter clothing at Arches National Park
Bundled up in winter clothing at Arches National Park

What to Pack for Moab Winter Weather

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

It’s important to be prepared with winter hiking gear if you plan to hike trails during the winter season.

winter hiking gear

Winter Activities Near Moab

There are many Moab winter activities to enjoy during the off-season. Winter is one of our favorite times to visit because there are fewer visitors and the rates to stay are lower than any other time of the year.

Moab Utah Main Street
Moab, Utah Main Street

Where to Stay in Moab in the Winter

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.

Moab maps and travel guides

moab maps guides

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