Places to Visit in Utah in May

Utah is known for its stunning landscapes of mountains and red rock features. It’s a popular destination for outdoor enthusiasts as well. Here’s a list of places to visit in Utah in May that showcase the state’s natural beauty and vibrant history.

You’ll find a variety of places to go when visiting Utah In May like National Parks, State Parks, and National Monuments! May is one of the best months to enjoy hiking, biking, canyoneering, camping, and scenic drives all around the state of Utah.

places to visit in Utah in May

We are lucky to live in Utah and have explored the state for over 20 years! When planning a May vacation, our number one tip is to know the expected weather and temperatures for the location in Utah you’ll be traveling.

Once you know the expected weather, use our Utah Packing Lists to make sure you have the right clothing and gear for your May vacation! Grab your free printable packing checklist by clicking the image below!

Utah packing lists for spring summer fall and winter
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A Photo Tour of Utah National Parks

Take a visual tour through all five Utah National Parks to see the stunning landscapes you’ll see when you visit!

Visiting Utah in May

In May, the higher elevations in the mountains may still have snow so you might be able to snowshoe, snow ski, or snowmobile. The lower elevations might get a rain or even snow storm in May. The snow runoff may make some hiking trails wet and muddy.

Utah weather in May is moderate and begins to warm up across the state. It’s also a relatively dry month, but occasional spring showers do occur.

Utah temperatures in May:

  • Northern Utah (Salt Lake City): highs 73 / lows 50 degrees F
  • Southern Utah (St. George): highs 85 / lows 56 degrees F

Due to the state’s high altitude and diverse geography, be prepared for unexpected weather changes. It’s not uncommon to experience a sunny morning, followed by an afternoon rain shower.

In May you’ll want layers for the cooler mornings and evenings. Be sure to have sun protection and stay hydrated. If you’re not used to a dry environment, pack lotion and lip balm!:

spring hiking gear

Places to Visit in Utah in May

Check out this list of amazing places to go and things to do when visiting Utah in spring, specifically in the month of May. We asked our travel friends to share their tips and experiences for visiting all these Utah destinations in May. This list includes must-see landmarks, activities, and travel tips to add to your Utah Bucket List for a trip in May.

NOTE: Arches and Zion are two of the nine US National Parks requiring reservations during the month of May.

Arches Timed Entry: You must have a timed entry reservation to enter the park from April 1 to October 31. You can enter Arches National Park before 7am and after 4pm without an advance reservation.

Zion Hiking Permits: There are three year-round permits required for hiking these trails:

  • Angels Landing hiking permit for the chains section – you can hike to Scouts Landing and back without a permit.
  • Left Fork North Creek Subway
  • Full 16-mile Narrows hike
House on Fire ruin
House on Fire Ruin

Bluff in May

The small town of Bluff in located in Southeastern Utah. It’s the perfect home base to explore State Parks and National Monuments in the area! in May highs are near 80 and lows are near 60 degrees F.

Valley of the Gods is a Utah scenic drive that runs 17 miles along dirt and gravel road winding through a maze of towering pinnacles. Have your camera ready to take Valley of the Gods photos as you drive through a sandstone valley with towering red rock formations.

The landscape at Valley of the Gods is very similar to Monument Valley, without the tribal restrictions or crowds. Monument Valley is situated within the Navajo Nation territory and requires visitors to be accompanied by a Navajo guide for exploration and a tribal permit for backcountry hiking.

We also recommend visiting Goosenecks State Park while you’re in the area. This Utah State Park is home to the San Juan River, which has slowly eroded this incredible canyon over the last 300 million years into the natural wonder it is today. The river sits 1,000 feet below the plateau, making it a dramatic sight to see the carved canyons that look like goose necks. 

At Natural Bridges National Monument see stunning views of majestic natural bridges carved by eroding water over millions of years. Founded in 1908, it preserves three natural sandstone bridges formed by water erosion over millions of years:

  • Sipapu Bridge: spans 268 feet and stands 220 feet high, making it the largest and most famous of the three bridges.
  • Kachina Bridge: or the “middle bridge”, spans 204 feet and stands 210 feet high
  • Owachomo Bridge: spans 180 feet and stands 106 feet high

The entire Bears Ears National Monument near Bluff encompasses nearly 1.36 million acres of land that includes archaeological sites, breathtaking canyons, and ancient cliff dwellings. The House on Fire Ruin is one of our favorite hikes in the area. You won’t run out of things to do in southeast Utah! (Recommended by Dave & Jamie, Photo Jeepers)

Places to Stay Near Bluff

Bryce Canyon in May
Bryce Canyon National Park

Bryce Canyon National Park in May

One of the best places to visit in Utah in May is Bryce Canyon because it boasts nearly perfect weather to explore the park’s special geology. 

The roads are open by this time of year, plus the shuttles are running, so accessing all the best things to do is straightforward and easy. However, expect crowds as summer is one of the most popular times to visit this park. 

Don’t miss hiking the Figure 8 Loop Trail and the Fairyland Loop, driving the Bryce Canyon scenic drive, and seizing all opportunities for some sunrise photography. 

Another great thing to do this month is any of the ranger-led programs, specifically stargazing, as Bryce is an International Dark Sky Park. Tip: Plan your trip around the new moon and the Milky Way will be even more spectacular.

If you’re planning a visit Bryce Canyon in May, make sure to book accommodations/tours well in advance since there is limited lodging in and around the park. (Photo and Recommendation by Aaren, What Do You Sea)

Bryce Canyon Lodging & Tours

Capital Reef National Park
Capital Reef National Park

Capitol Reef National Park in May

Capitol Reef National Park is one of the best places to visit in Utah in May. With stunning geological features, amazing hikes, and scenic viewpoints, Capitol Reef National Park has something for everyone. 

The weather in May will be in the 60s Fahrenheit or low 70s, so you will still want a jacket when exploring the park. Typically, there is not much rain during this time. 

When exploring Capitol Reef National Park, make sure to hike the Cassidy Arch Trail! This hike provides an amazing view of the park. Another fun trail to hike is the Grand Wash Trail. This one goes through some slot canyons, and you may hike through some water. 

For those not wanting to do a hike, the 8-mile Capitol Reef scenic drive has several lookout stops along the way. Also, stop at the Petroglyph Panel and the Panoramic Point. Lastly, make sure you stop by the Gifford House early in the day for some freshly baked pies made from the fruit grown in the park!  (Photo and Recommendation by Francesca, Homeroom Travel)

Capitol Reef Lodging & Tours

Lower Calf Creek Falls
Lower Calf Creek Falls

Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument in May

May is the perfect month to explore the variety of landscapes of Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument. This monument is vast and you could spend weeks exploring the area. But here are a few of the highlights. 

Lower Calf Creek Falls is a six-mile round-trip hike leading you to a breathtaking 126-foot waterfall. The refreshing pool at the base of the falls is perfect for a cool dip on a warm May day.

Also along Highway 12, Devil’s Garden a perfect place to stretch your legs. There is no marked trail. Instead, you’ll spend your time meandering through sandstone formations. 

Finally, for the ultimate Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument adventure, drive down Hole-in-the-Rock Road to uncover the mysteries of Peek-A-Boo and Spooky Gulch Slot Canyons. These narrow, winding canyons offer an unforgettable adventure, requiring scrambling and squeezing through tight spaces. Note: This road often requires a high-clearance vehicle to navigate it safely.  (Photo and Recommendation by Melody, The Winding Road Tripper)

Where to Stay Near Escalante

Great Chamber in Kanab, Utah
Great Chamber

Kanab in May

May is one of the best months to visit Utah, and Kanab is no different. Highs are in the 70s and lows are in the 40s making it the perfect time to hike or explore the surrounding national parks and monuments. Pack your camera gear to photograph the Kanab landscape!

Kanab has great places to eat and explore near town. Make sure to have dinner at Rocking V or Wild Thyme after a day of exploring the sand caves and visiting Best Friends Animal Sanctuary.

If you want to do some off-road adventures, Kanab is full of them. Kanab Tour Company and Dreamland Safari offer tours if your vehicle isn’t up for the deep soft sand (or if you don’t feel comfortable driving). Don’t miss out on exploring White Pocket, The Wave (permit required), Wire Pass, and the amazing sand cave called Great Chamber at Cutler Point.

Plan to spend at least a few days to a week in Kanab. You’ll find no matter how long you stay, it isn’t long enough! (Photo and Recommendation by Christine, Live Love Run Travel)

Moab Utah in May
Moab, Utah in May

Moab in May

May is one of the best months to visit Moab, Utah because the desert wildflowers will be blooming. You can find orange globe mallow, white Sego lilies, and a variety of other colorful wildflowers across the Moab area.

The weather in Moab is also pretty close to perfect during May. Days are typically warm and sunny, with temperatures typically in the upper 70s-low 80s. However, since this is such an idyllic time of year to visit, Moab can get very crowded. Try to make camping or lodging reservations in advance, and dine at the Moab Food Truck Park to avoid long wait times at local restaurants.

Going for a hike is a must if you’re visiting Moab in May. Check out the iconic Delicate Arch Trail in Arches National Park. If you’re looking for a dog-friendly hike in Moab, head to Grandstaff Canyon. This trail follows a creek, so it’s perfect for pups on a warm day. Make sure to pack plenty of water for your hike and remember to practice Leave No Trace on the trail. (Photo and Recommendation by Kate, Kate Outdoors)

Moab Lodging & Tours

Main Street in Park City, Utah
Park City Main Street

Park City in May

Typically thought of as a winter destination for celebrities and winter sports enthusiasts, Park City is one of the best places to visit in Utah all year round. May, in particular, is a great time to visit this mountain city due to its mild temperatures (highs of 65°F), abundance of outdoor activities, film and theater performances.

The winter ski runs turn into perfect mountain biking trails in the warmer months. With approximately 450 miles of top-tier trails weaving through valleys and peaks, this area offers ample opportunities for outdoor adventures. For those who love fishing, Park City has plenty of fly fishing opportunities on the Provo River, Weber River, and Strawberry Reservoir.

While the Sundance Film Festival happens in January, this artsy city has many opportunities for film viewings and theatre performances at The Park City Institute, the Egyptian Theatre, and the Park City Library. 

Along the quaint Main Street, you’ll find Park City bookshops, amazing cafes, clothing boutiques, and souvenir stores to pick up some new items. Because ski season is so busy in Park City, many of the stores and restaurants shut down for a few weeks in April. But by May, most of them have reopened with new menus that complement the warmer weather or updated merchandise. (Recommendation by Mackenzie, A Wandering Scribbler)

Park City Lodging & Tours

Salt Lake City hiking in May
Salt Lake City hiking in May

Salt Lake City in May

If you are looking for the best place to visit in Utah in May, without a doubt you should visit Salt Lake City. Spring in general is a great time to visit as you can find plenty of wildflowers along the foothills and the weather is just right – not too hot like the summer, and not snowy like during the winter.

May can be particularly tricky for outdoor activities in Utah due to snowmelt, so staying in Salt Lake City at lower elevations is best. Some of the best Salt Lake City hiking trails to see wildflowers in May include Mount Van Cott, Jacks Mountain, Emigration Canyon Ridgeline Trail, and Avenues Twin Peaks.

There are two Utah State Parks close to Salt Lake City to view the largest salt lake in the world. Antelope Island State Park offers clean beaches, a visitor center, marina, historic ranch house, bison and camping. The Great Salt Lake Park offers a marina with boat launching facilities.

Grab a beer & bite to eat afterward at Proper Burger or Level Crossing Brewing Company. Even if you don’t want to stay in Salt Lake City long, the large Delta hub airport makes for a great beginning or end to any trip to Utah in May.  (Photo and Recommendation by Andrea, BeaUTAHful World)

Salt Lake City Lodging & Tours

Snow Canyon State Park
Snow Canyon State Park

St. George in May

Located in the southwest corner of Utah, St. George in May is an ideal time to visit. Daytime temperatures highs are 80-90s and lows are 50-60s degrees Fahrenheit.

St. George is the perfect home base to explore Utah National and State Parks! Activities at Zion National Park in May include scenic drives, hiking, biking, canyoneering, stargazing, and landscape photography.

At Snow Canyon State Park, you can enjoy over 38 miles of trails that offer both leisurely walks and challenging treks, each providing panoramic views. Or ride ebikes along trails lined with red rock cliffs and black lava tubes.

Try wake surfing, paddleboarding, cliff jumping, or even off-roading on the sand dunes at Sand Hollow State Park! In May the water will still be a bit cold, but the warm weather is perfect to enjoy the park. (Recommended by Dave & Jamie, Photo Jeepers)

St. George Lodging & Tours

Zion National Park

Zion National Park in May

If you’re interested in seeing Zion National Park’s landscape at its finest, come here in May. Its red, orange, and pink rock formations stand in stark contrast to the lush greenery that blankets the canyon floor. Lots of recent snowmelt means that the Virgin River is flowing with clear turquoise water—plus, there’s lots of vibrant wildflowers and active wildlife in the valley. 

However, be prepared for there to be lots of other visitors this time of year! Zion is the most popular national park in Utah and the third most popular national park in the entire country, seeing well over four and a half million visitors a year. In May you’ll need to plan to use the Zion National Park shuttle to access Zion Canyon. It’s a good idea to get to the park early and visiting on weekdays to beat the crowds as much as possible. 

While the current of the Virgin River may be too intense to hike The Narrows, the infamous trail that follows through the water in a slot canyon, there’s still plenty of other epic Zion National Park hikes to explore, like the nail-biting Angel’s Landing or the Subway Trail, which offers beautiful pools amidst uniquely curved walls. For something a bit easier, the Watchman Trail overlooks some of the most dramatic rock formations in Zion and arguably offers one of the best vantage points for sunset in the park. (Photo and Recommendation by Jessica, Uprooted Traveler)

Zion National Park Lodging & Tours

Utah Travel Guides & Maps

Utah guides and maps

Utah Bucket List

Check out even more fun Utah Bucket List ideas for your May vacation. Be sure to grab the free printable that includes ideas for things to see, do and taste all around the state! Click the image below!

utah bucket list - grab the free packet

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