Travel Guide For Visiting Utah in January
We get asked often what it’s like visiting Utah in January, specifically the National Parks. We’ve written this guide that includes where to go, things to do, what to pack, and where to stay for a Utah vacation in January.
When looking for places to visit in Utah in the month of January, it’s important to know the expected weather you may encounter this time of year.
January weather and temperatures will vary between Northern and Southern Utah, with those in the south about 10 degrees warmer. Keep in mind the higher elevation temperatures will be cooler than the average by 10 to 20 degrees.
There are fun places to visit in Utah in the winter like exploring the National and State Parks. You can also still do many outdoor activities like hiking, biking, scenic drives, and photography. But you’ll need to be prepared for cold temperatures and the possibility of snow!
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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!
Northern and Southern Utah in January
The state of Utah is usually divided into two regions: northern and southern.
Salt Lake City and Park City are the largest cities in Northern Utah. You’ll find vibrant main streets and downtown centers with nightlife, festivals, historic buildings and performing arts.
Northern Utah is also home to mountains, forests, lakes and reservoirs where you can snowshoe, snow ski, snowmobile, and ice fish during the winter.
Driving from the north to Southern Utah you’ll pass small towns with limited services.
Take note where the various Utah vacation spots are located around the state. A drive from Salt Lake City to any of the National Parks in the south can take 4 to 5 hours.
You’ll find all 5 Utah National Parks in Central and Southern Utah. In January, after the New Year’s holiday, the parks aren’t crowded. Keep in mind the 5 National Parks will be busy over holiday weekends so try to avoid that time if you can.
Be prepared with winter clothing like waterproof layers and shoes when visiting in January.
Before heading out to explore the park, check with the visitor center for updated conditions. During the winter hiking trails may close, or may require traction devices due to ice.
There’s an equally stunning list of Utah State Parks and National Monuments around the state to hike, bike, and off-road.
Utah NP Mighty 5 AUDIO TOUR
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Utah Weather in January
Average temperature in Northern Utah (Salt Lake City): highs 39 / lows 24 degrees F. The average January snowfall in the Northern part of Utah:
- Salt Lake City – 7.6 days / 12.7 inches
- Logan – 8.6 days / 12.9 inches
- Provo – 5.6 days / 12.5 inches
- Alta – 14 days / 74.7 inches
- Park City – 11.4 days / 34 inches
Average temperature in Southern Utah (St. George): highs 54 / lows 28 degrees F. The average January snowfall in the Southern part of Utah:
- Moab (Arches/Canyonlands) – 1.5 days / 2.1 inches
- Bryce Canyon – 6.3 days / 19.8 inches
- Capitol Reef – 1.9 days / 3.8 inches
- Cedar City – 4.9 days / 9.5 inches
- Zion – 0.5 days / 0.5 inches
- St. George – 0.1 days / 0.5 inches
It’s important to know the expected weather forecast and temperatures for the parks you’ll visit in January so we’ve written detailed guides for each National Park in Utah:
- Arches National Park weather
- Bryce Canyon National Park weather
- Canyonlands National Park weather
- Capitol Reef National Park weather
- Zion National Park weather
Remember to stay hydrated and use sun protection, even in the winter months. If you’ll be doing any outdoor activities, we recommend the following:
- WATER: Drink plenty of water (this isn’t just for the summer months) – we use hydration packs or carry refillable bottles in our backpack.
- FOOD: Pack and eat healthy snacks.
- SUN PROTECTION: Sunscreen is still important – use lip balm with sunscreen and hydrating lotion if you’re not used to dry heat.
- LAYERS: Pack an insulated jacket, fleece jacket, winter hat, and gloves.
Is January a Good Time to Visit Utah?
One of the best times to visit Utah is January. In the north you can enjoy winter activities like snow skiing, snowshoeing, and snowmobiling.
In the south you can still enjoy activities like hiking and biking because “most of the time”, the weather isn’t snowy and daytime temperatures aren’t too cold.
The one exception is Bryce Canyon National Park in January. Due to it’s elevation, the weather and temperatures are more aligned to what you’d experience in the northern part of the state. Expect snow, cold temperatures, and winter activities.
Yes, it does snow in the southern parts of Utah, but it doesn’t usually stay on the ground too long so you can enjoy all those fun outdoor activities without crowds or heat!
Things to Do in Utah in January
If you’re planning a trip in January, here’s a fun list of things to do and places to visit in Utah.
January Winter Activities in Utah
Utah National Parks in January
All of the Utah National Parks are open year-round, and every single day in January. The Visitor Centers at all five parks will have shortened hours in January.
Some of the National Parks in Utah now have permits to enter or do certain activities, so be sure to check about reservations required when determining the best time to visit Utah National Parks.
We’ve written specific guides about visiting Utah National Parks in January:
- Arches National Park in January
- Bryce Canyon National Park in January
- Canyonlands National Park in January
- Capitol Reef National Park in January
- Zion National Park in January
Utah State Parks in January
Check out this list of Utah State Parks where you can enjoy hiking, biking, climbing, photography, and stargazing. Here are a few of our favorite State Parks in Utah to visit in January:
- Antelope Island State Park
- Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park
- Dead Horse Point State Park
- Goblin Valley State Park
- Kodachrome Basin State Park
Hiking in Utah in January
In January you can enjoy snowshoeing in northern Utah and hiking in southern Utah. You may need traction devices on trails that are icy.
There are plenty of trails that offer a variety of different terrains all around the state at National parks, State parks, National forests, and Wilderness areas.
Check out these fun Utah hiking ideas:
- Best Hikes in Arches National Park
- Best Day Hikes at Bryce Canyon National Park
- Canyonlands Island in the Sky Hikes
- Canyonlands Needles Hikes
- Capitol Reef Hikes
- Easy Zion National Park Hikes
- Zion Hikes Without the Shuttle
- Moab Utah Hiking Trails
- Dead Horse Point State Park Hiking Trails
- The Best 8 Hikes Near Salt Lake City, Utah (A Local’s Guide)
- Utah Slot Canyon Hikes
Utah Scenic Drives in January
In January the Utah scenic drives in the lower elevations around the state are open to explore – here’s a list of the ones we recommend:
- Arches National Park Scenic Drive
- Bryce Canyon Scenic Drive
- Island in the Sky Scenic Drive
- Capitol Reef Scenic Drive
- Zion National Park Scenic Drives
- Potash-Lower Colorado River Scenic Byway in Moab
- Best Stops Along Scenic Byway 12 between Bryce Canyon and Capitol Reef
- Logan Canyon Scenic Drive
- Mirror Lake Scenic Byway – awesome winter snowmobiling area!
Utah Photography in January
Winter is a good time of year to photograph snowy landscapes and forests in Northern Utah.
In Southern Utah the contrast of snow with the red sandstone cliffs is stunning. We always hope for a bit of snow when we visit the Utah National Parks.
In January the sunrise and sunset times aren’t too early or too late:
- Sunrise at Arches National Park
- Sunset at Arches National Park
- Bryce Canyon Sunrise Photography
- Sunrise at Zion National Park
Here’s a list of our favorite year-round photography spots in Utah:
- Arches National Park Photo Spots
- Bryce Canyon Photo Spots
- Best Photo Spots at Canyonlands Island in the Sky
- Capitol Reef National Park Photography
- Zion National Park Photo Spots
- Guide to Moab Photography
- Guide to Kanab Photography
We highly recommend rechargeable hand warmers and photographer gloves for those cold early morning sunrise outings!
Utah Stargazing in January
You won’t find a better location than Utah for stargazing! Did you know that Utah has the highest concentration of certified International Dark Sky Parks in the world!?
We definitely recommend you take time to view the night skies during your vacation. And better yet, photograph the milky way at these Utah locations!
Northern Utah Stargazing Locations:
- Antelope Island State Park
- Dinosaur National Monument
- East Canyon State Park
- Jordanelle State Park
- North Fork Park
Southern Utah Stargazing Locations:
- Arches National Park
- Canyonlands National Park
- Dead Horse Point State Park
- Goblin Valley State Park
- Goosenecks State Park
- Hovenweep National Monument
- Natural Bridges National Monument
Utah Vacation Ideas
- Utah Bucket List – FREE printable
- Best Time to Visit Utah
- Utah National Parks
- Utah State Parks
- Tours in Utah