Travel Guide for Visiting Utah in the Winter

If you’re thinking about traveling to Utah in the winter, we’ve got everything you need to know to plan your vacation: weather, what to pack, things to do, and more!

If you’re a fan of snow sports, then winter is one of the best times to visit Utah! Park City and Deer Valley are top resorts for skiing and snowboarding. The Wasatch Mountains are perfect to enjoy snowshoeing, sledding, and snowmobiling!

Visiting Utah in the Winter

But Utah isn’t just for winter sports enthusiasts. There are also plenty of cultural and historical attractions to explore like the iconic Temple Square in Salt Lake City.

And don’t forget about Utah’s Might 5 National Parks to enjoy outdoor activities like hiking, biking, and landscape photography!

We have lived in Utah for more than 20 years, and have enjoyed many winter travel adventures. The tips we share are based on our experiences at various places to visit in Utah in the winter.

Tip number is it be prepared for the weather when you visit. The winter months are a cold and snowy time of year. Use our Utah Packing Lists 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!

Utah packing lists for spring summer fall and winter
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Visiting Utah in the Winter

One thing many people don’t know is the state of Utah is usually divided into two regions: northern and southern. You’ll find Utah winter vacation spots located all around the state.

Salt Lake City and Park City are located in Northern Utah. St. George and all 5 Utah National Parks are in Southern Utah.

Remember that a drive from Salt Lake City in the north to any of the National Parks in the south can take 4 to 5 hours during good weather.

Expect delays or slower drive times during a winter storm! Be prepared with the food, water, and supplies you’ll need in case you’re stuck on the road due to a storm or accident. There are long stretches of road between the small towns, many with limited services. Cell service can be spotty in areas driving from northern to southern Utah as well.

Winter Driving in Utah

Driving in Utah in the winter can be tricky – here are a few tips from the Utah Highway Patrol:

Utah Weather in the Winter

Utah’s winter weather will be cold and snowy. The temperatures will vary between Northern and Southern Utah. The higher elevations will have more snow and temperatures will be colder than the lower elevations by 10 to 20 degrees.

December Weather in Utah

  • Northern Utah (Salt Lake City): highs 39 / lows 27 degrees F
  • Southern Utah (St. George): highs 63 / lows 40 degrees F

January Weather in Utah

  • Northern Utah (Salt Lake City): highs 39 / lows 24 degrees F
  • Southern Utah (St. George): highs 54 / lows 28 degrees F

February Weather in Utah

  • Northern Utah (Salt Lake City): highs 45 / lows 29 degrees F
  • Southern Utah (St. George): highs 59 / lows 32 degrees F

What To Wear In Utah In The Winter

If you’ll be doing any outdoor activities, we recommend at least the following:

  • Base Layers: Wicking base layers will give you the warmth you need to fight off the cold winter weather. Plus, you can take them off easily whenever you no longer need them. 
  • Fleece jacketsFleece jackets serve as a light layer on warmer days in the park but can also add warmth to your layering.
  • Insulated Jackets: Insulated jackets provide the perfect warmth for short or extended excursions. 
  • Wool socks: Do not wear cotton socks. It is best to wear wool socks for winter. Bring a spare just in case anything unexpected happens.
  • Insulated hats: An insulated hat will protect you from losing too much of your body temperature through your head.
  • Winter gloves: If it’s extremely cold, use an insulating glove inside a waterproof shell mitt to provide dexterity and warmth.
  • Waterproof hiking bootsHiking boots need to be waterproof. You may also need traction devices for some trails.
winter hiking gear

Things to Do in Utah in the Winter

If you’re looking for a unique winter vacation experience, look no further than Utah. With its picturesque landscapes, endless outdoor activities, and fun holiday events, you’ll find a variety of things to do in the winter.

Use this Utah Vacation Guide that includes fun winter activities to enjoy to help plan your trip! We’ve created month-specific guides if you know exactly when you’ll be visiting Utah:

ski lift in Utah
Ski lift in Utah

Utah Snow Skiing in the Winter

During the winter season, Utah’s mountains are generously covered in snow, making it perfect for skiing. This is why many ski enthusiasts visit here every winter, regardless of whether they are beginners or experts.

One of the most popular ski spots here is Park City Mountain Resort. It is considered to be the largest ski resort in America with 7,300 skiable acres. It is like a village complete with amenities such as ski rental shops, restaurants, boutiques, and lodges.

If you are planning to visit Utah to snow ski, the perfect time to visit is during the Sundance Film Festival. You will have some of the hills all to yourself because most visitors will be in Park City enjoying the festivities. The festival typically starts during the last week of January and ends by the first week of February.

Park City Winter Lodging and Tours

Swimming in Utah Crater
Swimming in Utah Crater

Utah Hot Springs in the Winter

Whether you want to relax your sore muscles after a full day of skiing or you simply want to feel some warmth, taking a dip in a hot spring is an excellent idea. Luckily, Utah has several hot spring options that are open even during the winter season.

Among the best and most unique hot springs in the Utah area is the Homestead Crater. It is located inside a 55-foot tall limestone rock dome that was formed over 10,000 years ago. The water temperature here is around 90-95 degrees all year, so you can visit even during the winter.

Other than the Homestead Crater, you can also consider these hot springs within the area:

Bryce Canyon in the winter hoodoos with snow
Bryce Canyon in the winter

Utah’s National Parks in the Winter

Visiting Utah National Parks in the winter is always a good idea. With 5 National Parks in Utah, you are guaranteed some beautiful views and adventures to enjoy this winter.

At Arches, Canyonlands, Capitol Reef and Zion you can go hiking, biking, climbing, and off-roading all day and not worry about the intense sun and heat you get during the summer.

If you enjoy the snow mixed with amazing views, then you’ll love to visit Bryce Canyon. Due its high elevation there is snow in the winter there to enjoy snowshoeing and cross country skiing.

The best thing about winter at Utah National Parks is the solitude and serenity you’ll experience. It’s quite the contrast from visiting in the summer months!

Ice Castles
Ice Castles

Midway Ice Castles in the Winter

Yes, it’s true. There is an ice castle in Utah, and it is absolutely magical, especially when it’s illuminated at night. This is all thanks to the sculptors who gather yearly and work hard to turn Utah’s ice-covered land into a spectacular castle.

At the Midway Ice Castles, visitors can enjoy exploring different rooms that have various themes and attractions. Some rooms even have slides inside.

Once you have finished going around the rooms, gather around the fire pit and sip hot drinks to talk about the awesome adventure.

Arches National Park stargazing
Arches National Park stargazing

Utah Stargazing in the Winter

Utah has a total of 21 dark sky places out of a list of 90 around the world. Utah is a good place for visitors hoping to observe the Milky Way or pick their favorite constellations out of the night sky without traveling far.

Visit one of Utah’s national parks on a cloudless night for some prime stargazing — no telescope required. Here’s a list of Utah State Parks with many also designated as dark sky spots!

Unfortunately, in the winter the Milky Way is not visible in Utah, but the endless starry sky is amazing to see nonetheless!

Soldier Hollow Tubing in the Winter

Soldier Hollow in Wasatch Mountain State Park near Midway is not your typical tubing adventure. This place has the longest tubing lanes in Utah where you can slide 1,200 feet down the hill!

There’s a rope for towing people up the hill so you don’t have to do that climb on your own. We really enjoy tubing at night under the lights!


Bobsledding at Olympic Park in the Winter

If you’re looking for a unique once-in-a-lifetime thrill, this Utah winter activity is for you! The Winter Bobsled Experience at Park City is something to add to your bucket list for sure!

You’ll find the same bobsled track used for 2002 Winter Olympics in Park City. The Olympic Park bobsled is open for anyone looking for speed! A professional bobsledder can take up to three people at a time on a fast and twisting ride of a lifetime.

There are physical requirements since this extreme experience generates up to 4-5 times the force of gravity!

Utah Travel Guides & Maps

Utah guides and maps

Utah Bucket List

We’ve compiled this comprehensive list of must-do activities that belong on every Utah Bucket List: things to see, do and taste all around the state! Grab the free printable by clicking the graphic below!

utah bucket list - grab the free packet
things to do in Utah in the winter

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