Utah National Parks Weather in December

Utah is an absolutely stunning state, boasting a collection of awe-inspiring national parks that’ll leave you breathless. The Utah National Parks weather in December will be cold and can be unpredictable with snow!

Be sure you note the expected Utah National Parks weather, services available, things to do, what to pack, and where to stay in December when planning your trip.

December weather at Utah National Parks

We live only hours away from all Utah’s Mighty 5 National Parks and have visited during all four seasons. The information and tips we share about the December weather at Utah National Parks is based on our experiences over the years!

You can enjoy outdoor activities at all five Utah National Parks in December as long as you’re prepared with the right clothing and gear for the conditions!

Check the expected weather and temperatures for the park you’ll be visiting so you’re prepared with clothing layers and the supplies you’ll need for the activities you want to do.

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

Utah National Parks packing lists
This site contains affiliate links which means WE may receive commissions for purchases made through these links. We only provide links to products we actually use and/or wholeheartedly recommend! As an Amazon Associate, we earn from qualifying purchases. Read the full Disclosure Policy.

Packing List for December at Utah National Parks

It’s important to stay hydrated since all five Utah National Parks are in a dry, desert environment. We recommend outdoor winter clothing that includes insulated layers for the cold mornings and evenings, and a fleece jacket for daytime activities when the sun is out and temperatures aren’t freezing!

Click the graphic below to see the Winter Hiking Gear we use and recommend to enjoy outdoor activities at Utah National Parks in December!

winter hiking gear


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 National Parks in December

The national parks are must-see places to visit in Utah! You’ll find fun things to see, do, and photograph at all five parks in December.

Visiting Utah National Parks in December  is one of the best months to enjoy the parks with fewer crowds! The parks are open 24/7 all year long, but the Visitor Centers will be closed on Christmas Day.

Many Utah National Parks are busy during the week between Christmas and New Years so it’s best to plan to enter the parks early in the day to avoid lines. During that week the Zion Shuttle will be running to take visitors into Zion Canyon.

Also, check to see if any of the parks require a ticket to enter the park or participate in any activity. In December you’ll need to get an Angel’s Landing hiking permit to hike beyond Scouts Landing in the chains section.

Check out the Utah National Parks GuideAlong App to hear fun behind-the scenes stories and local tips that play automatically as you drive, based on your GPS location as you drive through each park!

Utah National Parks Weather in December

December is one our favorite months to visit Utah National Parks to avoid the crowds.

As long as we’re dressed for the weather, we don’t mind cold temperatures or snowy conditions that might happen in December!

But we know the December weather at Utah National Parks might not be for everyone. It’s good to know in advance the average temperatures and typical weather conditions for the month.

Here’s a description of the weather and temps you can expect at each of the five parks during the month of December.

Winter clothing at Arches National Park
Winter layers Arches December weather

Arches National Park Weather in December

The Arches National Park weather in December is cold! Expect highs around 45 and cold at night with lows around 23 degrees Fahrenheit. Snow storms are possible any time during the month.

Usually Arches National Park doesn’t see large amounts of snow. But it’s common to get a dusting of snow, or even a few inches of snow, when storms roll through the area. The snow is a terrific contrast with the red rocks to capture Arches National Park winter photos!

The park road might be closed after a snowfall for several hours for plowing. For road conditions getting to Arches, check the Utah Road Weather Forecast.

The Arches National Park scenic drive roads, parking lots, and pullouts can still be icy, especially in shaded areas. Check at the visitor center for the latest information on road conditions.

Most of the year you’ll enjoy fun outdoor things to do like scenic drives, hiking, biking, and photography. When visiting Arches National Park in December, the activities may be a bit more limited due to cold or snowy conditions!

Here’s a list of the fun things you can do at Arches in December:

hiking trails at Bryce Canyon in the winter
Snow-covered hiking trails at Bryce Canyon

Bryce Canyon Weather In December

Due to the high elevation (near 8,000 feet!), expect cold and snow Bryce Canyon National Park weather. December temperatures are highs 26 and lows 12 degrees Fahrenheit.

Weather at Bryce Canyon in December can change quickly at this high elevation so be prepared with insulated winter jackets, hats, gloves, and boots!

Winter snow storms may create challenging travel conditions and road closures.  You can see current conditions at Bryce Canyon on the website and check weather forecasts in advance for storms.

When a snow storm hits the area, there may be temporary road closures. Some sections of the Bryce Canyon scenic drive will stay closed until plowing is completed and conditions are safe for visitor traffic.

There’s nothing like capturing your own Bryce Canyon Winter Photos of the amphitheaters with colorful hoodoos contrasted against the white snow.

Check out all the winter snow activities you can do at Bryce Canyon in December:

snowy road to Canyonlands
Snowy road to Canyonlands Island in the Sky

Canyonlands Weather In December

The Canyonlands National Park weather in December is cold with highs around 45 and lows around 23 degrees Fahrenheit. The weather can be unpredictable if a storm rolls through with rain or snow.

Remember that Canyonlands National Park Island in the Sky is located at 6,100 feet above sea level and Needles Canyonlands is 5,920 so it does get cold in the winter, even if the sun is out.

Due to unpredictable weather conditions in December, you may be limited on the things you can do at Canyonlands during and after a snow storm if roads are closed. The Island in the Sky scenic drive and Needles scenic drive may close temporarily so crews can plow.

You’ll want to check current Canyonlands road conditions before making the long drive only to find out the park is closed.

Services are limited or closed when visiting Canyonlands National Park in December – there is no gas, food, or lodging at Island in the Sky or Needles. Both areas of the park are remote locations so always be prepared with water, food and proper clothing so you can be self-reliant.

You’ll find a variety of things to do in December at Canyonlands:

Capitol Reef National Park in the snow
Capitol Reef National Park in the snow

Capitol Reef Weather In December

The Capitol Reef National Park weather in December can be unpredictable with rain or snow. Temperatures in December: highs 40 / lows 20 degrees Fahrenheit.

Many of the services have changed hours or have closed for the winter season at Capitol Reef National Park in December – the Gifford House and orchards are closed. The visitor center is open daily in December, except for Christmas Day.

There is no park lodge, but there is one developed campground and RV park along with some primitive camping sites for Capitol Reef National Park winter camping.

In December the Capitol Reef scenic drive is a must-do activity to see and photograph the cliffs, canyons, domes and bridges!

Be sure you have winter photography gear that can handle the cold and wet weather. And YOU as the photographer need to be dressed in winter clothing so you’ll want to get outside to take pictures. We love photographer gloves and rechargeable hand warmers!

You’ll find a variety of outdoor activities to do in December at Capitol Reef:

Checkerboard Mesa with snow
Checkerboard Mesa at Zion with snow

Zion National Park Weather In December

December is the coldest time of year at Zion with highs around 54 degrees and lows around 30 degrees Fahrenheit. Zion National Park weather can be unpredictable so be prepared for sunny, rainy, snowy days in December.

Zion normally does not see a lot of snow, about 5 inches a year in the park. It can snow during any of the winter months, including December! But when it does snow at Zion, it’s such a treat to see! The contrast of the colorful rocks with the white snow makes for stunning Zion National Park winter photos!

In the first part of December, you can drive your car through Zion Canyon and not worry about riding Zion National Park shuttle, except during the holiday week between Christmas and New Years. 

When visiting Zion National Park in December, the popular trails like Angel’s Landing may close due to bad weather and dangerous trail conditions. Also, if you want to hike The Narrows, the water will be COLD and you’ll need full-body drysuits that you can rent from local outfitters.

Here’s a list of outdoor winter activities you can do in December at Zion:

Utah Travel Guides & Maps

Utah guides and maps

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *