Utah Weather in December

If you’re planning a trip to Utah in December, it’s that time of year when the Beehive State gets a little chill in its bones. Utah weather in December means average high temperatures in the 30s and lows can drop down to the teens. Don’t be surprised if you see a fair share of snowfall either—it’s prime ski season after all.

If you’re looking for places to visit in Utah in early winter, it’s important to know the expected weather and temperatures you may encounter! In December the weather will be cold and could be snowy all around the state.

Utah weather in December

We’ve lived in Utah over 20 years and have traveled all over the state during all four seasons. For us, December is a fun time to visit the National Parks in the southern part of the state for to enjoy weather that’s “not too cold or snowy” and fewer crowds!

We recommend you pack layers: fleece jacket, winter jacket, winter gloves, and winter hat plus waterproof or insulated boots if you plan to enjoy the outdoors. Be sure to check the weather forecast ahead of time so you’re prepared for any changes, especially if you’ll be doing outdoor activities.

Use our Utah Packing Lists so you have the right clothing and gear for visiting in December! 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!

Tips For Visiting Utah in December

Utah is divided into two regions: Northern Utah and Southern Utah. The temperatures and weather conditions in December can be drastically different due to elevation and location in the state.

Northern Utah: This is where you’ll find the three large cities in the state: Salt Lake City, Park City, and Provo. For snow skiing or snowboarding enthusiasts, resorts should be fully operational in December, depending on the snow totals.

Southern Utah: All 5 Utah National Parks are located in Central and Southern Utah. For most of December you can enjoy more moderate temperatures and usually snow-free conditions in this part of the state. The higher elevations will be cold and snowy, like Bryce Canyon.

Check to see where the Utah winter vacation spots are located around the state because a drive from Salt Lake City to any of the National Parks in the south can take 4 to 5 hours.

Pack your winter road trip supplies because Utah roads will be impacted by snow or ice after storms. Driving between the northern and southern parts of the state you’ll be passing through rural areas with small towns, limited services, and spotty cell service.

Is December a Good Time to Visit Utah?

The month of December is a fun time to visit Utah to enjoy a variety of activities. In the Southern part of the state, you can do outdoor activities like hiking, off-roading, scenic drives, and stargazing at the National Parks, State Parks, and National Monuments.

Enjoy snow activities like skiing, snowshoeing, sledding, and more in the higher elevation mountains around the state.

There are holiday events around Utah to enjoy in December as well!

Christmas Lights at Temple Square in Salt Lake City

Utah Weather in December

Here’s a summary of the Utah weather in the winter during the month of December:

Northern Utah Average temperatures in December:

  • Salt Lake City: highs 39 / lows 25 degrees F
  • Provo: highs 41 / lows 24
  • Ogden: highs 50 / lows 29
  • Park City: highs 39 / lows 22
  • Alta: highs 30 / lows 15

Northern Utah Average Snowfall in December:

  • Salt Lake City – 7 days / 12.1 inches
  • Logan – 8.5 days / 15.8 inches
  • Provo – 5.7 days / 11.2 inches
  • Alta – 14 days / 79.8 inches
  • Park City – 9.3 days / 31.1 inches

Southern Utah Average temperatures in December:

  • St. George: highs 53 / lows 28 degrees F
  • Moab: highs 44 / lows 22
  • Escalante: highs 43 / lows 19
  • Cedar City: highs 41 / lows 21
  • Brian Head: highs 28 / lows 10

Southern Utah Average Snowfall in December:

  • Moab (Arches/Canyonlands) – 2 days / 3.5 inches
  • Bryce Canyon – 5.7 days / 15.3 inches
  • Capitol Reef – 1.8 days / 2.2 inches
  • Cedar City – 5.5 days / 13.2 inches
  • Zion – 0.6 days / 1.7 inches
  • St. George – 0.1 days / 0 inches
Zion National Park in December

Utah National Parks December Weather

Visiting Utah National Parks in December is the off season so you can enjoy your vacation without the crowds you find in the summer. Except for the week between Christmas and New Year’s Day, visiting the National Parks in Utah in December is one of our favorite times to go!

All of the Utah National Parks are open every single day in December. Not all the visitor centers and amenities are open throughout the whole park during the winter.

Here’s the weather you can expect at each of the 5 National Parks in Utah in the month of December.

Skyline Arch with snow
Arches National Park Skyline Arch with snow

Arches National Park December Weather

The December weather at Arches is pretty cold with temperatures between the 30s and 50s throughout the day, with lows around 20 degrees F. 

In December you get to really enjoy the park at our own pace. This especially comes in handy when trying to take pictures of the iconic rock formations within the park. You won’t need to wait for people to move when photographing the popular areas like Delicate Arch or the Windows.

You’re in for a treat when it snows to capture Arches National Park winter photos with the white contrast against the red rock landscape!

photographing Bryce Canyon in the winter
Photographing Bryce Canyon in the winter

Bryce Canyon National Park December Weather

It’s important to note that the December weather at Bryce Canyon is the coldest park of all 5 in Utah due to its elevation. You can expect temperatures to range from the highs around 36 degrees Fahrenheit to lows into the teens.

Depending on the year you may see a little bit of snow on the ground or a few feet.  Although the weather is much cooler, it is worth it to take in the views in December. 

Some of the Bryce Canyon Winter Activities you’ll want to do in December include snowshoeing, scenic drives, and photography.

You can’t beat the amazing Bryce Canyon winter photos you can get. We recommend using winter clothing and winter gear for you and your camera like photographer gloves, rechargeable hand warmers, and a lens warmer.

Snow at Canyonlands Island in the Sky

Canyonlands National Park December Weather

The weather at Canyonlands in December will be cold and it could snow. Expect highs to be around 43 degrees and the lows to be around 18 degrees F.

Typically you will not see large snowfalls at Canyonlands, but even small snow flurries can make the hiking trails much more difficult or even closed for a short time. 

Visiting Canyonlands National Park in December requires a little more work on your behalf. This is because several of the amenities are closed throughout the park during the week. 

The two popular districts of this park differ quite a bit so know what to expect at Canyonlands Island in the Sky vs Needles!

Cathedral Valley Temple of the Sun and Moon
Cathedral Valley Temple of the Sun and Moon

Capitol Reef National Park December Weather

The weather at Capitol Reef in December will be cold and snow can fall any time. Temperatures in December average highs around 39 degrees and lows around 19 degrees F.

Although the temperatures will be cold it is worth visiting this time of year. In the winter we recommend exploring the Capitol Reef scenic drive. If conditions allow it, and you have the right vehicle, you can also explore two more nearby scenic drives:

Checkerboard Mesa at Zion with snow

Zion National Park December Weather

The December weather at Zion will be cold with highs to be around 48 degrees Fahrenheit and the lows will dip down all the way to 24 degrees F. Typically you will not see a lot snow at Zion in the lower elevations, but be prepared any storms that may roll through. 

During the first part of December you can drive your vehicle into Zion Canyon! You will need to use the Zion National Park shuttle the week between Christmas and New Years.

Usually there will be snow on the tops of the canyon walls which create amazing Zion National Park winter photos! We recommend exploring all three scenic drives: Zion Canyon, Highway 9, and Kolob Terrace Road to capture a variety of landscapes found at Zion.

Winter clothing at Arches in the winter
Winter clothing for visiting Utah in the winter

What to Wear in Utah in December

December is cold and usually snow-free in Southern Utah and at all 5 of the National Parks. In Northern Utah the valleys can experience sunny blue skies or snow storms. The higher elevation mountains usually have snow in December with ski resorts open!

We recommend layers and winter accessories for visiting Utah in December:

winter hiking gear

Places to Stay in Utah in December

Utah Travel Guides & Maps

Utah guides and maps

Utah Bucket List

Check out 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 packet by clicking the graphic below!

utah bucket list - grab the free packet

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