Best Winter Activities in Utah National Parks

You’ll find a fun list of ways to enjoy winter activities in Utah National Parks.

We created this list of the best things to do in the winter at all 5 Utah National Parks.

We live just hours away from all the National Parks in Utah so we’ve been able to visit during every season and during all types of weather.

Winter activities at Utah National Parks

Check out our Utah National Park road trip itinerary that includes travel guides, packing checklists, and tips to help you plan your dream vacation!

Since we are able to visit these parks during all seasons and months of the year, we’ve put together a packing list for Utah National Parks. You can get a free printable by clicking the graphic below!

Utah National Parks packing lists
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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!

Utah National Parks Winter Weather

Deciding the best time to visit Utah National Parks is different for everyone.

Be sure you know the expected weather and temperatures for the parks you’ll visit in the winter months:

Winter Gear for Outdoor Activities at Utah National Parks

You’ll want to be dressed to enjoy the outdoor winter activities at Utah National Parks. Check with the Visitor Center about weather and conditions for the things you plan to do.

Winter Clothing for Outdoor Activities

All five Utah National Parks experience cold weather in the winter. Be sure to wear and pack winter clothing essentials.

  • 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 Gear for Outdoor Activities

Here’s the winter hiking gear we recommend for any outdoor activity at Utah National Parks:

winter clothing for winter travel
Dress warm for winter at Arches National Park

Best Winter Activities in Utah National Parks

This list includes the best hiking trails to explore at Utah National Parks in the winter.

You’ll definitely want to pack your photography gear for hiking to capture the natural beauty you’ll see as you hike through the Utah National Parks.

Arches National Park winter activities

Winter Activities at Arches National Park

Hiking is one of the best Arches National Park winter activities to explore the natural stone arches, stone pinnacles, rock fins, and large balanced rocks!

We also recommend these Arches activities in the winter:

Arches Winter Weather: Arches is part of the Colorado Plateau high desert region; this area will experience enormous temperature variations by as much as 40 degrees in twenty-four hours.

In terms of Arches National Park weather, winter is cold with possible rain or snow storms. Here are the temperatures you can expect during the winter months:

You won’t experience large snow storms at Arches, but even small amounts of snow or ice can make local trails and roads impassable.

In the winter the trails at Arches may be covered in snow or ice that may require traction devices for hiking.

Bryce Canyon winter activities

Winter Activities at Bryce Canyon National Park

We recommend you talk to a park ranger to get the most updated information about the Bryce Canyon winter activities that are open when you’re there.

Some Bryce Canyon winter hikes close in the winter due to unsafe conditions.

Traction devices are recommended for all winter hikes at Bryce Canyon. They can be rented in Bryce City if you don’t bring your own.

We also recommend these Bryce Canyon activities in the winter:

Bryce Canyon Winter Weather: You’ll be over 9,000 feet in the park which means the Bryce Canyon weather in the winter will be cold and snowy.

Don’t let these cold temperatures and snowy conditions deter you from visiting in the winter. With the right winter clothes and gear you will have an amazing trip to Bryce Canyon in the winter months. 

Canyonlands winter activities

Winter Activities at Canyonlands National Park

You’ll need to be more be prepared when participating in Canyonlands winter activities. Pack water, food, and proper clothing so you can be self-reliant. Services are limited or closed in the winter. Remember there is no gas, food or lodging at Canyonlands National Park Island in the Sky or Needles Canyonlands.

Some Canyonlands National Park winter hikes may require traction devices so check with the Rangers before hitting the trails!

We also recommend these Canyonlands activities in the winter:

Canyonlands Winter Weather: The cold Canyonlands National Park weather in the winter may not be for everyone.

Large amounts of snow in the park are uncommon, but even small amounts of snow or ice can make the park trails and roads impassable.

In the winter after a snow storm, paved roads may close temporarily so crews can plow. Unpaved backcountry roads may be impassible for longer periods of time so check Canyonlands road conditions before you head out!

Capitol Reef National Park winter activities

Winter Activities at Capitol Reef National Park

We recommend you talk to a park ranger to get the most updated information about park conditions for all Capitol Reef National Park winter activities.

Some Capitol Reef winter hikes could have snowy or icy trails where you’d need traction devices.

We also recommend these Capitol Reef activities in the winter:

In the winter many of the Capitol Reef services have changed hours or have closed for the season. Check the website for specific Capitol Reef operating hours.

Capitol Reef Winter Weather: In the winter the Capitol Reef National Park weather can be unpredictable with rain or snow. Here are the average temperatures you can expect at Capitol Reef in the winter:

During the winter it is especially important to dress in layers and pack outdoor winter clothing!

Zion National Park winter activities

Winter Activities at Zion National Park

Don’t let the cold, wet weather deter you from enjoying Zion National Park winter activities.

You can enjoy winter hiking at Zion National Park without worrying about the heat or crowds of summer!

All of the hiking trails remain open year-round, but some Zion hikes in the winter can be slippery from packed snow and ice and may require traction devices and trekking poles. 

Some trails may close due to bad weather and conditions like the popular Angel’s Landing. If you want to hike The Narrows, the water will be COLD and you’ll need full-body dry suits that you can rent from local outfitters.

We also recommend these Zion activities in the winter:

Zion Winter Weather: Zion National Park weather in the winter means cooler days and cold nights.

Angels Landing Permit: Even in the winter, hikers going to Angels Landing will need a permit. The National Park Service will issue permits using online lotteries at

Shuttle and Parking at Zion: From spring to fall (and during the Christmas holiday) most Zion Canyon hikes are accessible only by the Zion National Park Shuttle. Plan ahead to know the shuttle schedule and the shuttle stop near the trailhead. Be sure to arrive early to find parking at Zion National Park, especially during peak summer season!

Utah Travel Guides & Maps

Utah guides and maps

Travel Guides for Utah National Parks

Check out our Utah National Park travel guides that detail the best things to see, do and photograph at all 5 parks!

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