Zion National Park Winter Photos + Travel Tips

Zion National Park is one of the most beautiful places to explore in winter. With its unique landscapes and breathtaking views, it is a great place to take Zion National Park winter photos.

Zion an amazing place to explore and photograph the colorful cliffs and canyons you’ll see here. If you’re lucky to have snow when you visit Zion National Park in the winter, you’ll capture the most amazing photos of white snow against the red rock landscape!

30 Zion National Park Winter Photos

Use this picture gallery and Zion National Park travel guide to know all the best things to see, do, and photograph at the park in the winter. This guide also provides all you need to know to plan a winter vacation: services available, weather, and more!

We live only hours away and visit Zion National Park often. The tips we share are based on our experiences visiting the park during the winter.

When planning a winter trip to Zion, our number one tip is to pack and wear winter clothes so you can enjoy your time in the park!! You’ll also need specific winter camera gear for the cold conditions.

Use our Zion National Park Packing List to make sure you have the right clothing and gear for visiting in during the winter months! Grab your free printable packing checklist by clicking the image below!

get the free Zion National Park packing lists
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Visiting Zion in the Winter

You’ll LOVE visiting Zion National Park in the winter when it’s the off-season. The park is definitely not as crowded as it is during the summer.

Zion National Park and the Visitor Center are open all year long, every day of the year. Check the website for the most current Zion facilities hours.

Winter camping in Zion National Park is limited to the Watchman Campground.

Zion Shuttle in the Winter

The Zion Canyon scenic drive is closed to private vehicles during the shuttle season. Typically, Zion National Park shuttles are running March through November, weekends in February, and the week between major holidays in December.

With winter being less crowded one of the benefits is that you can drive your car through Zion Canyon (except for the holidays at Christmas/New Year’s and President’s weekend in February).

All four Zion National Park scenic drives are open in the winter, but when a storm rolls through, they may close if conditions are bad so always check the park service website for updated road conditions.

The upper part of the Kolob Terrace Road, including Lava Point, closes in the winter. Kolob Canyons regularly closes during inclement weather. Driving conditions can be very poor during a storm, but roads are usually plowed quickly after.

Zion National Park Winter Weather

Located in Southern Utah, Zion National Park weather in the winter means cooler days and cold nights. Normally the park only receives up to 5 inches of snow a year.

With the right winter clothing, you will still be able to enjoy yourself even with the cooler weather. 

winter hiking gear

Zion National Park Winter Photos

Here’s a gallery of our favorite Zion winter pictures and some tips for visiting when it’s cold! We’ve organized these Zion photo spots by location: Zion Canyon, Mt. Carmel Scenic Byway, and Kolob Terrace.

Be sure to get the latest trail conditions before doing any winter hiking in Zion National Park!

Towers of the Virgin at sunrise
Towers of the Virgin

Zion Canyon Winter Photos

Photograph the Towers of the Virgin on the patio behind the Zion Human History Museum. There’s a small patio that’s popular at sunrise.

Three patriarchs bridge and river at Zion National Park
Three Patriarchs

The Three Patriarchs area is a terrific location for morning or late afternoon photography. Be sure to walk the short trail to take a picture of the bridge over the Virgin River.

Three Patriarchs reflection in the River at Zion
Virgin River near Three Patriarchs

We recommend you also walk along the Virgin River in this area to see what other photo opportunities you can see!

Big Bend Great White Throne Zion Canyon
Big Bend

Big Bend is a great location to walk along the river and photograph the colorful canyon walls you see here! There can be a drastic contrast of light on the walls here. We like this area at dawn or dusk.

Great White Throne at Zion National Park
Great White Throne

There’s a pullout just before (if going up Zion Canyon) or just after (if going down Zion Canyon) Big Bend that provides a good view of the Great White Throne.

Great White Throne Zion Canyon
Great White Throne and the Virgin River

If you have time, hike down the path to the meadow and walk along the river to find different ways to photograph canyon walls and river.

Riverside Walk Zion National Park Photography
Riverside Walk

At the end of the Riverside Walk trail is the start of the popular Zion National Park hike called The Narrows.

river and waterfalls along the Virgin River at Zion
Virgin River along the Riverside Walk

To avoid the crowds we recommend hitting this trail in the morning. It’s also a good time when the contrast of the light isn’t too harsh to photograph the canyon walls, river and waterfalls.

hiking at Zion National Park in the winter
Wear warm winter clothing when hiking!

Wear warm winter clothing when taking photos at Zion in the winter. It’s shady most of the day in Zion Canyon due to the high canyon walls.

The necessity of winter-specific photography gear in cold temperatures cannot be overstated. We use a lens warmer to protect the lens from freezing so the camera and lens function properly when it’s cold.

Don’t forget about personal gear too: photographer gloves and rechargeable hand warmers can help keep you comfortable and focused on getting that perfect shot.

sunrise near Mount Carmel Tunnel at Zion
Sunrise along the switchbacks

Mt. Carmel Scenic Byway Winter Photos

The stretch of road from Zion Canyon to the Zion-Mount Carmel Tunnel is full of switchbacks. Be sure to stop along the pull-outs to photograph this part of the park! Give yourself plenty of time to make your way along this Zion National Park scenic drive!

View from Zion National Park switchbacks
View from Zion National Park switchbacks

The pullouts along this stretch of road provide wonderful views to capture the light on the tops of the cliffs at wunrise at Zion National Park.

head light along road in Zion National Park
Light trails along the Zion Mount Carmel Byway

The switchbacks and turns along this road make it a great spot to capture light trail photos!

Canyon Overlook at sunrise at Zion
View from Canyon Overlook – Zion National Park Hike

The Canyon Overlook Trail is one of the best sunrise spots at Zion. It does require you hike a short, easy trail, but the reward is a stunning view of the main canyon with first light hitting the East Temple just above!

Canyon Overlook sunrise zion national park
Sunrise at Canyon Overlook

*The parking for this hike is VERY limited so early morning is the best time! It’s one of the Zion hikes without the shuttle you can do!

Zion National Park along Highway 9
Highway 9 Scenic Drive

Highway 9 from Zion Canyon toward the East Entrance is a fun drive with amazing landscapes that are so different from what you see in Zion Canyon!

Zion National Park in the winter Highway 9
Zion Highway 9 in the winter

Take your time, stop at pull-outs along the scenic drive, and photograph anything that catches your eye!

Scenic drive in the winter at Zion
Scenic drive in the winter at Zion

We really enjoy winter and think they are the best months to visit Zion National Park to avoid the crowds! Yes, it will be cold and there could be snow. And yes, there will be limited services and activities. But it’s a magical time to experience the quiet and serene side of Zion!

frozen water at Zion in the winter
Frozen water at Zion in the winter

Zion National Park in the winter is so beautiful with the contrast of white snow or frozen waterfalls against the colorful landscape! Your camera will get a workout!

Zion NP red landscape with snow
Red landscape with snow

One of the best Zion National Park winter activities is exploring the park by foot. We love stopping at various overlooks in Zion Canyon or along Highway 9 and setting off to see what we can see.

Checkerboard Mesa in the snow at Zion
Checkerboard Mesa with snow

Checkerboard Mesa has a designated parking area that makes it easy to stop right near the East Entrance. This is a cool feature to see with snow that accentuates the patterns in the stone.

hoodoos along Highway 9 at Zion
Hoodoos along Highway 9

From the East Entrance, just past Checkerboard Mesa, there is a pullout on the right that will let you access these cool hoodoos, with a bit of climbing up the rock!

big horn sheep in the winter at Zion
Bighorn sheep in the snow at Zion

Always keep an eye out for bighorn sheep when driving along the Mount Carmel Byway!

Pa'rus Trail at sunset at zion national park
Sunset along the Pa’rus Trail

Pa’rus Trail Winter Photos

The Pa’rus Trail runs along the Virgin River and provides that iconic sunset view of The Watchman. Access the trail near the Visitor Center – watch for the signs.

Pa'rus Trail and The Watchman at sunset at Zion
Virgin River at sunset

In the late afternoon and around sunset there’s golden light on the Watchman. Capture the golden reflection in the Virgin River for a stunning shot!

Virgin River along the Pa'rus trail in the winter
Virgin River along the Pa’rus trail

The trail follows the river and there are many spots with river access that provide a variety of views of The Watchman.

sunset along the Pa'rus trail at Zion
Pa’rus Trail bridge over the Virgin River

Yes, the Watchman is usually the star of the show along this trail, but there are many other elements in the landscape here that should also be photographed.

deer along pa'rus trail at Zion
Deer along Pa’rus Trail

You’ll see deer along the trail in the evening so be prepared to photograph wildlife too!

Kolob Terrace at sunset
Kolob Terrace Road view at sunset

Kolob Terrace Scenic Drive Winter Photos

Kolob Terrace Road is amazing in the late afternoon and around sunset. Access this road near the town of Virgin, just west of Springdale.

Zion kolob terrace at sunset
Zion Kolob Terrace at sunset

Park at the Left Fork trail and walk a short distance to see this amazing view! The reflected sun on the landscape is just stunning!

Zion Kolob Terrace in the winter
Zion Kolob Terrace in the winter

The Kolob Terrace area is a stunning location to visit any time of year, especially to see and photograph sunset at Zion National Park!


Zion national park guides and maps

Zion National Park Photo Spots Checklist

Grab your free copy of the Zion National Park photo spots Checklist by clicking the graphic below!

Zion National Park photo spots checklist Optin

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