Zion National Park has a secret. And despite attracting millions of visitors every year, only a small number of people ever learn the secret.
The secret is that summer—the season when the majority of visitors flock to Zion—might not be the best time of year to visit the park. While long, sunny days might be beautiful, the winter season brings fewer crowds, mild weather, and the occasional snow that turns Zion into a sparkling wonderland.
At Zion Wildflower Resort, we know a thing or two about visiting Zion. Our location, just a short drive from the entrance to the park, means that we’ve seen every side of Zion National Park. Take it from us; if you haven’t had the chance to experience Zion in the winter, you need to plan a visit!
Keep reading to learn how to visit Zion during the winter season to make the most of this special time of year in the park.
Make a Plan
Unless you happen to visit during a rare snowstorm, you can enjoy most of the same activities and hiking trails that you do in the summer during the winter months. However, one thing to keep in mind is that the days are shorter this time of year. This means that you might not be able to accomplish as much each day as you would in the summer.
For much of the winter season, though, the Zion Canyon Shuttles are not in operation. This means that you can drive your personal vehicle into the Lower Canyon, and park directly at many popular trailheads. This can help you make the most of your time. If you want to enjoy a longer hike, plan to hit the trail early in the day so that you’ll have plenty of daylight.
Dress for the Weather
In most cases, learning how to visit Zion during the winter is the same as learning how to visit in the summer. For instance, dressing for hot, sunny summer days is a must if you’re visiting in June, July, or August. You’ll want to dress for the weather during the winter, too. But this time, you’ll be dressing in warm layers.
Just like in the summer, the weather in Zion can change drastically throughout the day this time of year. It might be chilly in the morning and reach into the 50s during the day, before cooling off again as the sun goes down. You’ll also warm up as you hike a challenging trail. For this reason, dress in layers that you can add or shed as you warm up or cool off.
A base layer of merino wool or synthetic fabric can help insulate you and wick away sweat. Then, add a warm middle layer, like a fleece jacket or a sweater. Finish with a waterproof and windproof outer layer to protect you from the elements. Don’t forget a good pair of hiking boots to help you keep your balance on rocky, slick trails.
Get Ready for Wintery Roads
Much of Southern Utah experiences mild weather all winter long thanks to its high elevation. But Zion Canyon does see a few winter storms each year. Before your trip, it’s a good idea to brush up on some winter driving tips.
Cold weather can cause your tires to lose air. Make sure that they are properly inflated before you hit the road. If you do plan to drive in the snow, make sure that you have plenty of gas before heading out for the day. If conditions are wet, snowy, or icy, slow down, and leave plenty of space between you and other cars on the road.
Snowy conditions on the roads often don’t last for long in Southern Utah! If you’re worried about driving, consider spending the day outside of Zion exploring other local attractions, like a state park, or take advantage of our many on-site amenities at Zion Wildflower Resort.
How to Visit Zion During the Winter Season
Learning how to visit Zion during the winter season is easier than you might think! With the right gear and a little planning, you can enjoy many of the same trails and other activities that you would during the summer, but with fewer crowds and milder temperatures!
If you’re ready to experience your first winter season in the park, it’s time to book your Zion Wildflower Resort stay. If you think that visiting during the winter means that you can’t experience a stay in one of our Canvas Tents or Covered Wagons, think again! Each of our units is equipped with heaters so that you can enjoy a warm, comfortable stay any time of year!
There’s another benefit to planning a winter adventure in Zion National Park; the chance to save big on your stay! Right now, when you book a stay of three or more nights before March 31, you’ll receive a 20 percent discount on your booking! Use code STAYWILD3 when you book your stay to take advantage of this deal.