5 Things You Didn’t Know You Could Do in Southern Utah This Winter

5 Things You Didn’t Know You Could Do in Southern Utah This Winter

by | Nov 30, 2021 | Blog | 0 comments

Winter is often considered the off-season in Southern Utah. As temperatures drop and the holidays approach, crowds largely thin. Some tourist attractions, restaurants, and stores may shorten their hours, especially as the days get shorter.

But while it might be the off-season for tourists, many locals consider it the best season. Winter sports abound, Zion becomes a winter wonderland, and fewer people means more room on trails and at overlooks.

Thinking about planning a visit to Southern Utah soon? Check out these 5 things you didn’t know that you could do during the winter months.

1. Skiing and Snowboarding

Most visitors to Utah looking to hit the slopes head to Park City. But if you want to enjoy some skiing or snowboarding during your visit to Southern Utah, you don’t have to take a road trip; there’s a ski resort right here!

Brian Head Resort is a 650-acre resort that features 71 runs, 3 terrain parks, and 8 lifts for snowboarders and skiers. There are even 2 tubing hills for visitors of all ages to enjoy. While it may not be as well known as some of the resorts to the north, this popular destination has been welcoming winter sports enthusiasts for more than 50 years. 

Brian Head Resort is located about an hour and a half from St. George and Springdale, making it a great day trip during your visit to Southern Utah.

2. Cross-Country Skiing

While racing down a ski slope at top speeds is a great way to spend the day, if you’re looking to take in the snow-covered scenery a bit more, cross-country skiing is another great option. 

For this activity, head to Bryce Canyon. Just outside of the park, at Ruby’s Inn, you can rent cross-country skis and any other gear you need. Then, head off on a snowy adventure in the park. You can make your way down roadways that are closed to vehicles during the winter months, and even visit remote overlooks with sweeping views of Bryce’s natural amphitheater that are inaccessible by car or on foot this time of year.

Plus, a full day’s rental of equipment costs just $15.

3. SnowMobiling

If you’re planning a day trip or overnight visit to Brian Head Resort and want to try something even more thrilling than skiing, you can also book a snowmobile tour. This heart-pounding adventure will take you on a scenic ride through Brian Head’s backcountry, as well as into Dixie National Forest and Cedar Breaks National Monument.

Tours range from 1.5-hour rides to full-day tours and start at $105 per person. You can also rent gear like snowsuits and coats to stay warm and dry during your tour.

4. Visit an Olde English Christmas Village

While winter sports and other activities abound in Southern Utah, there are also plenty of holiday events to enjoy. In St. George, you can even take a step back in time and explore a traditional Olde English Christmas village. 

The Dickens’ Festival is an annual event that features performers in period costumes, vendors selling decorations, foods, and vintage items, live entertainment, and more. The festival arrives in Southern Utah just one weekend each year — in 2021, it will run from December 1-4 at the Dixie Convention Center.

5. Drive Your Own Vehicle in Zion National Park

If you’ve never had the chance to visit Zion National Park, this next activity might not sound all that exciting to you. But if you have visited, and done so outside of a short period during the winter season, you’ve no doubt dealt with the Zion Canyon Shuttle.

While the shuttle system makes it easy to navigate the park and avoid a parking nightmare during most of the year, it can also be somewhat limiting on your trip. Unlike when visiting other national parks, you don’t have the freedom to drive from one point to the next, sightsee from your vehicle, or keep supplies like extra water or snacks in your car and get to them easily.

But for much of December, January, and February, the Zion Canyon Shuttle and Springdale Shuttle suspend operations, and visitors are able to drive their own vehicles into the lower canyon. This means that you can drive to an overlook or trailhead of your choosing and park in a nearby parking lot.

It’s important to note that parking in Zion’s Lower Canyon is limited. Even during the less-busy winter season, some lots may fill up, especially on weekends. If you’re visiting on a weekend, plan to get to the park early if you want to grab a parking spot near popular trails. The shuttle does continue to operate during busy times in the winter, like the days around Christmas and some weekends in February. During those times, the road into the Lower Canyon is close to personal vehicles.

Planning a Winter Visit to Southern Utah

From skiing and snowboarding to an Olde English Christmas village, there’s no shortage of unique ways to enjoy Southern Utah this winter season. While often considered the “off-season,” fewer crowds, cooler temps, and the chance to enjoy some winter sports make this a great time to visit the region for your first time or for a repeat visit. 

Start planning your own winter adventure in Southern Utah today!

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