The holidays may still be a couple of weeks away, but snow has already made its way to Southern Utah. If you have a visit planned in the next few months, you might be worrying about whether you’ll be able to spend any time outdoors.
Don’t fret; not only can you still hike, bike, and enjoy most of the other activities you love during the summer months, but there are also a few other things you can’t do the rest of year. Keep reading to learn about a few Southern Utah activities you can only enjoy during the winter months.
Visit Brian Head Ski Resort
When most people think of Western ski resorts, they think of Colorado or Montana. If you’ve visited Utah in the past, you might even think of Salt Lake City’s ski resorts. But did you know that you can hit the slopes in Southern Utah as well?
While there’s just one resort, Brian Head Ski Resort has everything you need for a day (or two or three) on the slopes.
Skiing and Snowboarding
Whether you’re an avid skier or snowboarder or brand new to the sports, you’ll find what you need to spend hours hitting the slopes. Covering more than 650 acres, the park is home to 71 runs in a variety of difficulty levels. You’ll find plenty of easy and moderate runs, as well as plenty of difficult or even expert options.
If you’re really new or need a refresher, you can also take skiing or snowboarding lessons at the resort, catering to both adult and young learners.
If you’re looking for a different way to hit the slopes or need to give your legs a bit of a break, grab your tube and race your friends down Brian Head’s snow tubing routes. This high-speed, adrenaline-pumping activity is something you can definitely only enjoy during the winter months, as well as something you won’t want to miss!
There’s one more sport you can enjoy at Brian Head during the winter. Head to the resort to take a snowmobile tour of the snowy landscape. Your tour will take you through part of Cedar Breaks National Monument. You can rent all of the gear you’ll need for your tour right there at the resort.
If you want to enjoy Southern Utah’s scenery after inches or several feet of snow has fallen over the landscape, its time to break out–or perhaps invest in–some snowshoes. Trekking through your favorite parks in a pair of snowshoes is a unique way to experience your favorite trails.
Cedar Breaks National Monument is one of the best spots to go for snowshoeing in Southern Utah. The main road from the Monument closes in the winter, but you can take state road 143 past Brian Head Ski Resort to get into the park.
If you’re new to snowshoeing, be sure to plan a visit to Cedar Breaks on a Saturday, when Park Rangers lead guided hikes to the winter ranger station. Once you get there, they’ll treat you to hot chocolate and cider before you start your return trip. The guided trip is free of charge, but you will need to sign up online in advance. They even provide snowshoes for you to use if you don’t have your own! If a tour isn’t your thing, you can still snowshoe on many of the popular summer trails, like Alpine Pond Trail, on your own.
Bryce Canyon National Park is another great spot to break out your snowshoes. Like Cedar Breaks, you can enjoy many of your favorite trails when there is enough snow. Park Rangers also offer daily guided snowshoe tours. You’ll need to bring your own snowshoes, but the rangers will provide the poles. The hike lasts around 2 hours, and you’ll cover about 1 mile during your trek.
Hit a Trail That’s Closed the Rest of the Year
Some trails, and especially those in higher elevations in the region, close when snow and ice make them impassable or dangerous. But there’s a trail in Snow Canyon State Park that does the opposite.
Johnson Canyon Trail is around 1.8-miles roundtrip and an easy hike, making it great for families or those who are short on time. But come to the park in the summer and you’ll find the trailhead closed. That’s because the trail usually opens for the year at the end of October or early November, and closes again in mid-March.
On the trail, you’ll wind along bright red rock walls, black lava flows, and some persistent greenery. Near the end of the trail, look up and you’ll enjoy a wonderful view of Johnson Canyon Arch, the trail’s namesake.
Enjoying Your Winter Visit to Southern Utah
If you’re lucky enough to be planning a visit to Southern Utah in the winter months, any one of these activities can be a fun, unique addition to your trip. But Utah isn’t all snow this time of year. Many areas, including the lower elevations of Zion, rarely see heavy snow, which means you can still enjoy many of your favorite hikes and outdoor activities like biking or off-roading (outside of the park, of course!), just as long as you pack warm clothes!