Zion Canyon offers a wonderful escape from winter's cold and snow. It is located at a low elevation where temperatures are relatively mild and snow seldom reaches the canyon floor. Scenic drives, hiking and biking are enjoyable year-round in this area. Check the weather and local snow conditions to make sure the trails you hope to travel are clear and safe. During winter months trails like Angels Landing can be snowy/icy on the higher sections.
Popular Winter Activities
Cross country skiing/snowshoeing
Note: Snowmobiles are not allowed to operate within the national park, but are allowed on excellent trails just outside park boundaries.
Winter Roads in Zion
US Hwy 9 provides the main access to Zion National Park. In the Zion Canyon area the road almost never has snowpack - any snow that falls usually melts quickly. As the highway transverses the park's eastern section it gains elevation and crosses higher ridges where winter snowfall is common. The highway is plowed in this area and is open year-round, excerpt perhaps for brief periods during and immediately after major storms.
The Kolob Canyons Road is usually open on winter days, but may be closed temporarily by snowstorms. The road provides access to scenic overlooks that are beautiful during winter. There are several trailheads along this road but the trails lead into areas where conditions are very difficult during winter.
The Kolob Terrace Road is closed by heavy snow during the winter. The road crosses through the national park and then extends into an area of private land where there are many cabins. People with cabins in that area are allowed to drive snowmobiles up the road to access their property. Recreational snowmobiling is not allowed on the road or on adjacent national park land.
Wildlife is abundant in Zion Park and visitors often see animals as they drive through Zion Canyon and explore the park's trails. Mule deer are seen virtually every winter day on the grounds around Zion Lodge. A wide variety of songbirds stay in the park during winter, along with numerous hawks and a few eagles. Rabbits and other small mammals are also common.
The Zion Park shuttle does not operate during winter. People are allowed to drive their cars into Zion Canyon, seeing the majestic scenery from the comfort of their vehicle or stopping at convenient parking areas and taking short hikes to nearby attractions.
Daytime temperatures are usually very pleasant, even during December and January. On some days many visitors shed jackets and hike in shirtsleeves. Storms occasionally bring clouds and cold winds, but they usually blow by quickly. Hikers should dress in layers so they can adjust for the conditions they find.
Winter nights are chilly but usually not extremely cold. Many people enjoy camping in Zion Park even during the coldest parts of winter. If you have proper equipment, camping can be a fun winter adventure.
Spring comes early in the Zion area. Late February days and nights will be noticeably warmer and wildflowers will start to appear.
Zion is Utah's most visited park. During summer there are crowds everywhere in Zion Canyon. During winter there are relatively few people and it is easy to find solitude.