With its breathtaking deserts, formidable mountains, and the biggest natural lake west of the Mississippi, Utah is a year-round outdoor enthusiast’s paradise.
However, Utah in the winter is especially spectacular, from the five jaw-dropping national parks to the south to the state’s renown for producing killer snow on the ski slopes.
Best Places to Visit in Utah During Winter
Here are 10 must-see places to experience Utah in winter, whether you’re looking for a winter wonderland getaway or a stunning location to enjoy milder temperatures in the colder months.
1. City of Park
Park City, a stunning ski town in the Rocky Mountains, should unquestionably be at the top of your list if you’re looking for the ideal place to go in Utah during the winter. The skiing and snowboarding are so excellent in Park City that the Winter Olympics were held there in 2002.
The tubing hill at Woodward Park City, snow biking (a cool hybrid of a snowmobile and motocross bike), or snowshoeing are just a few of the other activities available in Park City, which is mostly known for its upscale ski resorts like Deer Valley.
One of the best winter vacation spots in Utah is Midway, which is only 25 minutes south of Park City and transforms into a real-life snow globe during the colder months.
Midway is a great place for outdoor adventures, much like Park City. Consider Soldier Hollow in Wasatch Mountain State Park, which has the state’s longest tubing lanes (1,200 feet in length!). To avoid disappointment, make your reservations as soon as possible, especially if you’re traveling to Utah in December.
3. Little Cottonwood Canyon to Alta or Snowbird
Skiing at one of Utah’s many world-class resorts is unquestionably something that everyone should put on their bucket list because the state boasts the self-described “greatest snow on Earth.”
Locals and other skiers in the know head up Little Cottonwood Canyon to Alta or Snowbird, both of which are just 40 minutes from the Salt Lake City International Airport, while many tourists and out-of-towners head to Park City.
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In addition to having the ideal arid climate for the fluffy, powdery snow of your dreams, the Utah mountains also receive the most snowfall of any other ski resort in the state (often exceeding 500 inches in a single season!).
4. City of Salt Lake
With one of the busiest international airports in the nation, most people only stop in Salt Lake City during the winter to travel to the upscale ski resorts in northern Utah.
But this unique city merits more than that; with an emerging microbrewery scene, some top-notch museums, and unique outdoor winter activities, SLC is unquestionably deserving of a place on your itinerary.
5. Salt Flats of Bonneville
The Bonneville Salt Flats, which are about 90 minutes from Salt Lake City, provide amazing adventures to visitors all year long.
These salt flats, which cover 46 square miles, are renowned for being, well, flat and have earned a bad reputation as a place to attempt land speed records. People come here all year long to test drive their own vehicles, take walks through the surreal surroundings, and simply gaze at the dazzling white salt flats.
The best part is that admission to most Bonneville events is always free, though there are occasionally racing events that require a fee.
6. Mountain Hot Springs
You’ll probably pass the small town of Meadow on I-15 if you’re traveling from Salt Lake City to the state’s southern region by car. The Meadow Hot Springs is located in this tiny town of 300 people, two hours south of Salt Lake City, despite the fact that most tourists are unaware of it.
Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, a 1.7 million-acre expanse of pristine and stunning terrain for hiking, camping, and other outdoor activities, is renowned for its breathtaking desert scenery and is located in southern Utah’s Escalante region.
The Escalante area has a lot of fantastic hikes and scenic drives that offer arches, narrow slot canyons, hoodoos, and gushing waterfalls. In fact, the hikes through the slot canyons in this region are among the best in the state of Utah.
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While the aptly named Zebra Slot Canyon has amazing rock walls with dizzying stripes, the Peekaboo and Spooky slot canyons are like a real-life obstacle course that you have to squeeze through. The hoodoos at Devil’s Garden are a little more kid- and family-friendly.
8. National Park Zion
Winter is a great time to visit Zion National Park, which is renowned for its red rock cliffs and the spectacular greenery along its canyon floor if you want to have one of the most visited national parks to yourself.
While snow does occasionally fall overnight due to the daily highs being in the 50s or even 60s, it rarely remains in the canyon for an extended period of time.
Kanab, which is in southern Utah and has warmer weather, is the ideal outdoor destination for Utah’s winter. In contrast to its northern neighbors, such as Midway and Park City, which may experience feet of snow, you might experience snow here, but it will probably only be a light dusting.
There are numerous activities in and around Kanab. For instance, visit the Best Friends Animal Sanctuary, a 501(c)(3) organization that is dedicated to making all animal shelters no-kill by 2025, or the Moqui Cave, a unique ancient history museum with Native American artifacts and dinosaur footprints.
10. Canyon National Park in Bryce
The distinctive pink and orange hoodoos in Bryce Canyon National Park are famous. Don’t worry if you’re unfamiliar with hoodoos; I wasn’t either.— due to Bryce’s high elevation, they are rock spires formed over millennia by water and ice erosion.
Similarly, Bryce is the coldest of Utah’s National Parks in winter because of its elevation of over 9,000 feet above sea level; while daytime temperatures typically hover just above freezing, the park has experienced lows of -26 degrees F!
Utah is still a winter wonderland with plenty to see, do, and explore during the colder months, despite the fact that it may be a little chilly outside. Unforgettable locations to visit in Utah during the winter if you’re interested in learning more.