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Visiting Zion in the Winter

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Zion National Park is one of Utah’s most popular places for nature lovers to visit during the spring and summertime. Not too many people think to visit the park in the winter, however our recent trip has proven to show how magical it can be when sprinkled with some snow.

During a quick day trip to Utah to pick up my new KTM 500, Anna and I decided to take the drive a little bit further into Zion. There have been some recent snow storms so we wanted to see what the mountains looked like. As we drove up the hill from La Verkin and crested the top of the hill into Virgin, I noticed the first mountain range had some snow up top. This was a good sign.

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Looking back the other direction the views were awesome.

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A little further into Springdale the snow on the surrounding mountains resembled powered sugar.

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Further into the drive, yes…more snow.

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At the entrance to the scenic drive, I spotted a local crossing the road.

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I don’t know what looks better, the backdrop or the new KTM?

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We decided to drive up the scenic loop because there was still plenty of sunlight left in the day. The further into the canyon we went, the better the views got.

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As we crossed the river, there were probably 15-20 people with DSLR cameras set up on tripods. Anna didn’t need such fancy equipment to grab this shot with our handheld little Lumix camera. It was a gorgeous view looking back through the canyon.

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We stopped to hike down the to river. Anna swung from a tree branch like a monkey while I tried to get closer to a little waterfall.

 

After we drove up the curvy, mountain road, we came to one of the switchbacks. The view of the snow sprinkled Zion canyon at sunset was stunning.

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One or two more switchbacks up the mountain and the sun dropped a little further below the horizon.

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They don’t call it a scenic drive for nothing. We headed up through the tunnel and at this elevation there was snow on the ground.

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Don’t try this at home, kids. I’m a professional. 😉

 

We pulled over and decided this was our turn-around point. There wasn’t much more elevation to climb and it was getting late.

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We got back down the road for a couple more shots before it got dark.

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Winter weather in Zion National Park

Due to the high elevation at Zion National Park, winter snow storms are common. The elevation of Springdale, where the scenic drive starts, is only about 4000 feet, however the surrounding mountains are up there around 6000-7000 feet so they see plenty of snow. The best time of year to experience Zion with snowfall would be late December through early February. Check with the road conditions though as there can be heavy snowfall up towards the upper scenic loop causing them to close the road. The elevation up there is about 5000 feet so 1-2+ feet of snowfall is very common in the winter. Although the snowfall usually melts at the lower elevations shortly after a storm, the mountains remain covered in snow until the temperatures start to rise closer to spring. Worth the drive? Absolutely!

 

Zion National Park Winter Weather Averages

(higher elevations will see more snow and colder tempratures)

month average low average high average snowfall
December 30° 53° 2.7″
January 29° 52° 3.7″
February 33° 57° 1.9″
March 37° 63° .9″
10 day weather forecast

 

Visitor Information

https://www.nps.gov/zion/index.htm

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