If you’ve ever taken a hike in Zion National Park during the summer months, you know that the high temperatures can make your trek a little more difficult. Mix triple digit temperatures with challenging trails that often have hundreds or more feet of elevation change, and you’ve got a tough hike, even for experienced hikers.
If you want to take on some of the more challenging trails in the park, one great option is to plan a winter visit to Cliffrose Lodge. This time of year brings cooler temperatures and fewer crowds to the park. This has resulted in winter often being called Zion’s Secret Season.
But while the weather can sometimes be mild, Zion does see some snowfall each winter season, totaling an average of just under nine inches each year. If you find yourself facing snow or ice during your Springdale resort stay, there are a few tips you should know to stay safe on the trails. Keep reading to learn what to know to hike all winter long in Zion.
Stop By the Visitor Center
The first thing you should do upon arriving in Zion National Park during your Springdale resort stay is to stop by the Zion Canyon Visitor Center. This is a good idea no matter the time of year. Not only can you get information about the park, but you can also check for any trail condition warnings, and chat with a ranger about your hiking plans. This is even more important during the winter months.
While the weather in the Lower Canyon might seem warm and clear, recent storms or chilly temperatures can still cause icy conditions on higher-elevation trails like Angels Landing.
Checking with park rangers or any posted warnings at the Visitor Center will let you know about any trail conditions you should be aware of so that you can better plan your hiking for that day.
Don’t Skip Hydration
When hiking on a hot summer day, it’s easy to remember to keep drinking water. But on a chilly winter day, you might not notice how thirsty you’re getting.
With the colder temperatures, your body works harder when hiking during the winter. Coupled with the fact that you might not feel thirsty, it’s easier to get dehydrated when hiking in the winter. Make sure to hydrate before you hit the trails, and drink frequently while hiking.
Hike With a Friend
This can be a great tip to follow any time of year but is especially important during the winter months. While enjoying a scenic hike on your own might sound peaceful, if you find yourself in trouble, you’ll quickly wish that you had brought a buddy.
Having a hiking buddy or two along during your winter hiking adventure means that you won’t be alone if the weather turns or you get into trouble. You’ll have another set of eyes to watch for ice, or to help you with some first aid if you suffer a minor injury on the trail.
And, hiking is just more fun with a friend! If you do choose to hike on your own, make sure to let someone know your plans before you hit the trail. Set a timeline for when you’ll check in with them. That way, if something does happen, someone will know where you are and can send help if something goes wrong.
Pack Your Winter Gear
During a summer stay in our Springdale resort, you might be able to hit some of Zion’s trails wearing tennis shoes or lightweight hiking boots, shorts, and t-shirts, carrying only your water bottle and some sunscreen. But during Zion’s Secret Season, there are a few pieces of gear you’ll definitely want to have along.
First is a pair of warm hiking boots with good tread. These will help you keep your balance on slick trails, while also keeping your feet warm. If winter weather is in the forecast during your Springdale resort stay, consider opting for a pair of waterproof boots to keep your feet dry. You might also wear attachable ice cleats, especially if you plan to hike a rocky trail that might be icy. Other gear you’ll need to have on hand include warm, insulating layers, hiking poles, and a waterproof outer layer.
Don’t Forget Your Angels Landing Permit
Winter has long been a popular time to hike Angels Landing. This time of year, the trail sees fewer hikers, making it a great opportunity to experience this iconic trail without the crowds. While ice can sometimes make the trail treacherous, by checking trail conditions ahead of time and making sure that you have the right gear and plenty of water, you can still enjoy an amazing bucket-list hike on this trail this time of year.
But while there might be fewer people hiking Angels Landing this season, you will still need to get a permit to hike past Scouts Landing. As soon as you book your trip, check the dates to see when you can apply for a permit, or plan to apply for the Day-Before Permit during your stay.
Planning a Winter Stay in Our Springdale Resort
If you’re thinking about doing some hiking during your winter Springdale resort stay, these tips can help you stay safe on the trails.
Ready to start planning your Secret Season visit to Cliffrose Lodge? Check out this article next to learn the park hours you need to know this time of year.