With the colors of Fall fading rapidly and the holidays approaching fast, winter has almost arrived in Southern Utah. And while this season brings fewer crowds to the area than any other time of year, that doesn’t mean that it isn’t a good time for a visit. In fact, with fewer tourists and no scorching heat, it might just be one of the best times of the year to plan an adventure. Keep reading to learn 5 ways to enjoy Southern Utah all winter long.
1. Hit the Greens
Despite the winter weather in the mountains of the region, much of Southern Utah is at an elevation that enjoys a relatively mild winter. In January, daily temperatures are usually in the 50s, with even warmer days mixed in. Later in the winter, temperatures feel more like springtime.
This mild weather makes Southern Utah a wonderful place for golfers to retreat to when other courses across the country are covered in snow. St. George is home to a dozen golf courses, with plenty of others in the surrounding towns and cities, all of which stay open all winter long.
Sand Hollow Resort Golf Club is the most popular public course in Utah. With a backdrop of coral pink sand dunes and towering red-rock cliffs, it’s a truly stunning course. And with just a few light layers, you can enjoy a comfortable day on the greens during your winter visit to Southern Utah.
2. Do Some Holiday Shopping
If you have a vacation planned ahead of the holidays, you’re in luck. From St. George to Springdale, you’ll find endless shopping options. Pop into small locally owned shops, especially on the popular Small Business Saturday that takes place on the Saturday after Thanksgiving. This year, the event takes place on November 30. Many stores will have deals and specials to mark the occasion.
If you’re looking for some specific holiday gifts or want a few more options, there are also several malls and plenty of popular chain stores in the region to choose from. With the perfect mix of small towns and moderately-sized cities, there are plenty of opportunities to finish off your holiday shopping list.
3. Step Back in Time
If the chilly temperatures are keeping you off the trails or you just want to warm up a bit, head to one of the many museums in the area. From natural history to museums centered around the region’s early settlers, you’ll have no shortage of options to choose from.
In St. George, one of the best museums is the St. George Dinosaur Discovery Site. This natural history museum is built over a large sandstone rock face where actual dinosaur footprints were discovered in 2000. Today, the museum is home to those preserved tracks, as well as other fossils and replicas.
Another great option is the Frontier Homestead State Park Museum in Cedar City. Here you can see how pioneers in the area lived. Wander historic buildings, check out the collection of horse-drawn wagons, and enjoy plenty of interpretive programs hosted there.
4. Stroll an Art Gallery
Another relaxing indoor activity you can enjoy throughout Southern Utah is the many art galleries you’ll find there. Stroll through stunning galleries packed with locally produced art. You can even pick up a few unique souvenirs or gifts to take back home to commemorate your trip.
5. Go for a Hike
Snowfall and ice in the higher elevations in Zion National Park and elsewhere in Southern Utah can make some hikes treacherous, or even impossible to reach. Roads in these areas often stay closed for much of the season as well. But it’s far more rare for the lower elevations to experience the same winter weather. This means that many trails in the state and national parks in the area remain open. In Zion, stick to trails on the canyon floor. Check weather forecasts ahead of time, wear hiking boots with gripping soles, and avoid getting too close to the edge of a cliff, especially if there is ice.
For a truly unique experience, head to Snow Canyon State Park. There you’ll find a trail that’s not only open during the winter, but that is actually only open during the winter.
Johnson Canyon Trail is a 2-mile round-trip hike that descends into a canyon and ends at a stunning red rock arch. Because birds nest in the area the rest of the year, this trail is only open from early November until mid-March. If you’re lucky enough to be visiting during this time, be sure to make time for this special trail.
Making the Most of Your Winter Adventure
Winter is a great time to visit Southern Utah. While you’ll need a coat, and snowfall might mean that some roads and trails will be closed, you’ll find no shortage of things to do during your trip, including both indoor and outdoor activities.
Want to help your friends and family enjoy Southern Utah during the winter season or any other time of year? Check out this article next to learn why a National Park Pass is the perfect holiday gift.