Ski Southern Utah: High Alpine Trails + Red Rock Wonder
Experience Southern Utah’s wonders in the relative solitude of winter
Explore the itinerary, then start planning your Southern Utah ski vacation.
Southern Utah is well known as a destination for scenic natural wonders contained within some of the most popular national parks in the United States and the spectacular landscapes and byways that surround them. It is also home to two high-elevation ski areas that contain generous helpings of what we call (with authority) The Greatest Snow on Earth®. With fewer park-bound RVs, Southern Utah can be a little quieter down here this time of year. Give yourself at least five days to combine the thrills of skiing and boarding with exploring the wintertime wonders to be found in Utah’s red rock country. (Read: "How To Visit Southern Utah in Winter")
Day One: Travel to Springdale, the scenic village located on the edge of Zion National Park, where you’ll outfit yourself in insulated waders for a wintertime scramble upriver in the famous Zion Narrows. This daylong outing will give you a unique and nearly solitary experience within the towering walls of Zion Canyon.
Day Two: Start with the bucket-list hike up to Angels Landing, which during the winter months is often still accessible (note that, beginning in 2022, the National Park Service will require a permit for this hike) or tackle Riverside Walk, Pa’rus Trail or Lower Emerald Pool Trail. Then, make the scenic drive to Brian Head Resort and ready yourself for the ski (or snowboarding) adventure in one of the most popular resorts and the closest for those arriving via Las Vegas. Watch the Red Rock, Rock 'n' Roll and Ribs video about Brian Head Resort.
Day Three: Click into your skis at Brian Head and enjoy the unique views of snowy slopes and red rock landscapes off in the distance. As an afternoon option, check in with the folks at Thunder Mountain Motorsports for a guided snowmobile tour through aspen groves and winter wonderland meadows to a lookout above Cedar Breaks National Monument.
Day Four: Enjoy a drive along a portion of the Utah All-American Road: Scenic Byway 12 and quickly see why it earned its distinction. Your destination is Bryce Canyon National Park, which, at up to 9,000 feet above sea level, becomes a winter playground among an incredible vista of snowcapped hoodoos. Gear up for a snowy hike down into Bryce Canyon or a cross-country ski excursion along the canyon’s rim.
Day Five: End your tour at Eagle Point Resort in the Tushar Mountain Range. This unique resort is known for the hidden stashes of powder that exist days after a storm and a low skier count that means it almost feels like you’re riding lifts in your own private ski area. Plus, no moguls. The friendly village is also the gateway to exploring the Tushars on snowshoes. Cap it all off with sunset in a hot tub on the patio of one of its luxe Canyonside Collection accommodations.
Springdale and Zion Narrows in Winter
The beauty of Springdale is, well, its beauty. The splendor within Zion National Park doesn’t stop at the park boundary and the town at its gateway is a beneficiary of the spillover beauty. The main thoroughfare wends its way toward the park entrance passing a collection of small art galleries, bed and breakfasts, restaurants and bars. You’ll also find the outfitters who can gear you up for a wintertime exploration of the famed Narrows within Zion. For this unique expedition, you’ll need special dry suits or high waders to stay warm and dry as you walk up the Virgin River beneath the giant cliff walls covered in ice and snow.
Angels Landing to Brian Head Resort
Angels Landing is a bucket-list excursion in Zion National Park that is packed with hikers in the high seasons of spring, summer and fall. In winter, however, the hike (while still popular) is much less crowded but no less challenging, and as of 2022, requires a permit to climb. Be sure to check with park rangers about snow and ice on the trail before attempting the final imposing “chain route” to the very top. Take the morning for this spectacular hike and then make the drive to Brian Head Resort, which is surrounded by Brian Head town, a friendly village at the base of this Southern Utah skiing destination.
Morning skiing; afternoon snowmobiling
Spend the morning exploring the varied ski terrain around Brian Head. Be sure to admire the unique views from Brian Head Peak of the red rock in the distance. After lunch, take a guided snowmobile excursion to an overlook above Cedar Breaks National Monument to view the monument’s sandstone spires all covered in snow. By night, the town of Brian Head’s various watering holes host live music and good food. Take a break from the action and enjoy a guided tour of the plentiful stars in the Southern Utah sky led by Cedar Breaks’ Dark Sky Rangers. Watch the Red Rock, Rock 'n' Roll and Ribs video about Brian Head Resort.
Scenic Highway 12 to Explore Bryce Canyon in Winter
Don’t just drive through Bryce Canyon National Park. Instead, unlock the secret to Bryce’s wonders with a winter trek to the canyon floor where you will stroll below the impossibly slender hoodoos towering above — and have the area all to yourself. There are many outstanding scenic byways to choose from in charting your course to the park, and there are two great ways to explore the park once you get there. The first is to access the Nordic trail system on the canyon’s rim just outside the park and the second is to equip yourself with traction assistance, from crampons to snowshoes (depending on conditions) and poles, to hike down into the canyon. Outfitters, including, Ruby’s Inn, are just outside the park.
Ski Eagle Point and Snowshoe in the Tushar Mountains
Eagle Point is a modest hill in the Tushar Mountain Range atop a stunningly scenic winding mountain road. The resort is only open Friday through Monday which means powder dropped from storms that hit mid-week are still waiting for you on the weekend. A variety of condo-style rentals, including its Canyonside Collection in the heart of the village, make Eagle Point a perfect for an intimate family or friends getaway. The ski area holds a variety of terrain for all skill levels including some of the steepest pitches in Utah. A secret gem among Utah’s famed ski resorts, Eagle Point is the perfect punctuation point on your five-day sojourn.