Winter Aglow in Southeastern Utah
Find your sense of adventure and awe in the vast yet intricate swaths of desert from Arches National Park to Monument Valley. From delicate river-fed ecosystems to crimson-hued rock buttresses, this magical landscape is awash in history, dating back thousands of years to the original Native American settlers to whom these places were sacred.
A journey through Southeastern Utah is an expansive, enthralling geological paradox: It's vast and wide-open... "empty." Yet, up close, this landscape bears the most intricate topography imaginable: deep twisting slot canyons, towering rock formations, winding rivers cutting through eons of rock layers and ancient dwelling sites bringing history within reach.
During the winter, the sense of awe is heightened. Not only are the dramatic red, orange and sandy desert hues brightly lit by the low wintery sun, but they may be topped with touches of white snow – a photographer's dream. In the "off" season, the summer crowds are long gone. It's just you. And the silent, crisp desert air.
This itinerary guides you through classic Southern Utah vistas, archaeological sites, geographic marvels, and sacred Native American lands, including the famed Bears Ears National Monument.
Keep in mind that, while winter is an extraordinarily beautiful time to visit this corner of the world, the roads can at times be wet, icy, or snowy, especially on some of the remote roads you'll be traveling. It's a very smart move to use a four-wheel-drive vehicle with good tires and plenty of water and snacks packed along. As any seasoned cowboy could tell you, you'll never regret bringing extra snacks.
Start: Green River or Salt Lake City
Finish: Mexican Hat
Hours of drive time: 11-14 depending on starting point; plan at least six hours for return to Salt Lake
11 More Utah Winter Experiences Outside the Ski Resorts
No matter your level of adventure, you will find good reason to save some time for a day away from the resort.
A Guide to the Many Faces of Utah's Green River
The mighty Green River carves a path through a dramatic and varied landscape of mountains, canyons and desert for 730 miles across Utah. Whether you have a few hours or a few weeks, experience the diversity of this river yourself by getting on the water.
Alpine, Après and Arches
Alpine, apres-ski, and Arches: see all the colors of Utah’s mountains and deserts. Is Utah more famous for its skiing or for its desert red rocks? It’s hard to say, and you needn’t choose between the two on this trip. Timed perfectly for winter, this journey takes you to some of the finest mountain resorts in the world, then to the most spectacular vistas of the scarlet-hued desert.
Backpacking in Canyonlands National Park
Canyonlands National Park offers a spectrum of backpacking opportunities — from short trips at designated backcountry campsites to longer, adventurous trips that require extensive planning and desert canyon navigational knowledge.
Green River Scene: Tamarisk Restaurant, Green River Coffee Company
Tamarisk Restaurant in Green River near Moab offers river-side views and great food.
Remote Adventure on the Green River
150 years after John Wesley Powell mapped the Green, experience the same solitude and scenery with plenty of (safer) spills and thrills
Stay Warm in Southern Utah: How to Pack for a Winter Trip
For most travelers, Southern Utah winters prevent comfortable camping, and occasional snowfall can make outdoor adventure a little more challenging. With a little extra planning, good layers, and the right equipment, however, you can enjoy Utah's national parks in the solitude of winter.
The Complete Arches Trip
Discover a new side of Arches National Park with this four day itinerary. Start exploring the hidden gems in the Arches region today.
The Complete Canyonlands Trip
The Canyonlands Region of Utah combines the best of the Moab area's easy proximity to Arches National Park and Canyonlands National Park's most accessible district with some of the United State's most remote and culturally significant landscapes.
The Story of Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park
Ancient erosion and modern cinema joined forces to elevate Monument Valley to one of the world's most iconic places to visit — but it's also the sacred home of the Navajo people. Learn more about the history, size and scenes that define the Monument Valley Utah experience.
The Wayward Path of a Utah Fly-Fishing Guide Led Straight to the Green River
Colby Crossland isn’t quite sure how he ended up a guide on one of the country’s best fly-fishing destinations, but he knows the perks are worth the tangles.
Utah Is Your Easy Winter Vacation Destination (and We All Could Use Easy)
Whether you’re looking for a break, vacation or quest for fun this winter, Utah is the place, as always, for adventure — whatever you plan to do or wherever the trail takes you along the way.
Winter in Arches National Park
Skip the crowded peak season and embrace the quiet of a winter visit to Arches National Park. Enjoy winter hikes, scenic drives and some of the best stargazing in the world.
Winter in Canyonlands National Park
As the largest national park in Utah, Canyonlands provides a variety of winter adventures, including winter hiking and stargazing.
Winter in Southeastern Utah: Arches and Canyonlands
Want to avoid the Utah national park crowds? Plan a winter Southeastern Utah trip. Experience more peace, quiet and solitude.