10 Best Winter Hiking Trails in Southern Utah

By Janiel Green

We have all felt the Winter chill, and some of us even the winter blues. Why not get outside and explore what your favorite trails are like in the winter time? Winter gear is readily available, and snowshoes are cheaper than ever. Here are a few of my favorite trails in Southern Utah. Depending on the year, it may look deceivingly like Springtime.

 

  1. Corona Arch Trail in Moab

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Any trails that allow dogs is on the top of my list! Corona Arch is one of those trails I have hiked several times with my Dog Zoey. There are not many trails within National Parks that do allow dogs on them, but Moab is special in that it does. The Trail is relatively easy, but when traveling with your dog, there is a ladder and a steep climb with chains. With a little guidance from me to Zoey, she was able to scramble up the mountain and find a route around the ladder with her four little legs.

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 The flat expanse prior to this is lined with arrows painted on the rock in the winter, and with the spring rains, they place cairns (stacked rocks) to help guide you to the Arch. There are two arches that you end up visiting: Bowtie Arch and the greater more impressive Corona Arch. Be sure to pack a picnic as this is an excellent spot in the winter to soak up the sun and chase away those summer blues. Please check the weather prior to doing this hike, if it is snowing the rock tends to be slick. Most of the trail to the first ladder is sandstone so you would just need good treads on your shoes. You can still see the arch if you choose to do the trail but will have to stop at the first ladder.

 

  1. Inspiration Point in Bryce Canyon National Park

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This is an easy drive over from Zion’s National Park, and well worth the drive. The different areas that are the most noteworthy are slightly hidden behind pine trees, so when entering the park (which there is a fee) be sure to ask for a map. There are brown wooden signs with white writing on the side of the road to guide you. Be sure to keep your eye out for them as they blend in well to the pine trees.

Inspiration point is one of the more popular trails and in the mild to moderate range. If you have bad knees or a bad back be sure to bring your hiking poles with you. Depending on the year it may get slick due to the trail being made mostly of sand. The weather may be different here than in other parts of southern Utah so be sure to check each National Park weather service. If you are lucky you can get a light dusting of snow on the tops of the towers in the basin and really gives it a special look with the stark white on red and the moisture bringing out every shade of color in the rock.

 

  1. Angel’s Landing in Zion National Park

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This is a very well-known hike, but not many attempt it in November or the deeper winter months. There are some treacherous areas should it be raining or snowing, but well work the effort and risk of going should the weather be favorable. This picture was taken in November with a rain storm blowing in, but never actually dumped any rain. The thing to know about Utah is that if there is rain on one side of the street, you can walk to the other side and have sunny weather. I would rate this trail in the moderate to hard range, with those who are afraid of heights to steer clear and opt for Observation Point instead as it is less hazardous and dizzying.

 

  1. Canyonlands

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For a more serene type of outdoor bonding, I would suggest Canyonlands National Park. This is a more laid-back park, with a trail right near the visitor’s center with fantastic views. Bring your camping stove, cook up some soup and a hot drink and just enjoy and bond with those who came with you. If the weather gets bad while you are in Southern Utah, this is a great alternative to the other hikes.

 

  1. Courthouse Towers and the Three Gossips

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Located in Arches National Park, this hot spot for climbing is also a great hike for all. You can see it either from the car park with an educational sign, or you can hike to the towers themselves. If you drive 4.5 miles from the park entrance you will see the carpark. There are also several other interesting rock formations in this area such as the Tower of Babel, and Sheep Rock. Please stay on the trail as there is a fragile bacterium that grows as a crust on the ground in southern Utah that helps prevent landslides and runoff from happening.

 

  1. Dead Horse Point

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You have two options with this location, you can either drive or take the trail near the visitor’s center. The trail itself is mostly flat with fantastic views of the cliffs and valleys that surround you. Check out the Legend of Deadhorse Point and see why it was named as such. If you take the trail be sure to bring your camera as you will be greeted with several odd and unique rock formations along the way. The trail is mostly rock with some sand that could get a little muddy in the winter, but overall even if the weather was bad you could still manage this easily.

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  1. Double Arches in Arches National Park

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An easy trail accessible all year round in full of bird watching and if you happen to go in the summer the trail is filled with wildflowers. The trail is mostly sandy so be prepared to get a bit muddy if you go in the winter (easily thwarted with some gaiters). These are quite unique as compared to other arches in this park as there are two of these massive wonders right next to each other. Be sure to check out the parade of elephants right next two the arches (rock formations that look like circus elephants on parade).

 

  1. Vodoo Trail in Dixie National Forest

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This is another trail that allows dogs and although it is a shorter loop it is quite fun. There are different rock formations that appear as if you have landed in the movie Labyrinth and make you want to break out in one of David Bowie’s songs. This is a moderate trail with some snowy, sandy areas but there is enough traction on the trail that it is easy to work around the trail conditions. Park next to the Dixie National Forest sign, the visitors center will be closed, but there is a sign that will have several other trails for you to explore.

 

  1. Angel’s Palace Trail in Kodachrome Basin State Park

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This was surprisingly one of my favorite trails, I have never seen photos of this prior to attempting this trail. The view over the valley, the palace that is strikingly white among the sea of red. I felt as though I started out on a trail and ended up in heaven. The trailhead is clearly marked with parking nearby. The trail is easy with a few hills and valleys to hike through. The hardest part about this trail is following the arrows, which are not always correct as some appear to be broken. I was able to find my way around the hills and was greeted with a fantastic view.

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  1. Fisher Towers in Moab

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With sweeping views of the surrounding valley and one of the most popular climbing trails, this is a must on your list. The Titan towers over you as you approach this trail, with the trail to the optimal viewing point being 1.5 miles, and the amphitheater rock formation just beyond this. The trail is a steep downhill entrance with a moderate to hard level rating of the trail. When you approach the first fork in the trail be sure to take the trail in front of you and do not veer to the left as this leads to a dead end and a sheer drop off. There are both parking and restroom facilities available at the trailhead.

 

Bonus: Tunnel Arches in Arches National Park

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An easy trail 0.7 miles roundtrip and good for all hiking levels. Perfect in the wintertime as this is a mostly sunny trail and made mostly of rocks. Have a fantastic time crawling around in this odd little tunnel with the perfect time to get a picture when the sun is shining through the arches. Pine Tree Arch is right near this arch as well and worth a look.

 

Summary

If you are experiencing the winter blues, smog, and inversions that come with the winter months. Plan a trip to Southern Utah, get some fresh air and reconnect with nature with the 10 Best Winter Hiking Trails in Southern Utah. Happy travels, happy tales, and see you on the flip side.

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About the Author: Janiel Green

Janiel Green - Cultural TrekkingJaniel is the founder and creative produce of Culturetrekking.com. She uses hiking outdoors as a way of expanding her internal boundaries. Her website is committed to connecting cultures, exploring without boundaries and finding unique art & adventure wherever she goes. Her favorite quote is from Patrick Rothfuss, “No man is brave that has never walked a hundred miles. If you want to know the truth of who you are, walk until not a person knows your name. Travel is the great leveler, the great teacher, bitter as medicine, crueler than mirror-glass. A long stretch of road will teach you more about yourself than a hundred years of quiet.”

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38 thoughts on “10 Best Winter Hiking Trails in Southern Utah

  • March 22, 2018 at 11:45 am
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    I do not have a pet but I love the idea of hiking trails that allow dogs, too! The Corona Arch Trail looks amazing and not just because of that. Also the trail that you’ve mentioned about in Arches National Park looks nice. I am not much of a hiking enthusiast but I do love it once in a while so I usually choose the ones with lower difficulty level or the one for beginners (the green trails ;)). The Double Arches would make for a great choice, I guess.

    Reply
    • March 23, 2018 at 5:33 am
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      Most of these trails are pretty easy to hike. I’m not in the best shape of my life, I have chronic back pain and plantar fasciitis – just do what you can and bring a picnic in your bag, lots of water and maybe just a little rejuvenation will make you feel a few years younger too! If your coming out this way and need a hiking buddy, I’m happy to oblige.

      Reply
  • March 22, 2018 at 3:55 am
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    Wow! I am glad to know there are so many winter hiking trails in Utah. I always thought of Utah as a very small town. This post is amazing. All of them are so picturesque and beautiful. I loved the rock formations. Utah seems to be a different planet to me. I would love to hike at least a few of these. Great inspirational article.

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    • March 23, 2018 at 5:31 am
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      It truly is a different planet! If you go up North you have incredible Mountain views with Ski resorts and Ice castles in the Winter. In the Summer we have lakes we go water skiing on, hiking trails galor, and even Mt Timpanogous is a MUST SEE….there is an old Indian tale about the heart of the mountain that is better than any Disney Princess story out there.

      Reply
  • March 20, 2018 at 9:16 am
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    Hiking might not be my most favorite travel adventure but this is a fantastic place to visit. Glad that these national parks are well-preserved and maintained and far from vandalism. During summer, how many degrees in Celsius is the hottest temperature?

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    • March 23, 2018 at 5:28 am
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      From June to August are going to be your hottest months from 33C to 36C – You also have to keep in mind that Moab is at 4,059 feet above sea level (1227meters), so it is a bit hotter in how it feels compared to if you were at sea level. Make sure to bring lots of Sunscreen because of the elevation of the city, especially if you aren’t used to it.

      Reply
  • March 19, 2018 at 1:43 pm
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    I have heard so much on hiking in national parks of Utah and it is always on my wishlist. Hiking in winters looks great because of snow clad arches and peaks. I would love to hike to Corona Arch Trail, as it is pet friendly and beautiful too. You have taken beautiful photos of arches with snow all around.

    Reply
  • March 19, 2018 at 10:36 am
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    I’ve never been to Utah, but the landscape looks incredibly majestic. Those arches would make for so many amazing photographs. I think I would tremendously enjoy going on any of the hikes you recommended. Inspiration point in Bryce Canyon National Park looks particularly enticing.

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    • March 23, 2018 at 5:21 am
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      Going to Bryce Canyon in the morning is likely going to be the BEST way to capture the true essence of all the nooks and crannies. Make sure to bring a big SD card 😉

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  • March 19, 2018 at 5:15 am
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    I’ve always wanted to visit Utah and now you’ve convinced me to go during the beautiful winter months – Those pictures are breathtaking. I’m adding some of these spots on my travel bucket list – Thanks so much for sharing!!

    Reply
  • March 19, 2018 at 4:57 am
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    There are some really cool destinations here! Definitely adding some of them to my vacation bucket list!

    Mariah

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    • March 23, 2018 at 5:19 am
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      Utah really is a bucket list dream come true 🙂 So many cool places in such close proximity

      Reply
  • March 18, 2018 at 4:09 pm
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    I love the photo of you and your dogs! So cute! I have never thought about going hiking in the winter but you made it seem like a lot of fun. I am going to Utah in just a couple of weeks, so I will keep these tips in mind for inspiration!

    Reply
    • March 23, 2018 at 5:18 am
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      GAH! SO EXCITED FOR YOU! I am pretty sure all the rain that has come through the last few days will be disappearing just in time for your adventure!

      Reply
    • March 23, 2018 at 5:17 am
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      You are more than welcome! Make sure to stop by St George and ask for a ‘Dirty Diet Dr Pepper’….soooo yummy!

      Reply
  • March 17, 2018 at 5:18 pm
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    We just did Angles Landing last year and it was a little scary, even with solid footing. I wouldn’t want to be up there at all with any snow. I love the pictures of Inspiration Point when the hoodoos have a little snow on top. That might be one of my favorite images of all time. Great list and winter is such a great time to visit Southern Utah. The days are cooler and you get the place to yourself.

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    • March 23, 2018 at 5:16 am
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      I agree about Angels Landing, you definitely have to watch the weather. My roommate and I were down there in December though and it was 60 DEGREES! Can you believe it! That is the wondrous thing about Utah, if you don’t like the weather, just wait a few days and things will be completely different.

      Reply
  • March 17, 2018 at 11:53 am
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    These look gorgeous and I’ve never seen trails like these coming from Indiana!

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    • March 23, 2018 at 5:15 am
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      I lived in Texas for about 2 years, and the flatland nearly killed me out there – so yes….please come visit! I will make pancakes with peach syrup….yummmm!

      Reply
  • March 17, 2018 at 10:52 am
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    I know nothing about Utah, or these incredible hikes, so this was a very enjoyable read. All the names are so fun too, ie Dead Horse Point! I’m a complete new beginner when it comes to hiking, so would choose the tamest hike, if it exists! An excellent and very informative post.

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    • March 23, 2018 at 5:13 am
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      Then Dead Horse Point is going to be your best bet, fo sho! It is a super flat hike and has a fantabulous (yep that is my new word now) payoff at the end.

      Reply
  • March 17, 2018 at 5:11 am
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    I love hiking and all of these trials look amazing. I would love to hike them one day. Thanks for sharing.

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  • March 17, 2018 at 4:15 am
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    Wow, that scenery looks amazing! Great photos, too! Definitely makes me want to visit!

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  • March 17, 2018 at 4:10 am
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    Such beautiful places! I am out east so we go hiking in the poconos and new England. Would love to go out west someday.

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    • March 17, 2018 at 5:03 am
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      The East Coast is beautiful, and Utah is likely the best place for getting the most bang for your buck. Take 1 week and drive through all the parks – even if u don’t hike at all it is still beautiful just driving it

      Reply
  • March 17, 2018 at 2:13 am
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    Wow, all looks so great. I live in Canada, but it’s on my bucket list to do a road trip to a bunch of national parks in the states. Beautiful photography, too! Thanks for sharing!
    xx

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    • March 17, 2018 at 5:05 am
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      Wow! What a compliment! Thank you 🤗 Yes, a drive for 1 week is not enough time to see all of Utah. I spent 3 days just in Moab and felt I could stay there forever and still not see everything. Let me know if u decide to come out & my roommate and I can guide u around 😉

      Reply
  • March 17, 2018 at 12:07 am
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    Those are such gorgeous destinations! I want to go!

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  • March 16, 2018 at 11:40 pm
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    I keep saying I want to go hiking but haven’t the slightest clue as to where to start. At least your post gives me locations to try!

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    • March 17, 2018 at 5:07 am
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      Very true & most of these are fantastic hikes for beginners too 😉 It is daunting going on your first hike, but becomes more and more addictive trust me. Take that first step & commit a date to do a local hike & expand it from there

      Reply

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