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.



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.


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.”

Nature Play Ideas

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By Bryony Sumner

When we were packing up our house to set off on our camping adventure around Australia one of the things that shocked me the most was how many toys we owned! Our boys were only aged 1 and 2 at the time – so in just 2 short years we had gathered enough playthings to start a sub-branch of Toys-R-Us! And the ironic thing was that the boys were always at their happiest when playing in the garden, finding the longest stick, or pulling all the dishes out of the drawers for a pretend picnic.

Nature Play Ideas 4I’m sure that we’re not unique in this – children thrive when using their imagination for play and it has been proven that the benefits of being outdoors go way beyond simply the goodness of fresh air. Playing in nature has shown benefits in all stages of childhood – from physical to social, emotional and cognitive development – and getting back out into the open was one of the top reasons for us deciding to hit the road.

As a family of four living full time in our bus and travelling Australia, storage is a big issue for us. We sometimes struggle to squeeze in the bare essentials – so when it comes to packing toys we have to be very selective. With this in mind we decided to pack as few as possible – we’ve got some Lego, cars and games for rainy days – but on a whole we depend on Mother Nature to provide our playthings. Here are some ideas that we use regularly that are great for camping and outdoor holidays – no extra packing required and the kids love them!


Nature Scavenger Hunt

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Nature Play Ideas 19This is a great game that can be tailored to suit all ages. If you have a pen and paper and your kids can read and write you can give them a written list to search with. As our boys are young we do this item by item – they go and search for one thing and when they bring it to us we give them the next challenge. This game works for all locations too – if we’re at the beach I get them to search for shells (you can do the biggest or smallest shell, the strangest looking shell, a round shell, a long shell etc) seaweed, coral, cuttlefish or sticks. If we’re in a forest they search for leaves, flowers, pine cones or nuts.

You can add an element of learning to the game by getting the kids to search for something beginning with a certain letter, or something of a certain colour, or collecting 3 of an item. You can add a time limit for older kids to increase the excitement – or if there are more kids you can make teams.


Build a Make Believe Camp

This is a favourite with the boys – they search for sticks to make a campfire, rocks to go around the outside, large leaves to make shelter, then they collect different pretend foods to cook on the fire. Their imaginations run wild and it keeps them busy for ages!

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Wild Art

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Getting creative with nature provides so many opportunities for crafty play – we have made pictures with the things we have found on bushwalks, used leaves to do different painting styles and made daisy chains and hats to wear from our treasures.


Nature Play Ideas 1Rock Lego!

Rocks are an absolute delight to all our family – we love fossicking and finding different minerals and stones – and hubby even did a lapidary course so he knows how to polish them. When we are at a pebbly beach or at the river we always search for interesting stones – we make towers with them or build mini houses, and hubby has always been a fan of friendship stacks.


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Pirate Play

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If we’re at the beach or at a playground where there is a sandpit we turn into pirates for the day! I draw a basic treasure map – and X marks the spot of some hidden treasure. We collect treasure first (big shells, driftwood etc), pretend it came from a pirate ship then I make the boys turn around (no peeking!) while I bury the items in the sand. They then have to use their buckets and spades to uncover the hidden loot.

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There are a few toys that we feel need to be packed for every trip – a ball, frisbee and bats for sports games are always played with heaps, and a pack of cards can be used for lots of different games for all ages.

But the best games are the ones that cost nothing, fuel their imagination and get them back into the great outdoors!

Happy camping!

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