Since 2016, Zion National Park has received at least 3.5 million visitors each year. The park boasts an expansive canyon, natural rock arches, rainbow-colored rock layers, and numerous hiking trails. Even in the winter, Utah’s crown jewel remains a scenic wonderland for those wanting to experience moderate temperatures, small crowds, and picturesque landscapes with small amounts of snow.
Although there are some restrictions, visiting Zion National Park in the winter is a splendid opportunity to get a taste of a solid adventure. This guide will cover everything you need to know for your trip, including open campgrounds, activities, and the kind of weather you can expect.
Where Can I Camp in the Winter?
Winter camping at Zion National Park can be a challenge. You’ll find that most of the campgrounds in the park remain closed during this time of year. The exception to that is Watchman Campground, along with nearby RV resorts. Let’s take a closer look at your options for winter camping at Zion:
Located next to the Zion visitor center, Watchman Campground is open year-round and has everything you need for overnight trips. At least 95 of 176 sites have electrical hookups. All sites provide access to a picnic table and a fire ring. In case you are wondering, there is no Wi-Fi. However, there is a nearby dump station. You can also avoid any delays by making reservations six months in advance.
Zion River Resort RV Park & Campground
Zion River Resort RV Park & Campground is near Zion and Bryce Canyon National Park. Visitors can rejoice in the surrounding canyons by taking a 90-minute shuttle tour, hiking through scenic trails, and riding on paved mountain bike trails. Best of all, the RV sites are on lush, shaded grounds.
All sites have 30 amp electric services. Premium sites can accommodate large motorhomes. Alternatively, you can reserve a single or double-room cabin. Both options can accommodate a minimum of four people.
WillowWind RV Park
If you plan on spending a winter in Zion National Park, WillowWind RV Park is an overnight option that should be on your radar. Whether it’s the red rocks of Utah, the Kolob Reservoir, or the Coral Pink Sand Dunes, there is so much to explore nearby. All sites have 20/30/50 amp services. High-speed Wi-Fi services are also available. While visitors can bring pets, the park has restrictions on the types of breeds allowed.
Winter Weather at Zion National Park
When it comes to weather, the good news is that snow is minimal. Unlike regions in the Pacific Northwest and the Midwest, Zion National Park isn’t known for being notoriously cold or disruptive for first-time visitors. On average, you can expect 0.5 days of snow on the ground throughout the winter months. While temperatures can drop below freezing at night, they rise between 50-60 degrees Fahrenheit during the day.
In January (the coldest month), expect the temperature to rise to a mere 52 degrees. Also, keep in mind that temperatures will differ depending on elevation. You can expect more snow at higher points than at lower elevations. Keep an eye out for snow and ice in shaded areas of the canyon.
Best Activities at Zion National Park
Whether this is your first time visiting Zion National Park in the winter or not, there are plenty of ways to stay immersed in the natural surroundings. Here are some ways to make the most out of your crispy adventure:
Winter hiking: There are plenty of trails open for winter visitation. A few examples include Riverside Walk and the Lower Emerald Pool Trail. Since visitation rates are low, you might have sections of the canyon to yourself. Check out the conditions beforehand, as some trails may still be covered in ice.
Photography: There is no shortage of picturesque surroundings at Zion. You can capture sunsets, the red rock walls with their fiery colors, and the snow-covered peaks. We recommend using the turnouts at Zion Scenic Drive to capture your desired shots.
Take a drive: Sometimes, all you need is a scenic drive that takes you through scenic parts of Zion Canyon. Since shuttles aren’t required, you can take a drive and stop at your convenience. Check out the 6.5-mile drive that takes you along the Virgin River.
Canyoneering: Considered the art of exploring a canyon, canyoneering at Zion is a unique adventure that speaks for itself. Along with a guide, you’ll traverse cavernous rock formations and develop technical scrambling skills.
Explore Zion with Cruise America
Visiting Zion National Park in the winter opens up the opportunity for several day-to-day adventures. All you need is a high-quality motorhome you can rely on for those long drives. Cruise America can be your partner in crime. Check out our line of RV rentals and equip yourself with modern home essentials to keep your family satisfied.
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