Calling all outdoor adventure enthusiasts! It’s time to add a winter trip to Utah to your USA bucket list. With a myriad of things to do in the winter in Utah, the state is the perfect destination for anyone seeking
some snowy thrills and stunning landscapes.
From the former Olympic sites of Park City to world-famous ski resorts to virtually empty national parks, Utah in the winter has a ton to offer.
Read on for everything you need to know about winter in Utah plus all the top winter activities in Utah that you should not miss out on so that you can start planning your vacation.
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Utah winter weather
Utah’s winter weather can be summed up in two words – cold and snowy. From November through
March, the majority of Utah turns into a winter wonderland with majestic snow-capped mountains at
Depending on the elevation, Utah’s mountain towns average between 300-500 inches of snowfall every year. The 2022-2023 season was one for the record books – Alta Ski Resort recorded over 900 inches of snow.
However, that is mainly true of the northern half of the state where all the ski resorts are located. In the
southern half of the state, where all the national parks are located, average temperatures are slightly
warmer, and snowfall is much less frequent.
For example, the southern Utah town of St. George has average high temperatures of 50 degrees Fahrenheit in the winter and rarely receives any snow.
Where to stay in winter in Utah
Salt Lake City
Salt Lake City is the capital of Utah and the most populous city in the state. Downtown Salt Lake is
centrally located and is less than a 1-hour drive to ten different world-class ski resorts making it ideal for a Utah winter trip.
It’s located at a lower elevation in the valley, so you don’t have to worry about snow as much as you would in one of the mountain towns at higher elevations.
Plus, there is a wide variety of shopping and dining options as well as cultural attractions and surprisingly vibrant nightlife.
With its perfect blend of outdoor adventures, cultural experiences, and winter festivities, Salt Lake City has something to offer for every type of traveler during the chilly Utah winter months.
Sports fans can cheer on their NBA team as they watch them play the Utah Jazz at the Delta Center. Theater geeks can catch a musical at Eccles Theater. Music lovers can bask in the sounds of the Utah Symphony.
All of this to balance out the time spent outside in the snow, of course. No other urban area in the United States offers such easy access to a nearly endless supply of opportunities for outdoor adventure.
WHERE TO STAY
LUXURY: Grand America Hotel – with a spa and wellness center, swimming pools, and several restaurants, this five-star hotel is a true dream. There is parking on-site and facilities for disabled guests.
MID-RANGE: Hyatt Regency Salt Lake City – a high-standard hotel with a fitness room, several restaurants, a bar, and parking on-site. This hotel is perfect for those traveling with pets.
BUDGET: Hampton Inn Salt Lake City Downtown – a great budget option in the heart of Salt Lake City. They have an indoor swimming pool and fitness center, and free parking for guests.
If you don’t care about the cultural experiences and simply want to hit the slopes, then Park City is the
place for your Utah winter vacation.
It’s Utah’s most famous and best ski town, in the truest sense of the word. Park City is home to two world-class ski resorts – Deer Valley and Park City Mountain Resort.
Technically, Park City Mountain is two resorts in one after merging with what used to be The Canyons. Now it’s the largest ski resort in the United States.
Each of the three has a variety of lodging options from ski-in-ski-out vacation rentals to swanky luxury hotels with heated outdoor pools that are open year-round.
Main Street Park City is where you’ll want to hang out for your après-ski. This charming part of town is
lined with colorful homes and buildings, blending Victorian charm with a rustic Old West vibe.
It’s also where many of Park City’s best restaurants, boutique shops, and art galleries can be found. Main Street really comes alive after dark, with a vibrant nightlife featuring live music venues, pubs, and bars.
And as a bonus, there’s a ski lift that you can take right from Main Street up to the slopes. If skiing is your thing, it’s hard to find a better place to stay in Utah in winter.
WHERE TO STAY
LUXURY: Hotel Park City – everything you need from spa and wellness center, on-site parking, fitness center, and restaurants at only 500 meters from the nearest ski lift!
MID-RANGE: The Chateaux Deer Valley – charming hotel with a spa and wellness center, heated pool and hot tub, private parking, and ski lifts at 200 meters from your door.
BUDGET: Park City Peaks – a great budget option only a kilometer from the nearest ski lift. They also have a spa and wellness center, fitness center, heated pools, restaurant, bar, and free parking on site.
St. George is not a ski destination whatsoever, but it is where many locals go during the cold winter
months to get a dose of warmth and sunshine. Besides, many of the best things to do in Utah in the winter are right next door.
The main reason to visit St. George is to see Utah’s famous red rock desert landscape and visit nearby Zion National Park.
The winter months can be a great time to visit the park because the crowds and long lines that you get in the summer are virtually non-existent in the winter.
St. George also has three beautiful state parks nearby that provide ample opportunities to enjoy the desert landscape without the stifling heat of the summer.
There are so many things to do in St. George Utah, you won’t regret adding it to your winter itinerary.
WHERE TO STAY
MID-RANGE: Red Mountain Resort – a lovely 4-star resort with a spa and wellness center to relax after long days of enjoying Utah winter activities. They also offer parking and free airport shuttle, so you’re covered no matter how you travel.
BUDGET: Best Western Plus Abbey Inn – enjoy the heated outdoor pool and hot tub in this affordable hotel. Breakfast is great and they offer free parking. They also welcome dogs, which is good news if you travel with your furry friend!
Top things to do in the winter in Utah
Experience a quintessential “White Christmas”
As wintertime approaches do you find yourself singing, “I’m dreaming of a white Christmas…to hear
sleigh bells in the snow”?
Then a winter trip to Utah might be in order. You’re guaranteed to have a snowy white Christmas in the mountains of Utah. Not to mention there are many Christmas festivities at various locations near Salt Lake City.
In downtown Salt Lake, the most prominent Christmas festivities happen at Temple Square. The grounds
are open to the public at no cost and feature an amazing display of Christmas lights, nativity scenes from
around the world, and a light show projected on the ceiling of the Tabernacle.
One of the best Christmas lights displays in all of Utah is Luminaria at Thanksgiving Point in Lehi. Every
winter, this 50-acre botanical garden turns into a massive walk-through Christmas light experience.
It can take 2-3 hours to walk through all the displays and light shows synced to music. The event happens
every year from Thanksgiving to New Year’s Eve, and is one of the top things to do in Utah in winter.
Ski the “greatest snow on Earth”
Skiing in Utah is a quintessential bucket list experience for skiers and snowboarders of all levels. The
state’s arid climate and plentiful snowfall combine to create that fluffy, powdery snow that skiers love.
Utah’s license plates are adorned with the motto proclaiming, “Greatest Snow on Earth”. Utah boasts 21
world-class ski resorts and an endless supply of backcountry terrain for skiers to sample that snow
Here are a few to put at the top of your list.
Park City Mountain Resort, now part of the Vail Resorts family, is the largest ski resort in the United
States, boasting over 7,300 acres of skiable terrain and a wide range of trails catering to both beginners
and expert skiers alike.
There is enough variety of terrain that beginners have plenty of groomed easy runs while experts can find exciting challenges as well.
If you purchase the Park City Ski Package, you get rental gear for 2 days delivered right to your accommodation at the time it suits you, to save you time.
Deer Valley Resort is also located in the town of Park City and is known for its upscale amenities and
It provides a luxurious skiing experience with meticulously groomed slopes, first-class dining, and a focus on delivering a premium guest experience. You can access Deer Valley and a host of other ski resorts with the Ikon Pass.
More experienced skiers may want to try heading to Little Cottonwood Canyon instead. While there is
no big ski town and lacks many of the amenities that Park City offers, the terrain is arguably the best in
Utah for expert skiers.
The neighboring resorts of Alta and Snowbird frequently top the annual rankings of best ski resorts in the US.
Whichever way you go, Utah is a must-visit destination for winter sports enthusiasts seeking world-class
skiing and snowboarding experiences.
Harness Your Inner Winter Olympian
Speaking of the greatest snow on Earth, there’s a reason Salt Lake City was selected to host the 2002
But winter in Utah isn’t just about skiing. There’s an incredible variety of fun winter activities in Utah to take part in as well.
Several of the Olympic venues are still in use today, so whether you just want to visit the sites to watch an event or want to try your hand at some Olympic winter sports at actual Olympic venues, these places are sure to be a memorable part of your Utah winter vacations.
Utah Olympic Park
The Utah Olympic Park in Park City was built for the 2002 Winter Games. It’s a huge 400-acre venue that
features bobsled & luge sliding tracks, six Nordic ski jumps, and a museum dedicated to the 2002 Winter
It’s now used as an official US Olympic Committee training site and continues to host competitions. Check the calendar to see if any ski jump, aerials, bobsled, luge, or skeleton competitions are being hosted during your trip.
You can also tour the museum to see Olympic memorabilia and walk through interactive exhibits to
learn about the different winter sports and athletes featured in the 2002 Olympics.
Or if you’re feeling especially daring, you can even take a ride yourself in a bobsled, zooming down the track at over 80 miles per hour. This is by far one of the most adventurous things to do in winter in Utah.
The Soldier Hollow Nordic Center is located in the picturesque mountain town of Midway. This Olympic
venue hosted 23 different events for cross-country skiing, nordic combined, and biathlons.
The best athletes in the world still use the venue for training and to compete in the US Championship, World Cup, and Olympic-qualifying events.
While it’s worthwhile to go as a spectator, it’s even more fun to get in on the action yourself. Soldier
Hollow offers cross-country ski rentals and has 20 miles of trails for every skill level, including beginners.
There are also group lessons if you’ve never tried it and want to give it a shot. It’s surprisingly fun and an
Soldier Hollow also has another family-friendly activity that is tons of fun and requires zero skill – tubing.
They have 1,200-foot-long tubing lanes, which are some of the longest in Utah.
And forget about the most strenuous and annoying part of tubing (walking back up the hill with your tube) – they have a tow rope to carry you back to the top of the hill so you can ride the tubes to your heart’s content.
Utah Olympic Oval
The Olympic Oval in Kearns is an ice rink venue that hosted the speed skating events in 2002. Like the
other venues, this one also continues to host speed skating championship events.
Most of the year, it’s open to the public for open ice skating, hockey, and other indoor winter activities in Utah. They also offer lessons if you want to learn to ice skate, figure skate, speed skate, or even learn to play curling.
Go for a winter hike
Another great way to get outside and experience Utah’s winter landscapes is to go for a hike.
Utah’s snowshoeing will take you to some truly breathtaking scenery – frozen lakes & waterfalls,
dense forests of evergreen pine trees, and incredible mountain vistas.
Many of Utah’s summer hiking trails are accessible throughout the winter as long as you have snowshoes or spikes on your boots.
It’s also a much cheaper alternative to skiing and snowboarding if you’re looking for more affordable things to do in the winter in Utah.
If you’re new to snowshoeing, we recommend going somewhere that has groomed trails and
snowshoe rentals and you’ll be geared up for some of the best winter hiking Utah has to offer.
The Sundance Nordic Center is primarily for cross-country skiing but offers six miles of snowshoeing trails. Another option is the Solitude Nordic Center in Big Cottonwood Canyon.
This one is slightly cheaper (only $8 a day) and has twice the amount of trails (over 12 miles), including the very popular Silver Lake Loop. You can also take a private 1-hour tour for $49.
Visit the national parks
Utah’s national parks, collectively known as the Mighty Five, are some of the most popular in the United States.
Visiting in the summer peak season can mean extreme heat and large crowds. For those seeking to enjoy the landscapes with a little more solitude, winter can be a great time to go.
The weather in southern Utah is not as cold and snowy as it is in the mountains up north, giving you a very different winter Utah scenery.
Bryce Canyon is the exception. It’s located at nearly 8,000 feet in elevation, so it is very cold and very snowy.
But hiking among the orange hoodoos when they’re complemented by the white snow adds an element of mystique to the national park that most visitors never witness.
It’s definitely worth adding to your Utah bucket list being one of the most epic winter activities Utah has to offer.
Zion, on the other hand, has more mild weather. While it does get snow, especially at the parts
of the park that are higher in elevation, you can frequently experience highs in the 50s in the
middle of winter.
You may not be able to do some of the more popular hikes like Angel’s Landing or The Narrows (without additional safety equipment and preparations), but there is still plenty to see and do in the park beyond those hikes.
The best time to go is when the shuttle service isn’t running – you’re free to roam the park as you wish without waiting in long lines and dealing with throngs of people.
Reflections on visiting Utah in winter
Whether you’re dreaming of a White Christmas or seeking exhilarating snowy adventures, Utah in the
winter has something to offer every traveler.
There is an incredible array of activities and things to do in Utah in winter – this list only scratches the surface. From world-class skiing to serene hikes through snowy landscapes and national parks, to feeling the spirit of Utah’s Olympic legacy, spending winter in Utah is sure to be an experience you’ll never forget.