Utah is home to some of the most dramatic landscape variations in the United States. From the otherworldly sandstone hoodoos of Goblin Valley State Park to the lush forests and alpine lakes of the Uinta Mountains, this stunning state is packed with scenic vistas and outdoor adventure. Book a stay at one of numerous Utah vacation rentals today. On another note, different areas in the state can experience widely varying weather conditions based on the elevation and time of year. Check out the average seasonal weather patterns to decide what to pack and what activities to plan when visiting the state’s most popular regions.
Visiting Utah in the Summer
Throughout most of Utah, summer is hot and dry. Near St. George and Zion National Park, daytime temperatures above 100 degrees are common. Salt Lake City sees temperatures in the 80s and 90s, while high-altitude Park City and other mountain destinations hover in the 80s. Fill your suitcase with lightweight clothes, and pack a light jacket for cool evenings in the mountains. Afternoon thunderstorms are a possibility at high elevations, particularly in Zion National Park, so a rain shell is a good idea for outdoor adventures.
Utah residents and visitors take advantage of the sunshine at the state’s many outdoor areas. Hike Mt. Olympus near Salt Lake City, ride the bobsled at Park City’s Utah Olympic Park, and head into the red-rock back-country near St. George with Outlaw Jeep Tours. If you’re planning to book vacation rentals near Bryce Canyon National Park, Zion National Park, or Arches National Park, plan well in advance; visitor levels are high in the summer, so many properties fill up early.
Visiting Utah in the Fall
Fall brings warm temperatures and ample sunshine to much of Utah, making it the perfect season for exploring. Late September through November are ideal times to visit the state’s national parks, since visitor levels drop after Labor Day. Expect early fall temperatures in the 70s in lower elevations, with many September days reaching past 80 in Southern Utah. The weather is cooler in the mountains, and snowfall is common by November. Pack light layers, and bring a jacket if you’re visiting high-elevation spots such as Park City, Cedar City, or Bryce Canyon, which often hit the 40s and 50s in the fall.
Late September is a great time to enjoy tours in Utah’s major visitor destinations. Try a rafting tour on the Colorado River with Moab Adventure Center, explore Antelope Canyon with Southern Utah Scenic Tours, or enjoy a ranger-led stargazing tour in Capitol Reef National Park. Utah also bursts with brilliant fall colors, particularly in the mountains; try spots such as Ogden Canyon, Logan, and Flaming Gorge.
Visiting Utah in the Winter
Utah’s winter weather can vary dramatically based on elevation. Park City might be in the midst of a wild blizzard, while 30 miles away in Salt Lake City, the weather may be dry and sunny. St. George usually offers 50-degree days and plenty of sunshine, while mountain temperatures often range between 0 and 30 degrees. As the home of “the best snow on earth”, Utah is a prime destination for skiers and snowboarders. There are nine different ski resorts within an hour’s drive of Salt Lake City, as well as several in Southern Utah near Cedar City. If you’re a cross-country skier, it’s hard to beat the winter views of the hoodoo-filled Amphitheater in Bryce Canyon National Park. Bring ski pants, warm jackets, and winter accessories, even if you’re not hitting the slopes.
Winter is also an excellent vacation time for hikers. Many parts of Utah get little to no snow, so you can enjoy some of the country’s most scenic trails in Arches National Park or Zion National Park. Companies such as ATV and Jeep Adventure Tours offer winter excursions packed with climbing, canyoneering, and ziplining. For film buffs, January brings the celebrity-studded Sundance Film Festival to Park City.
Visiting Utah in the Spring
Spring is spectacular in Utah. The ground begins to thaw in the lower elevations in April, bringing fields of wildflowers to Mount Timpanogos and Cedar Breaks National Monument. Low-lying Utah cities see temperatures rise steadily from the 50s to the 70s, while Southern Utah shoots up to the high 80s by May. In the mountains, expect spring temperatures in the 40s and 50s; warm clothes and a rain jacket are essential for the unpredictable high-altitude weather.
As the snow melts in the mountains, river levels rise, creating thrilling whitewater rafting opportunities in Moab and Green River in late April and May. Stay safe with guides from outfitters such as Western River Expeditions and Navtec Expeditions. This time of year is also well-suited to hiking, particularly along Angels Landing in Zion National Park and Grand View Point in Canyonlands National Park. If you’re hoping for fresh green springtime leaves, try Cottonwood Canyon and the Manti-La Sal National Forest.
When Is The Best Time to Visit Utah?
The best time to visit Utah is in the fall. Throughout much of the season, temperatures are warm and days are sunny, creating the perfect conditions to explore the state’s fantastic landscape. Crowd levels are low in most national parks and outdoor recreation areas after kids go back to school around Labor Day, so you can hike or bike without fighting traffic. This is a great time to try popular trails such as Angels Landing in Zion National Park or Zebra Slot Canyon in the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument.
Utah’s combination of high-altitude mountains and low-altitude deserts makes it easy to customize your autumn experience. For a warm escape, stick to the southern part of the state and low-altitude areas. If you’re after a classic fall experience, simply head into the mountains for crisp air and beautiful fall foliage. In the late fall, you may even have the chance for early-season skiing in Park City to round out your vacation.
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