The state of Utah has one of the most gorgeous landscapes in the US, thanks largely to its natural diversity – from dry deserts with red rock formations, to pine-covered mountain valleys, to peaks covered with powdery snow. The coming of winter every year creates magic on these diverse landscapes of Utah, turning each and every corner into veritable winter wonderlands. See these transformations for yourself by visiting these top winter attractions in Utah for your winter holiday.
Arches National Park
Arches National Park is famous all over the world for its natural sandstone arches, of which the Park has the largest concentration on the planet. The Park receives around a million visitors a year, so you can expect crowds around the more popular named arch formations such as Delicate Arch and Balanced Rock. Not in winter, though – you can enjoy Arches NP for its otherworldly beauty made stark by its blanketing of snow without any crowds in winter. Just make sure you’re bundled up for the cold and you’ve got good winter hiking shoes so you can trek safely through the slippery trails.
Bryce Canyon National Park
If the hoodoos and the natural amphitheater that form the centerpiece of Bryce Canyon National Park looks breathtaking in spring and summer, wait till you see it in winter. In winter, Bryce Canyon becomes absolutely stunning, truly one of the top winter attractions in Utah, with the white of the snow forming a bright contrast against the red rock of the hoodoos and the vivid blue winter sky. Aside from admiring the unique landscapes of the Park, you can also go sledding and cross-country skiing at designated areas. If you can stand being outdoors in winter, you can camp out at Bryce Canyon and enjoy a clear view of the stars at night.
Heber Valley is Utah’s Little Switzerland, a name it earned from its lovely alpine scenery and generally pleasant weather all year-round. While Heber City has its own charms, the true gems of the Valley lie just outside the city. Driving the scenic byways through the Valley in winter will take you through snow-capped forests and viewing frost-covered lakes and snowy terrain. If you feel like fishing or sailing in winter, you can head on to Jordanelle State Park or Deer Creek Reservoir. If you’re traveling with family this winter, then you must not miss the Heber Valley Railroad, which recreates its popular Polar Express winter theme during the holidays, while taking you through 16 miles of spectacular countryside on a round-trip ride. Heber Valley is one of the top winter attractions in Utah for families.
Ice Castles in Midway
If you’ve seen the movie Frozen, then you’d know the scene where Elsa built her castle of ice on top of a snowy mountain while singing “Let It Go.” In Midway, Utah, you get to see an actual ice castle made entirely by hand and using only icicles and water for building materials every winter. The result is a truly magnificent spectacle that practically dwarfs Elsa’s castle by comparison. At the Ice Castles in Midway, you can pretend to be an ice prince or princess and lord it over the glimmering castle of ice for a few hours.
Going to Utah to ski? Then Park City is the place to which you must go. Park City is a premiere ski and snowboarding destination in the US that once played host to the 2002 Winter Olympics. There, you can ski, snowboard, bobsled, and enjoy other thrill-seeking adventures on snow at some of the biggest ski resorts in the country. You can also visit trendy boutique shops and art galleries in the city, as well as enjoy a wide variety of multinational cuisines. If you happen to be in Park City in January, then don’t miss the Sundance Film Festival.
Salt Lake City
If you want your winter holiday to be packed with stuff to do, then off to Salt Lake City you should go. Salt Lake City, aside from being the state capital, is also truly one of the top winter attractions in Utah. If you’re looking for outdoor thrills, you can go skiing and snowboarding at any of the ten ski resorts you’ll find surrounding the city. Don’t forget to take your lift tickets with you if you plan to watch a performance of the Utah Symphony later because you might get discounts. You can watch movies or maybe an Off-Broadway show at many of the city’s classic theaters, go ice skating at the Gallivan Center, stroll through the malls, and enjoy world-class dining options. Fun awaits you and your family at Salt Lake City this winter.
Zion National Park
Zion National Park is Utah’s first and most popular National Park. It’s hard not to see why once you visit the place; it’s truly breathtaking. You get to experience the drama of being surrounded by towering red- and tan-colored sandstone rock formations while you’re there. Just like most of Utah’s national parks, Zion gets truly crowded during its peak seasons. In winter, visiting Zion is like visiting an empty cathedral, with its sheer beauty and almost-deafening silence. The best way to explore Zion in winter is by driving the scenic route through Zion Canyon. But if you’re an experienced snow hiker, you can try hiking the easier trails through the Park. Take note that some trails, such as Angels Landing and Emerald Pools, don’t get a lot of sunshine in winter and so could get slippery. Winter is also a great time for watching the wildlife at Zion. The only probable downside to visiting Zion in winter is you may not be able to see the Kolob Arch, as the roads leading to the Kolob section of the park can get closed due to snowstorms.
Utah is a great place to spend your winter holidays. Take your pick of the top winter attractions in Utah and make the most of your vacation there.