zion national park in december

Zion National Park in December (Helpful Things To Do And Know)

Zion National Park in December

The cozy town of Springdale is home to just 500 people! And yet it bustles with thousands of visitors every year.  Why? Because of its main attraction, Zion National Park!

Throughout the year, especially in spring and summer, Springdale, situated in Southwest Utah, is packed with visitors from all around the globe to experience the beauty of Zion National Park. Sometimes, the crowd gets so huge that hotels and lodges get booked out, and people have to stay in camps! 

However, while visiting the park when it is full of life is one thing, exploring the red cliffs of the canyon and witnessing the wildlife in complete solitude is incomparable!

So, if you’re looking for a tranquil trip without all the hubbub and commotion, visit Zion National Park in December and enjoy the following activities:

Drive Through The Canyon

The main attraction at Zion National Park is the cream, pink, and red cliffs of the Zion Canyon. Usually, shuttle buses take the visitors through the canyon and stop at the main sites. The downside of this is that you have to wait in lines, and the service is only operational during specific hours. 

In December, however, you get the opportunity to drive through the canyon on your own. This means you can choose a convenient time, stop and explore whenever you want, and capture memorable pictures without people getting in the way!

Go For an Adventurous Hiking Trip

Hiking is quite an enjoyable affair, but hiking in Zion National Park in December is downright incredible! I mean, you can drive right to the trailheads and start your hike. And if you’re lucky, you might even have the entire trail to yourselves! 

View the Wildlife in Their Natural Habitat

Did you know that Zion National Park is home to 8 species of mammals, 291 species of birds, 44 species of reptiles, and eight species of fish? 

But, during the peak season, you won’t see much of them as they hide away from the crowds. This is why December is the ideal time to visit the park and view the wildlife in complete solitude. 

You’ll see deer, bighorn sheep, elks, golden eagles, and wild turkeys roaming around the park, which is rare in other months. 

Hiking to Observation Point

While there are many things to do at Zion National Park, hiking all the way to Observation Point via Zion Ponderosa should be at the top of your list!

The usual East Rim Trail that people use mostly to reach this point tends to get a bit icy in winters; therefore, taking the alternate route via the forested plateau is a great idea. 

With the crowds gone, you get to enjoy a marvelous hiking or skiing trip, and once you reach Observation Point, you get to experience the magnificent and heavenly view of Utah from the very top!

Rock Climbing 

Another thing that adds to the fun of visiting Zion National Park in December is rock climbing. For one, the lower temperature helps you keep a good grip, and the cool weather keeps you hydrated for long. 

However, the only thing you need to watch out for is rain. If it rains, wait for a couple of days for the park to dry out before attempting rock climbing, as the sandstone can get slippery when wet. 

Take Pictures Without Photobombs

Here’s the most important part of your trip – Memorable photos! The higher side of Zion National Park has quite a mesmerizing winterscape view, with the red cliffs blanketed in snow that shimmers like pearls in the mild winter sun. 

The lower side of the park, on the other hand, also looks quite mystical in winter with the high tide of the Virgin River and the waterfalls with magical mist swirling around. 

And with the sparse crowd, you can capture some timeless moments in the park with the snow-capped peaks in the background.

Things to Consider When Visiting Zion National Park in December

The winters in Utah are relatively mild. The temperature range from freezing to a high of 50 degrees, and the sun shines on most days. However, just so that your trip is comfortable and hassle-free, here are a few things to consider when visiting the park in December:

When to Visit Zion National Park

While the crowd at the park is quite less in December, you might see a spike in numbers just around Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays. So, if you really want to avoid the rush, it’s better to plan a trip in the early weeks or mid of December.

What to Pack For Visiting Zion National Park in the Winter

As mentioned earlier, the winters are not very harsh in Southern Utah; however, just to be on the safe side, pack extra warm clothes, coats, towels, gloves, hats, and hiking boots with traction. Also, keep a thermos of hot beverages in your car to warm up after a long hike. 

What to Avoid When Visiting the Park

Certain steep trails in Zion National Park tend to get a bit slippery during the winter months, like the Weeping Rock and Emerald Pools. So, to avoid slipping accidents, it is recommended to visit these trails only when the sun is out and the weather is dry; otherwise, it is better to avoid them. You can, however, take the Pa’Rus Trail and Riverside Walk. 

Check the Weather

Also, before heading off to the park to hike or rock climb, make sure to check the weather forecast. Usually, the sun is out in December, and the chances of rain are quite small, but the weather can be unpredictable. Therefore, plan your daily activities according to the weather conditions to avoid getting into any kind of inconvenience. 

Summing Up Zion National Park in December

The ideal time to visit Zion National Park is in winter. You can easily find places to stay, spend time with the wildlife, and carry out other fun activities in peace. And, not to forget the off-season rates! 

Also, if you pack all the winter essentials, you can enjoy the trip even if the weather gets unexpectedly colder. 

Therefore, gear up and plan your trip to Zion National Park in December for a peaceful and serene experience! 

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