From ice fishing at Bear Lake and exploring the fascinating Midway Ice Castles, to adventures in the state’s amazing national parks, these are the best things to do in Utah in winter.
If you’re looking for the ultimate Christmas or winter holiday destination, why not travel to beautiful Utah?
Utah is known for its amazing natural beauty. It was the home of the 2002 Winter Olympics and hosts the annual Sundance Film Festival too, but there’s so much more to this beautiful state.
In the winter months, Utah transforms into a wild and rugged winter wonderland that’s built for adventure! During this time, you can still experience the great outdoors, with a choice of exhilarating winter sports, fun holiday festivals and plenty of festive shopping!
So, are you ready to plan the ultimate winter holiday in Utah? This guide covers a range of activities and is packed full of travel tips. I’ll reveal all the best things to do in Utah in Winter as well as some great recommendations for where to stay, so you can really make it a trip to remember.
Weather in Utah in Winter
Winter in Utah lasts from late November to February. During this time you can expect long periods of snowfall and shorter daylight hours.
Average daily temperatures during winter range from -11°C (12°F) to -1°C (30°F). To enjoy all the wonderful things winter in Utah has to offer, be sure to pack a really warm coat, gloves, scarf and a pair of comfortable winter boots.
9 Amazing Things To Do in Utah in Winter
Visit one of Utah’s 5 amazing national parks
Utah’s national parks draw in huge crowds in the summer months, but numbers are reduced in the winter. What could be better than having a magical experience out in the red rock countryside, without the hoards of tourists?!
In the winter months, Utah’s national parks transform into snow-covered winter wonderlands. If you fancy a special road trip, you could take a scenic drive through Zion National Park. For a more active trip, how about snowshoeing or cross-country skiing at Canyonlands National Park?
Alternatively, you could check out the annual Winter Festival at Bryce Canyon. There are so many amazing nature-filled places to see in Utah, you might find it hard to choose!
Explore the Midway Ice Castles
If you’re looking for fun things to do in Utah that the whole family will love, visit the Midway Ice Castles. It’s an award-winning, frozen attraction where you can explore artist-made ice castles, playgrounds and ice sculptures.
You’ll discover magic around every icy corner! After your visit, you can warm up with some complimentary hot chocolate and warm drinks. It’s the perfect place to get in the festive spirit!
Visit the fascinating Homestead Crater
Did you know there’s a hidden underground cave about an hour outside of Salt Lake City called the Homestead Crater. It’s a geothermal hot spring right inside a 55-foot dome of limestone rock! How cool is that?
Temperatures inside the crater are 90-96 degrees Fahrenheit all year-round, meaning you can even visit in winter. Activities at the Homestead Crater include swimming, snorkelling, mineral soaks and SUP yoga.
Relax at one of Utah’s best spas
Looking for things to do in Utah in winter that are indoors? If you need a break from the chilly winter weather, how about booking in for a relaxing day at one of Utah’s best spas.
Amangiri is often considered Utah’s most luxurious spa and it’s located in a beautiful and secluded setting. Alternatively, if you’re staying in Salt Lake City, The Grand America Hotel’s spa is the best option for relaxing spa treatments.
Go ice fishing or sledding at Bear Lake
If you’re looking for a unique winter activity that even the kids will enjoy, try ice fishing at Bear Lake! Anglers come from many miles away to enjoy the fishing opportunities all around the Bear Lake Valley.
Even if fishing isn’t your thing, the beautiful countryside surrounding Bear Lake is filled with other fun winter activities. You could try skiing and snowboarding at Beaver Mountain, or sledding and tubing at the Sinks.
Try a new winter sport like Snowmobiling
Did you know that Utah has more than 800 miles of groomed snowmobile trails each with their own sights, sounds and adventures?
The terrain ranges from powdery meadows to steep hills and mountains. If you’re new to snowmobiling, I’d recommend trying a guided tour. Backcountry Snowmobiling offers custom-tailored tours, ideal for anyone from snowmobiling beginners to expert on the snow!
Take a dog sled tour in Utah
Did you know that in Utah you can go dog sledding whilst helping a good cause? Bear Ridge Adventures provides warm and loving homes to former sled dogs that were once seen as “unadoptable”.
Now these dogs have a new lease on life and are helping provide authentic dog sled tours on scenic private property. It’s one of the ultimate winter activities in Utah. Visit Park City and experience Utah like never before by gliding over the snow in a dog sled!
Check out the Christmas lights at Temple Square
The holiday lights in Temple Square in Salt Lake City are turned on just after Thanksgiving, and wow do they add a sprinkle of magic to the place.
The entire square is lit up in a festive display of sparkling Christmas lights. There’s also an interactive Nativity scene and several concerts held throughout the holiday season.
Spot celebrities at the Sundance Film Festival
If you dream of brushing shoulders with A-list celebrities, then head to the Sundance Film Festival! Visiting Sundance is one of the most iconic things to do in Utah in winter.
The festival is held in Park City each January. Around 200 films premiere each year and the movie casts are often there to walk the red carpet.
Here’s an insider tip to help you score movie tickets. If the movie you want to see is sold out (and they sell out fast!) head to the Sundance Resort and put your name on the waiting list. Sundance isn’t as busy as Park City so you’ll have better luck securing seats!
Where to Stay in Utah in Winter
This rustic yet sophisticated ski resort is located near the Wasatch Mountains, just 50km outside of Salt Lake City. A cool fact about this top hotel is that it was actually founded by Robert Redford!
If you visit in the winter months, you can take advantage of the nearby ski lifts. There are also lots of more fun things to try like cross-country skiing, snowshoeing and even horse-drawn sleigh rides!
The resort is situated on 5,000 beautiful acres of wilderness at the foot of the 12,000-foot Mount Timpanogos. You’ll find amenities such as three restaurants, an award-winning tea room and a luxurious spa. During the ski season, all rooms include 2 ski-lift tickets per night. You can also rent ski equipment on site.
Planning your ultimate Utah winter itinerary? There’s no better place to stay than the Grand America Hotel! It’s located right in the heart of Salt Lake City.
The Gallivan Centre is just a short walk away and offers a festive outdoor skating rink. When the weather gets really chilly, you can warm up at other nearby attractions such as the Utah Museum of Natural History or the Hogle Zoo.
The Grand Hotel is “grand” in every way! You can expect luxurious touches including floor-to-ceiling windows, marble staircases, spa-style bathrooms, plush furniture and chic decor. On chilly winter nights, you can dine at the cosy Garden Cafe or enjoy cocktails at the fancy Lobby Lounge by the log fire.
If you’re looking for an authentic and refined mountain retreat, you will love the Montage Deer Valley Resort! At Deer Valley, you can enjoy ski-in/ski-out access to one of North America’s best ski resorts. The hotel is also situated only 5 minutes from the iconic mountain town Park City and a 40-minute drive from Salt Lake City.
Deer Valley offers world-class luxury lodging in a beautiful mountain setting. If you’re new to skiing or snowboarding, the resort has an award-winning ski school on site. You’ll also enjoy complimentary amenities like curb-side ski valets, daily mountain tours and car service.
There are so many festive activities and fun winter events in Utah, it’s hard to narrow it down to a few! I hope you have an amazing trip, whatever you decide to do.
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