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Kerry392 Dec 31st, 2006 12:16 PM

Zion National Park in winter (from Vegas)
Happy New Year!
My husband and I have fallen in love with the southwest and national parks. We would love to travel to Zion National Park and Bryce Canyon over Christmas week next year; we are limited in when we can travel because I am a teacher.
1) Would it be possible to drive from Vegas to Zion in the winter? What are the road conditions? How about Bryce Canyon? I realize that Bryce is at a much higher elevation...
2) Would many trails be open?
3) It is a huge incovenience that the tram system does not run in the winter? We used the trams a lot in Yosemite.
Thanks in advance!

Dayle Dec 31st, 2006 01:05 PM

Hi kerry,

Driving to Zion in the winter is no problem. Christmas holidays is a popular time to visit, so there will be visitors besides yourself, but not having the trams should not be a problem. You should be able to find parking at the various trailheads.

Part of the appeal of Zion, if you haven't been there before, is the oasis type feeling of the canyon floor. The beautiful trees and plants are in stark contrast to the red rock cliffs. In winter, the trees are bare of course, so less color contrast between red and green. I've taken some great January pictures at dawn with the sun lighting the cliffs and the bare black tree branches framing the views.

Some of the longer, higher trails will not be recommended for hiking due to ice. The short walks in the canyon should be just fine.

Road conditions to Bryce will be dependant on weather, but should be OK most of the time. There will be snow and it's beautiful, but trails down into the canyon will be closed due to icy conditions. Nice snowshoeing and x country skiing along the rim though!

It can be very cold, even at Zion, so take all the appropriate winter gear and clothings. Warm hats, gloves, layers and lots of water even in winter.

Make res in advance for sure and have fun!

Kerry392 Jan 2nd, 2007 12:38 PM

Hi Dayle!
Thanks for your information. It was very helpful!
This would be our first time in Zion.
Have you stayed at the lodge in the park? Another option would be to stay in St. George and drive in each day. Is this a viable option?

Van_Ness Jan 2nd, 2007 01:09 PM

A really pretty and comfortable retreat, right in Springdale a shuttle ride from the Zion entrance, is the Desert Pearl. Site is on the Virgin River, amid great red walls. The units are large, have a micro and frig, and FABulous bathrooms. We stayed there a year ago and it was dynamite ... as is Zion!

Dayle Jan 2nd, 2007 02:30 PM

Hi again Kerry,

No you don't want to stay in St. Greorge. It's a 45 min drive one way and St. George is not anywhere near as small and funky as Springdale. Definitely stay in Springdale, it's just outside the park.

popham May 8th, 2010 09:48 AM

Hi I am considering visiting Zion and Bryce in November and wondered if anyone has been at that time and what the weather is like.

Thank you.

emalloy May 8th, 2010 03:40 PM

We've done Zion and Bryce from Vegas in January and were lucky with nice weather. We stayed in the park at Zion and you can drive right into the valley if you stay there.

If weather is too bad in the Zion area, check how it is in Death Valley, it is only 2 + hours from Vegas and makes a very nice day trip. It is awesome in spite of its name.

elnap29 May 8th, 2010 04:22 PM

I'd recommend staying inside the park at Zion Lodge. The rooms are very cozy and it is just so convenient to be right in the canyon. The rooms have been upgraded a bit and have down comforters, coffee makers, and fabulous views.

Dayle May 9th, 2010 06:39 AM


Zion is nice in November. Their fall colors happen in November and are beautiful with the blue sky and red rock. Thanksgiving weekend, however, is very, very crowded. An absolute zoo. Also, by then the shuttles have stopped, making parking, and even visiting the canyon at all, difficult. I would avoid Thanksgiving.

One of the nicest trips I ever had to Zion was for my birthday weekend, the last weekend in Oct. There were fall colors, the shuttles were still running and the weather was gorgeous. I had a wonderful bike ride all the way up the canyon and back. No traffic to deal with, very few people. Lovely!

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