5 Reasons to Visit St. George, Utah in the Winter
I spent this past weekend in St. George, Utah at #InstaMeetStGeorge with Travel Mindset, St. George Tourism, and some of my favorite fellow adventurers like Jade from Vagabond3, Kristin from Camels and Chocolate, and more! Prior to this trip I had never been to Southern Utah, but know and love Northern Utah very much so I figured the same would be true for here. Our itinerary was filled with many adventures, the main event being hiking the Narrows at Zion, good food, and picture perfect photo opps all weekend long.
If there’s one thing I took away from this weekend, it’s this: winter is THE time to visit St. George. Why? Here are 5 reasons:
THE WEATHER IS MILD
Located in the northeastern part of the Mojave Desert, St. George has a desert climate, making it a great place to visit year-round. I actually laughed out loud when I saw the above graphic on the Visit St. George site because it is so true - St. George really has no off season. With winter temperatures ranging on average between 31-60 degrees Fahrenheit, it’s a great option for those looking to escape the harsh weather around the rest of the country and world during this time.
I will admit I was a bit skeptical about whether or not winter was truly the best time to visit St. George prior to going. The big event at our Insta meet was hiking the Narrows at Zion. This would mean we’d be in water, sometimes up to or above our waists, for 5+ hours consecutively. Having lived in California for 9 years now, I will be the first to admit that I have become a bit of a wuss in both harsh cold and hot temperatures. So, of course, I was a bit worried about freezing. The verdict? I spent five hours roaming those waters, mostly in the shade, and not once was I cold.
Also worth mentioning - you are not allowed to hike the Narrows when there is a chance of flash floods. According to Utah.com, runoff mostly occurs in April and May, and late summer has flooding risk due to thunderstorms. The likelihood of a flash flood on the day we went was low, making it yet another reason to visit in winter.
Plus, with the average high in July being 102 degrees Fahrenheit, I’d pick winter over summer any day!
THE SUN WILL (LIKELY) BE SHINING
As a photographer who very much prefers a bright, sunny landscape to a gloomy, moody one, I was thrilled to learn it’s (almost) always sunny in St. George! Over 300 days per year, to be exact. The sun shined for us all weekend long and it was picture perfect!
Aside from the photo opps, everyone knows that being in sunshine tends to warm you up a bit. On the last day of our Insta Meet it wasn’t exactly “hot” out, but with the powerful sun shining bright and our legs moving quickly, most of us found ourselves in tank tops by the end of our hike. Post-workout we grabbed lunch at River Rock Roasting Company and were able to enjoy it outside on the patio since we had the sun to keep us heated!
THE CROWDS WILL BE SMALL (OR NON-EXISTENT)
On Saturday we hiked the Narrows, the most popular hike at Zion National Park. It was not just a weekend day, but a holiday weekend day, with President’s Day on Monday. Even still, the trail was relatively empty, with the majority of people being from our own group. If you are looking to grab some shots without a bunch of random people in the background, winter is your time!
IT'S EASY TO GET TO
Often times the best places are the hardest to get to (I’m looking at you, Positano!) so I am always pleasantly surprised when I discover a somewhat off-the-beaten-path gem that is easily reachable. While St. George does have it’s own airport, most will likely find it to be more cost effective to fly into McCarran International Airport in Las Vegas. From here the journey is just 1.5 hours, during which you’ll drive through Nevada, Arizona, AND Utah! And while I do realize this is not winter-specific, I have included it anyway because (1) it’s a definite plus and (2) I find that so many winter destinations are not easy to get to so I figured it was worth pointing out.
On your way you’ll pass a turn off for the Valley of Fire State Park which is about 30 minutes out of your way. If time allows, I would suggest making the detour.
THERE ARE ENDLESS OUTDOOR ADVENTURES TO GO ON!
So the weather is mild, the sun will be shining, there will not be a crowd, but what is there to do? EVERYTHING! As I said above, St. George has no off season. Hotels, restaurants, etc. are open year-round and there are countless outdoor adventures to be had.
Over the weekend we went on many hikes, here are my favorite ones:
Petrified Dunes at Snow Canyon State Park
The Narrows at Zion National Park
Canyon Overlook at Zion National Park
Elephant Arch at Red Cliffs National Conversation Area
To check out more hikes or find other things to do in St. George, visit their site here.
This post was done in partnership with Travel Mindset and St. George Tourism. Everything above is my own opinion, as always!