Summer always seems to slip away so quickly. Before you know it, you’re back at your desk dreaming of past adventures and shorts weather. Well, we’ve got some exciting news, there’s a hidden gem in Utah that is home to perfect, year-round weather for hiking, biking, and exploring. So, find some time in your calendar, get the whole crew together, and you’ll be booking the perfect getaway as soon as those new winter boots lose their novelty (sometime around the second snowfall).
Zion National Park’s winters average daily temperatures of 50-60°F (10-15°C), so they are ideal for the adventures we’ve got planned. Visiting during the winter months gives you the chance to enjoy all the excursions and breathtaking scenery without the large crowds.
Once you’ve got three of your best friends excited to leave the city, the snowplows, and the icy streets, it’s time to depart on an adventure of a lifetime! Make sure to book your stay at Cable Mountain Lodge. The Double Studio will provide your group with tons of room, and it won’t break the bank. This incredible lodge is only a short walk to the national park and you can enjoy mountain and river views from right outside your window. Get in Thursday night so you can enjoy two full days of non-stop exploring. The entrance fee into the park will be $30 USD per vehicle, which is valid for seven days.
The Cable Mountain Lodge is within walking distance of the brewpub, grocery store, and some shops. We suggest grabbing snacks, breakfast and lunch food for the weekend at the grocery store so you can start your day at the park as early as possible.
For your first day, we’ve planned an epic hike. Make sure to check with Zion National Park Visitor Centre for trail conditions. Dress in layers because the weather can change on you, and you may experience some hearty winds.
Observation Point is a stunning hike that brings trekkers to the most scenic views of the entire park. Towering above the entire Zion Canyon, this route is longer, harder, and less crowded than the famous Angel’s Landing. Not that you have to worry about the crowds anyways because you came at the best time of year!
Try combining this hike with Hidden Canyon for a longer excursion. It leads to a lush slot canyon, and the chains lining the upper part of the trail will assist you in the climb.
Eat the lunch you packed at one of the many picnic areas in the park. You’ll be staying in the park and have one more thrilling adventure before heading back to the lodge.
Slingshot Zion is Southern Utah’s premier destination to rent the amazing, open-top roadsters known as Polaris Slingshots. You’ll experience the Zion Canyon Scenic Drive in a way you never imagined. They are supplying Zion adventurists with an unforgettable and exhilarating addition to their vacation itineraries.
Time to relax! Head back to the lodge, if it is hot, enjoy the pool surrounded by excellent views.
Head to the Spotted Dog Cafe for a delightful dining experience. The food is appealing to the eyes and to the palate. They use fresh produce, hormone-free meats, and sustainably harvested fish. It’s a great reward for a thrilling day. Make sure to call ahead before going to any restaurant because the hours are subject to change from November to March.
Day two is a little more hands-on, literally. The main activity today is Canyoneering with a Zion Guru. Canyoneering is a combination of hiking, exploring, wading, splashing, scrambling, rappelling, and problem solving.
There are trips for beginners that require no special skills at all. A short trip into the lower end of The Narrows—above the Temple of Sinawava—is the perfect introduction to canyoneering. There are other trips too, like Subway and Orderville Canyon, which are geared to more experienced athletes and seasoned canyoneers.
Make sure you and your friends bring a pack filled with extra clothes, water, snacks and a lunch. You can enjoy your lunch in one of the many picnic areas in Zion National Park; it’s a great way to relax and take in all the scenery.
Okay, one last adventure, but this one is a must. Can you really say you’ve been to Zion National Park if you didn’t get a picture of Angels Landing? This iconic hike is the busiest trail in the park but, luckily for you, your crew came when crowds aren’t an issue. It’s a long climb and an exposed traverse; however, the stunning views of the canyon from the summit always seem worth it. Be careful on the last section of this hike; depending on the weather, it can be quite tricky. Always pack some common sense, and be safe.
Spend tonight in a beautiful, unique, and intimate restaurant. Bistro H has an incredible view and a relaxed atmosphere. The menu has food available for everyone’s tastes. You can unwind here. Reminisce about the weekend and all the unforgettable memories you made with your closest friends.
You planned the most epic trip for your friends and were able to escape to an adventure-packed hidden-gem: great work! Share your experiences with us. We would love to hear all about your trip, and definitely let us know if we missed anything!
Photo Credit: Enlighten Photography Tours