Packing for Winter in Utah’s Southern Parks

While miles away from Utah’s ski country of Park City, the state’s southern parks can get some snow here and there. Before your winter trip, prepare your family for possible ice, snow or just tons of sunshine on your trip to Utah’s lower half.

The tricky part to planning for a desert region park during the winter months is getting a handle on the possibly fickle weather. While some days may see bright sunshine, mild temperatures and clear skies, others may have epic winter weather in store. Be sure to keep up with the local weather up to the day you arrive, as some snow and ice may linger from a previous winter storm. In the meantime, the best you can do is pack versatile pieces to transition you and the kids from day to night and all the possibilities in between.

Pack Layers

Like with any winter-weather vacation, pack enough thin, moisture-wicking layers for hiking in all conditions. While temperatures can be chilly in the morning, they can feel warm out on the trails while you’re hiking steep climbs. Have enough layers and winter accessories that can keep heat in, and water and cold weather out. This can be especially tricky with the kids, so make sure you have enough long sleeves, zip-ups and interchangeable pieces to come on and off as needed.

Winter at Bryce Canyon National Park © Angelique Platas

Winter at Bryce Canyon National Park © Angelique Platas

Carry a Backpack

A backpack will really come in handy, even on short hikes, as you may want to roll up some layers and put them away while you hike. You’ll also need somewhere to put your water, granola bars, sunglasses and anything else you might need so you can keep your hands free and protected. Also, depending on the trail and level of hiker, age and physical strength, you should bring along removable spikes for your boots, like these, to help with traction on the ice. They don’t work as well on pavement, so you’ll have to take them on and off as you hike and climb.

If the rail is too tricky, however, steer clear with the little ones. It’s not worth the chance of slipping if your little ones are young enough to need to be carried in a pack.

Bring Backup Shoes

While some days might bring more snow and ice than others, it will be helpful to have a backup pair of shoes for yourself. The kids can get away with tough, but flexible boots on most terrain.

You may want to go for a light hike on paved trails that won’t require hiking boots and can save your feet some trouble for later hikes. Just make sure your socks are warm enough to go from thin boots to thicker, sturdier hiking boots.

Sunset Ridge, Bryce Canyon National Park

Sunset Ridge, Bryce Canyon National Park © Angelique Platas