Moab, UT in Winter
Replies: 3 - Last Post: Oct 26, 2012 2:04 PM Last Post By: archluvva
Oct 26, 2012 2:22 AM
Moab, UT in WinterHi all-
American gal here currently living in Europe, and and am coming back to the States over winter break for a skiing holiday in Park City, Utah. The family and skiing stuff is done Jan 2 (a Wednesday) but I have no reason to return to Europe until that weekend so I thought it'd be good to spend a few days to see a bit of southern Utah as I've always wanted to do that!
So plan is to rent a car and drive down to Moab, take in Arches and Canyonlands (unless someone suggests a better idea/ something else I must see), then drive back Saturday night in order to catch the flight home Sunday. My biggest concern that time of year is of course weather- I know no one can predict it, but was wondering how much of the parks are accessible in winter? (I also just have my normal hiking boots, so I'm not terribly keen on this plan if I need to invest in much more heavy duty stuff.) And how's the drive from SLC to Moab, would a normal car rental that has 4WD be sufficient?
Don't worry, I'm not silly enough to attempt driving if there's a blizzard or something like that, I'm just more interested in whether this side trip would be worth it in other people's opinions. (If not the plane connects in Portland, OR on the way home so I'd spend my few days exploring over there.) Thanks!
Oct 26, 2012 4:17 AM
Oct 26, 2012 12:01 PM
2Your plan is fine. You'll have two full days in Moab, which will give you one at Arches and one at Canyonlands. This is good - you'll have no problem filling your days. Dress warm - the weather in Moab, and particularly at the higher elevations in Canyonlands NP, may be cold (but odds are better than even that it'll be nicer than gray, rainy Portland in January).
Oct 26, 2012 2:04 PM
3Assuming you're intending to take the shortest route your main worry is the drive from SLC down to Spanish Fork and then through the mountains on Route 6 towards Price. As long as the weather is ok there shouldn't be a problem in a normal 2WD car rental and the snowploughs do a good job of keeping this road open. Just drive carefully and, as you say, don't attempt it in severe weather.
The parks will be open and best of all will be crowd free. I visited in December once and the Island in the Sky mesa was covered in snow but the roads were open and the short trails accessible and it made for some great photo opportunities.
Arches could well have icy patches on the slickrock but with care all the trails should be manageable. Normal hiking boots will be fine.
Have a great trip. Wish it was me!
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