Top Events

Sundance Film Festival, January

Utah Shakespeare Festival, June to October

Western Legends Roundup, August

Moab Music Festival, September

Moab Folk Festival, November

January

January is particularly slow and much of the tourism infrastructure surrounding the parks shuts down, but for nature lovers the peace and quiet can make for a fabulous visit.

Sundance Film Festival

It may not be in southern Utah, but this is nonetheless the state's most famous event. Aspiring filmmakers, actors and half of Hollywood gather for a week of cutting-edge film in Park City.

Winter Bird Festival

Birders gather for three days in St George for walks, lectures and children's activities at the Winter Bird Festival (www.stgeorgebirdfest.com).

February

Lovers of snow and winter sports should check out high-altitude destinations such as Bryce Canyon, Cedar Breaks and the Brian Head ski resort.

Bryce Canyon Winterfest

Cross-country ski tours, ski archery, snowshoe races and lots of other snow-based activities and clinics. Held over President's Day weekend in mid-February.

March

March is spring-break season in the US. Hordes of college students and families with young kids are out exploring the Southwest's national parks. This can be a surprisingly busy time; reserve accommodation and figure on unpredictable weather.

Wildflower Viewing

Depending on rainfall and elevation, spring (April and May) is wildflower season in the desert. Check www.desertusa.com for wildflower bloom reports at your favorite national and state parks.

Jeep Safari

The week before Easter, about 2000 Jeeps and thousands more people overrun the town in the year's biggest event. Register early; trails are assigned.

Skinny Tire Festival

Four days of great cycling trips outside Moab in early March. Ride through Arches, along the Colorado River and to Dead Horse Point and back.

April

The weather starts to warm up, but is still hard to gauge with wind, rain and snow alternating with wonderfully pleasant sunny days hitting temperatures in the 70s and 80s (over 21°C). Budding cottonwoods and blooming flowers brighten the landscape.

May

Summer gets started early in the desert, making this the beginning of the high season. Rafting and biking season swings into full gear.

Moab Arts Festival

Held on Memorial Day Weekend, the Moab Arts Festival at Swanny City Park brings together fine artists with plenty of food vendors and music acts.

June

School's out for the summer! High season for road-tripping families is beginning and the blistering desert heat index is gradually inching up toward seasonal highs.

Groove Fest

Cedar City's long weekend music fest (www.facebook.com/GroovefestAmericanMusicFestival) in late June jams with folksy and funky sounds.

Utah Shakespearean Festival

The play's the thing in Cedar City, where visitors can enjoy a dramatic Shakesperience, with Tony Award–winning performances, literary seminars and educational backstage tours from late June to September.

Bryce Canyon Astronomy Festival

Some 7500 stars are visible to the naked eye at Bryce, and even more are on display during this festival when the Salt Lake Astronomical Society breaks out some huge telescopes.

July

Summer's in full swing with annual July 4 barbecues across the country. Despite 100+°F temperatures (over 38°C), it's one of the busiest months for most Utah parks. Beat the heat by scheduling activities for the early morning or late afternoon, or head to higher elevations.

Neil Simon Festival

American plays staged mid-July to mid-August (www.simonfest.org) in Utah's festival town, Cedar City.

Independence Day

Cities and towns across the region celebrate America's birth with rodeos, parades, music and fireworks on July 4.

Bryce Canyon Half Marathon

A wildly popular distance run through the park, starting at Ruby's Inn and ending in Cannonville (www.brycecanyonhalfmarathon.com).

GeoFest

Join Bryce Canyon park rangers for a weekend of guided hikes, family-friendly geology programs, bus tours with a geologist, evening programs and other activities.

August

Hotels and campgrounds are booked up and it's still off-the-thermometer hot, although afternoon thunderstorms bring some relief – as well as flash floods.

Western Legends Roundup

Kanab lives for the annual Western Legends Roundup (www.westernlegendsroundup.com) in late August. There are concerts, gunfights, cowboy poetry, dances, quilt shows, a film festival and more. Take a bus tour to all the film sites, or sign up for a Dutch-oven cooking lesson.

Garfield County Fair

This Garfield County Fair in Panguitch hosts live bands and features parades, classic car shows, barbecues, livestock sales and rodeos for an entire week.

September

It's back to school for the kids, which means crowds begin to lessen. Fall is a particularly nice time to visit – weather is slightly cooler though the water is still warm, making it a good time to explore river canyons.

Dixie Roundup

St George's mid-September weekend full of Western fun, including a parade and rodeo (www.stgeorgelions.com).

Moab Music Festival

Each September, world-class classical, traditional and jazz musicians converge on the red-rock landscape around Moab for spectacular open-air concerts (www.moabmusicfest.org).

Zion Canyon Music Festival

One weekend in late September is filled with an eclectic lineup of bands, with everything from flatpickers to alternative rock (http://zioncanyonmusicfestival.com).

October

Lingering warm weather and less traffic makes this a particularly nice month to visit. Look for golden aspens at higher elevations.

St George Marathon

This highly acclaimed marathon takes over the town of St George (www.stgeorgemarathon.com), attracting 7400 runners from all 50 states and some 20,000 spectators. The route is regularly rated one of the country's most scenic.

November

The low season is beginning and some hotels and restaurants have shuttered up for the winter. The long Thanksgiving weekend sees a final burst of visitors to the region's parks.

Moab Folk Festival

Folk music and environmental consciousness combine. This November festival is 100% wind-powered, venues are easily walkable and recycling is encouraged (www.moabfolkfestival.com). Big-name singer-songwriters take top billing.

December

December has cool weather and some snow, but you can still go mountain biking and hiking at lower elevations if there's no big storms.