Frozen waterfalls, sparkling ice crystals and white frosting on rusty peaks are some of the treasures awaiting hardy winter hikers. However, conditions change rapidly and constantly; hikers should be flexible and plan to turn back if trail conditions are unsafe or falling ice is a hazard.
The trails in Zion National Park usually have patchy snow, ice, or mud from winter through spring. Portions of Emerald Pools, Weeping Rock and the Riverside Walk are hazardous when icy and may be closed to hikers. The Sand Bench and Watchman Trails are usually snow free during the winter, but are often muddy in spots. Longer trails such as Observation Point, Hidden Canyon and Angle's Landing are often hazardous due to ice.
Zion Canyon hikes such as the Narrows are not recommended in winter and early spring due to cold water, high runoff and snow/mud covered access roads. High country trails including West Rim, Wildcat Canyon and East Rim are covered with up to three feet of snow in winter and are muddy and or icy in the spring.
In winter Kolob Canyon's trails are often quite snowy. Snow depths can vary from 1 to several feet of snow, requiring snowshoes for easier travel. Avalanches often pour down the steep canyon walls during and shortly after snowstorms. Falling ice and snow when rising temperatures cause melting, are also hazards backcountry hikers and skiers may encounter.
The lower desert trails, including Chinle Trail and Coalpits and Huber Washes are good for winter hiking during dry weather. This is one of the most accessible areas for winter hiking and backpacking.
Cross-country skiing, snowshoeing and snowmobiling opportunities exist in the higher elevations of Zion National Park and nearby Cedar Breaks National Monument. For more information check at the Zion Canyon Visitor Centers.