I’m sure most people don’t think about hiking in the middle of winter, but if you live near Southern Utah, it is a great time to get out and enjoy Zion National Park without the crowds and heat that summer brings.
The last two weekends we have taken hikes in Zion. It’s only $25 per car that enters the park and you can use it for a week, or you can buy a year pass to all of the National Parks for just $80. We decided to buy the year pass since we only live about an hour from Zion, and I’m so glad we did! One of my resolutions this year was to get my family out and enjoying nature, so this was a good way to start!
Zion averages a temperature of about 51 degrees during January months, but you’ll still want to make sure that you dress warmly since the hikes that go into the canyon are shaded from the sun and are a little bit colder than you would expect.
The two hikes we’ve recently done are the Emerald pools hike, and the Overlook hike.
The Emerald Pools hike takes you to a waterfall and pools of green water. The trail can be a little wet, but it’s really just a walk and the kids had no problem at all. They loved looking at the tall canyons and listening for the birds around us. We only hiked to lower pools, since the trail got pretty muddy, but it was a good length for the kids and after we were done we had a picnic on the grassy area in front of the Zion lodge.
The hike we took last weekend was the Overlook hike. It is about a half mile in and out. This trail is a little steep, but the kids did just fine. We had our neighbors with us and so we had 7 kids under 7, including two two-year-olds. I carried my baby in a pack for most of the hike, since the cliffs can be a little treacherous in places and I’m a worrier. By the time we were done the kids were a little tired, but no one complained on the hike at all.
The cool thing about the Overlook hike is the Mt. Carmel tunnel that you can drive through on the way. It’s a mile and a half long tunnel carved into the mountain. It’s awesome!
Zion is beautiful any time of year! There were also a lot of deer to see, which was really fun for the kids.
Dress warm and bring some water and snacks and you’ll really enjoy your hike!