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The Best & Worst Times to Visit Utah in 2024 (Our Take)

The Best & Worst Times to Visit Utah in 2024 (Our Take)

What's the best time to visit Utah?

The best times to visit Utah are in the spring and fall These seasons offer a break from the extreme heat of summer and the cold of winter, making hikes in parks like Zion and Bryce Canyon especially enjoyable. Spring sees wildflowers and waterfalls at their peak, while both seasons are great for stargazing. Festivals like Living Traditions and Soldier Hollow Classic also add to the appeal.

The state of Utah is a popular destination for lovers of stark Wild West landscapes and plenty of outdoor activities. The natural landscapes are definitely the main reason to visit Utah. The most popular national park is Zion National Park, but no visit to Utah should stop there.

The state boasts other spectacular mountains and rock formations such as Arches National Park, Canyonlands National Park, and the otherworldly Bryce Canyon National Park.

There are plenty of opportunities for outdoor activities in Utah, from drag racing across the Bonneville Salt Flats to kayaking on Lake Powell to skiing in Park City. Since many of the best things to do in Utah are outdoors, knowing when to visit is crucial.

Overall Best Time to Visit Utah

Neat view of the Narrow in Zion pictured under a blue sky with hardly anyone around in the spring, the overall best time to visit Utah

Warasit Phothisuk/Shutterstock

The overall best times to visit Utah are during the spring or fall, when the weather is the best and you can avoid crowds at the most popular attractions. Much of Utah is covered by the desert, which means that it experiences extreme temperatures.

Even in the parts of Utah that aren’t in the desert, the weather is affected by the desert surrounding it. Expect very hot summers and very cold winters, with sometimes drastic differences between daytime and nighttime temperatures.

However, the spring and fall bring much milder weather to Utah. According to U.S. Climate Data, average high temperatures in the capital, Salt Lake City, reach the low 70s by May, meaning you’ll have pleasantly warm temperatures for walking around.

September and October also tend to have temperatures in the low 70s or high 60s. If your main goal was getting outdoors, then visiting during the milder shoulder seasons is the best time to visit.

Hiking and camping are at their best during this time because it’s not too cold to spend the night in a tent, but not so hot that you’re at risk of heatstroke. Popular destinations for hiking in Utah include:

Spring in particular is a popular time to go hiking. By April, most of the desert is in bloom and covered with wildflowers. April is also the best month to visit waterfalls and creeks as the snow melt ensures that water levels are at their most spectacular.

Spring is also the best time to go stargazing. The skies are at their driest by the end of April, meaning that visibility is crisp and clear. Camp out at night and you’ll even be able to see the Milky Way.

Spring and fall are also a good time for festivals celebrating old and new traditions in Utah, such as:

Cheapest Time to Visit Utah

Photo of Park City, a small resort town, pictured during the least busy time to visit Utah

Park City, USA – July 25, 2019: Ski resort town in Utah during summer with downtown colorful historic buildings and cars/Kristi Blokhin/Shutterstock

The cheapest time to visit Utah is during the autumn, when visitor numbers are lower, but you have plenty of accommodation options. Even though the fall has beautiful weather, there is much less demand than in the spring or summer.

Due to lower demand, many hotels in popular areas lower their rates. Hotels in popular areas such as Zion National Park or Bryce Canyon offer discounts that are 30-40% off peak-season prices.

The benefit of visiting in the fall is that you have more options. Although sticker prices may seem more affordable in the winter, many affordable hotels close for the season, so you may not have an option within your budget.

During the fall, you also have the option of choosing the most budget-friendly option, camping, which is free on certain campgrounds (and impossible during the bitterly cold winters).

You can also find the best flight deals to Utah in the fall, specifically in October and November. There are no major holidays during these months (except for Thanksgiving), so there tend to be fewer travelers. Airlines offer discounts.

Least Busy Time to Visit Utah

Downtown shopping center in Provo pictured during the best time to visit Utah, the fall

Sean Pavone/Shutterstock

The least busy time to visit any part of Utah is the fall, although you can also beat the crowds in southern Utah in the winter. The entire state of Utah receives the fewest visitors in the fall.

From September to November, even some of Utah’s popular national parks receive fewer visitors. These months are amazing for hiking because temperatures are mild (although chilly at night). There is also a lower risk of flash flooding since fall is generally a dry season in Utah.

During winter, northern Utah, where most of the state’s ski resorts are located, fills up. So do popular cities, such as Salt Lake City, so this isn’t the best time to visit if you want to avoid crowds in the entire state.

However, if you want to avoid crowds in the most popular national parks in southern Utah, affectionately called the Mighty 5, winter is a good time to visit.

According to the official Visit Utah site, popular parks receive only 10-15% of their average daily visitor numbers during the winter. The colder months are the perfect opportunity to have a spectacular trail all to yourself.

Worst Time to Visit Utah

Pictured in the middle of the summer, the worst time to visit Utah, a hot day in Zion National Park as seen from the middle of the road


The worst times to visit Utah are the summer and winter, due to their extreme temperatures, but both have their benefits. Summer in the desert is unbearable—and much of Utah is covered by the desert.

Daytime temperatures can reach up to 100 degrees, even in many popular hiking destinations. At these temperatures, hiking is not just unpleasant, but downright unsafe.

Plus, summer is monsoon season, when sudden storms can hit the desert and cause flash flooding, trapping hikers. The heat doesn’t stop many visitors. Summer is the most crowded time to visit many of Utah’s most popular national parks.

Popular roads and trails within Zion National Park and other top-notch destinations are so crowded visitors end up sitting in traffic, hardly the pristine getaway into nature you probably imagined. To cool off during the summer, it’s a perfect time to visit Lake Powell or one of Utah’s other bodies of water.

You can go swimming, kayaking, or canyoneering following an experienced guide. Summer is also the peak of Utah’s cultural calendar. Towns across the state host harvest festivals celebrating local fruit, so this is the best time to nab some pie.

Bigger cities such as Salt Lake City host big events, such as:

While summers are sweltering hot, winters are bitterly cold. Nighttime temperatures are well below freezing, and the higher you go in altitude, the colder it gets. It is far too cold for camping without endangering yourself.

Many popular trails and roads in national parks close for the season in winter due to snow and ice. However, if you’re an experienced cold weather hiker, winter is one of the best times to visit Utah’s national parks. You’ll see very few other visitors out on the trails.

As long as you bring warm layers and the right gear, you’ll be able to go on the trials that you want. Winter is the best time to visit Utah if your main goal is to go skiing. Resorts in northern Utah such as Park City usually have several inches of powder by the beginning of December.

During most years, you can expect plenty of snow and great skiing conditions throughout the month. Film lovers should also come to Utah during the winter, as the iconic Sundance Film Festival takes place every January.

Frequently Asked Questions

Historic red horse barn in Capitol Reef, seen during the best time to visit Utah

JKO Photos/Shutterstock

Here are some of the most common questions to help you pick the best time to visit Utah:

What is the best month to visit Utah?

The best month to visit Utah is May, when the weather for hiking is at its best, but you may prefer different months depending on your itinerary.

When is the best weather in Utah?

The best weather in Utah is the mild, misty spring and the warm, dry autumn since they offer a welcome break from the extremes of summer and winter.

When is the best time to travel through Salt Lake City?

The best time to travel through Salt Lake City is the fall because the crowds are at their lowest, but there is still plenty to do.

What is the coldest month in Utah?

January is the coldest month in Utah, and probably best to avoid unless you are planning to go skiing.

So, What’s the Best Time to Visit Utah?

The best time to visit Utah is in the spring or fall, when you’re guaranteed mild weather and fewer crowds. Skiers will probably want to come in the winter.