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The Best & Worst Times to Visit Utah in 2023

The Best & Worst Times to Visit Utah in 2023

From its awe-inspiring slopes, red rock formations, jaw-dropping rock trails, and wide canyons, Utah is undeniably one of the world’s most picturesque locations.

It’s beauty will make you feel like you’ve been transported to a different world. While you may enjoy all its sights year-round, your Utah experience is widely dependent on doing a little bit of research first.

To help you make the most of your vacation, we’ve compiled what you need to know about its sights and the best time to visit the Beehive State.

We’ll also let you in on the months to avoid if you don’t want to deal with huge crowds and extremely hot weather.

Why You Should Visit Utah

Milky Way behind the Double Arch in Arches National Park, Utah

Arthur Cauty/Shutterstock

Tourism is a major economic driver in Utah. In 2020 alone, it contributed $1.16 billion in state and local tax revenue. Considering how the state is chock-full of spectacular sights and interesting things to do, this doesn’t come as a surprise.

From hiking in Zion National Park to checking out the Great Salt Lake or learning about Mormon history, Utah is an excellent getaway location.

Utah’s diverse landscape allows visitors to explore the state by hiking, biking, boating, and more. From the snow-capped peaks of the Wasatch and Uinta Ranges to the red rock formations in Red Canyon, Utah’s topography is nothing short of fascinating.

For those who want to experience the culture, Utah is also home to many museums and galleries. You can also find historical sites and other man-made structures to explore here.

Overall Best Time to Visit Utah

Gorgeous blue lake on a clear day with a mountain in the background with White Pine Lake in the middle during the best time to visit Utah

Kara Arceneaux/Shutterstock

Utah is the perfect playground for everyone who loves nature. While Utah is gorgeous year-round, the best time to visit is from April to May and September to October.

April to May marks the shoulder season in Utah. During this time, the weather is not as hot as in other months, especially when compared to the summer, when it can get scorching. Because of this, you can enjoy Utah in its full glory.

Outdoor enthusiasts and hikers can head to different sights like the Bryce Canyon, Capitol Reef, Zion, and Arches during this time of the year.

But during this time of the year, do not be surprised to see crowds, although it’s manageable. Meanwhile, September to October is when the temperature starts to cool down. During this time, you can drive on the Mirror Lake Scenic Highway to see its many viewpoints.

September is also the best time to visit Utah if you love Johnson Elberta and Gleason Elberta peaches since many roadside fruit stands sell them during this time.

During October, expect fewer crowds. You can also enjoy Utah in fall colors. The Alpine Loop Scenic Byway is a popular spot among tourists during this time, especially in mid-October.

Cheapest Time to Visit Utah

Day's first light from the bottom of a rocky canyon on a hot day during the cheapest time to visit Utah

If you are looking for some good deals when it comes to flights and hotels, Utah is a good state to visit. From September to November, you can fly to Utah and book a hotel of your choice on a budget.

The ski season in Utah can get extremely expensive, especially considering it’s top-notch. The US Olympic Team even trains here. The prices are highest from December to January, but February marks an amazing time for budget travelers to ski.

During this month, the winter season is not in full swing anymore. But the mountains are filled with powder, and it’s an awesome setting for beginners.

Least Busy Time to Visit Utah

Provo Utah buildings downtown on a clear day as seen through trees during the least busy time to visit Utah

Sean Pavone/Shutterstock

If seeing fewer tourists is a top priority, you should visit Utah from September to November. During this shoulder season, the weather is ideal, and the crowds are tolerable. It’s also a great time to score deals.

This period is the best time to visit Utah if you want to avoid the crowds, especially when it comes to National Parks. If you like to ski, you can also choose to visit during the off-season, which is from February to April.

It’s worth noting that if your priority is to save on flights, the cheapest month to book your flight is October, especially if you’re flying at Salt Lake City International Airport.

Hotel savings can be felt year-round depending on the location. But the best time to book your stay is from January, March, April, and May.

Worst Time to Visit Utah

Storm with rain over the plains during the worst time to visit Utah

Wesley Aston/Shutterstock

It’s worth noting that visiting Utah year-round is an excellent choice if you want to see all its different faces. However, the time you should avoid visiting is during the summer, particularly in June and July.

During summer, temperatures in the state of Utah can range from 85°F to 100°F. The temperature can get even hotter depending on the location.

If you prefer to spend as much time as possible outdoors during the summer months, you’ll want to be on the lookout for water activities or places where you can lounge in air-conditioned rooms.

If you love hiking, you can still do it during this time. However, the best time to hike is a few hours after sunrise, when the temperature has cooled down and the majority of the crowds have left. If you insist on hiking during daylight hours, bring lots of water.

Christmas and New Year’s Holidays are also one of the most crowded times in Utah. Christmas is a wonderful time to visit with family since it’s a time to come together, share stories, and make memories.

However, the crowds can be overwhelming, especially during the peak holiday season, which is from December 15 to January 2. Although most hotels have Christmas and New Year’s Eve packages, they can still get very expensive, especially for international travelers.

Despite this, December to January is a great time to visit for fans of winter sports.

During this time, you can enjoy winter sports in the state of Utah, especially if you have a passion for skiing. Even if you’re not a big fan of skiing, you can still hit the slopes and have fun with your friends or family.

Things to Consider

Evening light over the red rocks of Turret Arch during the best time to visit Utah

Anthony Heflin/Shutterstock

Although Utah is full of wonderful sights, it’s not an easy travel destination. Here are some things to consider before you visit this beautiful state.

Consider the Weather

Because of Utah’s mountain ranges, it’s extremely difficult to predict the weather. That said, the month of October is considered the most stable in terms of weather. The warmest months in Utah are July and August.

Because of this, the sun can get very intense, making it harder for you to enjoy outdoor activities. In August, temperatures can still be hot, but not as scorching as in July.

During winter, temperatures in Utah can drop to freezing, especially during January and February. Snow can also get quite heavy, making it a bit difficult to do outdoor activities. However, during this time of the year, you can check out the ski resorts in Utah and enjoy a day on the slopes.

Don’t Forget to Tip

While tipping is not required, it’s a common practice in Utah, especially when it comes to eating out, hiring a hiking guide, or a ski instructor. Tipping is usually 10% to 15%.

Don’t Spend Your Entire Trip in Just One Part of the State

Utah is composed of several mountain ranges, which you can experience in one trip. However, it’s best to make your trip a multi-destination getaway instead of focusing on just one area.

This tip will not only give you more time to explore each area, but it’ll also give you a feel of the state as a whole. It’s a good idea to stay near these locations:

  • Bryce Canyon National Park
  • Arches National Park
  • Moab
  • Park City
  • Zion National Park
  • Capitol Reef National Park
  • Salt Lake City
  • Monument Valley 

Utah is an excellent destination for family vacations. If you want to bring the kids with you on your trip, don’t forget to include them in your sightseeing and adventure planning. This way, they’ll learn a lot more, and your whole family will have more fun during your Utah trip.

Be Careful When Hiking

Hiking can be a great way to explore the state of Utah. However, if you don’t prepare or have the right equipment, you may find yourself in a sticky situation.

For example, if you’re hiking during winter, you will want to be prepared for snow. Make sure you know where you are going, bring the proper equipment, and be prepared for any weather changes.

Here’s what you need to bring when hiking in Utah:

  • Water shoes and hiking boots
  • Large water jug and water bottles
  • Blacklight flashlight to spot scorpions
  • Sun hat
  • Sunglasses
  • Sunscreen
  • Rain jacket
  • Warm/cold clothing layers
  • Star chart
  • Bug spray
  • Park maps
  • First aid kit

Moreover, never hike without telling someone you know. If you want to go deeper into the wilderness, make sure you have the right permit, food, and water, along with the right survival kit.

Buy a Map

Whether you’re traveling alone or not, don’t forget to buy a map with all the trails and highways. If you don’t have one, you can ask for one at the different visitor centers in the state.

While GPS can be a great tool, especially if you’re driving, it’s not the most reliable tool to use when you’re hiking since your phone can run out of power. And not all parts of Utah have reliable signals, especially in the southern part.

Prepare for Utah Winters

It’s important to be prepared for all kinds of weather, especially during the winter months of Utah. In the winter, temperatures in Utah can drop to freezing or below, depending on the region and altitude.

You may also experience 1-3 feet of snow depth. During winter, it’s also common for trails to be closed. Some flights may also get rescheduled or canceled.

Explore the Culinary Scene

Utah is a foodie’s paradise. It has a wide selection of culinary choices, especially in Salt Lake City. If you want to sample the local cuisine, it’s best to explore the different restaurants in the state, from the small hole-in-the-wall cafés to the chic bistros.

You can also try some of the local food from farmers’ markets, which are popular in Utah. The markets are also the best places to buy groceries if you’re staying in an Airbnb. It’s important to eat locally to get the fullest experience of Utah.

One of the best ways to enjoy the food and drinks in Utah is to visit the different breweries the state has to offer.

Utah is also known for its wine, and the state is jam-packed with wineries. If wine is your thing, you should visit the different wineries, especially those in Utah’s various valleys.

Go Stargazing

Utah’s night sky is one of the best in the entire world. The state has extremely low light pollution, making it a perfect destination for stargazing. From March to May, the galactic core can be seen before sunrise.

The Milky Way can also be seen for most of the night from June to August, and from September to November, it can be seen in the early evening.

Document Your Trip

If you want to be able to remember all the things you did, the best thing you can do is to record them. Documenting your trip is a great way to keep the memories you made and share them with your friends and family.

When you document your trip, you mustn’t only focus on the sights and experiences.

Make sure you don’t forget to document the meals you eat, the new friends you make, and the things you buy. This way, you’ll have something to look back to and remind you that you’re in Utah.

Frequently Asked Questions

Bridal Veil Falls, Utah, USA. 607-foot-tall double cataract waterfall in the south end of Provo Canyon pictured during the best time to visit Utah


Do you still have questions about Utah? We’ll answer them below:

What is Utah known best for?

Utah is known for its incredible parks, especially its five national parks.

How many days do you need to see Utah?

It depends on how much you want to see and how you want to see it. However, it’s recommended to stay at least 5 days if you want to explore all the main sights.

What is the best time to visit Utah National Parks?

The best time to visit Utah National Parks is from April through May and September through October. During this time, the weather is nice, making it easy to explore the parks. The crowd is also not overwhelming.

What is the best time to visit Salt Lake City?

The best time to visit Salt Lake City is from September to October. During this time, the skiers have not arrived yet, and the kids are still in school. Therefore, you may be able to enjoy discounted flights and hotel rooms.

What is the number one tourist attraction in Utah?

The number one tourist attraction in Utah is Zion National Park. This park gets over 5 million visitors annually.

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

Visiting Utah during any time of the year is a great idea. However, if you want to get the best possible experience, you should visit the state between April to May and September to October.

During these months, you will experience moderate crowds and temperature. But if you want to enjoy the ski season in Utah, visiting from December to January is recommended, although budget ski travelers can save more during February.