Winter Travel in the Southwest

Travel in the winter months doesn’t need to be a single adventure trip!  When most think of winter vacations, it’s limited to skiing in the cold air or a warm beverage by a crackling fire.  Well, that does sound nice, but what if there was more to do?  What about one day on the slopes, repel down a narrow slot canyon the next, followed by a snowshoe hike through a pristine Ponderosa Pine forest?  Or maybe you would prefer an adventurous ride over sandstone trails on the seat of an ATV.  Welcome to the Southwest, where anything is possible!

The southwest United States, centered on the four corners states of Utah, Colorado, New Mexico, and Arizona is known for its warm temperatures and arid climate.  But this corner of the country, also known as the Mountain West, is a winter wonderland filled with a multitude of winter recreation.

So, let’s start with the obvious!  With over 60 alpine ski resorts and a multitude of Nordic ski centers between these four states, the terrain is endless!  Whether you’re looking to shred the ever popular resorts of the Colorado Rockies like Vail, Copper Mountain, Aspen, or Telluride or the champagne powder of Utah’s Wasatch Mountains at resorts like Alta, Snowbird, Park City, or Deer Valley, you will find a wide variety of skiable terrain.  But let’s not forget those lesser known resorts like New Mexico’s Toas Ski Valley and Angel Fire Resort or Arizona’s Sunrise Resort and Arizona Snowbowl.  No matter where you choose, the possibilities are limitless!

So what do you do if hitting the slopes is not your thing?  With over 40 million acres of National Forest, 14 National Parks, and over 100 State Parks and National Monuments there is plenty to see!

Maybe a snowmobile tour through a wide open mountain pasture or a guided snowshoe trip through those ponderosa pine forests.  With all the snow this area receives, there are more opportunities than one could count.

So with most winter activities focused on snow sports we tend to overlook the warmer weather activities.  Get out of these wonderful mountains and you’ll find a few of the activities you love in the summer are available in this region year around.  With average winter temps in Moab UT running from the mid-40s to the upper-50s and an average precipitation per month of less than an inch, this is an outdoor recreation lover’s mecca!  Mountain biking, rock climbing, canyoneering, and a plethora of 4×4, and ATV trails just to start.  Add in the two National Parks in the area, Arches and Canyonlands, and it can be a photographers dream!  Stray outside of this area and find a land unlike anything you’ve ever seen before.  From the human-like hoodoos of Goblin Valley to the Antelope slot canyons and Glen Canyon Recreation Area of Page AZ.  From the famous Bryce Canyon National Park to the high cliffs and endless trails of Zion Canyon.  From the ancient Anasazi ruins of Mesa Verde National Park, to the towering buttes of historic Monument Valley.  Whatever you’re looking for, you can find it here in your nation’s backyard.

Now, if you plan on visiting this beautiful country, keep in mind this is the desert southwest. You can drive for miles without passing a town or city so always be prepared.  If you’re planning a trip driving yourself, be sure you’re always stocked with a full tank of fuel, extra water, extra blankets, and first aid kit.  Always check road conditions and be prepared for changing weather.  Cell service can be very spotty in the desert southwest, so always stay in your comfort zone when traveling.

Another way to see this beautiful country is by booking a trip with a company like Southwest Adventure Tours or another tour company that supplies guided services.  These companies specialize in arranging travel itineraries and guided driven tours with hotel accommodations, park fees, and meals.  However you see this area, come and see it, you won’t be disappointed!

Where do you want to travel this winter?

Arches NP Landscape Arch

Mesa Arch Sunrise Winter Canyonlands

Winter in the Southwest

Bryce in the winter

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