Zion and Bryce
In the southwestern corner of Utah, the Mojave Desert, the Great Basin, and the Colorado Plateau meet to create a unique combination of climates and ecosystems. The lofty cliffs of the Colorado Plateau rise east of the desert country with some of the most spectacular scenery on earth—the grandeur and colors have to be seen to be believed.
Here you’ll find two of the nation’s most popular national parks, Zion and Bryce Canyon, and an abundance of recreational opportunities. On the same spring day, you could hike through serpentine canyons or flower-filled meadows, hit the slopes at the Brian Head Ski Area, glide on cross-country skis across a high plateau, explore the desert, or play a leisurely round of golf.
No matter what the season, you can nearly always find pleasant temperatures in some part of this region. Ever since Brigham Young built a winter house at St. George to escape the cold and snow, people have been coming to take advantage of the mild climate. Midwinter temperatures at St. George (elev. 2,880 feet) may drop below freezing at night, but days are typically above 50°F with bright sunshine. Spring and autumn bring ideal weather.
Summer, when the highs often top 100°F at the lower elevations, is the time to head for the mountains and high plateaus. The alpine meadows and cool forests of the Beaver Dam Mountains, Cedar Breaks National Monument, and Bryce Canyon National Park provide a welcome refuge from summer heat. Precipitation ranges widely from place to place and from year to year, but most falls in winter/early spring and late summer.
© W.C. McRae and Judy Jewell from Moon Utah, 9th Edition