Visiting in Winter

Sipapu Bridge and surrounding canyon covered in snow
Slickrock can be treacherous when covered in snow - be cautious during your visit!

NPS Photo by Miranda Kay

Winter is a quiet time at Natural Bridges. Snow, ice, freezing rain, and high winds are common this time of year. However, if the day is clear and you are prepared, a bright winter’s day among the snow-covered canyons of Natural Bridges is an experience not to be missed.

Owachomo natural bridge with snow falling
All trails may be slippery when wet, but the trail to Owachomo Bridge usually dries first.

NPS Photo by Miranda Kay

What You Need to Know

You can avoid crowds and the heat of summer by visiting in winter, but visitor services are reduced. You will need to be more self-reliant and prepared for several different kinds of weather.


Winters are cold, with highs averaging 30-50ºF (-1-10ºC), and lows averaging 0-20º F (-17- -6ºC). Though large snowfalls are uncommon (except in nearby mountains), even small amounts of snow or ice can make local trails and roads impassable. Learn more about weather at Natural Bridges and check the National Weather Service forecast.


Water is available from the water bottle filling station inside the visitor center. The water spigot outside the visitor center is shut off. Water is not available at trailheads or in the campground. Please keep in mind that the visitor center, including bottle filling station, may be closed certain days of the week in winter.

Visitor Center

The park visitor center may be closed on certain days during the winter months. Check our hours page for updated information. When the visitor center is closed, park maps and trail guides are available in the box outside the visitor center. Restrooms at the visitor center are open unless otherwise posted.

Trail Conditions

Sandstone is treacherous when covered with snow and ice. Snow can quickly cover cairns, making trails difficult to follow. Snow and ice may remain in shady spots after it has cleared elsewhere. We recommend instep crampons or other traction aids and hiking poles.

Road Conditions

Paved roads may close temporarily after snow while crews plow. Check on park alerts and conditions

Slickrock trail to Horse Collar Ruin Overlook covered in snow and ice
Trails can be treacherous in winter. Wear traction devices and be prepared to turn around if conditions worsen.

NPS Photo by Miranda Kay

Things to Do


Trails are open unless otherwise posted, but may be icy.

Short Walks
For visitors without cold weather gear or who don’t want to hike, we recommend taking the paved paths to the bridge viewpoints. Visitors who want a little more and have traction devices should take the short, unpaved trail to the Horse Collar Ruin Overlook. This trail offers a more rugged experience than the bridge viewpoint paths, but stays on the canyon rim.

Longer Hikes
Hikers looking for a longer or more rugged trail should try hiking to Owachomo Bridge. This half-mile round trip trail usually clears of ice and snow fairly quickly during sunny days. The trails to Kachina and Sipapu Bridges may be treacherous in winter and are not recommended. Only well-prepared and experienced hikers should attempt those or any of the loop trails in the winter.


The campground is open year-round and is first-come, first-served. The campground rarely fills in the winter. Camping fees apply in winter and are payable by cash or check at the campground fee station. Check the fees page for updated information.


Temperatures often reach below freezing at night, but hardy campers and determined astronomers can bundle up and enjoy winter constellations. We recommend either stargazing from your campsite or from the visitor center parking lot. Make sure you have lots of warm extra clothing and/or blankets and to check the weather for clear skies. Although trails are open after dark, conditions become much worse as temperatures drop. Only well-prepared and experienced hikers should attempt to access canyons after dark.

Popular winter constellations include Ursa Major (Great Bear/ Big Dipper), Ursa Minor (Little Bear/ Little Dipper), Orion, and Taurus. Check our stargazing page for more information.

Other Activities

Kids (and adults!) can earn a Junior Ranger badge by completing activities in the Natural Bridges Junior Ranger Booklet [1.5 MB PDF file]. Booklets are available in the visitor center when open.

The 10-minute park film is available upon request when the visitor center is open.

Ranger talks and walks are NOT offered in the winter months.


Suggested Trips and Activities

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    Last updated: December 14, 2019

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