Early March in Utah?

Pringles

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Nov 23, 2015
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I'm just fishing for an idea here. My school has its spring break the first week in March. I would like to do a simple overnight somewhere... hike a couple of miles in to a pretty area, spend the night, and then hike out. I have driven down to Arches and Canyonlands, and even further south. I am pretty happy down to about 25*. Does anyone have any suggestions? Thanks for any ideas. Pringles
 

regehr

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Mar 28, 2012
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I don't have any particular ideas for you but most years I get out during that time and I can say that lower-elevation camping is vastly more pleasant that time of year, and also you should count on maybe getting snowed on a bit, and if you need to go over high roads, dealing with roads that are holding some snow.
 

LarryBoy

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Jan 4, 2015
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Fun tip - and this applies in general - check out the Bag Night Challenge thread, and see what trips other members have done in early March.

A few ideas come to mind:

CRNP - there are a bunch of short backpacking trips near Hwy 24, say Spring Canyon, or even Upper Muley Twist down in the Waterpocket Fold.
One of the canyons of the Escalante, say the classic Coyote Gulch via Crack-in-the-Wall. Your feet will be wet, but that's life.
Zion - Coalpits Wash/west desert area (an old standby when everything else is too cold).

If you're flexible and enjoy trip planning, you can always make a higher-elevation trip plan (say, something on Cedar Mesa) for warm weather, and a lower-elevation plan (say, Zion's west desert) for cooler weather. Get the forecast a week out, and make your final decision then. Plus, then you still have another trip in the bag and ready to go next time you come back!

Anecdotally, we always have at least one gorgeous weekend in February (60-70f down there), and as you get into March, you get more and more of them. Never a for sure thing, but that's weather for you.
 

regehr

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Definitely agree on having multiple plans in the bank, I've had spring trips blown by things like a foot of snow on the Flint Trail and when that happens you definitely want a big bag of books and maps available.
 

fossana

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Jan 11, 2018
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Things around Moab and Zion get pretty busy during the window of various spring breaks. Reserve a permit soon if you're leaning in that direction. I doubt you'd have a problem getting a last minute one in Capitol Reef.
 

LarryBoy

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Things around Moab and Zion get pretty busy during the window of various spring breaks. Reserve a permit soon if you're leaning in that direction. I doubt you'd have a problem getting a last minute one in Capitol Reef.
At this time, CRNP permits are not on a quota system so no worries there. I spoke with a ranger a couple years ago, though, and he indicated that a quota system is probably coming at some point, due to increasing backcountry usage. We'll see...
 

Pringles

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Nov 23, 2015
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Thanks for the ideas. I’ll certainly go check the bag night challenge. I don’t want to to a big hike, just one of those nice little trips that refreshes you.
 

Carcass

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Aug 8, 2018
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White Pockets, Steamboat Rock, Teepees might be doable. Maybe even Buckskin Gulch/Paria River to White House Trailhead. Might need a drysuit if the river is up.

Maybe an overnight to Reflection Canyon.
 

Titans

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It all depends on the weather, sometimes we find it challenging getting from the airport to hiking in rental cars, because of snowy roads over passes. You might get lucky and be able to get to CRNP and do Upper Muley twist.
I'm going to throw a non-Utah idea in the mix, or as a backup:
Last February after several weeks on the road in Arizona, we escaped rain in Arizona and snowy weather in Utah, by going to Valley of Fire, Nevada, in the week with the kids on vacation. We were very surprised, stunning rock formations and we spend a refeshing warm pleasant day OFF TRAIL seeing nobody (because everyone goes to a couple of places, they don't hike). Both flights and rentals are cheap to Vegas and if you stay a night in non-casino hotel in Henderson, then you can avoid the craziness. You might be able to do an easy trip to Valley of Fire, if it's snowy in Utah.
 
Last edited:

Pringles

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Nov 23, 2015
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Thank you for more ideas. I understand about snow... I used to live in Michigan’s upper peninsula. Once it arrived, it was time to reevaluate one’s plans.
 

Kmatjhwy

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Sep 23, 2016
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Have been down in this country in March ... it was actually pretty nice. At least in the Zion NP area. Yes one thing is in the spring, the park will have all kinds of people here on spring break. Also once was in Zion in late February and it was Fabulous!!! The trees were just beginning to bud it seemed. Now have been in Capitol Reef NP once in mid to late March and it was nice. At this time many years ago, nobody and I mean nobody was there. Have been in the Escalante in late March and it was also pretty darn good with the trees just beginning to pop out. In the spring it is usually pretty good but at anytime some storm can come thru and change everything. I have seen snow falling in the Escalante Canyons in mid to late April once. So the weather varies but always good to get out. Wishing Everyone the Best!
 
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