Southern Utah March suggestions?


New Member
Dec 14, 2023
Hey everyone! I am heading to southern Utah on March 12th and am looking for some location/hike suggestions. I know that time of year can be hit or miss depending on weather so I definitely want to have a variety of ideas. I've been to the area in May and June, but am kind of confused about what to do in March. We are flying in and out of Las Vegas. We tend to like longer day hikes 8-15 miles, or just things that will keep us out all day. We don't have technical canyoneering ability, so keep that out of the mix. What are your thoughts on Zion (Hop Valley to Kolob, or narrows with a wet/dry suit?) and Bryce (trail conditions?) at that time of year? Escalante? Snow Canyon? Or are we better off looking in other directions from Vegas (Death Valley, Joshua Tree etc?) I have a one night reservation at Valley of Fire, but that's as far as I've gotten. Open to all suggestions. Thanks!
Others here are much more knowledgeable about this region than I am, but I can offer a few thoughts:

1) There are lots of great hikes that are accessible from dirt roads, so if you consider those you'll need to check road conditions as it gets closer. Here's info for Escalante roads: Visitor centers can provide info if you call or stop in.

2) Will you be camping or staying indoors or a mix? How much flexibility will you have as the trip approaches or last minute? How long will your trip be? Maybe it would be good to stay in the St. George, Escalante, and/or Kanab areas. There are many great things to do near all of those, but again road conditions matter tremendously.

3) No matter what, it could be helpful to have microspikes and poles in case you have no trouble getting somewhere but the trail is snowy. For example, with spikes you could probably enjoy Bryce in the snow. I haven't been there in the winter and really want to see that!
the slickrock above the North Wash slots (Sandthrax, Leprechaun, Blarney, Shillelagh)
I have been to the Escalante area numerous times in mid-March and am hoping to return again this year......Often really cold nights but really nice during the day. Be sure to NEVER drive on most of the non-paved roads if they are wet/snow or if there is precipitation in the forecast....They can be deadly when wet. If you are not planning on camping then you may want to make reservations as things book up pretty quickly. There are no shortage of fabulous day hikes around Escalante and Capitol Reef.
Kolob arch should be fine by mid march. I would think there is a decent chance of running into some snow or ice so microspikes could be helpful. I've done it via Hop Valley in December with snow on the ground and then from Lee Pass in January with snow on the ground as well. I would argue that going to it from Lee Pass is a little more scenic but Hop valley is also really nice.

The Narrows should be fine in March. The water would be very cold that time of the year and keep in mind the river closes at 150cfs. It usually doesn't close in March. Usually more towards the beginning of April but it could be on the higher end which can make upstream walking very difficult and in some cases almost impossible if there happens to be a swimming section in the lower canyon.

Escalante is also a really great area in mid march. I think it is about the perfect time of the year there as as long as you aren't doing some hikes where you will get wet. Agree with everything canadug said about that area for that time of the year though.

Snow Canyon doesn't have a ton of longer hikes like you mentioned, but march is a great time for hiking there

Bryce will likely have too much snow, making any longer hikes in the park difficult to do at that time. If you are driving by though it could still be worth a stop to just overlook the canyon since it is beautiful in the winter.
as people are suggesting, anywhere but the highest elevations are usually lovely in March. I used to consider April to be the perfect time to get out in spring but with global warming it's more like March now.

weather is often unsettled in early spring so definitely be ready for windy conditions and maybe snow/rain.

have backup trailheads that are on paved roads in case the clay road you're interested in is wet.
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