Utah is a state known for some of the most spectacular geography in the world. With geography ranging from 12,200 foot peaks to 4400 ft. canyon lands Utah weather can range from cool summer days to brutally hot, 42c summer days. My first trip to Canyonlands National Park was when I was 18 and backpacking. We started the trip July 15 with temperatures at 42c. To hydrate ourselves we had 2 gallons each of cherry flavored juice which quickly turned to hot cherry flavored syrup. My buddy and I abandoned the backpacking trip and spent the next 7 days day hiking Arches and Canyonlands National parks. I have been going back ever since, just not in July. I should also mention that I was snowed on in late April. Which brings me to Utah weather.
- With a high elevation late spring storms can bring snow until early May
- Late June thru mid-August bring daytime temperatures in the lower elevations to 40c
- August and thunderstorms can wash out roads
Most importantly: What does this mean for riding?
Well those late spring storms tend to be slow soakers. Many of the unpaved roads become impassable with mud. Plan on riding the gravel roads and doing some wonderful hiking. The August and early September thunderstorms wash roads out but tend to soak into the super dry soil, making riding less of a problem. Temperatures start to moderate in mid-August and by September and October it is typically clear blue skies and wonderful riding. Low roads can be very sandy so be prepared to lower the tire pressure(and raise it). Most people associate Utah with the red rock canyon country, and it certainly is amazing country! However there are numerous mountain ranges that dot the region. Some of the best off tarmac rides, such as North Capitol Reef National Park, ascend 4000 feet from desert into high mountains. These roads can be snow bound, and certainly very muddy, well into June. Utah has absolutely AMAZING riding, at 106 West we think the best time of year to ride Utah is June, September, and early October.
Posting an update – so three times in the last 6 years I have encountered lousy mid-October weather in southern Utah. My Oct 8 – 20 tour we had temperatures hovering between 30f and 40f the entire time and both the Abajo Mtns and Lasalle Mtns had over 2 feet of snow. I have moved my ride calendar forward accordingly.