Romantic Outdoor Winter Date Ideas in Utah

Celebrating the Month of Love

Valentine’s Day is upon us already! Wait, what? It’s February?

I’m a lucky duck that gets a 4 day weekend from work and it’s President’s Day/Valentine’s Day weekend, so of course I’m concocting many plans to drive many hours to get away from the smog that’s currently taking over Salt Lake City. Seriously, it’s gross.

Inversion is the Worst.


Technically, the smog I’m referring to is called inversion, which was a weather-term that I had never heard prior to moving here. Since Salt Lake City is located in a valley between mountains, during the winter months if there isn’t a rain/snow storm for a while, the pollution gets trapped in the valley.


(Photo Source: Reddit)

The longer, more technical version is here:

But what exactly is it? 

Inversions occur during the winter months when normal atmospheric conditions (cool air above, warm air below) become inverted.Inversions trap a dense layer of cold air under a layer of warm air. The warm layer acts much like a lid, trapping pollutants in the cold air near the valley floor. The Wasatch Front valleys and their surrounding mountains act like a bowl, keeping this cold air in the valleys. The snow-covered valley floors reflect rather than absorb the heat from the sun, preventing the normal vertical mixing of warm and cold air. The longer the inversion lasts, the higher the levels of pollution trapped under it. The warm inversion air layer is usually displaced by a strong storm system which restores air quality to healthy levels.


Valentine’s Day Celebrations

We are planning on keeping our festivities to the minimum this year since our biggest celebration of love is coming up in just 48 days on April 2!

I would love to escape to Southern Utah, if only for the day.

Last year, we drove to Crater Lake National Park and explored the area there. It was lovely.

Crater Lake

The most romantic dates in my opinion are enjoying the outdoors together, in a beautiful landscape.

My proposed Valentine’s day is this:

  • Wake up, get coffee, and go up to the mountains!
  • Hike, cross-country ski, snowshoe, etc. in a winter wonderland for a while.
  • Have a little picnic at our destination before heading down.
  • Shower, get dressed up, and go to dinner.
  • Fancy dinner at Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse or The Melting Pot or Copper Onion

Our plans are still up in the air right now, but hopefully whatever it is includes the outdoors and just the two of us. 🙂

Ice Castles

Ice Castles Utah - 2

An experience you won’t forget: Castles made of ice and snow! An hour drive from Salt Lake City, these unique structures are a Utah winter attraction you won’t want to miss! Our trip experience is here.

Bryce Canyon National Park

Winter hoodoos before sunrise at Bryce Canyon National Park.


This natural wonder is breath-taking year-round, but there’s just something special about seeing those red-rock hoodoos covered in a blanket of white snow.

Diamond Fork (Fifth Water) Hot Springs


(Source: Bearfoot Theory)

While the roads close to this hidden gem, you can still hike in for a warm soak during the winter. In the winter there are likely to be fewer crowds, but still just as blue pools to soak in with your loved one.

Ziptrek at Sundance Ski Resort



Sundance Mountain Resort offers more than just skiing or snowboarding! Their new zipline tour is now open during the winter too. Get that heart rate up by flying through the forest while enjoying the winter scenery of the Alpine Scenic area.

Ice Skating at Gallivan Center



During the winter months, the Gallivan Center in Downtown Salt Lake City has an outdoor ice skating rink with twinkly lights. This one requires almost no driving (if you live in SLC like me), and it’s still a romantic winter date. Two years ago, we went on a double date with our friends and we ice skated and had a nice dinner.

Horseshoe Bend



When in doubt, drive south. Winter can be cool and all, but sometimes during the winter you need a little break from the blinding white snow. Take a trip down to the desert and see one of the most-photographed landmarks in the Southwest, located technically in Arizona (but close to the Utah border, so we’ll let it slide).

What are your favorite date-worthy winter activities? How do you like to celebrate Valentine’s Day?






0 responses to “Romantic Outdoor Winter Date Ideas in Utah”

  1. Katie @ Katie Wanders Avatar

    love all the local date ideas! I live very close to Gallivan and still haven skated there!

    And agreed- inversion is the worst! Give me back my clean East Coast air 🙂

    Katie @ Katie Wanders

    1. Hilary Avatar

      Katie- It’s nice when it’s not too busy! It’s getting warm though, so they might be closing it down soon. :/ But that means springtime is coming! 😀