UPDATE February 2: Arches and Canyonlands NP are open. The roads are snowpacked and icy, and the NPS recommends extreme caution. Dead Horse Point State Park is also open with similar conditions. All backcountry roads are closed. Canyonlands and Dead Horse Point received over 6" of snow. Today there are patches of fog but mostly blue sky with a few light clouds. Perfect conditions for photography!
It's dumping, folks. The snow is flying and according to the weather forecast it isn't stopping until tomorrow. The La Sal Mountains are predicted to receive several feet of snow out of this storm. Down here in town we've already received five inches of snow, which means higher elevations like Arches National Park (around 5,000'), Dead Horse Point State Park and Canyonlands National Park - Island in the Sky (both around 6,000') already have even more on the ground.
As of right now the roads in Arches and Canyonlands are closed. I haven't received any information from Dead Horse Point but I suspect their roads are also closed. National Park Service crews usually clear Arches first, then Canyonlands. Dead Horse Point is usually plowed by state crews before Canyonlands, but that can vary. There is no official estimate of when the parks will open but I suspect it will be later today, or possibly tomorrow, depending on when it stops snowing.
The La Sal Mountains have been getting hammered since yesterday afternoon. Roads into the mountains are not plowed and likely won't be for a few days. However, snowshoes or skis are a viable transportation option if you don't mind putting in a few miles. Avalanche conditions exist and are a very real threat. Travel safe.
One thing is certain: you want to be in the parks as soon as the gates open. All this fresh, untracked snow will make for some absolutely incredible photography conditions. Grand landscapes will be an easy target but don't forget to look for intimate scenes such as juniper trees wearing a robe of snow. Call in sick to work, throw your photography gear in your truck and make tracks to Moab!
Need some help deciding when, where and what to photograph in Arches NP? Pick up a copy of my ebook - eFotoGuide: The Ultimate Guide to Photographing Arches National Park - and you'll hit the ground running with all of the most important information you'll need to make stunning images in this snowy Red Rock wonderland.
Click here to purchase eFotoGuide: The Ultimate Guide to Photographing Arches National Park. Your purchases help me keep this site updated with current photography conditions, and we donate a portion of the proceeds to several organizations who support land conservation and the national parks.