It may be a bit icy on trails over that period, we have had years where it is just to slippery & cold. About 5 years ago we had huge sheets of ice 10 - 12 inches thick floating down the river, the last couple of years have been mild & the snow has melted off within a week. Last winter we wheeled through the season so who knows what it will be like this year. Some trails are closed in the winter so check with tourist info in town before heading out
Just in case it does snow, are trails at the lower elevations would you recommend?
Most of the main trails in moab are around the same elevation so thats not going to help much. You would want to avoid the La Sal mountains as i ran into snow there in March a year or so ago. The main issue is that some parts of the trails are shaded so the little bit of snow they get can freeze and turn to ice. Its hard to say what trails this will happen on but i know its happend on fins n things and hells revenge to me.
Virtually no snow yet this year...but that could change drastically by Christmas. I live at 6000 feet and have only had 3 inches so far. Wherever you go, make sure you let someone know the trail you will be taking and when you expect to return. We do now have Phase 2 911, so we should be able to get coordinates for your location if you dial 911...but cell service is very spotty around Moab. Snow on the trails makes the trails much harder, but it makes following your tracks much easier. That time of year, you can be quite a ways out a trail, and suddenly run into a snow or ice-covered obstacle that, once taken, can block egress via the same route.
As for recommendations...shorter trails closer to town might be a good option (i.e. Hells Revenge, Fins n Things, Poison Spider, Metal Masher). Obviously, any snow/ice on the slickrock will just make it slicker rock.
As for don'ts, I would not recommend Golden Spike at that time of year...depending totally on the weather. If no snow, it would be great. But if something happens and you need help, it could take several hours to get to you. It's a long trail and daylight is short. I'd also stay away from trails near the mountains, unless you're into mudding. Depending on the weather, Porcupine Rim could be good or bad.
Do's: Take blankets, warm clothes, water, food, fire-starting stuff, flashlights. Plan to get stuck and maybe you won't.
Snow overnight here at Spanish Valley, we got around 4 inches. I will keep you up to date closer to Xmas Day. Also if you go to the Moab Tourist Info' center & check on trails they will let you know which ones are open
It will probly melt off but there is usually a little bit around for Xmas day, last year none of it stuck & the trails were a little muddy but fun
On a side note, we tried to go out for dinner last weekend & there was a lot of resturaunts closed for winter, Sunset Grill, Zax, the diner, Moab Grill & The brewery seem to be staying open for winter
7 inches at my place at 6000 ft...currently -1 F...coldest since Feb. of 2011. It's 12 below at the airport but 4 in Moab. Snow forecast for at least 2 days in the next week. Dress warm and make sure the heater works. Good current weather and forecasts can be found at www.wunderground.com. Just put in the zip code: 84532. Click on the station select button or click on any of the several weather stations near the bottom of that page. My station is "Castleton". There is a live netcam on my WU weather page...well, almost live. Weather Underground grabs a frame every 7-10 minutes.
Behind the Rocks trail today, there is a few inches of snow in places, we did the end section of Pritchett with no problems but a storm is coming supposed to be coming Xmas eve. It is very very cold, I had layers of clothing & thermal socks on & my toes were still cold then numb. The trail was not to slippery but as the sun went down began to get icy, so more slippery
Thanks for the heads up. I think I'm going to take a southern route stopping at Big Bend, Las Cruces, Pima County, Sedona, Joshua Tree, then over to San Diego to visit family and head back home. Have to reachedule Moab for the Spring.