It’s no secret that Southern Utah has a “tourist season.” Most visitors come to the national parks between April and October. Usually, only those who are looking for a little snow with their adventures hang out in the parks in December. And some of Southern Utah’s national parks handle the winter tourists better than others. No park in the state is as pro-snow as Bryce Canyon. It’s got ranger-led programs, and equipment rentals, and whole ad campaigns to promote it as the “winter park.”
What to do in Bryce Canyon in Winter
So you’ve heard the rumors, you’ve read our blog, and now you want to go play in the snow at Bryce Canyon. What do you do once you get there? Bryce Canyon naturally has a guide, which you can read here, but we can give you the breakdown:
Go Hiking – This is what you really came here for! Grab some snowshoes, or get some crampons (or other traction devices) and hit the trail. You’ll get to experience Bryce Canyon as few people do – with it’s delicate winter coverings. So while you keep one eye on the trail – it can be slippery out there – keep the other on the amazing scenery.
Go Skiing – If you want to cover a lot more ground, nothing beats a little cross-country skiing. You’ll have to stay on the rim, out of the amphitheater. But you can basically cover all of the Rim Trail along the edge of the Main Amphitheater, Bristlecone Loop Trail, Paria Ski Loop, and Paria View and Fairyland Point roads.
Go Sledding – Ok, ok, so you’re not technically allowed to to sled in the amphitheater, zipping among the hoodoos. But you can sled above the rim, in a couple of areas. But if you head over to nearby Red Canyon, you can sled basically anywhere you want.
But Wait, There’s More…
In addition to the cool things we’ve already mentioned, Bryce Canyon also has a Winter Astronomy program. Since it is an International Dark Sky Place, it’s a pretty good spot to gaze at the heavens, and it’s even better in winter when the cold air makes for optimal viewing. And, get this, Bryce Canyon also has Full Moon Hikes – in winter, in the snow! You can go with a ranger, hike among the snow-covered hoodoos, and see the moon like you’ve never it before. Get the important info here.
Don’t forget to check in with the visitor center when you first arrive at the park. Things can change during winter, and it’s important to get the most up-to-date safety info possible.