Bryce Canyon wants to show you the moon! For years now, the park has had a program of ranger-lead Full Moon Hikes. It’s a remarkable chance to see the Bryce Canyon amphitheater in such a way that few people ever get to experience. Imagine being among those sandstone hoodoos when they are illuminated by the full moon! If you’re planning a trip to Bryce, we’re here to tell you to try to get on one of these hikes! Here’s how to do it.
There are usually two hikes offered during each day of the full moon period: one that is a bit tougher, which descends into the amphitheater, and one that is pretty easy that travels along the rim of the plateau. Which makes it nicer if someone in your group isn’t up for strenuous nighttime explorations. (On that note, please be aware that children under the age of seven are not permitted on the Full Moon Hikes.)
Depending on the lunar phases, sometimes the hikes are offered on two consecutive days. But for most months, it’s just one night only. You’ll want to check out the official Full Moon Hike page on the park’s website for the current calendar.
Okay. So, as with all things national-park-related in our post-COVID world, some updates have been made to the Full Moon Hikes. Surging popularity and limited staffing have forced Bryce Canyon to adopt a lottery system to make the hikes more manageable. There is no online method, it’s all old-school. Here’s how it works:
- Show up on the day of the Full Moon Hike at the visitor center before 4pm. DON’T BE LATE.
- Enter the names of your party on the lottery ticket. (Groups are limited to six.)
- Everyone in your party MUST be in attendance when the tickets are drawn at 4pm.
- Everyone in your party MUST be wearing the hiking shoes that they will take on the hike. If you win, you will need to pass an inspection on your footwear.
That’s it! If you make it in, then congrats! The rangers will tell you when to meet for your once-in-a-lifetime lunar experience.
Times and Seasons
The next hike takes place on Monday the 13th of June (this month), 2022. And the one after that is on Tuesday the 12th of July. The rest of this year’s schedule hasn’t been posted yet.
But here’s the good news: if you don’t win the lottery for the summer months, you can always try again in the much less popular winter months. Because, Bryce Canyon does it’s Full Moon Hikes all year long! Even when it’s snowing! So from November to March, you can take the Moon Hike on snowshoes. (Provided that the snowpack is at least 16 inches deep.)
Since Bryce Canyon is situated at about 8,000 feet above sea level. (Much higher than other national parks in Utah) it gets plenty of snow during the winter. We know it’s summer now, and you’re probably thinking about summer fun, but if you’re making long-term plans, we thought we’d mention it. And just think! If you do win a winter lottery you can see the hoodoos not just under the soft glow of the moon, but also blanketed by a layer of snow, which makes the perfect contrast for the sandstone.