Going to Bryce Canyon in the winter is truly a unique and incredible experience and is totally different than visiting in the summer.
As you plan your Bryce Canyon vacation, you should consider visiting this park in the winter.
Yes it will be cold and you will need to bundle up, but the crowds are gone and you can truly appreciate this park in all its natural beauty.
It is especially gorgeous with the white snow contrasting against the red orange hoodoos.
Use our guide to plan your winter vacation to Bryce Canyon:
- What to Pack for a Winter Trip to Bryce Canyon
- Where to Stay Near Bryce Canyon
- Winter Weather at Bryce Canyon
- Things to Do at Bryce Canyon in the Winter
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WHAT TO PACK FOR A NATIONAL PARK TRIP IN THE WINTER
1. US National Parks Pass
2. Hiking Gear
- Waterproof hiking boots or shoes – Merrell Moab are our FAVORITE!
- Insulated boots
- Heavy wool socks – we LOVE Darn Tough Socks!
- Walking stick or trekking poles
3. Clothing – Layers
- Wicking and quick-drying base layers
- Fleece or insulated jacket
- Wool, down or heavy-weight insulated jacket
- Waterproof rain jacket
- Insulating hat
- Insulating winter gloves
- Fleece neck gaiter or buff
- WATER – water bottles or hydration backpack
- FOOD – healthy snacks
- Flashlight or headlamp
- National Park maps
- Lip protection with sunscreen
- Polarized sunglasses
- Hand lotion
- Toilet paper (carry out in a bag – do not bury)
- Hand sanitizer
- First aid kit
- Bags to pack out trash
Where to Stay near Bryce Canyon:
• Best Western Ruby’s Inn – easy access right outside the park
• Best Western Plus – also right outside the park
Winter Weather at Bryce Canyon
When visiting Bryce Canyon in the winter you can expect it to be cold. Throughout the winter months, you can expect temperatures to range from 36 degrees Fahrenheit all the way down to 11 degrees Fahrenheit.
In December averages about 3 days of rain and sees the highs around 26 degrees Fahrenheit and the lows around 12 degrees.
Bryce Canyon in January usually brings the coolest temperatures of the year averaging between 36 degrees Fahrenheit and 11 degrees Fahrenheit.
If visiting in February, you can expect about 4 rainy days with temperatures hovering between 36 degrees Fahrenheit and 11 degrees Fahrenheit.
Don’t let these cooler temperatures deter you from visiting, with the right gear and clothing you will have an amazing trip to Bryce Canyon in the winter months.
Bryce Canyon National Park Snow
Due to the high elevation of the park, there will be snow at Bryce Canyon in the winter.
You’ll enjoy fun snow activities like snowshoeing, sledding and cross-country skiing.
The park does a great job of plowing the roads around the park as well as the parking lots near the viewpoints.
Does Bryce Canyon close in the winter?
Bryce Canyon is open all year round, even in the cold winter months. The visitor center also remains open each day from 8 am to 4:30 pm during the winter months.
Always check the Bryce Canyon NPS website for current conditions.
Things to Do at Bryce Canyon in the winter
There are so many great activities to do at Bryce Canyon in the winter.
Winter Photography at Bryce Canyon
If you want some of the most dramatic sunrise pictures be sure to set up anywhere along the rim between Sunrise Point and Bryce Point.
Ranger-Led Programs in the Winter
If the Ranger-led programs are running while visiting, be sure to take advantage of them!
You will get to embark on a snowshoe hike. The park does provide them at the visitor center if you don’t bring your own. This snowshoe adventure takes about 1 ½ to two hours to complete. You must be at least 8 years old to go on the hike.
Other ranger-led programs include Geology talk and telescopes.
Winter Hiking at Bryce Canyon
Bryce Canyon hikes are amazing in the winter. The hiking trails are divided into difficulty levels. So regardless of your ability, there is a hike that you can do during the winter.
When hiking keep in mind:
- Wear winter hiking boots or snowshoes
- Carry lots of water – we like hydration backpacks
- Dress in layers
- Use crampons and winter hiking poles for extra grip and support
Some great easy hikes include Sunset to Sunrise, Rim Trail, Bristlecone Loop, and Mossy Cove.
With all trails keep in mind that snow is only cleared from sidewalks as well as the overlooks. The snow can become muddy and slippery so you want to be extremely careful while hiking.
Cross Country Skiing
We love exploring Bryce Canyon on cross country skis. There are many routes and trails to explore in the winter. Bryce Canyon maintains miles of trails. If you are coming from out of town you can rent ski equipment in Bryce Canyon City.
Bryce Canyon backpacking is hard throughout the year, but it is even more difficult in the winter with all the fallen snow and freezing temperatures. It is easy to find yourself veering off the trail if you are not careful. You must be a very experienced hiker to be issued a permit in the winter months.
With all the snow you might find yourself wanting to go on a sledding adventure. Sledding is allowed above the Caynon rim, but you must never sled off the rim of the canyon. It is prohibited and enforced. There are not a ton of places to sled within the park. Many of the local residents prefer sledding near Red Cayon, but not in the park.
Stargazing is a must at Bryce Canyon. At 8000 feet elevation, you will see some of the most breathtaking views and see an incredible site of thousands of stars in the sky.
If visiting during President’s Day weekend you can take part in the Winter Festival. This is a free festival with lots of activities to do for the whole family. Events include:
- Cross country ski tours
- Shoeshow tours and races
- Archery clinics
- Photography clinics
- Photo contests
- Kids snowboot races
- Ski archery competition
- People-powered sled races
- Kayaking demonstrations
- Snow Sculpture contests
- Clinics on waxing
- Lots of entertainment for you and the family to enjoy
How many days should I visit Bryce Canyon in the winter?
When visiting Bryce Canyon in the winter two days is plenty of time to explore the whole park. If you are trying to extend your trip even further then visit Zion National park in the winter as well.
Visiting Bryce Canyon in the winter is a must. You will be blown away by its beauty and everything it has to offer.