Visiting Bryce Canyon in the Winter

Going to Bryce Canyon in the winter is truly a unique and incredible experience and is totally different than visiting in the summer. The weather at Bryce Canyon in the winter is cold and snow storms may create challenging travel conditions and road closures. 

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.

Bryce Canyon in the Winter

Use this Bryce Canyon travel guide to plan your winter vacation: weather, services available, activities to do, and more!

We live only a few hours away from Bryce Canyon and have visited during all four seasons. The tips we share are based on our experiences visiting the area throughout the years, and specifically during the winter months of December, January, and February!

Our biggest tip is to be prepared for the winter weather so you’re able to enjoy the outdoor activities you want to do! Remember Bryce Canyon sits at 8,000 feet so the scenery changes dramatically in the colder months. You’ll have a unique experience here, but it requires a very different packing list.

Use our Bryce Canyon Packing List to make sure you have the right clothing and gear for visiting in the winter! Grab your free printable packing checklist by clicking the image below!

get the free Bryce Canyon National Park packing lists
This site contains affiliate links which means WE may receive commissions for purchases made through these links. We only provide links to products we actually use and/or wholeheartedly recommend! As an Amazon Associate, we earn from qualifying purchases. Read the full Disclosure Policy.

A Photo Tour of Bryce Canyon National Park

Take a visual tour through Bryce Canyon National Park to see the stunning landscapes you’ll see when you visit!

Visiting Bryce Canyon in the Winter

Bryce Canyon National Park is open 24/7, 365 days a year! Be sure to check the NPS website for the most current Bryce Canyon hours and closures for the winter months.

You will need a National Park pass to enter Bryce Canyon. The annual park pass can be purchased online or at the park entrance booth. If you purchase a digital pass be sure to print or save it on your mobile device since connectivity is limited in the park.

Yes there will probably be snow at Bryce Canyon in the winter, but that’s what makes it magical! The colorful hoodoos really pop against the white snow. Exploring the park with snowshoes and skis is part of the unique experience of a winter vacation at Bryce Canyon!

Snow is also the biggest drawback for a winter trip to Bryce Canyon. If you’re not a fan of exploring the outdoors in cold weather or snowy conditions, then you should probably skip visiting this park during the winter.

The main Bryce Canyon scenic drive could be closed due to weather and road conditions, which means you’ll only be able to see the amphitheater section of the park.

But the amphitheater is the most amazing part of the park, and you’ll be able to see, photograph and explore it more intimately than you would during the peak seasons.

Getting to Bryce Canyon in the Winter

Driving to Bryce Canyon in the winter takes some advanced planning compared to driving there in the summer due to it’s remote and mountainous location.

Our biggest tip is to watch the weather forecast and consider other options and routes if snow is expected. The narrow and steep backcountry roads to get to Bryce Canyon may not be plowed, and can be very scary in the snow!

Once you get to Bryce Canyon, the main road and major parking lots are usually plowed quickly after a storm.

Winter Weather at Bryce Canyon

Bryce Canyon National Park weather can change quickly at this high elevation. Winter storms can create some challenging conditions. You can see current weather conditions at Bryce Canyon on the NPS website and check weather forecasts in advance for storms. We recommend you check out the 7-day forecast as your visit approaches.

  • December temperatures: High 36 | Low 15
  • January temperatures: High 37 | Low 15
  • February temperatures: High 38 | Low 17

Don’t let these cooler temperatures deter you from visiting, with the right winter gear and clothing you will have an amazing trip to Bryce Canyon in the winter months. 

winter hiking gear

Is Winter a Good Time to Visit Bryce Canyon

Check out our guide for finding the best time to visit Bryce Canyon. Each season and month of the year will have different activities and services available.

Here’s a breakdown of what to expect each month during the winter at Bryce Canyon:

Bryce Canyon in the winter is a fun time to enjoy winter activities and avoid the crowds if you don’t mind cold and snow!

Bryce Canyon entry sign with snow in the Winter.
Bryce Canyon park entrance in the winter

Bryce Canyon Services in the Winter

The park is open 24 hours a day, every day of the year, even on holidays!

But the visitor center will be closed on holidays so be sure to check the website for the most updated Bryce Canyon hours and closures for the winter months.

Restrooms at the following locations are open in the winter: Rainbow Point, Farview Point, Sunset Point, Visitor Center and North Campground.

When a snow storm hits the area, there may be temporary road closures. Road(s) will stay closed until plowing is completed and conditions are safe for visitor traffic. Check Bryce Canyon current conditions for more information.

The Lodge at Bryce Canyon “might” have some units open in during the winter months, but we recommend you always check in advance.

Bryce Canyon winter camping can be found at the North Campground as it’s open year-round and it’s first-come, first-served. The Sunset Campground is closed November through March.

Bryce Canyon in the Winter.
Bryce Canyon in the Winter

Things to Do at Bryce Canyon in the Winter

There are so many Bryce Canyon winter activities especially if you enjoy snow!

If you’re visiting Bryce Canyon National Park with kids, there are fun way to get them excited before, during and after the trip with National Park activities:

Bryce Canyon Visitor Center in the Winter

If it’s your first time to Bryce Canyon, we recommend you stop at the Bryce Canyon Visitor Center, especially during the winter. Find out the latest road conditions, hiking trail conditions and talk to the ranger to see if they have any tips for things to do while visiting.

It’s also good to ask about the weather forecast and what ranger-led programs are happening during your stay. If you are traveling with kids you will want to grab Junior Ranger booklets as well. 

Kids, and adults, will enjoy collecting stamps in their National Park Passport book! Passport booklets and stamp sets are “usually” available at the park visitor centers, but we recommend you get the passport book before the trip, just in case!! We’ve seen sad kiddos when a visitor center is out of passport books. Rangers can stamp a piece of paper, but it’s not just the same experience! 

Bryce Canyon Rim Trail with snow
Bryce Canyon Rim Trail

Bryce Canyon Ranger-Led Programs in the Winter

The ranger-led programs at Bryce Canyon happen all year long, but they aren’t as frequent in the winter. They are all free, but some require you to preregister. 

In the winter you’ll find the programs include the Hoodoo Geology Talk and Snowshoe Hikes. The park does provide snowshoes 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. 

On some Saturdays, you can enjoy looking at the constellations with the telescopes at the Visitor Center. 

You can also find a few Bryce Canyon National Park tours offered by local outfitters for winter activities like cross-country skiing, snowmobiling, and snowshoeing!

Natural Bridge with snow
Natural Bridge with snow

Scenic Drive in the Winter at Bryce Canyon

The Bryce Canyon scenic drive is the perfect activity if you want to see the views of hoodoos, arches and windows from various viewpoints and overlooks.

We always recommend you start by driving to the end of the road at Rainbow Point then working your way back to the amphitheater. This way all the overlooks are on the right so it’s easy to pull in and out of each parking lot.

Keep in mind the road may be closed past the amphitheater at any time during the winter for snow removal.

Photographing Bryce Canyon in the winter
Photographing Bryce Canyon in the winter

Winter Photography at Bryce Canyon 

There’s nothing like the stunning landscape at this park – and winter makes it even more spectacular! You’ll want to pack your camera gear to capture Bryce Canyon winter photos!

Definitely stop at all the pullouts along the Bryce Canyon scenic drive and take pictures of the amazing views! Some of our favorite Bryce Canyon photo spots are:

  • Rainbow and Yovimpa Points
  • Agua Canyon
  • Natural Bridge
  • Bryce Point
  • Paria View
  • Amphitheater Overlooks

Bryce Canyon sunrise photography is awesome anywhere along the rim between Sunrise Point and Bryce Point. 

Be sure you have your winter photography gear packed to take pictures at this stunning national park! We love our photography gloves and rechargeable hand warmers!

Winter Stargazing at Bryce Canyon

Stargazing at Bryce Canyon National Park is amazing! We think it’s worth bundling up and braving the cold night air to see the sky full of stars on a moonless night!

You’ll see why Bryce Canyon is one of Utah’s International Dark Sky Parks.

Bryce Canyon Cross Country Skiing

One of the best ways to explore Bryce Canyon is on cross country skis. There are many routes and trails to explore in the winter. Bryce Canyon maintains miles of trails for skiing.

If you are coming from out of town you can rent ski equipment in Bryce Canyon City. 

hikers on the trail at Bryce Canyon in the snow
Winter hiking at Bryce Canyon

Winter Hiking at Bryce Canyon

One of the best ways to experience the park is by exploring Bryce Canyon winter hikes. The hiking trails are divided into difficulty levels. So regardless of your ability, there is a hike that you can do during the winter. 

The Wall Street side of the Navajo Loop is closed, but the Two Bridges side of the Navajo Loop remains open. We love the Navajo Loop Queen’s Garden trail for down-and-back hiking to explore the canyon below the rim.

The Rim Trail between Inspiration and Bryce Points will also be closed in the winter.

Snow is only cleared from sidewalks and the overlooks. The trails covered with snow can become muddy and slippery so you want to be extremely careful while hiking. Here are a few tips for winter hiking at Bryce Canyon

Trails may close due to bad conditions at Bryce Canyon. Check with the visitor’s center for the most current trail conditions. Traction devices can be rented in Bryce Canyon City.

Winter Backpacking at Bryce Canyon

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. 

Sledding in the Winter at Bryce Canyon

With all the snow you might find yourself wanting to go on a sledding adventure. Sledding is allowed above the Canyon 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 Canyon, but not in the park. 

Winter Festival at Bryce Canyon

If visiting during President’s Day weekend you can take part in the Bryce Canyon Winter Festival. This is a free festival with lots of activities to do for the whole family. Events include:

  • Cross country ski tours
  • Snowshoe 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
Bryce Canyon in the winter
Bryce Canyon in the winter

Bryce Canyon Winter Camping and Lodging

There is only one option for Bryce Canyon winter camping. The North Campground is open year-round and it’s first-come, first-served. The Sunset Campground is closed November through March.

Only loop A of North Campground is open in the winter months. It is first come, first serve. Due to the cold temperatures there are times you could find yourself with the campground all to yourself. If you want to experience the campground and Bryce Canyon without all the crowds and people, winter is the time to do it. 

Winter can create challenging conditions especially at high elevations and the inexperienced should be cautious.

It is not uncommon for people to visit the park during the winter. Here are alternative Bryce Canyon winter lodging if you don’t want to camp:

Bryce Canyon maps and guides

Check Amazon for: Bryce Canyon Guides and Maps

Things To Do Near Bryce Canyon in the Winter

Bryce Canyon Itineraries

We’ve created some done-for-you itineraries for visiting Bryce Canyon depending on the time you have to spend at the park. Click the graphic below to get a free travel bundle that includes printable daily itineraries. Or click the links below to see detailed itineraries of the best things to do at Bryce Canyon!

Bryce Canyon Travel Bundle

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *