Visiting Bryce Canyon National Park in January

Are you wondering what it’s like to visit Bryce Canyon National Park in January? The weather at Bryce Canyon in the winter is cold and snow storms may create challenging travel conditions and road closures. 

But if you’re looking for a place to see amazing landscapes and enjoy winter activities, then a January vacation to Bryce Canyon might be what you’re looking for!

Bryce Canyon in January

Located in the southwest corner of Utah, Bryce Canyon showcases a unique landscape willed with colorful rock structures called ‘hoodoos’. Use this Bryce Canyon travel guide to your January vacation: services available, weather, what to pack, where to stay, and things to do!

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 for the month of January!

Our biggest tip is to be prepared for the winter weather so you’re able to enjoy the outdoor activities you want to do at Bryce Canyon! Use our Bryce Canyon Packing List to make sure you have the right clothing and gear for visiting in January! Grab your free printable packing checklist by clicking the image below!

get the free Bryce Canyon National Park packing lists
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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 January

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 January.

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 January, 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 January 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 in January.

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 January

Driving to Bryce Canyon in January 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.

Bryce Canyon entrance in the winter with snow
Bryce Canyon entrance with snow

Bryce Canyon Services in January

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 like New Year’s Day so be sure to check the website for the most updated Bryce Canyon hours and closures for January.

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

The Bryce Canyon shuttle doesn’t run in the winter. The shuttle service runs mid April through mid October. Check the NPS website for specific service dates.

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.

Weather at Bryce Canyon in January

When visiting Bryce Canyon in the winter you can expect it to be cold. January Bryce Canyon National Park weather usually brings the coolest temperatures of the year averaging between 36 and 11 degrees Fahrenheit.  

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. 

Does it Snow at Bryce Canyon?

Due to the high elevation of the park, there will be snow at Bryce Canyon in January. It’s the perfect place to enjoy snow activities like snowshoeing, sledding and cross-country skiing.

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 current conditions for more information.

Bryce Canyon view in the winter
Bryce Canyon view in the winter

Can you Drive Through Bryce Canyon in January?

In January, you’ll find two roads closed to vehicles: Fairyland Point and Paria View. They remain open for anyone who wants to hike, snowshow or cross-country ski in those areas.

Even though the park is open in January, you may find the main Bryce Canyon scenic drive closed beyond the amphitheater following a snowstorm. The park closes the road beyond mile marker 3 so snow plow crews can clear snow from the higher elevations along the southern scenic drive.

The road closure typically last a day or so, depending on the severity of the snowstorm. They always play the first three miles of the main road first. This includes the Bryce Amphitheater area: Bryce Point, Inspiration Point, Sunset Point, and Sunrise Point.

Check the Bryce Canyon Conditions Page for the most updated road status.

Is January 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.

Bryce Canyon in the winter is a fun time to enjoy snow sport activities and avoid the crowds if you don’t mind cold and snow! But a trip to Bryce Canyon in January isn’t for everyone!

Things to Do at Bryce Canyon National Park in January

January is a magical time to visit because there are so many Bryce Canyon winter activities to enjoy.

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 January

We recommend you stop at the Bryce Canyon Visitor Center, especially in January. It’s important to 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! 

Amphitheater Rim Trail with snow
Amphitheater Rim Trail with snow

Bryce Canyon Ranger-Led Programs in January

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

When you visit in January you’ll find the programs include the Hoodoo Geology Talk and Snowshoe Hikes. You can get 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!

Bryce Canyon Amphitheater with snow
Bryce Canyon Amphitheater

Bryce Canyon Photography in January 

The big draw at this park are the Bryce Canyon views and photo spots. In January the snow-covered landscape is just breathtaking!

You’ll want to pack your camera gear to capture Bryce Canyon winter photos!

Be sure to download our camera gear checklist before arriving at the park to make sure you have everything you need. Keep in mind you’ll need winter photography gear – we especially love photography gloves and rechargeable hand warmers!

We’ve put together a Bryce Canyon Photography Guide with tips and best times to take pictures at each viewpoint!

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

Stargazing in January at Bryce Canyon

Stargazing at Bryce Canyon National Park is a must-do activity. It’s worth braving the cold night air in January to see the sky full of stars on a moonless night!

It will be easy to see why Bryce Canyon is one of Utah’s International Dark Sky Parks.

Natural Bridge with snow
Natural Bridge with snow

Bryce Canyon Scenic Drive in January

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.

In January the road may be closed past the amphitheater at any time during the winter for snow removal.

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.

Navajo Loop trail closed in the winter
Navajo Loop trail closed in the winter

Bryce Canyon Hiking in January

The Bryce Canyon winter hikes in January are a unique adventure, but there are two trails that will be closed.

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 January.

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:

  • Wear winter hiking boots with crampons or snowshoes
  • Carry lots of water (1 liter for every 2-3 hours of hiking) per person, even in the winter
  • Stay on maintained trails and do not climb hoodoos.

Some great easy hikes include Sunset to Sunrise, Rim Trail, Bristlecone Loop, and Mossy Cove.

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.

Backpacking in January at Bryce Canyon

Bryce Canyon backpacking is hard throughout the year, but it is even more difficult in January when there’s snow and freezing temperatures. You must be a very experienced hiker to be issued a permit in the winter months. 

3 people snowshoeing in deep snow
Snowshoeing at Bryce Canyon

Bryce Canyon Cross Country Skiing in January

One of the best ways to explore Bryce Canyon in January is cross country skiing. Bryce Canyon maintains miles of trails in the winter. If you are coming from out of town you can rent ski equipment in Bryce Canyon City. 

Sledding in January at Bryce Canyon

There are not a ton of places to sled within the park. Many of the local residents prefer sledding near Red Canyon, not in the park. 

Sledding off the rim of the canyon is prohibited and enforced!!

Bryce Canyon Camping and Lodging in January

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 January

Bryce Canyon Itineraries

We’ve put together our favorite Bryce Canyon National Park Itineraries for 1, 2, or 3 days in the park! Grab a free copy by clicking the graphic below. Click on the links to read the detailed itinerary for Bryce Canyon based on the time you have to spend at the park!

Bryce Canyon Travel Bundle

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