Bryce Canyon Winter Activities + Travel Guide

Even though it’s a cold and snowy time of year to visit, you’ll find many Bryce Canyon winter activities like scenic drives, hiking, snowshoeing, photography, and even a Winter Festival in February!

Bryce Canyon National Park in the winter, a dazzling wonder in Utah, transforms into a magical winter landscape. During the winter offseason the crowds are gone and you can truly appreciate this park in all its natural beauty.

Bryce Canyon National Park winter activities

Use this Bryce Canyon travel guide to plan your winter vacation: what to pack, things to do, and where to stay!

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
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Winter Packing List for Bryce Canyon

winter hiking gear

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!

What It’s Like at Bryce Canyon in the Winter

It’s important to know what to expect when visiting Bryce Canyon National Park in the winter.

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.

Bryce Canyon Winter Weather

The temperatures, conditions and 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 Bryce Canyon 7-day forecast as your visit approaches so you’re prepared.

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. 

Bryce Canyon entry sign with snow in the Winter.
Bryce Canyon 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 current conditions for Bryce Canyon for updated 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. We’ll share more about winter camping later in this guide.

Bryce Canyon in the Winter.
Bryce Canyon with snow

Bryce Canyon Winter Activities

There are so many things to do at Bryce Canyon National Park in the winter especially if you enjoy snow 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 to Bryce Canyon National Park with kids you will want to grab Junior Ranger booklets as well. 

The services at the Visitor Center include:

  • Restrooms
  • Drinking Water
  • Backcountry permits
  • First Aid
  • Ranger Help Desk
  • Book Store
  • Twenty Minute Introduction Movie
  • Exhibits
Bryce Canyon hiking trail in the winter
Bryce Canyon hiking trail in the winter

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. 

Natural Bridge at Bryce Canyon with snow
Natural Bridge at Bryce Canyon 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.

photographer at Bryce Canyon in the winter
Photographer at 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! Your camera will get a workout taking Bryce Canyon winter photos of naturally carved amphitheaters with colorful hoodoos and windows.

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

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

Bryce Canyon has several day-hiking trails to meet all abilities. You’ll find easy, moderate, and strenuous Bryce Canyon winter hikes.

Your Winter Hiking Gear should include:

During the winter, snow is only cleared from sidewalks and the overlooks at Bryce Canyon. The snow on the hiking trails can become muddy and slippery so you want to be extremely careful while hiking. 

Bryce Canyon Winter Festival

If visiting during President’s Day weekend in February, 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
winter camping in a tent
Winter camping in a tent

Bryce Canyon National Park Winter Camping

Inside the park itself, Bryce Canyon winter camping is limited but well worth exploring.

Only loop A of North Campground is open in the winter months. It is first come, first serve. If you’re planning to camp during the winter it is important to come prepared; at the very least pack:

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

Bryce Winter Lodging

Winter is the offseason so many hotels, lodges, and campgrounds close this time of year. Always check in advance that the hotel, RV Park or vacation rental is open for your winter stay:

Bryce Canyon maps and guides

Check Amazon for: Bryce Canyon Guides and Maps

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

Bryce Canyon winter activities

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