Visiting in Winter

 
Visitors look out over a snowy amphitheater of red rocks

NPS Photo

 

Planning a Winter Visit 

The stark white of freshly fallen snow, red rocks, blue sky, and evergreen trees--some say Bryce Canyon is even more beautiful in winter! Here at 8,000 feet (2,438 m) the scenery changes dramatically in the colder months, providing unique opportunities to see the park and requiring a very different packing list. Begin by reviewing regular closures and regulations, read about typical weather, and then explore the many ways you can experience this winter wonderland.
 

Winter Recreation

  • A group of people snowshoe amongst the trees with red rocks in the background.
    Snowshoeing

    Snowshoeing is allowed throughout the park on all trails.

  • Two people cross-country ski between the trees.
    Cross-Country Skiing

    Though it is illegal to ski off of the rim into the canyon, you can enjoy a variety of routes above the rim.

  • Two visitors hike on a snowy trail.
    Winter Hiking

    Many hikes are available to visitors during the winter season but might require some additional equipment.

 
 
A view from above of a snowy red rock-filled amphitheater.
A Typical Winter Visit in 1-3 Hours

A shorter visit should focus on the Bryce Canyon Amphitheater along the first 3 miles of the park. Enjoy an easy or moderate hike.

Red rocks in an arch formation covered in snow.
A Typical Winter Visit in 4+ Hours

After enjoying the Bryce Canyon Amphitheater, visit the Southern Scenic Drive, enjoy longer hikes and take in a ranger program.

 
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A short PSA encouraging the use of footwear traction devices in winter.

 

Winter Safety

After a big snowfall most of the park's day hiking trails require snowshoes. However, after a few days of melt, and with continued use, the trails become so well packed and icy that snowshoes are no longer effective to provide traction and stable footing.

Traction Devices

For much of the winter the most popular trails are so icy that steep sections cannot be safely traversed without some sort of additional traction device for your hiking shoes or boots. Mountaineering crampons or other, lighter options which fasten over your winter footwear like the one pictured here work well. We recommend wearing these devices throughout the park, especially in parking lots and other paved areas to avoid injuries from slipping and falling.

Traction devices are available for purchase at the Bryce Canyon Association's bookstore at the Visitor Center.

 

Seasonal Closures and Operations

  • There are only two roads that are closed to vehicle traffic for the entire winter season: the 1 mile (1.6 km) road leading to Fairyland Point and the 0.3 mile (0.5 km) road leading to Paria View. These two spur roads close after snow levels begin to require plow removal, but remain accessible for hikers, cross-country skiiers, and snowshoers.
  • Following snowstorms, the main park road closes temporarily at mile marker 3 to allow snow plow crews to clear snow from the higher elevations of the park's scenic southern drive. Closures typically last a day or more, depending on snowstorm durations. Along the first three miles of the main road, the Bryce Amphitheater area (which includes Bryce Point, Inspiration Point, Sunset Point, and Sunrise Point) is the first area to be plowed, so it remains accessible even during temporary closures of the scenic southern drive. Check the Conditions Page for road statuses.

  • There are two trails that close for the entire winter season: the Wall Street side of the Navajo Loop Trail (the Two Bridges side of the Navajo Loop remains open for down-and-back hiking or for combination with the Queen's Garden or Peekaboo Trails) and the Rim Trail between Inspiration and Bryce Points. The Wall street side of the Navajo Loop closes due to extreme rockfall danger, while the Rim Trail between Inspiration and Bryce Points closes due to snow cornices along steep cliffs.

  • Ranger programs continue year-round, but become less frequent in winter.
  • While camping remains available at North Campground year-round, Sunset Campground closes each winter from November into April.
  • The Lodge at Bryce Canyon and dining room close in winter, but lodging often remains available at the Sunset Lodge Unit.
  • The General Store at Sunrise Point closes in winter.
  • Restrooms at Inspiration Point, the Peekaboo Loop, and the General Store close in winter (Restrooms remain available at Rainbow Point, Farview Point, Sunset Point, the Visitor Center and North Campground).
  • The North Campground RV Dump Station closes in winter.
  • Private and guided horse rides end at the end of October and resume in April or May depending on the weather.
  • The Visitor Center is open on Thanksgiving and closed on Christmas. The Visitor Center will close one hour early on Christmas Eve and open one hour late on New Year's Day.
 

The Bryce Amphitheater in Summer and Winter

Desert landscape of red rock spires, cliffs, buttes, and forested plateau Desert landscape of red rock spires, cliffs, buttes, and forested plateau

Left image
Summer from Bryce Point
Credit: NPS / Peter Densmore

Right image
Winter from Bryce Point
Credit: NPS / Peter Densmore

Last updated: February 29, 2024

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Contact Info

Mailing Address:

P.O Box 640201
Bryce, UT 84764

Phone:

435 834-5322
Phones are answered and messages returned as soon as possible as staffing allows.

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