The beauty (and solitude) of Bryce Canyon National Park in the winter

Feb 28, 2023, 12:00 PM
A winter trip offers a way to experience the splendor of Bryce Canyon National Park without the cro...
(Bob Grove and Mark Wade)
(Bob Grove and Mark Wade)

SALT LAKE CITY — A winter trip offers a way to experience the splendor of Bryce Canyon National Park without the crowds.

And there is no doubt that Utah’s five national parks are experiencing a crush of visitors. According to the Kem C. Gardner Policy Institute, Utah’s record 11.2 million national park visits and 11.6 million state park visits in 2021 helped propel Utah’s tourism to a record-setting $10.56 billion in spending.

All the bodies have raised concerns about “loving our parks to death” and led to some saying that their overall park experience was diminished.

And experimental programs like timed entry systems to alleviate traffic congestion look like they will continue in 2023.

Avoid a diminished national park experience. Instead, plan a winter visit!

Winter in Bryce Canyon

You will have a more quiet visit if you go to Bryce Canyon in the winter. But you’ll also have wildlife viewing and photography opportunities that can’t be duplicated during the spring or summer. And the sights you’ll see can’t be seen anywhere else in the world!

Winter at Bryce Canyon is a “must do” experience for Bob Grove and Mark Wade, a duo that often join KSL Outdoors to discuss their road-trippin’ adventures. 

They say that even if you’ve experienced the red rocks and pink cliff vistas of Bryce Canyon before, seeing the biggest collection of “hoodoos” in the world capped with a dusting of some of the “Greatest Snow on Earth” is certainly a magnet for outdoor lovers.

Hoodoos are tall, thin rock formations formed by erosion within sedimentary or volcanic rock. They are also known as tent rocks, fairy chimneys, or earth pyramids. Hoodoos can range in size from five or six feet all the way to the size of a ten-story building.

And while they are found in other areas of North America, their abundance in Bryce Canyon is globally unique. 

Ruby’s Inn, at the entrance to the park, is a perfect spot to serve as a base camp with great rooms and great food. They also offer snowshoe rentals if a trek down one of the many trails on a brisk, sunny day is your idea of adventure. 

A must for Bryce Canyon in the winter – cold weather clothing

One word of warning: make sure you have the proper cold-weather clothing. In order for the trip to be enjoyable, this is a must. And it’s especially important if, like Bob and Mark, your winter trip to Bryce Canyon includes photography.

Located on the eastern edge of the Paunsaugunt Plateau in south-central Utah and sitting at an elevation of just under 8,000 feet, the early morning hours when the light is just right for that perfect “Kodak Moment,” often bring below-freezing temperatures.

But Bob and Mark can tell you that the hours, the walk, and the crisp air are all worth it if you capture a scene that will make your friends wish they’d gone too.

Bob and Mark offer many more tips on where to target your photography setup point inside the park.

Other reading:

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The beauty (and solitude) of Bryce Canyon National Park in the winter