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A Guide to Camping in Sedona

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Bryce Canyon Winter Hiking Guide

Thinking about hiking or snowshoeing Bryce Canyon during the winter months? 

Have you ever thought about hiking during the winter months? Many people do hike at this time of the year, as it is very safe to do so in many parts of the country. One of the best places to hike during the winter though is Bryce Canyon and it is even better if you strap on a pair of snowshoes to assist you as you wander along the trails.

What you should know about Bryce Canyon in the winter:


Bryce Canyon can be downright cold during the winter months, but the views that you see from the different outlooks will make you thankful you chose to hike the trails there at this time of the year. After all, you are not going to be able to resist the snow-covered pine trees, the glistening of ice in the distance under the shining sun, and the opportunity to see all this beauty without thousands of other people surrounding you.

What hiking is like at Bryce Canyon in the winter:

Hiking conditions change throughout the winter season at Bryce Canyon, so your hike early in the season might be different than a person’s hike later in the season, or vice versa. At the beginning of winter, the trails are usually muddy before they become covered in snow. However, after a few days of the melting and refreezing process, the trails all turn to ice. That ice usually stays in place until winter is over, but not always, so you must be prepared for all situations when you arrive at Bryce Canyon.

What we love about hiking Bryce Canyon in the winter:

The winter months bring something special to Bryce Canyon, which is why it is one of the best times of the year to spend time in this part of the country.

  • The opportunity to see everything without massive crowds
  • The stunning views from many different viewpoints
  • The opportunity to snowshoe, as we hike along the trails
  • The chance to see numerous stars at night
  • Lower prices for hotels
  • Unique winter excursions are offered at the rangers’ office – these include snowshoe hikes, ice skating, sleigh rides, and horseback riding

What we don’t love hiking Bryce Canyon in the winter:

During the winter, Bryce Canyon, and the surrounding areas, can turn into a ghost town. While this can be good, it also presents a few issues.

  • Fewer shops and stores are open
  • Campgrounds are not open
  • Buses are not running
  • The weather can change drastically in seconds
  • The trails can change instantly
  • Not all the trails are open

When to hike Bryce Canyon in the winter

While you can hike Bryce Canyon at any time during the winter months, you may want to have some flexibility with your dates of choice. The reason for this is if a snowstorm hits on the morning you want to go hiking, it is best to do something else that day and wait for the weather to clear.

The same holds true for other days when the forecast is stating that a storm could roll in at any point during the day. You definitely will not want to be out on these trails when there is any type of storm, because you will not be able to see where you are going and can get lost very easily.

Our favorite winter hiking trails in Bryce Canyon


#1 Peekaboo Loop


The Peekaboo Loop is five and a half miles and it drops quickly to the floor of the canyon from where it begins at Bryce Point. Due to the elevation changes, you must take plenty of water with you to stay hydrated. It is also best to have your Yak-Traks on when tackling this trail during the winter months.

#2 Sunset

You can easily walk the one-mile Sunset Point trail to Inspiration Point at any time during the winter months. This trail is mainly flat and reliable, but that doesn’t mean you should let your guard down and be unprepared.


#3 Navajo Loop


The Navajo Loop is almost a mile and a half long and it begins at Sunset Point. You can combine this hike with many others, including the Queens Garden Trail. Numerous rocks fall from the trail, and from above this trail, throughout the year, so you must use extreme caution during your hike. This is especially true during the winter months when the snow and ice can cause even more rocks to loosen and fall.


#4 Bryce Point

Bryce Point offers some of the best views of Bryce Canyon during the winter months, although you may find that this trail is closed during certain parts of this season. It is imperative that you check with the rangers before you venture out, so you do not find yourself stuck partway along this trail.

Things to consider with hiking Bryce Canyon in the winter:


#1 The trail conditions vary all the time

The conditions of the trails at Bryce Canyon are different every day of the winter season. Sometimes, you will be battling mud, while other times you will have to tackle powdery snow or ice. It is important that you are prepared for all three trail conditions, because you may experience it all during your hike. We recommend wearing winter hiking boots and having your snowshoes and Yak-Traks with you for those times when the mud disappears, and the snow and ice appear almost out of nowhere.


#2 The weather also changes all the time

The weather at any mountain range can change in the blink of an eye and that is no exception at Bryce Canyon. Therefore, you must be prepared for colder temperatures in the morning and warmer temperatures as the sun creeps higher in the sky. It is also important to note that the closer to the rim you get, the colder you will be because you will not be protected from the wind like you are down on the trails at the bottom.


#3 Bryce Canyon’s buses don’t run during the winter

The buses do not run in Bryce Canyon during the winter, so you will need to rely on a vehicle if you want to successfully reach the trails that are to the south of the amphitheater trails. This will mean careful planning because you will need to know which roads are open and exactly which route you will need to take to get to where you want to be.


#4 Winter is the off-season at Bryce

While there are fewer people on these trails during the winter months and the prices for hotels are much cheaper, you must be prepared for the harsh reality of Bryce Canyon at this time of year. Basically, the campgrounds will be closed, so no camping is allowed. Also, there are no buses for you to rely on to get where you need to be. Your convenience expectations will need to be much lower as well because many of the shops and restaurants in Escalante, Panguitch, and Tropic are closed during the winter.


Hiking Bryce Canyon in the winter is an amazing experience and Microadventure. Although the weather and trail conditions can be unpredictable, winter at Bryce Canyon is a magical time. The crowds are lighter, it’s more peaceful and serene, and the snow-covered hoodoos are a beautiful sight to see.

So grab your snowshoes, Yak-Traks, and hiking boots and get out and hike Bryce Canyon in the winter!

Resources for Bryce Canyon:

Nick The Rambling Man

Nick The Rambling Man

Nick is the owner and regular content writer for Southwest Microadventures. When he’s not writing, you can find him rock climbing, peak bagging, mountain biking, backpacking, or drinking strong coffee.




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