Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Winter Adventures in Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah

         Cabin fever got you down?  Bryce Canyon National Park in southern Utah is the definitive cure for this common winter malady.  At an elevation of 8000 to 9000 feet, Bryce Canyon's rim is typically snow-covered from December to March and opportunities for winter fun abound.

Welcome to Bryce.  Tim and I arrived on January 30 and were greeted
with 50 degree temperatures and little snow.  An overnight snowfall
produced this welcoming sight on the 31st.

            If the snow is deep strap on your snowshoes to hike into the canyon and among the hoodoos—those fantastical rock formations for which Bryce is known.  Even in years of scant snowfall (this year, for instance) the Queen's Garden trail is walkable in hiking boots with good tread.  Ruby's Inn Nordic Center provides groomed cross-country ski trails near the park's northern entrance.  The trails are free and open to the public.

The layer-cake hoodoos of Bryce Canyon on a January day.

        Not the adventurous type?  You can still enjoy the scenery from Bryce's many viewpoints.  After a day spent enjoying Bryce Canyon's many offerings, I guarantee you'll never again dread the coming of our coldest season.
       Cabin fever?  Take the cure and visit Bryce Canyon now.  Doctor's orders.

       Enjoy these photos from last weekend's trip to Bryce:

                                                       Snowshoeing from Bryce Point

Our snowshoes are lined up and ready to go.

I'm peeking through the branches of a fallen Ponderosa Pine.

Dashing through the snow…  beneath Bryce Point viewpoint.


You may snowshoe from any park viewpoint, just don't venture too close to the rim—see photo below.

Looking back along the rim toward Fairview Point.


                                                  Cross-country skiing Ruby's Inn trail

Ruby's Inn's trails are groomed for both classic and skate cross-country skiing.


                                                            Queen's Garden Trail

A bench provides the perfect rest stop on the descent
into Bryce Canyon along the Queen's Garden trail.

Members of the Castle Country Canyoneers—our hiking club—on their
way to the arch (left) on the Queen's Garden trail.

To read about and view pictures from previous trips to Bryce Canyon National Park, visit this blog post:



    Rita, those photos rank at the top of the many stunning images that you've published in your blog over the years. I'm unable to come up with adequate words to describe the beauty of those views from the Queen's Garden Trail. If I were at that place at that time of year on a day like you and Tim experienced, the scene would be marred by the imprint of my fingernail marks as I was being forcibly dragged away from such an astonishing place!

    On a far lesser note, is it correct to assume that the groomed cross-country ski trails at Ruby's Inn Nordic Center can be provided free of charge due to public funding?

    Needless to say, I think this is an absolutely fabulous report!


  2. Hi John,

    I believe that Ruby's Inn's trails are on public land (Forest Service?) and that's why they are free to the public.
    Ruby's Inn is a mega-resort at the entrance to Bryce Canyon National Park. They have their own Nordic Center for ski rentals and they host a winter festival every year during President's Day weekend. Ruby's Inn is not really our type of place (we stay in a smaller Inn down the road) but they do a nice job on the trails and we enjoy skiing there.

    Thanks for the accolades on this report! I have to say though, that all the credit goes to the geologic wonder that is Bryce Canyon!

    I see on Steve Smith's "Mountain Wanderer" blog that you've also been on a recent snowshoe adventure—and on a very beautiful trail, too. Happy winter adventuring!