Have you ever wondered what it would be like to visit Bryce Canyon National Park in December? If so, you might want to consider this Park, one of the most spectacular and unique places in Utah, United States. Bryce Canyon is not a canyon, but a series of natural amphitheaters carved by erosion and filled with thousands of colorful rock formations called hoodoos. These hoodoos look like giant pillars, spires, castles, or even people, depending on your imagination. In winter, Bryce Canyon becomes even more magical, as the snow contrasts with the red and orange hues of the rocks and creates a stunning scenery that will take your breath away.
You will learn why visiting Bryce Canyon in December is a great idea, how to get there, what to do, and some interesting facts about this amazing place. Whether looking for a peaceful getaway, an adventurous trip, or a cultural experience, Bryce Canyon has something for everyone.
Why Visit Bryce Canyon National Park in December
There are many reasons why visiting Bryce Canyon National Park in December is a good idea. Here are some of them:
- Fewer crowds: Winter is the least busy season in Bryce Canyon, which means you can enjoy the park without having to deal with long lines, crowded trails, or noisy visitors. You will have more space and time to appreciate the beauty and tranquility of nature.
- Lower prices: Winter is also the cheapest season to visit Bryce Canyon, as you can find lower rates for accommodation, transportation, and park fees. You can save money and still have a wonderful experience.
- Stunning scenery: Winter is arguably the most beautiful season to visit Bryce Canyon, as the snow adds a new dimension to the landscape. The snow covers the hoodoos and creates a contrast with the red and orange colors of the rocks. The sunsets and sunrises are also more vivid and dramatic in winter, as the low angle of the sun creates long shadows and soft light. The sky is usually clear and blue, which makes for great photos.
The weather and climate of Bryce Canyon in December are cold but manageable. The average temperature is around 32°F (0°C), but it can drop below 0°F (-18°C) at night. Average precipitation is about 1 inch (25 mm), mostly in the form of snow. The average snowfall is about 8 inches (20 cm), but it can vary depending on the elevation and exposure. The park receives about 9 hours of daylight in December.
Tips to visit Bryce Canyon in December:
If you decide to visit Bryce Canyon in December, you should be prepared for the cold weather and possible road closures. Here are some tips and precautions for visiting Bryce Canyon in winter:
- Dress warmly: You should wear layers of clothing that can keep you warm and dry. You should also wear a hat, gloves, scarf, and boots. You should avoid cotton fabrics that can absorb moisture and make you colder.
- Check road conditions: You should check the road conditions before you go to Bryce Canyon, as some roads may be closed or inaccessible due to snow or ice. You can check the park website or call the visitor center for updated information. You should also have a map and a compass in case you get lost or stranded.
- Carry emergency supplies: You should carry some emergency supplies in your car and backpack, such as water, food, blankets, a flashlight, a first aid kit, a shovel, tire chains, jumper cables, and a cell phone.
How to Get to Bryce Canyon National Park in December
There are several options for traveling to Bryce Canyon by car, bus, or plane. Here are some of them:
- By car: Driving is the most convenient and flexible way to get to Bryce Canyon, as you can explore the park at your own pace and stop at any point of interest. You can drive to Bryce Canyon from several nearby cities or airports, such as Salt Lake City (270 miles), Las Vegas (270 miles), St. George (150 miles), or Cedar City (80 miles). You should follow the Interstate 15 until you reach Highway 20 eastbound or Highway 14 eastbound. Then you should take Highway 89 southbound until you reach Highway 12 eastbound. Finally, you should take Highway 63 southbound until you reach the park entrance.
- By bus: Taking a bus is another option for getting to Bryce Canyon, especially if you don’t have a car or prefer not to drive. Several bus companies offer tours or shuttle services to Bryce Canyon from nearby cities or airports, such as Salt Lake Express, St. George Shuttle, or Zion Adventure Company. You should check their websites or call them for schedules, prices, and reservations.
- By plane: Flying is the fastest but most expensive way to get to Bryce Canyon. There are no commercial airports near Bryce Canyon. So, you will have to fly to one of the major airports in the region. They are Salt Lake City International Airport, Las Vegas McCarran International Airport, and St. George Regional Airport. Then you will have to rent a car or take a bus to reach the park.
Accommodations Near Bryce Canyon:
Once you get to Bryce Canyon, you will need a place to stay. There are several options for accommodation near Bryce Canyon, such as hotels, motels, campgrounds, or cabins. Here are some of them:
- Hotels: Several hotels near Bryce Canyon offer comfortable rooms, amenities, and services. Some of the most popular ones are Best Western Plus Ruby’s Inn, Bryce Canyon Grand Hotel, and Bryce View Lodge. You should book your room in advance, as they tend to fill up quickly in winter.
- Motels: Several motels near Bryce Canyon offer basic rooms, facilities, and rates. Some of the most common ones are Bryce Canyon Resort, Bryce Pioneer Village, and Bryce Canyon Inn. You should check their availability and reviews before you make your reservation.
- Campgrounds: Two campgrounds within Bryce Canyon offer sites for tents and RVs. They are North Campground and Sunset Campground. They are open year-round, but they operate on a first-come, first-served basis in winter. They have restrooms, showers, fire pits, and picnic tables. The fee is $20 per site. You should bring your water, food, and firewood.
- Cabins: Some cabins near Bryce Canyon offer cozy and rustic accommodation. Some of the most charming ones are Stone Canyon Inn, Bryce Country Cabins, and The Lodge at Bryce Canyon. You should check their rates and availability online or by phone.
What to Do in Bryce Canyon in December
There are many things to do in Bryce Canyon in December, depending on your preferences and abilities. Here are some of the best activities and attractions in Bryce Canyon in winter:
- Hiking: Hiking is one of the most popular and rewarding ways to explore Bryce Canyon in winter. You can hike along the rim or descend into the amphitheaters and see the hoodoos up close. Several trails vary in length and difficulty, such as the Rim Trail (5.5 miles), the Fairyland Loop Trail (8 miles), the Navajo Loop Trail (1.3 miles), and the Queen’s Garden Trail (1.8 miles). You should wear sturdy shoes or boots with good traction, carry water and snacks, and follow the trail markers and signs.
- Snowshoeing: Snowshoeing is another fun and adventurous way to enjoy Bryce Canyon in winter. You can snowshoe on any of the hiking trails or the unplowed roads and parking lots. You can rent snowshoes from the visitor center or some of the nearby hotels or shops. You should wear warm and waterproof clothing, carry a map and a compass, and stay in designated areas.
- Cross-country skiing: Cross-country skiing is also a great option for experiencing Bryce Canyon in winter. You can cross-country ski on any of the hiking trails or the unplowed roads and parking lots. You can rent skis from the visitor center or some of the nearby hotels or shops. You should wear warm and waterproof clothing, carry a map and a compass, and stay in designated areas.
- Sledding: Sledding is a fun and easy activity for kids and adults alike. You can sled on any of the open slopes or hills in the park. You can bring your sled or buy one from the visitor center or some of the nearby hotels or shops. You should wear warm and waterproof clothing, wear a helmet, and avoid sledding near trees or rocks.
- Stargazing: Stargazing is a wonderful way to end your day in Bryce Canyon in winter. The park has one of the darkest skies in the country, which means you can see thousands of stars, planets, constellations, and even the Milky Way. The park offers free ranger-led astronomy programs every Saturday at 7 p.m. at the visitor center auditorium. You can also join a guided night hike or use your telescope or binoculars.
Bryce Canyon in winter is a beautiful sight that you will never forget.
Interesting Facts about Bryce Canyon in December
There are many interesting facts about Bryce Canyon in December that will make you appreciate this place even more. Here are some of them:
- Wildlife: Bryce Canyon is home to a variety of wildlife, such as deer, elk, pronghorn, coyote, fox, bobcat, cougar, or bear. In winter, some of these animals migrate to lower elevations, while others adapt to the cold and snow. You might see some of them on the trails or near the roads, but you should always keep a safe distance and respect their habitat. One of the most unique and rare animals in Bryce Canyon is the Utah prairie dog, which is endangered and protected by law.
- Plants: Bryce Canyon has a diverse and resilient vegetation, ranging from desert plants to alpine plants. In winter, most of the plants go dormant or die, but some of them survive and even thrive. You might see some evergreen trees, such as ponderosa pine, juniper, or fir, that keep their needles and provide shelter and food for wildlife. Some of these plants have medicinal or edible properties that were used by Native Americans or pioneers.
- History: Bryce Canyon has a rich and fascinating history that spans thousands of years. The first inhabitants of Bryce Canyon were the Paleo-Indians, who hunted and gathered in the area about 10,000 years ago. They were followed by the Ancestral Puebloans, who built villages and cultivated crops in the area about 2,000 years ago. They were succeeded by the Paiute Indians, who lived in harmony with the land and its resources until the arrival of European explorers and settlers in the 18th and 19th centuries. The park is named after Ebenezer Bryce, a Mormon pioneer who settled in the area in 1874 and built a road and a canal near the amphitheaters. He famously described the hoodoos as “a hell of a place to lose a cow“. The park was established as a national monument in 1923 and as a national park in 1928.
- Culture: Bryce Canyon Park hosts several cultural events and programs throughout the year that showcase the art, music, folklore, and traditions of the local communities. Some of these events are the Winter Festival (February), Astronomy Festival (June), Geology Festival (July), Prairie Dog Day (August), and Christmas Bird Count (December).
- Events: Bryce Canyon has some unique and exciting events that take place in winter that you might want to join or watch. One of these events is the Bryce Canyon Winter Half Marathon (January), which is a challenging and scenic race that starts at Ruby’s Inn and ends at Cannonville. Another event is the Bryce Canyon Sled Dog Race (February), which is a fun and competitive race that features teams of dogs and mushers from all over the country. Another event is the Bryce Canyon Winter Festival (February), which is a family-friendly festival that offers activities such as snowshoeing, skiing, sledding, ice skating, archery, photography, or crafts.
Bryce Canyon is a great destination for winter travel and adventure. Enjoy the park’s beauty and tranquility without having to deal with crowds or high prices. You can also experience the park’s activities and attractions that are suitable for all ages and abilities. You can also learn about the park’s facts and features that are interesting and inspiring.
If you are looking for a place to visit in December that will make you feel awe and wonder, you should consider Bryce Canyon National Park. You will not regret it.
Also, Read: Top 10 Trekking Destinations in the USA