Bryce Canyon Winter

Bryce Canyon in Winter: 5 Things to Do in Hoodoo-ville

Your heart will grow three sizes when you see how spectacular the off-season is.

By Melinda Rhodes
January 19, 2024

How does something that’s already amazing reach a new level of awesomeness? By adding the right toppings. Brownies are better with a dusting of powdered sugar. Pizza isn’t complete without mozzarella cheese. And hoodoos? Don’t even get us started on how the white-on-red juxtaposition of snow-capped sandstone makes us swoon in a honeymoon kinda way. Head to Bryce Canyon Country for a winter getaway and you’ll know exactly what we mean.

This region in south-central Utah encompasses much more than Bryce Canyon National Park. It is also home to:

  • Another national park: Capitol Reef!
  • A couple of national monuments: Cedar Breaks! Grand Staircase-Escalante!
  • Four state parks: Petrified Forest! Kodachrome Basin! Anasazi Museum! Otter Creek!

That adds up to a whole lotta things to do and plenty ‘o places to see. The area is connected by quaint communities with unique lodging options and independent restaurateurs ready to make your sojourn as pleasant as possible. Where to start? What to do in Bryce Canyon in winter? We’ve some ideas.

Snowshoe through the spires

A ranger-led snowshoe tour in Cedar Breaks National Monument or Bryce Canyon National Park is a great way to learn more about what makes these parks so unique. Daytime tours are offered throughout the winter. For an even more magical experience, enter the lottery for a guided snowshoe hike in Bryce Canyon under the full moon. Owooooo.

Watch the winter sun head toward the horizon 

Here’s a fun fact: Most of the cliffs in Bryce Canyon National Park face east. But Paria View faces west, making it the perfect place to watch the cliffs change colors as the sun sets. (If you’d rather go earlier in the day, this is also a great place to spot wildlife or watch birds.) Ready for another fun fact? There aren’t any summer hiking trails to Paria View. But there is a cross-country ski loop on which you can find your freestyle rhythm. Yes. You want to be a snow-cial Paria. 

Find serenity on a waterfall hike

Sure, waterfall hikes are faves in the spring or summer … which means the trails can get crowded. Lower Calf Creek Falls, located off Highway 12 in Grand Staircase-Escalante, is much less peopley in the winter. You might even have the trail to yourself, depending on when you go. And if the temperature is a little on the chilly side? Even better. That just means there will be a few icicles artfully arranged on the face of the 130-foot cliff the water plunges from. Layer up, buttercup. 

Sleep at a bird sanctuary

From tiny homes to RV parks and traditional hotel rooms, there is no shortage of lodging options in Bryce Canyon Country. No matter where you stay, you’ll wake up rested and ready for another day of winter wonderment. Boulder Mountain Lodge, however, is the only one that overlooks a pond and an 11-acre bird sanctuary. Throw in some off-season specials on the spacious room options — and you’ve got yourself some stress-free vacay vibes. Here birdy, birdy, birdy, birdy …

Catch a big fish in a small town

Maybe your mantra is more along the lines of Ernie’s, “Here fishy, fishy, fishy.” Grab your jigs and ice flies and head to Panguitch Lake, located just off National Scenic Byway 143. Named by the Paiute tribe, it translates to “big fish” lake. How big are the trout, you ask? We’re talking 18+ inches. Yeah, it’s a pretty good place to drop your line and enjoy the alpine scenery while you’re ice fishing.

This is only the tip of the snow-covered hoodoo of things to do in Bryce Canyon in winter. There’s also a Winter Festival held every February over Presidents Day weekend, with an array of activities to choose from. And you can find even more ways to fill your snowy vacay days on