Novelty and Nostalgia at Ruby’s Inn

By Brian Higgins
July 25, 2023

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Ah, summer. The time to relax in the sun with familiar comforts and time honored traditions. But wait — isn’t summer also the time to get out of your comfort zone and try new things? How are you supposed to pull all of that off AND finish your book club beach read?

How about with a good old fashioned stay at Ruby’s Inn and Bryce Canyon? Or, a good new fashioned stay at the same spot? Because whether you want to enjoy the familiar sights and sounds of a classic summer vacay or dip your toes into some new activities, there’s something for everyone at this iconic Bryce Canyon lodge. No matter how you summer, you can go do that hoodoo that you do so well.

Go to a Rodeo, Your First or Fortieth

“This ain’t my first rodeo,” the grizzled cowboy next to you says as adjusts the brim of his 10-gallon hat. “Actually this is my first rodeo,” you say as you take a sip of your Diet Coke. He hops on his buckin’ bronco and rides into the arena as the crowd cheers. You take your seat after getting another popcorn.

It’s hard to get a more authentic western experience than enjoying a day in Bryce Canyon and a night at the rodeo, and luckily for you, the Bryce Canyon Country Rodeo doesn’t discriminate between seasoned vets and wide-eyed newcomers. A summer staple, the rodeo takes place at the Ruby’s Inn Rodeo Grounds Wednesday-Saturday from Memorial Day through late August. That’s right, four nights a week all summer long you can catch the region’s best riders hootin’ and hollerin’ as they ride bulls, wrangle cattle and get bucked from wild broncos. 

And actually, it can get a bit more authentic if you’re a kid cowboy. Adventurous young'uns can try their luck at calf and sheep riding, which many folks at Ruby’s say is their favorite part of the rodeo. Your kiddos will probably agree — “Rode in a real life rodeo” is a pretty good vacation story for the first day of school. And if you’re an adult looking for a cool “first day of work” story you can also sign up for some roping and riding, but you might want to watch a few of the riders go first. After all, you want there to be a second rodeo. 

If you’re looking for a more gentle (and less public) way to get your cowboy on, you can also book a ride with Ruby’s Horseback Adventures. In addition to their family friendly covered wagon outings, they’ve got half-day, full-day and multiday horseback rides, so there’s always a trip that fits your group and your schedule. First time and veteran riders alike will feel a sense of connection with the Spirit of the Old West, or at the very least, the Spirit of Saddle Soreness. 

Take a Scenic Flight, Real or Virtual

The sound of propellers always seems to evoke a sense of timeless adventure. Are you a 21st century tourist on a vacation day trip, or are you Indiana Jones off to hunt treasure in a distant rainforest? Or an Indiana Jones bad guy about to have a much worse experience with propellers?

With scenic flights over Bryce Canyon and the surrounding natural areas, a trip with Bryce Canyon Airlines & Helicopters is an experience you won’t forget. Airplane routes include trips from Bryce to:

  • Grand Canyon National Park
  • Monument Valley
  • Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument
  • Zion National Park

Helicopter offerings, meanwhile, allow you to get a bit closer to the landscape, featuring views of the Bryce Canyon region that can only be witnessed from above.

Flights can be easily booked with the folks at Ruby’s Inn. So easily, in fact, that helicopter tours leave from the inn’s own heliport, and scenic flights depart just down the road at Bryce Canyon Airport. It’s the perfect way to see sweeping views and be back in time for dinner. And if the sound of propellers isn’t nostalgic enough for you, you’ll definitely feel like a kid again pressing your face against the plane window in wonder.

Sometimes a scenic helicopter tour doesn’t fit the schedule or the budget. Good news. We’re living in the future, and these days you can experience bird’s-eye views without even leaving the ground. Located right next to the Ruby’s Inn lobby, the Soaring Southern Utah virtual reality experience offers visitors the chance to experience the same stunning views as a regular helicopter tour. And as your flight seat tilts and fans blow wind in your face, you might not know the difference.

By way of VR goggles, you’ll zoom through Bryce Canyon’s majestic desert landscape in this surprisingly immersive experience. Ideal for some off-day or post-park fun, it’s a great way to get a feel for the geography of the surrounding landscape. You can also do the Montezuma’s Treasure Ride, which gives you a feel for the geography of an animated Aztec treasure hunt.

Go For a Road Trip, On or Off the Road 

There might not be anything more quintessentially “summer” than taking a road trip, and Ruby’s Inn is not only a great destination itself, but also a great basecamp for other destinations in the area. So whether you’re checking in after a pleasant drive from the airport or a Clark Griswold-esque odyssey, Ruby’s will give you somewhere cozy to lay your head at the end of each day’s drive.

You can see some of these nearby destinations as part of Ruby’s horseback and flight tours, but sometimes you gotta pull a Fleetwood Mac and go your own way. Highlights within an hour of Ruby’s Inn include the endlessly colorful and criminally underrated Kodachrome Basin State Park, the vast and rugged Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument and the “Hey we saw that on the way in” Red Canyon

For folks who are willing to extend their drive a bit, there are more incredible sights to see a little over an hour outside of Ruby’s. Take Zion National Park, for example. We’re not sure if you’ve heard of it, but it’s kind of a big deal around here. Coral Pink Sand Dunes, another one of southern Utah’s most unique parks, is also about an hour and twenty minutes away. And if that seems far, just think about the next time you’ll have the opportunity to go sand boarding or sand sledding.

At the sand dunes, you might see some ATVers zooming around and wonder “Do I have to take a road trip on the road?” Good question. Absolutely not! And you can start your off-road road trip at Ruby’s with a guided ATV tour. This one-hour ride to the rim of Bryce Canyon gets the adrenaline pumping and lets you see the park in a whole new way. It’s also easy to fit into the schedule, so you can on-road and off-road in the same day.

Maybe you’ve got your own off-road vehicle, and your cozy sense of summer nostalgia is activated by the roar of an ATV engine. If you’re looking for a destination for an off-road getaway, the Bryce Canyon area has plenty of trails to explore, from short forest rides to canyon-spanning adventures.

You might be going to Ruby’s Inn to enjoy the comforts of your favorite summer activities, or you might be searching for some brand new favorites. No matter what, you’ll find it at Ruby’s. You’ll also enjoy a beloved experience that’s always as exciting as the first time — saving money. Check out Ruby’s Hot Deals for the best Bryce Canyon lodging rates and book your summer getaway today.

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