May 6, 2013

Spring is in full bloom but with four real seasons, Bryce Canyon Country is a playground for fun all year long.  From the shores of Lake Powell to the peaks of Boulder Mountain, there are unforgettable adventures at every altitude—and with elevations ranging from 4,000 to 11,000 feet, a short drive is usually all it takes to find your perfect season any time of year.
Flowers in the mountain meadows begin to bloom

Flowers blooming on a mountain meadow.

SPRING: Explore the blooming beauty of Bryce Canyon Country in spring, from high alpine meadows to newborn wildlife in the parks. Temperatures usually range from 40 to 70 degrees, so this is the time of year to hit the trails on foot, bike or horseback (just be aware of spring run-off). Explore Kodachrome Basin State Park, hike to Lower Calf Creek Falls, retrace the route of the Hole-in-the-Rock expedition, visit Escalante Petrified Forest and Anasazi State Parks, and take a walking tour of historic downtown Panguitch. SUMMER: As summer’s temperatures climb, you can too—it’s a great season for high-altitude fun.  Pleasant temperatures, alpine lakes, dense forests, and shaded hiking trails offer relief from summer’s scorching temperatures, and long daylight hours mean you have plenty of time to relax and play. Enjoy a cool mountain getaway to Boulder Mountain, where you’ll find solitude and relaxation around the many remote lakes and trails, or idle away the long summer days at 8,400 feet while swimming, boating and trout fishing at Panguitch Lake.  Want to go even higher?  Hike Bluebell Knoll on Boulder Mountain for panoramic views from 11,000 feet.
Fishing a mountain stream in Bryce Canyon Country.

Fishing a mountain stream in Bryce Canyon Country.

More than a mile lower in elevation, Ticaboo is the gateway to Lake Powell, where you can swim, boat, kayak, explore the slot canyons, or take a ferry tour to Rainbow Bridge from Bullfrog Marina. Summer is also a great time to head off the beaten path. Avoid the crowds by heading to tiny Antimony Creek, where you can fly fish for foot-long trout in the shade of the cottonwood and willow trees, or hit the ATV trails around Otter Creek State Park. Festival fun is at full swing during the summer, with activities such as the Panguitch Quilt Walk, Boulder Heritage Festival, the Escalante Arts Festival, and the Bryce Canyon Country Rodeo. FALL:  Fall is a great time for a scenic drive through Bryce Canyon Country, where the red rock sets a stunning backdrop for autumn’s brilliant foliage. Try the Burr Trail from Ticaboo, Scenic Highway 143 near Panguitch, the unpaved Hell’s Backbone Road, or the renowned Scenic Byway 12 that winds through the heart of Bryce Canyon Country.
A hiker takes photographs in Red Canyon, part of the Dixie National Forest.

A hiker takes photographs in Red Canyon, part of the Dixie National Forest.

It’s also a great time to hit the trails (hiking, biking and ATV) in Red Canyon, just outside of Bryce. Pleasant temperatures make for pleasant hiking conditions, especially below the rim in Bryce Canyon National Park, when you won’t feel the heat as much on the way back up. Early fall is a great time for high mountain trail rides (anticipate snow at higher elevations, especially as it gets later in the season). WINTER:  The beauty of a Bryce Canyon Country winter—aside from the gorgeous snow-capped red rock—is that you can go higher or lower in elevation to find your perfect place. Winter is a great time to enjoy cross-country skiing, sledding and sleigh rides around Bryce Canyon, or access to downhill skiing and snowmobile trails near Panguitch. Located in Dixie National Forest between Panguitch and Brian Head, Panguitch Lake is one of Utah’s best ice fishing lakes. Some trails and roads, especially at higher elevations, may be closed, so check road and weather conditions before heading out. For indoor activities, check out some of the local galleries, or the Daughters of Utah Pioneer Museum in Escalante.

Categories: Activities Main Seasons Weather