With elevations ranging from about 4,500 to more than 10,000 feet, Bryce Canyon Country is generally considered high desert with a semi-arid climate. The dry climate is created from the rain shadow formed by the Sierra Nevada mountain range to the west that acts as a barrier to the moist air and storms coming from the Pacific.
As the air rises over the mountains it loses moisture. By the time the air currents hit Utah they are drier and warmer, so precipitation remains light. The Wasatch Mountains to the east also act as a rain shadow, and mountains to the north are a barrier to frigid Arctic air.Although snowfall is common in Bryce Canyon Country, cumulative precipitation is low.
Bryce Canyon averages 15 to 18 inches a year precipitation (rain erosion is a primary force of hoodoo formation, along with frost wedging), with heavier snowfall at higher elevations such as Boulder Mountain. Peak water flow occurs during spring runoff from melting mountain snow, a principal reservoir in this high desert. Much of the water in Bryce Canyon Country flows down mountains and through canyons into desert slot canyons. Spring runoff and intense summer thunderstorms can cause flash flooding in slot canyons. Much of Bryce Canyon Country’s vegetation is drought-tolerant, with juniper and pinyon pine forests at high elevations.
Temperature variations are extreme between winter and summer, but nights generally cool down to comfortable temperatures even after the hottest days, due to the dry climate. Bryce Canyon Country is enjoyable year-round. Summer days are generally hot, cooling down at night, with occasional afternoon thunderstorms. Summer usually sees the highest amount of rainfall. Cold winter temperatures are offset by the often-sunny skies and dry climate. Spring and fall temperatures vary from day to day, but the high altitude sun and dry climate make outdoor activities possible for much of the year.
Here’s a quick weather guide to areas in Bryce Canyon Country and their varying temperatures throughout each season.
Bryce Canyon National Park, Panguitch, Panguitch Lake, and Hatch
The hoodoos, filled with snow, are truly a sight to behold. Visitors during this time of year are attracted to the seclusion and small crowds. Although it’s beautiful, make sure to bundle up for your adventures as the temperatures average 15 to 40 degrees Fahrenheit in the months of December through March.
Come prepared for snowy and extremely chilly weather. A water-resistant coat, gloves, hat, boots, and extra layers will be needed to keep you warm. December is usually the coldest month and February to March usually get the most snow.
Summer is the most popular time of the year to visit. The warm weather makes it a perfect time to hike through the hoodoos, bike the red rock paths, and ATV the dirt trails. The weather from June through September is usually 45 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit.
With Bryce Canyon being at a higher elevation of 8,000 to 9,000 feet, the nights cool down quite a bit.
July is the hottest month of the summer with temperatures sometimes reaching into the 90s. Plan strenuous activities like hiking and biking early in the morning or later at night so you don’t feel overheated by the sun.
Spring and Fall
Temperatures are mild throughout most of the day. A light jacket might be needed, especially when the temperatures drop at night. Spring, with its warmer weather, typically rolls around in late March and lasts through May, bringing in temperatures of 45 to 65 degrees Fahrenheit. Don’t be surprised if a late winter storm comes in or a good rainstorm hits.
Fall in the Panguitch and Bryce Canyon areas is beautiful. The summer temperatures usually hang around for a while and nights get cooler. Expect temperatures of 40 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit September through November.
Bryce Valley Area And Escalante
Colder temperatures creep into Escalante in November and last until March. Average temperatures range from 13 to 30 degrees Fahrenheit. However, being in such a dry desert landscape, there won’t be any snow. Bundle up with layers and take advantage of smaller crowds and winter scenery in the area.
The busiest months of the year in Escalante are also the warmest. From June until July, temperatures range from 45 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit. The days are warm but the early mornings and late evenings cool down. With weather that’s warm but not blistering hot, enjoy hiking, biking, and more, all in the middle of the day.
Spring and Fall
Until the end of March, temperatures are usually still very cold. From April until May, temperatures warm up and spring is quite pleasant. Temperatures range from 30 to 57 degrees Fahrenheit. Still expect some chilly days but take time to hike and explore before the summer crowds build up.
Fall in Escalante has mild temperatures from September to November. Temperatures will be 34 to 66 degrees Fahrenheit. Enjoy the leaves changing with a little breezy chill in the air but still comfortable enough to enjoy the outdoors.
Temperatures begin to drop in November and continue through March. Winter temperatures range from 21 to 50 degrees Fahrenheit. Heavy snowfall can be expected from December through February and sometimes into March.
Enjoyable summer temperatures start peeping through at the end of May and go through August. July is typically the hottest month. Temperatures range from 53 to 83 degrees Fahrenheit. Summertime brings the most visitors for hiking, biking, and visiting Anasazi State Park and Museum.
Spring and Fall
Spring usually goes from late March into May, with temperatures starting around 30 degrees to 65 degrees Fahrenheit. Some light rainfall is to be expected. September through November brings relatively mild temperatures ranging from 48 to 73 degrees Fahrenheit. Fall is a beautiful time to visit Boulder with the changing leaves and light breeze in the air.
Ticaboo and Lake Powell
Compared to the rest of Bryce Canyon Country, Ticaboo has mild winters. From December through February, you can experience temperatures from 25 to 58 degrees Fahrenheit with only a slight chance of snow in January and February.
Temperatures quickly warm up in May and continue until August. Temperatures in the summer tend to be 50 degrees Fahrenheit at night earlier in the summer but can get up to 95 degrees Fahrenheit during the day as the summer goes on. July is typically the hottest month reaching into the high 90s. Luckily, Lake Powell is nearby so cooling off is no problem!
Spring and Fall
Temperatures begin to warm up in early March through May to make for a pleasant spring. Experience temperatures from 37 to 69 degrees Fahrenheit.
Fall time is quite enjoyable too. September through November temperatures start around 86 degrees Fahrenheit and cool off to the low 30s.