Winter visitors to Bryce Canyon Country can take full advantage of Utah’s “Greatest Snow on Earth.” From Panguitch Lake to Boulder Mountain, winter in Bryce Canyon Country gives new meaning to “hit the trails,” with hundreds of miles of groomed and ungroomed trails for cross-country skiing, snowmobiling, and snowshoeing, plus dozens of snow-covered alpine lakes for ice fishing.
Cross Country Skiing
Cross-country skiing on designated trails is a great way to explore Bryce Canyon National Park during the winter. Trails include the Rim Trail between Bryce Point and Fairyland Point, Bristlecone Loop, and the Paria Ski Loop. The unplowed roads to Paria View and Fairyland Point also offer excellent cross-country skiing.
Snowshoeing is permitted throughout Bryce Canyon National Park, with ranger-guided snowshoe tours available from November to March, as well as monthly full-moon snowshoe hikes and weekend stargazing tours. Snowshoe hikes are geared toward beginners but also enjoyable as guided tours for experienced snowshoe-ers. Sign up for these free classes/tours at the Bryce Canyon Visitor Center. Snowshoes and poles are provided; just bring your own waterproof boots. Snowshoe rentals are also available at nearby Ruby’s Inn.
Winter hiking in Bryce Canyon National Park may require snowshoes immediately after a snowfall, but once the trails get packed down they can be too icy for hiking or snowshoeing. Backcountry hikes are especially challenging during the winter, with deep snow and below-freezing temperatures; permits for winter hikes are rarely issued. Downhill skiing, snowboarding, and sledding are prohibited inside Bryce Canyon National Park as these activities are both dangerous for people and damaging to the park. Never attempt to ski or sled off the rim into the amphitheater, as this can cause mud or snow slides. Always stay on designated cross-country and snowshoeing trails, and dress in layers as you may be changing elevations in a single day.