Bryce Canyon National Park
Over the last several months, Bryce Canyon NP, in southern Utah, has transformed itself from a busy summer tourist destination into a place of quiet solitude and spectacular winter vistas. If you've hiked the trails here in warmer months, you're in for a big surprise. Gone is the desert heat and dry undergrowth, replaced by snow capped red hoo-doos with white flocked trees.
At an altitude reaching 9,100 feet, it will receive an average 96" of snow during the year. The Park is open year round, but some roads may not be accessible by car depending on snow fall. December daytime temperatures average 35 degrees and 10 at night. Factor in blowing winds and temps can feel below zero. Trail edges can be deceiving when covered by snow, so walking sticks can come in handy. I also use foot and hand warmers when going for longer hikes in the snow. Keep an eye out for winter storms that can dump large amounts of snow and cause white out conditions.
Bryce Canyon City offers outdoor ice skating, snowmobiling, sleigh rides, ice fishing and cross country skiing. Also check out Bryce Canyon Festival in February.
Lodging and dining can be a challenge since most of Bryce Canyon City shuts down for the Winter. Doing a little advance research can save you a lot of aggravation. Zion Lodge, located inside the Park, offers a limited amount of Winter Lodging. Best Western Bryce Canyon Grand Hotel and Ruby's Inn are one of the few open and offer a great place with low prices on their "Winter Warmer" Specials. Both hotels are located only a mile from the Park entrance. Rooms are neat and spacious and the lobbies have large fireplaces that are great for warming yourself by the fire. Keep in mind that dining options are also limited, so check out Ruby's Inn Restaurant and Bryce Canyon Pines Restaurant, which has amazing homemade pies. Any additional items you may need are available at Ruby's General Store and if you can't find it there, you probably don't really need it.