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When is the Best Time to Visit Bryce Canyon National Park?

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Bryce Canyon National Park is one of Utah’s prized possessions, located right in between Zion National Park and Capitol Reef National Park.

Tucked away in the mountains near Cedar City, Utah, Bryce Canyon’s stunning vistas, cliffs, and forests are a dream for lovers of beauty and adventure.

Have you ever heard of a hoodoo? Yeah, I didn’t think so. But I promise they are something you’ll want to see. Hoodoos are the peculiar rock formations that litter Bryce Canyon National Park.

In fact, Bryce Canyon has more hoodoos than almost anywhere else in the world. So yeah, it’s kind of a big deal!

But you do want to be able to see this magnificent scenery in its prime, so when is the best time to visit Bryce Canyon?

When is the best time to visit Bryce Canyon National Park?

overhead view of hoodoos

This beloved park is beautiful all year round, so when is the best time to visit Bryce Canyon National Park?

Well, that kind of depends on what you’re looking for.

But overall, the fall color that predominates the park, the quiet after the buzz of summer visitors, and the cool, breezy temperatures leads me to say that fall is the best time to go to Bryce Canyon National Park.

Our first time visiting Bryce Canyon was in October 2021, and we fell in love with it.

However, the spring season is a close second; just trade in your reds and oranges for greens and purples and pinks, and you’ll have close to the same experience.

Best time to go to Bryce Canyon National Park by type

trees lining a rock cliff
  • Fewest crowds: For the fewest crowds, the best time to go to Bryce Canyon National park is pretty much anytime other than May-September.
  • Best for hiking: The best month to visit Bryce Canyon for hiking would fall in April or May, the weather is getting warmer, and the trails are generally clear from snow.
  • For camping: Camping in Bryce Canyon will be most successful in the summer months; although it is busier, both North and Sunset campgrounds are open from May to September.
  • Best weather: The best time to visit Bryce Canyon for the perfect weather is the month of May. This is before the daily temperature highs reach the 80s, and the weather is fairly predictable.

Visiting Bryce Canyon National Park by the Season

Curious about which season is the best? Keep reading for a breakdown.

Spring in Bryce Canyon

winding hiking trail leading down into a canyon

Visiting Bryce Canyon National Park in the spring is, in my opinion, just a little bit magical. The snow has melted, wildflowers are popping up from the ground, and the deep green in the trees make you feel like you’re in the setting of a Disney movie.

The summer stormy season has yet to hit, so the weather is mild, and temperatures stay around 50-60 degrees. The visitor count isn’t too high, so you’ll be able to get most of the trails to yourself.

Pros & Cons of Visiting Bryce Canyon in the Spring:

  • Pro: Park amenities are beginning to open up again.
  • Con: This is Bryce Canyon’s rainy season, so you may run into some light rainfall during your stay.
  • Pro: Wildlife is returning to the park; you may be able to spot some of them!

Bryce Canyon Spring Activities:

  • Rent out ATVs, schedule a horseback ride, or rock climb! Since this season isn’t too busy, you’ll be able to book all these activities without too much trouble.
  • Hike some of the more popular hikes like Wall Street and Queens Loop before the busy season hits.
  • Another great thing to do while the roads and trails are clear is biking, and the cool weather will keep you from overheating.

Tips for Visiting in the Spring:

  • Pack a few layers; the weather is already cool, and adding that to high elevation means you might need a few jackets.
  • In those layers, make sure at least one of them is waterproof in the case of a sneaky rainstorm.

Summer in Bryce Canyon

hiking path leading through the bottom of a canyon

The best time for most people to go to Bryce Canyon is in the summer, so it is definitely a little more crowded. The temperatures are a little higher, but honestly still not too hot for summer in Utah.

June stays around the late 60s to early 70s, and July and August reach a little higher up to the high 70s and 80s. But despite the crowds and the hotter weather, the park is still beautiful and worth your time to explore!

Pros & Cons of Visiting Bryce Canyon in the Summer:

  • Pro: Bryce Canyon is open 24 hours a day, so in the summer, you’ll have the most daylight to use for hiking and exploring the park.
  • Con: The trails will get crowded.
  • Con: Park shuttles are going to be more full in the summer.
  • Pro: Night temperatures are a little warmer than in the other seasons, which makes for great moonlit hikes and more restful sleep while camping.

Bryce Canyon Summer Activities:

  • The best time of year to visit Bryce Canyon for stargazing is in the summer. You can see the Milky Way illuminate the sky, making for a truly magical experience. 
  • Go on all the hikes! They’re all open and just waiting to be explored.
  • Book the ranger-led activities and tours that are available in the summer.

Tips for Visiting in the Summer:

  • Start early; the trails and roads get a little busier throughout the day, so starting early will ensure that you’ll avoid the crowds.
  • Ride the shuttle! It’s free, and you won’t have to worry about finding a parking spot at some of the more popular stops.

Fall in Bryce Canyon

orange hoodoos in a large canyon

The fall color in Bryce Canyon is truly a sight to behold. Contrasted with the vibrant sandstone rocks and hoodoos, the miles of red, orange, and green trees display a comfortable beauty.

The temperatures drop to a cool low, the 50s to 60s, and the number of visitors will drop around this time as well. This is the best time to visit Bryce Canyon to be surrounded by colorful foliage and to explore the trails at your leisure without all the crowds.

Pros & Cons of Visiting Bryce Canyon in the Fall:

  • Con: Weather in the fall can be a little bit unpredictable; you never know what you’re going to get!
  • Pro: The most beautiful scenery of the year (in my opinion).
  • Con: Park facilities begin to shut down for the winter in this season.
  • Pro: The park is much less crowded, so you can visit the most popular trails without a mass of visitors.
  • Con: The famous Wall Street section of the Navajo Loop Trail does close when snow starts, which can be as early as October.

Bryce Canyon Fall Activities:

  • Hike the trails that are super crowded during the summer, such as the Navajo Loop Trail.
  • Take a scenic drive throughout the park, whether it’s long or short, you won’t regret it!
  • Hike the Rim trail to look over the fall color from above.

Tips for Visiting in the Fall:

  • Be prepared for any kind of weather; rainstorms and snowstorms are not uncommon due to the park’s high elevation.
  • The trails may be muddy, so bring shoes you are willing to get a little dirty.

Winter in Bryce Canyon

snow covering orange rock formations

If you’re looking for a unique national park experience, winter is the best time of year to go to Bryce Canyon for a special experience. The park will have added another layer of color to its scheme as the snow overlays the red hoodoos.

This is definitely the coldest season to visit the park, temperatures sit at about 35 degrees on average. But, like fall, the number of visitors continues to decrease, so the park is yours to explore.

Pros & Cons of Visiting Bryce Canyon in the Winter:

  • Pro: The activities done in this season can only be done with the snow, so your winter trip to Bryce Canyon will be one of a kind.
  • Con: Trails will most likely be covered in snow and can be harder to find.
  • Pro: You’ll have most of the park all to yourself.
  • Con: Temperatures can reach pretty low.

Bryce Canyon Winter Activities:

  • Participate in the Christmas Bird Count that occurs every year just before Christmas.
  • Snowshoe some of your favorite trails and experience them in an entirely new light.
  • Rent skis from local businesses or bring some from home and explore the park with some cross-country skiing.

Tips for Visiting in the Winter:

  • Do some research on how much snow is in the park before you visit, you may need different equipment based on the amount.
  • For those interested in camping or backpacking, make sure you have the proper training and supplies before venturing into Bryce Canyon’s winter.

You really can not go wrong with visiting Bryce Canyon at any time of year, but there are definitely some pros and cons you have to consider in each season as well. 

Each season has something different to offer, but for the most bang for your buck, I would suggest that the best time to visit Bryce Canyon National Park is in the fall or spring seasons.

But don’t just take my word for it! Now that you’ve got an idea go find out for yourself what your favorite time of year in Bryce Canyon is.

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