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The Best Time to Visit Bryce Canyon in 2023

The Best Time to Visit Bryce Canyon in 2023

Are you heading out to visit all of the National Parks? Don’t forget to stop by Bryce Canyon National Park! This beautiful park sits in Utah, nearby Arches and Zion.

Researching before your trip will help you visit your favorite national parks at the right time. Not only does the time of year matter, but the time of day matters on your Bryce Canyon vacation.

Avoid the crowds and see the sites by knowing the least busy times to visit. Avoid visiting Bryce Canyon National Park at the worst time to make your trip can go smoothly so everyone on the trip will have fun!

Why You Should Visit Bryce Canyon

Gorgeous rock formations as seen from across the valley during the best time to go to Bryce Canyon National Park


The question should be, why shouldn’t you visit Bryce Canyon National Park? First of all, the unique rock formations found in the park are unlike any other. Crimson red hoodoos are beautiful picture backdrops and even better real-life experiences.

It’s a must-stop destination for avid outdoors people and photographers alike. The vast network of connected hiking trails is a hiker’s paradise. The unique landscape is a photographer’s dream.

If you take a trip out west, you don’t want to miss out on this legendary park. Spend a day or a week, and you will not be disappointed in your visit! Avoid the bustling crowds to get the best experience by visiting the park at the best time.

Overall Best Time to Visit Bryce Canyon

Woman in a blue shirt horseback riding on a dirt path during the overall best time to visit Bryce Canyon

Bryce Canyon, Utah,USA – October 12, 2020 Bryce Canyon national park, horseback riding/HannaTor/Shutterstock

The best time to visit Bryce Canyon National Park is in the fall, from September to early November. The weather is still pleasant this time of year, but fewer tourists crowd the beautiful landscape.

If you go during the end of the summer season in September, you can still enjoy many ranger-led activities and summer hours at the visitor center. There could still be some crowds, but the busy season is winding down.

There will be even fewer crowds in October and November. Chilly weather creeping in makes for enjoyable hiking temperatures with some layers. Enjoy the beautiful landmarks of Bryce Canyon  in the fall without bustling tourists.

If you come in late fall, prepare for chilly weather and shorter open times at the visitor center. There is a chance for snowfall, so bring your layers and cameras to capture the beautiful white snow against the crimson rock formations!

Cheapest Time to Visit Bryce Canyon

Hoodoos pictured in Bryce Canyon during the cheapest time to visit, the winter

Steven Guo/Shutterstock

The cost of entering Bryce Canyon does not change throughout the year. The campground and park entrance fees remain the same in the winter and the summer.

Some campgrounds are closed during the winter, but the north campground is open year-round. Whether you go in the winter or the summer, entrance fees to the park remain the same.

One vehicle with its occupants is $30, while an individual on foot or bicycle is $20. If you plan to stay at the hotel on-site, there are certain times of the year when you can get the most bang for your buck.

The cheapest dates to fly to Bryce Canyon and stay at the Bryce Canyon National Park Hotel are January 1st through February 11th. These winter dates cost less to attract more tourists in the off-season.

April 16th to May 6th and August 13th to December 9th are other dates to get cheap lodging. Avoid the bustling summer crowd and see the snowfall during the winter months!

Least Busy Time to Visit Bryce Canyon

Father and son hiking in between amazing red rock formations during the overall least busy time to visit Bryce Canyon

My Good Images/Shutterstock

The least busy time to visit Bryce Canyon National Park is from November to February. These winter months bring the chilly weather and drive away the tourists.

Don’t let this scare you away! Wintertime  is a magical scene. It may be too cold to camp during this quiet season, but seeing snowfall on the crimson rocks will be a memory you have for a lifetime.

Enjoy a hot cup of coffee while enjoying the winter scenes beneath you. If you cannot go during the winter but have to go during a busier time of the year, try getting up early and heading to the park to beat the crowds.

Most visitors arrive at the park from 9 am to 10 am. Avoid the long lines and people on the trails by getting to the park at 6 am and enjoying a sunrise hike!

Worst Time to Visit Bryce Canyon

Lots of people walking through the hoodoos in Bryce Canyon during the summer, the worst time to visit


If your goal is to avoid crowds, then summertime at 10 am is the worst time to visit Bryce Canyon. Late May to August is the busiest time to visit because it is the peak of the tourist season.

Lines get long, and reservations are hard to make during peak tourist season. Because they are so busy, most hotels and restaurants will hike their prices during the summertime because they know tourists will pay for whatever they ask.

If your goal is to go on as many ranger-led activities as possible, wintertime is the worst time to visit. Most ranger activities are no longer available during the winter month because of their lack of tourists.

Bryce Canyon is a beautiful park year-round, but the goals of your trip will determine what time of the year you should plan. Hiking is all year round with the changing seasons. Crowds are worst in the summer, while activities are at their lowest in the winter.

Things to Consider

Road through a rock tunnel in Bryce Canyon on a semi-cloudy day


Whether you are a seasoned national park trip planner or a newbie, a few tips and tricks while visiting Bryce Canyon National Park can’t hurt!

Become a pro in the campground and on the trails in no time by following these simple tips on your next getaway!

  • Bring plenty of water. Even in the wintertime, it is crucial to hydrate.
  • Start your morning early. Bryce Canyon will get more and more crowded as the day goes on. Beat the crowds by being the first visitors to the park!
  • Be prepared for thunderstorms. Inclement weather rolls into the park on occasion, so be prepared by packing some rain gear.
  • Start your hikes in the morning. Less crowded trails allow you to enjoy more trails without being stopped by other tourists.
  • Pack plenty of layers. The weather often changes in the desert, and it can get chilly in the mornings and evenings. Bring layers to put on and take off throughout your hikes.
  • Sunrise is the best time for photography. If you are a photographer, pack up early and head out for a sunrise photoshoot. The lighting is beautiful, and the landscape is less littered with tourists.

If you follow these tips and tricks, you will be the most experienced hiker on the trails! Don’t forget to bring a map of the park with you in case you lose cell service.

Frequently Asked Questions

People walking along the dirt trails that wind through the rock formations during the best time to go to Bryce Canyon National Park

Pat Tr/Shutterstock

Let’s take a look at some common questions regarding visiting Bryce Canyon:

Is Bryce Canyon or Zion better?

Which park you consider to be better depends on your goals for the trip. If your goals are fun hikes and beautiful landscapes, both parks are great. Both parks offer great outdoor activities for all ages.

If your goal is canyoneering and rappelling, then Zion is the better National Park option. Both parks have world-class hiking, but Zion hikes have you walking through streams and across sandstone ledges, like at Angel’s Landing. It is one of the scariest hikes in the world!

What time of year is best to visit Bryce Canyon?

The best time of year to visit Bryce Canyon depends on your goals for the trip. Most people visit from May through September. This busy time of the year offers warm weather and many ranger-led activities.

If you want a more quiet time of the year with fewer crowds, try visiting in the off-season, from October to April. The fall and winter months have their charm to them, not to mention fewer crowds!

What makes Bryce Canyon National Park so special?

Bryce Canyon National Park is undoubtedly one of the most famous National Parks. What makes it so special? The National Park in Southwestern Utah features the largest array of hoodoos in the world. Hoodoos are distinctive rock formations found at Bryce Canyon National Park.

Horseshoe-shaped amphitheaters are plentiful at Bryce Canyon National Park. Visitors come from all over the world to see these beautiful formations and to visit this special National Park.

How many days do you need in Bryce Canyon National Park?

One of the hardest things to know is how long you need to stay in a National Park to see all of the best sights and get the full experience. Cheaper 7-day passes make buying a longer pass tempting. In reality, you need one to two days at Bryce Canyon National Park.

While you won’t get tired of the sites after 7 days, the best sights and hiking trails can be made in 2 days. The highlights can be seen in one day, but you won’t be able to make all of the best hiking trails.

Do I need a reservation to enter Bryce?

No, you do not need a reservation to enter Bryce Canyon National Park. National Parks have become very popular with travelers. Their wondrous landscapes attract tourists from around the world. Because of this, it is harder to get into some parks.

Some parks require a reservation to enter, but Bryce Canyon does not. If you plan on staying at the hotel or the campground at Bryce Canyon National Park, it is highly recommended to reserve your lodging.

Can you just drive through Bryce Canyon?

Yes, you can just drive through Bryce Canyon National Park. Not all of the sites can be seen from the roads, but you can enjoy some of the majestic scenery by auto-touring; no hiking required!

All of the park’s major overlooks can be accessed by the roads. Exit the vehicle at a lookout and enjoy a stroll to the edge of the pavement and enjoy the wondrous National Park.

How long does it take to drive through Bryce Canyon National Park?

The scenic drive at Bryce Canyon National park is thirty-eight miles long. Because of the National Park roads and winding travel ways, this thirty-eight-mile trail turns into quite the trek. It takes a minimum of three hours to complete the scenic drive. The time it takes depends on how often you stop and enjoy the overlooks.

Is Bryce Canyon a difficult hike?

Like most National Parks, there are hikes for all skill levels at Bryce Canyon National Park. If you need an easy hike or walk, enjoy the overlooks near the scenic drive. If you want a moderate hike, head to the amphitheaters.

The hike down the amphitheater is easy to moderate, but the hike back out of the amphitheater is more difficult. They are doable hikes but do require some experience in hiking.

Which park is better, Bryce or Arches?

Both Bryce Canyon National Park and Arches National Parks are stunning. If you are a huge hoodoo fan, then you will like Bryce Canyon National Park better. However, Arches National Park has more variety, making it more appealing to many tourists.

Most of Bryce Canyon National Park can be seen from the scenic drive and the overlooks. Hoodoos may get monotonous, while the variety of scenery at Arches National Park appeals to more people.

Are there bears in Bryce Canyon?

Yes, there are bears in Bryce Canyon National Park. The black bears that roam in the park tend to be a light brown or even blonde color. This interesting coloring confuses many park-goers because they are genetically black bears.

It is estimated that ten to twelve black bears live in Bryce Canyon National Park for part or all of the year. Stop by soon to see the local bears!

Does it cost money to hike at Bryce Canyon?

Yes, it does cost money to hike at Bryce Canyon. All park visitors must purchase a recreational use pass to enter Bryce Canyon National Park. After this pass is purchased, the hikes in the park are free.

What major city is closest to Bryce Canyon?

Panguitch, Utah, is the closest large city to Bryce Canyon. It is less than a thirty-minute drive from Bryce Canyon National Park to Panguitch. This outdoorsy town is the perfect place to visit for some fun activities during your Bryce Canyon vacation.

Are there mountain lions in Bryce Canyon?

Yes, there are mountain lions in Bryce Canyon. It is most common to see glimpses of mountain lions at night along the roads in the park. Sightings of mountain lions are rare in the park, but they have been seen.

Do I need bug spray at Bryce Canyon?

If you come during the summer months, it is a good idea to use bug spray at Bryce Canyon. Most of the bugs are dormant in the wintertime, but you can get eaten up in the summer by the mosquitoes if you do not wear bug spray.

So, What’s the Best Time to Visit Bryce Canyon?

The best time to visit Bryce Canyon National Park is from September to early November. These dates will allow pleasant weather, ranger-led activities, and fewer crowds.

The cheapest time to visit is in the winter, while the summertime is the bustling time of year. However, with such vast natural beauty, there technically is no bad time to go. So what are you waiting for — book your trip today!