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Feb 18th
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Home National & State Parks Other NPs Bryce Canyon Readies for Winter Tourists, Seasonal Closures

Bryce Canyon Readies for Winter Tourists, Seasonal Closures

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It's good-bye summer, and hello winter, as Bryce Canyon National Park in southwestern Utah begins preparing for a different type of visitor, those who bring snowshoes and cross country skis to see the park's many wonders.

In winter, deep snow blankets the plateau and provides excellent recreational opportunities. Bryce Canyon's winter landscapes stagger the imagination, as dazzling white snow contrasts beautifully with crimson-colored hoodoos.

Even though Bryce Canyon in southwestern Utah remains open year round, some 2010 peak season facilities and amenities will close soon in preparation for winter's cold and snow. Here's a quick rundown of this season's closures.

The final day for shuttle service in the park, including the Rainbow Point Shuttle Tour, is Sunday, Oct. 10. Shuttle service will resume in the spring.

Reservations for the Bryce Canyon Lodge, operated by Forever Resorts, will be accepted through the night of Nov. 13. The lodge restaurant and gift shop, general store and showers and the Sunrise Motel will all close at 12 noon on Sunday, Nov. 14.

The Western Cabins and the Sunset Motel portion of the lodge will close at noon on Monday, Nov. 1.

The final day for horseback and mule rides operated by Canyon Trail Rides will be Sunday, Oct. 31, subject to weather cooperation. Snowstorms or other adverse weather may hasten the closing date for the trail rides.

The Visitor Center and Bryce Canyon Natural History Association Bookstore as well as the Backcountry Permit desk will remain open throughout the winter. As of Oct. 3 operational hours were 8 a.m. until 6 p.m. Hours will change to 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. starting Sunday, Nov. 7.

Sunset Campground will close for the season Friday, Oct. 15. North Campground will remain open throughout the winter, with some loops closing as visitation decreases and snowfall makes loop roads impassable.

bryce canyon visitor center winter
The North Campground dump station will also close Oct. 15, or possibly earlier if adverse weather requires the water system to be drained to prevent frozen pipes. Dump facilities are available outside the park during winter months.

Bryce Canyon National Park's main road will remain open through the winter, subject to road closures after heavy snowfall. The Fairyland Point and Paria View spur roads will be closed and intentionally left unplowed to provide a surface for cross-country skiers.

Once snow and daytime freezing temperatures increase, hikers are encouraged to prepare by dressing warmly and hiking with snowshoes or under-boot traction devices.

Trails dropping below the rim are open to snowshoeing and hiking, but hikers are encouraged to check with the Visitor Center for weather updates and avalanche conditions. Cross country skiing is permitted and encouraged above the rim, but no skiing, snowboarding, or other sliding is allowed over the rim down the canyon slopes.

Ranger-led programs will be offered throughout the winter, transitioning to snowshoe hikes as weather permits.

Bryce Canyon National Park in southwestern Utah is named after the Mormon Pioneer Ebenezer Bryce. It became a national park in 1928.

Bryce is famous for its worldly unique geology, consisting of a series of horseshoe-shaped amphitheaters carved from the eastern edge of the Paunsaugunt Plateau in southern Utah.

The erosional force of frost-wedging and the dissolving power of rainwater have shaped the colorful limestone rock of the Claron Formation into bizarre shapes including slot canyons, windows, fins, and spires called "hoodoos."

Tinted with colors too numerous and subtle to name, these whimsically arranged rocks create a wondrous landscape of mazes, offering some of the most exciting and memorable walks and hikes imaginable.

Additional information can be obtained by visiting the park's Web site at
www.nps.gov/brca or by calling the park's main information line at (435) 834-5322.

National & State Parks