If you’re headed to Bryce Canyon in winter and you have ANY small interest in trying out snowshoeing for the first time, then you MUST highly consider joining a snowshoe hike!
There are FREE guided snowshoe hikes when there’s enough snow at Bryce Canyon National Park. Which is possibly as early as November, to possibly as late as March. Weather can be unpredictable, though!
The basic gear you need for snowshoeing (snowshoes and hiking poles) will be provided free of charge on the ranger-led snowshoe hike at Bryce Canyon!
No experience necessary!
The main requirement to join these snowshoe hikes is that you need to be wearing snow boots or waterproof hiking shoes. (They will check your feet when you sign up!) And then you’ll want to be dressed well for cold weather too! Don’t forget the gloves as your hands will be exposed as you’re holding the hiking poles.
The snowshoe hikes start at 1pm, but you’ll want to sign up earlier to make sure you get a spot. Sign-ups are on the same day, so make the Bryce Canyon National Park visitor center your first stop when you arrive at the park. The visitor center opens at 8am.
You can expect the snowshoe hike to last for 1.5 to 2 hours, and that includes the stopping time to learn about the geology and ecology that makes Bryce Canyon National Park unique.
The National Park Service also says about Bryce Canyon snowshoe hikes:
During the winter, ranger-led programs may be cancelled if the outdoor air temperature or combined wind chill temperature is below 10F (-12.2C).
Winter full-moon snowshoe hikes at night
And if you happen to be in Bryce Canyon at the right time (or want to plan it so that you are there at the right time!) the National Park Service even offers full-moon snowshoe hikes.
Full moon hike dates in 2020
If you’ll be in Bryce Canyon outside of winter season, they also offer regular full moon hikes throughout the year, but these are the full moon dates that have potential to be snowshoe hikes!
- January 10, 11 (Friday, Saturday)
- February 8, 9 (Saturday, Sunday)
- March 8, 9, 10 (Sunday, Monday, Tuesday)
- November 29, 30 (Sunday, Monday)
- December 29, 30 (Tuesday, Wednesday)
In addition to Bryce Canyon, there are also ranger-led snowshoe hikes at Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado, Crater Lake National Park in Oregon, and at Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore in Michigan too, among others!
A bit of what it’s like to go on a park ranger-led guided snowshoe hike in Bryce Canyon with winter landscape!
I did a ranger-led snowshoe hike in Bryce Canyon in December 2019.
Sign up for the snowshoe hike at the visitor’s center at 8am
When you go to sign up, they’ll let you know if the conditions are right for the day to have a snowshoe hike, and the meeting location of the hike too.
The location of the hike will depend on trail conditions.
It seems that they usually have it around Paria View, but the day I did the snowshoe hike they made the meeting location Rainbow Point to go snowshoeing on the Bristlecone Loop Trail.
If you’re looking to do snowshoeing on your own, this can be a trail to look into!
What to do before the snowshoe hike
Since the snowshoe hike is at 1pm, you have a few hours to explore Bryce Canyon’s winter landscape on your own. When you sign up, you can ask the park ranger for specific recommendations of how to spend your time. There may be some road closures based on weather so it can be good to ask.
But otherwise, you can have time for doing a hike like the Queen’s Garden Trail, part of the Navajo Loop Trail, or a combined loop of Queen’s Garden and Navajo. If you’re a fast hiker, you’ll also likely have time to do a part of the Peekaboo Loop Trail that you can get to from the Navajo Loop Trail. These trails will take you into the canyon and get you some amazing “very Bryce Canyon” photo opportunities!
You can also stay on “top” of the canyon, and walk any length of the Rim Trail from viewpoint to viewpoint. Depending on which section of the Rim Trail you do, there may be a few kind of steep parts.
And then, doing a drive through Bryce Canyon and stopping off at the scenic viewpoints is also an option.
Be sure to get a map when you enter the park!
Here’s a bit more info on beautiful winter hikes to see the hoodoos that Bryce Canyon is known for!
Meet for the start of the snowshoe hike
So once it’s time, you’ll head to the meeting point.
You’ll get your snowshoe gear, and then they’ll be a small orientation about how to put on snowshoes. There are people to help you if you need it to get the snowshoes on.
Don’t feel bad if it’s your first time snowshoeing and you have trouble putting on the snowshoes. You probably won’t be the only one! While we’re at it, also don’t feel bad if you fall while on the trail with your snowshoes. You also likely won’t be the only one. 😉
There were a lot of first-timers on my snowshoe hike, and there will probably be for yours too!
And then once everyone has their snowshoes on, off you go for winter fun!!
There will be a few stops along the way. These stops serve as a re-grouping point for any people who take longer to walk along the trail, as well as a time to learn more about different aspects of Bryce Canyon National Park from the park ranger talks.
There were also a few scenic viewpoints along the way too.
And that’s a bit of what it might be like when you go snowshoeing in Bryce Canyon!
For more winter hiking in Bryce Canyon (without the snowshoes), also look into these trails that will give you some of those classic Bryce Canyon scenes, hoodoos and all!
- Queen’s Garden + Navajo Loop Trail (with views at Sunset Point!)
- Peekaboo Loop Trail (combine with Queen’s/Navajo)
- Fairyland Loop Trail (way less people on this trail!)
- Rim Trail from Inspiration Point to Sunset Point (and back)
- Beautiful winter hikes in Bryce Canyon
HAPPY SNOWSHOEING IN BRYCE CANYON!