Visiting Utah’s National Parks during the winter just may be our new favorite season of the year to go. The lack of crowds and cooler temps make it an appealing time to experience the surreal beauty that Utah has to offer. That was the case for our experience with Bryce Canyon in November.
Where to stay:
There’s no question where you should stay while visiting Bryce Canyon… Ruby’s Inn! While most places are closed during the offseason, Ruby’s Inn still offers the complete package for visitors. The Inn is warm, inviting and the casual atmosphere makes everyone feel welcome. Not only do you get an incredible room in a renovated lodge, but you also get to enjoy all of the other great amenities they offer.
For example, before setting off on our day full of hiking we were given free buffet tickets for their on-site restaurant. Sitting down to a plate full of waffles, eggs, bacon, and a glass of orange juice started our day off right. Also, that night when we all got a little snacky, we decided to walk downstairs to their on-site grocery store to pick up some drinks and chocolate. They rock at providing everything you would ever need. As much as I loved sleeping in the comfortable beds and chilling in the hot tub, nothing was better than sipping hot chocolate next to the large, stone fireplace in the lobby.
The message in the fireplace reads, “Welcome,” and that is what you will most certainly feel when staying at Ruby’s Inn.
Bryce Canyon offers miles and miles of beautiful hiking trails that wind throughout the park. It can be overwhelming deciding where to go. However, if you only have a weekend to spend there, we recommend checking out the Navajo and Queens Garden Trail Loop!
Start at Sunset Point and begin making your way down the switchbacks into the canyon. You’ll be taking the route towards Wall Street. This part of the hike is inspiring. After viewing the hoodoos from Inspiration point earlier that morning, it was somewhat intimidating to be in between those giant rock structures. When we arrived at the Navajo Loop benchmark we switched trails and continued onto Queens Garden (after a short, mistaken detour that dumped us onto the horse trail only).
The Queens Garden Trail is flatter than Navajo Loop, that is, up until the last half mile back up to Sunrise Point. During this part of the hike, we loved the curvy paths that took us under a number of light red rock arches. Once we made it Sunrise Point, we took a moment to sit on one of the many benches that line the rim and congratulate ourselves on a hike well done!
Do yourself a favor and set your alarm before sunrise! I know what you are thinking, wintertime sunrises are freezing! Although, as hard as it was to get out of the comfortable beds and get outside in the cold temperatures it was totally worth it! There are many look-out points to choose from but a local told us that if we only had one sunrise to experience, we had to do it at Inspiration Point. We are glad that we took their advice because WOW! The pictures just don’t do it justice. Take a blanket and some hot chocolate with you to stay warm while admiring the vista. We loved using our Coal Creek Supply tumblers!
PRO TIP: If you want an epic photo, take a moment to stop at one of the two red rock arches. They are found on the scenic byway on Highway 12. There are pull out spots on either side of the arches. Just be careful and watch for cars!
Don’t let the colder weather discourage you from visiting National Parks! Bryce Canyon during winter was an absolute dream. We can’t wait to come back one day. Below are some other parks that we enjoy visiting during the offseason!
Our stay was hosted by Ruby’s Inn. All opinions remain our own.