The Best Time to Visit Bryce Canyon National Park

Best Time to Visit Bryce Canyon National Park

The best time to visit Bryce Canyon National park is in May through September. These months feature the warmest weather and also allow access to the widest variety of activities to do.

The time between these months offers their own unique sets of activities. However, you will find that many of the park’s popular areas are limited because of the snowfall and icy conditions.

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Best time for good weather

The best time for good weather in Bryce Canyon National Park is the months of May through September.

You will experience the best weather patterns in May and September since it is slightly cooler during the evenings and not hot during the summer.

The heat during the summer can limit the amount of activity you can do in the park in the middle of the day and early evening. During June through August, it is best to get started very early in the morning.

Utah does not experience much of a rainy season, although they do get thunderstorms during early spring and fall months. It does start to snow in November as well. It can snow until March during a long winter.

Best time for camping

Camping in Bryce Canyon

The best time to camp in Bryce Canyon National Park is March through September since these are the months you get the best temperatures.

Again, to avoid the heat, it is better to camp on the edges of time surrounding the peak season instead of right in the middle of summer. If you decide to go in the middle months of the year, try to camp in higher elevations. These areas will get cooler during the nighttime and will allow you to sleep a little easier.

The ground can be very hard since it gets baked down during the summer. Bring tent stakes that can drive through solid layers to firmly anchor your tent.

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Best time for hiking

Hiking in Bryce Canyon

The best time to hike in Bryce Canyon National Park is from April through September.

It is better to go for hikes in April, and September, than in June, July, and August. That way, you can use more of the day for hiking without getting caught in dangerous heat.

If you go during the hottest season of the year, try to get started hiking very early in the morning. Most people are rising at 4 am to get on the trails by 5 am. The sun rises early enough to allow this with enough light to be safe. Bring a flashlight or headlamp if you plan to depart earlier.

Read More : Hiking Trails in Bryce Canyon National Park

Best time to avoid crowds

The best time to avoid crowds in Bryce Canyon National Park is later in the season, the months of August through October.

These months can be quite hot, and thus people try to avoid them. The busiest months are May, June, and then April.

If you get up very early in the morning, you have a higher likelihood of avoiding crowds even in a peak month. Most people do not get up and onto the trails or overlook until around 10 AM. 

If you are out earlier, you can avoid congestion in the most popular areas and trailheads.

Best time for scenic drives

Scenic Drives​ in Bryce Canyon

The best time for scenic drives in Bryce Canyon National Park is right away in the morning to see the sunrise and in the evening for the sunset.

Specific overlooks are stunning during these times of day, seeing the sun liven up the already bright reds in the stone.

Although you can view these instances every day of the year, there are some months in which it is more unique. For example, during the winter months of November to February, there is snow on the hoodoos, and the landscape is even more awe-inspiring.

Best time for snowsports

Snowsports in Bryce Canyon

The best time for snowsports in Bryce Canyon National Park is during the winter months of November to February.

During these months, the Canyon fills with feet of snow and becomes an entirely different type of landscape.

The National Park staff manages the park differently during these times of the year. The Fairyland Road and the Paria View road are left unplowed throughout the whole winter intentionally. These surfaces then provide fantastic areas to lace up your winter boots and snowshoe or cross-country ski.

Best time for horseback riding

Horseback Riding in Bryce Canyon

The best time for horseback riding in Bryce Canyon National Park is April through October.

Out of these, it is safest to go during June, July, and August. These are the hottest months of the year, but they are also the driest.

It reduces the likelihood you could be caught in a thunderstorm or a mudslide, although these aren’t common. September is one of the best months in terms of more pleasant temperatures.

April through October are generally the opening season months for guided horseback tours, although you can take your horse in throughout the year.

Best time for mountain biking

Mountain Biking in Bryce Canyon

The best time for mountain biking near Bryce Canyon National Park is May through October.

These months have the best temperatures, and you have a low chance of encountering ice.

Arguably, the best months for mountain biking in Utah are October, November in Fall, and then February and March in the spring. These months offer fewer crowds and much cooler temperatures. You might need to avoid higher elevation trails due to ice, though.

Although mountain biking is not typically permitted inside the National Park since it can greatly disrupt the delicate fauna, there are many trails that run around the park.

Best time for ATV rides

ATV Rides​ in Bryce Canyon

The best time for ATV rides in Bryce Canyon National Park is August and September.

These months are prime since they are a little cooler than the middle of the summer, but the snow in high elevations has gotten enough time to melt.

If you want to try it out, these are also the months that guided tours will be the most available for visitors. Book yours to go along a certain route or experience a specific section of Bryce Canyon.

Best time for stargazing

Stargazing in Bryce Canyon

The best time for stargazing in Bryce Canyon National Park is in June, although this activity can be successfully enjoyed all year-round.

The staff at the park takes advantage of the supreme stargazing season during the dry summers by hosting and running stargazing programs throughout June. The time of day that is best for stargazing changes depending on when the sun sets and rises throughout the year.

Bryce Canyon National Park Seasons

Summer

Bryce Canyon National Park - Summer

Although the temperature can get to over 100°F, or 40°C, during the summer, these skyrocketing temperatures are not as typical in Bryce Canyon as they are in other National Parks in Utah. On average, the temperature stays at around 75°F, or 24°C, during the day and around 45°F, or 7°C, at night.

The summer tends to be quite dry and lasts between the months of June through August, although sometimes August sees a distinct transition into Fall weather. It is slightly rainier in August on average so you might want to pack a rain jacket.

Read More : Summer Camping Checklist

Fall

Bryce Canyon National Park - Fall

Fall lasts typically from the months of September through November. During this season, the transitory colors of the forests in the area are incredible. The daytime temperatures quickly decrease, with an average of 69°F / 20°C during September, 57°F / 14°C in October, and 44°F / 7°C in November.

As you can imagine, the nighttime temperatures exponentially decrease during these months as well. If you are camping, bring a camping blanket since the later Fall months get cold. It does not get any rainier in the Fall, but it might start to snow in November.

Winter

Bryce Canyon National Park - Winter

Since Bryce Canyon National Park is located at a higher elevation than Utah’s other national parks, it stays colder and receives more snow. It is at an elevation between 8,000 and 9,000 feet above sea level.

Winter extends from December until February. The temperatures during the day average around 36° F / 2°C during these months. At night, it gets much colder, averaging at 11°F / -11.7°C. The snowfall during the winter is 32″.

Read More : Winter Camping Checklist

Spring

Bryce Canyon National Park - Spring

Spring is a beautiful season for those who love cool temperatures. It takes a while for the snow to melt in the highest elevations. Some of the roads can be blocked throughout April during years with a long winter.

The temperature climbs quickly during the Spring months. In March, the average is 44°F / 6.7°C. In April, they average at 52°F / 11°C and in May 62°F / 16.7°C. The nighttime temperatures climb quickly as well but are typically too cold without a winter sleeping bag.

Amanda Williams

Amanda Williams is a writer, plant-nerd, and outdoor enthusiast. She has traveled extensively, around the U.S., throughout Asia, Europe, and Latin America. Everywhere she treks, she takes time to enjoy the outdoors. John Muir is her hero. She aspires to inspire people to live better as he did.