Bryce Canyon in Winter: A Magical Place in the Snow

Don Giannatti
4 min readNov 4, 2023

Put it on your bucket list for this winter

Bryce Canyon on a summer’s day.

Bryce Canyon is a remarkable place.

With or without a camera.

Bryce Canyon in the snow is even more incredible.

The hoodoos rising from the canyon floor are an infinite source of color, light, design, shadow, and composition.

They are situated where most of the lighting is naturally backlit in the morning or edge-lit in the evening.

I have been there when it was cloudy, sunny, snowing, raining, and extremely cold, and every time I come away with a shot or two that I love.

Bryce is easy to get to.

Fly into Vegas, rent a cool car, and spend about three hours or so to get there. If you are smart, you’ll drive through Zion and spend a little time there on the way back.

Summer in Bryce is very mild, rarely into the 90s, with chilly overnights, even in July.

In winter, it can be extremely cold on the rim overlooks due to a lot of wind coming up from the valley below.


Do not miss a chance to see Bryce at sunrise, in the winter, in the snow.

Yes, it can be brutally cold, but watching the sun slowly pan down the hoodoos is something you do not want to miss.

Make it a bucket list thing… in the low 20s.

It was a touch over 0 degrees on this particular morning. My hands were numb, and my F3 froze up, but I had my Df and captured the first light of the morning.

The light dusting of snow gave a little texture to the hoodoos in the shade.

Lodging is excellent and surprisingly affordable.

I always stay at Ruby’s and ask for an offsite room instead of being in the large hotel.

Clouds in the east softened the light a bit but allowed shafts of sun to give edges to the spectacular hoodoos.

The photo above is another time when there was just a bit more snow left on the canyon floor. A recent storm had cleared, and it was a fairly warm day.

A wider shot from above with a little more sun on the bluffs in the center. This was a wonderful time to be in Bryce and The Escalante.

Snow, when it is deeper, allows the hoodoos to play hide and seek with the light.

In the photo above, the snow had fallen the previous afternoon, and it was creating a wonderful tapestry of red rocks and white snow.

In the photo below, I arrived two days after a huge snowstorm. Some roads were not yet cleared, but the Utah officials and the Bryce rangers always make sure you can get to the lower lookouts.

Heavier snowfall takes the red rocks into hiding. In the distance, the Escalante beckons with stone mountains covered in snow.

Coming into Bryce during a snowstorm, we were greeted with over three feet of fresh powder. Plowed to the side of the road, it resembled mountains set to block our access.

But the officials had carved niches into the banks to allow us to get to the spectacular views of the hoodoos in frosty blankets.

This was my most recent visit to Bryce, last year in February, during a snow event that closed most of the highways for a couple of days.

On a very cold afternoon, during a respite from the snowfall.

We are expecting some snow in the west this winter. Perhaps it is a good time to think about a trip to the hoodoos of southern Utah.

By the way, there are incredible views all around Bryce City including Escalante and Capitol Reef, and only day trips from Bryce.

Before I leave you, I wanted to share this image with you of Bryce in the late afternoon sun.

The afternoon light comes in from the west and gives the hoodoos a very different feel than in the morning or midday.

Bryce Canyon, Bryce Overlook, just before the sun goes behind the horizon.

Stay in Panguitch for a small-town feel, or at Ruby’s for a more traditional resort experience. There are also some nice places in Tropic, a few miles from Bryce and at the bottom of the canyon.

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Don Giannatti

Designer. Photographer. Author. Entrepreneur: Loving life at 100MPH. I love designing, making photographs and writing.