Winter Camping in Bryce Canyon National Park

Sunset Campground

Enjoy the beautiful scenery of Bryce Canyon National Park with minimal crowds. Sunset campground is the only campground open in the park during the winter months. 

The incredible views at Bryce Canyon National Park can be described with little else than a “Wow.” During a snowy winter, especially, these sights are not to be missed.

There is only one campground open during the winter, Sunset Campground, and it is first come, first serve. Most visitors shy away from camping here due to the chilly temperatures, leaving you with a campground practically to yourself. Another advantage of the campground is it's proximity to Sunrise Point and Sunset Point. Hike up a slope to the Rim Trail for beautiful views of snow against the red rock.

It is important to bring a shovel and tarp when base camping in the snow. Snowfall ranges between a few inches to 4-5 feet, so the shovel is needed for digging a space to pitch your tent. These campsites do have fire pits, which will be much appreciated after a day of hiking in the snow.

On that note, it is highly recommended to bring snowshoes, crampons, and water resistant/proof hiking boots. Hiking in wet socks in 17º weather is not the most pleasant feeling.

One option for a hike is the Navajo Loop Trail, which takes you into the canyons on a one-mile loop, with 167 ft. elevation gain. The trail starts at Sunset Point, then heads into the main amphitheater. It is well-marked and popular, and therefore easier to follow in the wintertime, when the trail often is covered with tracks. Navajo Loop is also fairly steep, so it is a good idea to bring snowshoes and trekking poles. Also be aware of risk for rock slides in this area.

To photographers, know that winter sunrises in Bryce Canyon are spectacular. Although it may seem unimaginable to leave the warmth of your tent in the dark, it is well worth the trek up the mountain in freezing temperatures to capture the sunrise. Break out some hand warmers, pull down a beanie, and force yourself out of your sleeping bag – you won't regret it.

Pack List

  • Tent
  • Tarp
  • Shovel
  • Firewood
  • Snowshoes/crampons
  • Waterproof/resistant hiking boots
  • Layers
  • Extra Socks
  • Hand warmers
  • Camera
  • Tripod
  • ND Filter
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Activities Chillin, Camping, Photography, Snowshoeing, Hiking
Skill Level Beginner
Season Winter
Features
Bathrooms
Forest
Scenic

Reviews

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Overall rating: 

It can get oh so cold here in the winter, but it's worth it to photograph contrasting snow on the red rocks. If you're planning on night photography be prepared with lots of layers and possibly a sleeping bag, I've had temps below zero Fahrenheit.


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