Winter Wonderland at Bryce Canyon

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Winter in Bryce Canyon

For the last several years it’s been a family tradition to travel somewhere for Christmas. There are benefits to traveling in winter.

Lower travel costs: Aside from warm weather destinations, such as Hawaii, and certain peak travel/holiday period, such as Christmas and New Year’s, travel is generally cheaper. Gas prices and hotels are lower than in the summer. We stayed at Ruby’s Inn (a Best Western), which had a winter special of 50% off the second night stay. We paid around $62 for the first night (late December). Right now the rate is even lower.

Less crowds: Far fewer people visit national parks in the winter. Bryce Canyon, where we went, receives over 200,000 per month during the summer compared to less than half that in the winter. This means that you can enjoy peace, quiet, and space during your visit.

The drawbacks of winter travel are inclement weather (The Northeast had a snowstorm. In Southern Utah, there was some lovely light snow that fell through the night and a little during the day, so we got lucky in that we got just enough snow for a pretty picture, but not enough to detract from traveling) and limited accessibility (For various reasons, certain sections of national parks will be closed; restaurants and other stores in remote locations that depend heavily on tourism may also be closed for the season.).

20121228-150042.jpgBecause this year, the number of days that were available for a winter vacation was shortened, we decided to go some place closer to home. By home, I mean my parents’ house and my childhood home near Long Beach, CA.We had been to Bryce Canyon before, but always in the summer. My mother wanted to see Bryce in the winter because of some stunning photography.

Bryce  is one of the prettiest places that I’ve ever been in my life. It’s a small canyon compared to other places (i.e., Grand Canyon), but its beauty is in the lovely pale limestone spires called hoodoos. The hoodoos covered in newly fallen snow looked like a fancy cake liberally decorated with icing.

Most of the park was closed, but we got to walk a bit in the snow and look at Bryce from different vistas. We also took a 30-min sleigh ride from Ruby’s Inn ($10/person). Although I prefer Bryce in the warmer months because then the hiking trails are open, Bryce is still lovely to look at in the winter.

The park entrance fee for Bryce is $25 per car, but because my father is older than 62 years, we got a Lifetime Senior Pass for $10. Getting this pass by mail costs an additional $10 for processing. We got this done at Bryce as we were entering and it was only $10. It took only a couple of minutes to do. Basically my dad has ensured that we will take him along with us on future trips to national parks.
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Funny sign

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Sleigh ride

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