Each year Ruby’s Inn at Bryce Canyon, Utah holds a Winter Festival around President’s Day. Activities include cross country skiing, hiking (weather permitting), star gazing, watercolors classes, and nature lectures. See a complete list of possible activities here: http://www.rubysinn.com/bryce-canyon-winter-festival.html
This was the first year Colton and I had attended. We made the drive with Bree and Ben, stuffed in the car with our many pairs of skis and poles, food, and clothing. The snow was not ideal for cross-country skiing, so we only got in one short ski before it melted into ice. Cross country skiing is difficult, and I suck at it. The only good part is going down hill, because it’s not as fast as downhill skiing, and the uphill exercise is so exhausting I could just walk up the hill faster.
Bryce Canyon is known as one of the best star-gazing places in the entire country due to its lack of light pollution. As a teenager I happened to camp there the same time as a national star gazing convention. Giant telescopes were set up, some so tall it required stools and step ladders to access the eye-hole. This weekend, however, happened be a full moon so the stars weren’t as fabulous as they would normally be. We still got in a few night pictures, though!
Throughout the weekend Ruby’s Inn had various activities planned. Some required a sign-up due to limited space, others were a free-for-all. We attended a water color class, a bird lecture, a lecture by well-known Utah potter Ben Behunin, (from whom we also purchased his published fictional work ‘Remembering Isaac’), and a hand-building pottery class. The skiing wore us out pretty well, so we didn’t get much else in, although they had archery lessons, morning yoga, photography classes. They even have ski races most years, if the snow is good enough.
Because there was so little snow, we did enjoy beautiful hikes down the canyon that would be almost unbearable in the middle of summer. As Bryce Canyon is a major attraction in Southern Utah, you can always hear many different languages being spoken and see license plates from all over the country. I’m always grateful to live so close to these natural wonders that people travel from across the world to see. Although I suppose close is relative. It took us five hours to get there. You can drive across the top of the whole country of Hungary in five hours… America is too big. Living in Utah has gotten me used to long hours of travel time, watching the endless sagebrush disappear into the dusky horizon. Bryce Canyon certainly has a different look when there’s snow lingering in its hoodoos.
It was a relaxing weekend, and something we will definitely consider again next year.
Tips for Traveling to Bryce Canyon in February
- Check the weather before going down! One year it might have three feet of snow, and another year you might just need a light jacket.
- Be sure to dress in layers, it might turn out to be warmer than you thought (or colder)
- Have some back-up plans; the weather changes rapidly.
- Carry snacks and water with you.
- Bring a hat and sunglasses. The snow can be extremely bright, and on a clear day your face may get sunburned.
- Hiking in the canyon can be very windy, muddy, and cold. Bring waterproof hiking boots and a warm windbreaker.