Visiting Bryce Canyon in October
Learn all about what to expect visiting Bryce Canyon National Park in October (Written by Erin McCarthy)
When the air turns crisp and the summer sun becomes a fading memory, it must be October in Bryce Canyon. Since Bryce Canyon sits at 8,000ft, snowstorms in October are entirely possible and cold nights are a certainty. That being said, it’s still a beautiful time to visit. There are less visitors and ample hiking and sightseeing opportunities. Experience the unique sandstone rock formations in Bryce Amphitheater without the stress of trying to find a parking spot at the trailhead. Read on for our complete guide to visiting Bryce Canyon in October.
benefits of visiting bryce canyon in October
The biggest advantage of an October visit to Bryce Canyon is that the visitor numbers drop after September. The popular Rim Trail that travels around the canyon rim is packed with people in the summer. Hike this trail in October and you can marvel at the famous hoodoos, fins, and slot canyons — minus the crowds.
Even though some Park facilities begin to close in October, Bryce Canyon National Park offers a variety of Ranger Programs this month. Listen to a talk about the geology of the Grand Staircase, or take a guided walk along the canyon rim to learn about the cultural history of the Park. In October the dining room at Bryce Canyon Lodge is still open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. The General Store, located near Sunrise Point and the North Campground, has grab-and-go snacks and drinks and is open from April through December.
drawbacks of visiting in October
The weather during October in Bryce Canyon can be unpredictable. An October snowstorm is not out of the question. However, there’s also the possibility that there will be sunny, warm days. The biggest drawback of visiting Bryce Canyon in October is this unpredictability factor. The trails can be muddy or snowy, so plan accordingly. More than likely the roads in the Park will be completely open, but it’s always a good idea to check the most current conditions.
things to do in october
The small number of visitors in October make the popular trails in Bryce Canyon infinitely more enjoyable. Keep in mind that weather, road, and trail accessibility will dictate where you can hike. Below are two suggestions for hikes in October:
Hike the Queens Garden/Navajo Loop: This 3 mile moderately rated loop combines the Queen’s Garden and Navajo Loop trail. Fins, famous hoodoos, and douglas fir trees (plus its relatively short distance) make this the most popular trail in the park. Start at Sunset Point where and keep your eyes peeled for Thor’s Hammer. Head north along the rim of the canyon to Sunrise Point. Continue to the Queen’s Garden Trail where Queen Victoria rises from canyon floor. At this point the trail drops down into the canyon. Continue straight toward the Navajo Loop section through the Wall Street tunnel and back to Sunset Point.
Hike the Swamp Canyon Loop: Further south, beyond the Bryce Amphitheater is the Swamp Canyon Loop trail. This is a beautiful trail to hike in October. This trail is a 4 mile loop rated moderate due to its steep climbs. You’ll travel through Ponderosa Pines and have incredible views of the red and pink cliffs. The trail may be muddy or even snowy, so make sure to have hiking boots or hiking shoes and synthetic (non-cotton) socks.
hiking in october
Since weather conditions can be unpredictable in October, it’s important to be well-prepared for a hike this time of year. Waterproof outer layers will keep you warm and dry on trail. The trails may be muddy so it’s a good idea to wear synthetic, wool/polyester blend socks. These socks will keep your feet insulated even if they get wet.
A guided hiking tour is an option that helps you maximize your time and hike some of the best trails with a knowledgeable, local guide. Wildland Trekking offers inn-based tours during the month of October that will take you to Bryce Canyon, Escalante, and Zion National Park and then back to a beautiful lodge for a gourmet meal. There are also camping tours if you prefer to sleep under the stars. All necessary gear will be provided— tents, sleeping bags, daybacks and more.
Backpacking in the park is permitted in October, but remember snowstorms are possible. Be prepared for all possible conditions and check in with the rangers at the Visitor Center when you purchase a backcountry permit.
weather in october
October in Bryce Canyon is cool and variable. The average high is 58 and the average low is 32 degrees Fahrenheit (14/0 degrees Celsius). Typical snow accumulation is 3 inches on average. It is important to be prepared for all weather conditions for a visit in October. When you hit the trail make sure to bring plenty of water, high-calorie snacks, and extra warm layers.
JOIN A GUIDED HIKING ADVENTURE
Booking a trip to Bryce Canyon National Park is the opportunity to experience one of the most scenic hiking vacations in the United States. The biggest advantage to booking a guided tour is that it will allow you to focus your energy entirely on enjoying this iconic area. Permits, local transportation (excluded on some day tours), meals, and gear are all figured out for you on a Wildland Trekking tour.
Wildland Trekking offers several options for guided inn-based and camping tours in the southern Utah area. You’ll have the chance to see magnificent rock formations, learn about the cultural and natural history of the area, and enjoy some solitude all while having the adventure of a lifetime.
BRYCE CANYON ADVENTURE TOURS
- INN-BASED HIKING PACKAGES: these tours are all-inclusive packages with lodging, amazing daily hikes, expert guides, meals, transportation and more!
- BRYCE CAMPING TOURS: camping-based hiking packages provide all-around hiking experiences of Bryce on wonderful outdoor vacations.
- BRYCE DAY HIKE TOURS: maximize your day in Bryce on a fully guided, award-winning hiking tour of one of the Park’s best trails.
- ALL UTAH HIKING TOURS: check out a full list of Utah offerings, which include Bryce Canyon, the North Rim, Arches, Canyonlands and more.
- UTAH BACKPACKING TRIPS: explore options for discovering Utah on an all-inclusive backpacking trip with expert guides and mind-blowing scenery.
About the Author
Erin McCarthy is a freelance writer and former Colgate University Outdoor Education Leader. When Erin isn’t writing, she is exploring the mountains and rivers of the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem. You can view her complete portfolio at www.erinannmccarthy.com.