Visiting Bryce Canyon National Park: What To Expect Throughout the Year

Are you thinking about visiting Bryce Canyon National Park but aren’t sure what to expect when you want to go? Then this guide is for you.

I’m James and I’m a national park expert. In this guide, I’ll go into detail for each month about exactly what to expect, so you can plan a trip that suits your needs. I describe the weather in Bryce Canyon National Park you can expect each month, as well as openings, special events, permits, and more. 

If you just want a quick snapshot about my thoughts on the best time to visit Bryce National Park, check out my Best Time to Go to Bryce National Park guide.

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“Visiting Bryce Canyon National Park: What To Expect Throughout the Year”

Bryce Canyon National Park Spring (April – May)

Spring in Bryce Canyon is definitely a transitional period and it’s not uncommon to experience heavy snows as late as May.  I’ve been there in May and there was no snow at all and the hiking trails were wonderful.  But I also know of people who have been snowed in in May! 

This is the season everything starts to open up, baby animals are born, and the weather can be wonderful.  As long as you’re comfortable with the possibility of winter weather, it can be a lovely time to visit, without too many people around.

Visiting Bryce Canyon in April

Although April is considered spring, it is very much a transitional month between winter and spring. 

Weather in Bryce Canyon in April 

There is still a good chance of snow and while daytime temperatures can get into the low 50°F, nights are generally still below freezing.  

Openings/ Closings in Bryce Canyon in April 

Most things are starting to open up. Winter programs are finished for the season, though rangers will still lead snowshoe hikes if there is still snow on the ground.  

The free shuttle starts in April, albeit on a more limited schedule.  More accommodation options also start to open up in April, and rates are typically lower than in summer. The store and all restrooms also open this month.

Free park shuttleStarts early April on slightly limited schedule
Visitor CenterOperates on Spring Hours (8:00AM – 6:00PM)
General Store at Sunrise PointOpens at the beginning of April
RestroomsAll are open
Bicycle rentalClosed
Private and guided horse ridesStart in April or May depending on the weather
Ranger programsGeology Ranger Talks held daily. Check current ranger programs in Bryce Canyon to confirm.
Evening Ranger Programs and Night Sky Telescope Ranger Programs are not offered.
The Bryce Canyon Lodge and dining roomTypically opens at the beginning of April (except cabins)
The North Campground is open for year-round camping, though the dump station is closed.
CampgroundsThe North Campground is open for year-round camping, though the dump station is closed. 
The Sunset Campground typically opens in mid-April.
RoadsThe main park road is open but closes at mile marker 3 (the Scenic Drive) temporarily during snowstorms. Viewpoints before mile marker 3 can typically still be accessed.
Hiking TrailsThe Wall Street section of the Navajo Loop is closed.
The Rim Trail between Inspiration Point and Bryce Point is closed. All other trails are usually open.

Things to Do in Bryce Canyon in April

In April you can do many hikes, possibly with snowshoes if there is still snow, join a geology talk with a ranger, and possibly go on a horse ride, depending on the snow and weather.

Ebenezer’s Barn and Grill Dinner Show also opens in late April and this is one of my favorite things to do at Bryce Canyon.

Hiking in Bryce Canyon in April

The Wall Street section of the Navajo Loop is still closed, but you can still hike the Two Bridges section of this loop. The Rim Trail between Inspiration Point and Bryce Point is also still closed.

All other trails are usually open, but you’ll likely need microspikes for hiking as the trails can be very icy as the weather starts to warm and melt the snow. 

If you need to buy some microspikes for hiking, read my Guide to Buying the Best Microspikes for Hiking for tips and recommendations.

Is April a good time to visit Bryce Canyon?

Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of visiting in this month.

Pros

  • More accommodation options available
  • Cheaper accommodations than in summer
  • Free shuttle is available to get around the park
  • Few people in the park
  • More dining and entertainment options also start to open

Cons

  • Some roads still closed
  • Some trails still closed
  • Chance of winter weather causing closure of Scenic Drive
  • It’s still cold, albeit getting warmer
  • Evening Ranger Programs and Night Sky Telescope Ranger Programs are not offered

Key Events in Bryce Canyon in April

  • National Park Week – there are special promotions and park rangers will offer special programs during this week.

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Visiting Bryce Canyon in May

May is a good time to visit Bryce Canyon.  All accommodations and facilities are open and most trails are also open, but it’s not too crowded. 

The weather can be chilly, but days are warm enough to enjoy the trails.  Snow is possible, though there is also a good chance you will see no snow at all. 

Weather in Bryce Canyon in May

Average temperatures are highs of 62°F and lows of 32°F. Snow is possible but not very frequent.  Most days are clear and sunny with only 3 days average rainfall in the month.

Openings/ Closings in Bryce Canyon in May

Free park shuttleRuns in May and early in May starts full schedule
Visitor CenterOperates on Spring Hours (8:00AM – 6:00PM) in early May before switching to Summer Hours (8:00AM – 8:00PM)
General Store at Sunrise PointOpen
RestroomsAll are open
Bicycle rentalThe historic service station opens at the beginning of May.  It doesn’t serve gas; instead, it offers bicycle and e-bike rentals. The Shared-Use Path provides 18 miles of cycling opportunity between Inspiration Point and Red Canyon.
Private and guided horse ridesResume in April or May depending on the weather
Ranger programsGeology Ranger Talks held daily. Check current ranger programs in Bryce Canyon to confirm. 
Evening Ranger Programs and Night Sky Telescope Ranger Programs are offered from Memorial Day weekend onwards.
The Bryce Canyon Lodge and dining roomOpen. The cabins typically open mid-May.
CampgroundsThe North Campground is open, and the dump station reopens around Memorial Day.  
The Sunset Campground is open.
RoadsAll roads are open, weather-permitting.
Hiking TrailsThe Wall Street section of the Navajo Loop is closed until Memorial Day.
The Rim Trail between Inspiration Point and Bryce Point is closed until Memorial day.
All other trails are usually open. 

Hiking in Bryce Canyon in May

The Wall Street section of the Navajo Loop is usually closed until around Memorial Day, but you can still hike the Two Bridges section of this loop. The Rim Trail between Inspiration Point and Bryce Point is also closed.

All other trails are usually open and generally snow-free, though there is a chance there will still be snow on some trails. 

Is May a good time to visit Bryce Canyon?

Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of visiting in this month.

Pros

  • It’s still not too crowded
  • Accommodations and activities are open – and they are generally cheaper than in summer
  • Daytime temperatures are perfect for hiking

Cons

  • Some trails not fully open
  • A (small) chance of weather-related road closures
  • Nights are still cold

Key Events in Bryce Canyon in May 

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Bryce Canyon National Park Summer (June-August)

Summer is the peak time in Bryce Canyon.  Everything is open – there is the full range of accommodation options; all activities are running; all trails are open; the shuttle is running on peak schedule; and there are plenty of ranger-led programs available.  

The weather is warm, but because of the altitude, is rarely too hot. 

The downsides are that these are also the wettest months and afternoon thunderstorms are not infrequent.  Plus, this is by far the most popular time to visit Bryce Canyon, so in July and August especially, the park can get very crowded. 

Visiting Bryce Canyon in June 

Everything is open in June and days are typically warm and pleasant. Things start to get more crowded but the crowds are still manageable. If you need to travel in summer, then this is the best time to visit Bryce Canyon, UT.

Try and time your visit with the Astronomy Festival if you like star gazing. 

Weather in Bryce Canyon in June

In June in Bryce Canyon, average temperatures range from lows of 40°F to highs of 74°F.  This is the driest month, with an average of only 2 days of rain; however, afternoon thunderstorms can occur.

Things To Do in Bryce Canyon in June

There are plenty of things to do in June. Go hiking, horseback riding, take a scenic drive, photograph the views, and much more.   

Read my guide to the Best Things to Do in Bryce Canyon for ideas.

Hiking in Bryce Canyon in June

All trails and roads are typically open in June, unless there has been some event causing a specific closure. 

Read about some hikes to do in Bryce Canyon to get inspiration for your trip. 

Openings/ Closings in Bryce Canyon in June

Free park shuttleRuns on full schedule
Visitor CenterOperates on Summer Hours (8:00AM – 8:00PM)
General Store at Sunrise PointOpen
RestroomsAll are open
Bicycle rentalThe historic service station offers bicycle and e-bike rentals. The Shared-Use Path provides 18 miles of cycling opportunity between Inspiration Point and Red Canyon.
Private and guided horse ridesAvailable
Ranger programsRanger programs are running the full summer schedule. They typically include daily Geology Ranger Talks as well as Evening Ranger Programs and Night Sky Telescope Ranger Programs. Check current ranger programs in Bryce Canyon to confirm.
The Bryce Canyon Lodge and dining roomOpen
CampgroundsBoth campgrounds in the park are open.
RoadsAll roads are open, weather-permitting.
Hiking TrailsAll trails are usually open.

Is June a good time to visit Bryce Canyon?

Let’s take a look at the good and the bad of a June visit.

Pros

  • Everything is open
  • The weather is pleasant
  • A full schedule of ranger-led programs is offered

Cons

  • It’s getting crowded (though there are still fewer people than in July and August)

Key Events in Bryce Canyon in June 

  • Astronomy Festival – With high altitudes, isolation and very little light pollution, Bryce Canyon is one of the best places in the United States for star gazing. The park’s annual Astronomy Festival has talks, family activities and star gazing.
  • Bryce Canyon Country Rodeo – Wednesday through Saturday, Memorial Day to Mid-August

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Visiting Bryce Canyon in July 

July is the busiest month in Bryce canyon National Park.  If you visit then, you will not be alone!  Parking can be a pain and the most popular trails (the Rim Trail and Queens Garden-Navajo Loop Trails) can get crowded. Accommodations can be hard to find. 

July is a great month to explore less popular parts of the park.  Go backpacking into the backcountry or at least visit less popular areas like Fairyland Point. Use the shuttle to avoid having to try and find a parking spot inside the park, and hike in the early morning when there are fewer people. Consider adding in other activities like a horseback ride or cycling. 

Weather in Bryce Canyon in July

July is the hottest month of the year at Bryce Canyon.  Average temperatures range from 47°F to 79°F. 

It’s also the second wettest month, with an average of five days of rain.  This often comes in the form of afternoon thunderstorms. These storms can be spectacular – and a little scary, especially if you’re camping in a tent or caught on a trail.  

Things To Do in Bryce Canyon in July

There are plenty of things to do in July. Go hiking, horseback riding or cycling; take a scenic drive; photograph the views; and much more.   

Read my guide to the Best Things to Do in Bryce Canyon for ideas.

Hiking in Bryce Canyon in July

All trails are open, unless there has been a specific closure.  Be sun aware and don’t assume that just because there are clear sunny skies when you set out that it will stay that way all day.  Afternoon thunderstorms are common, so pack rain gear just in case. 

Read about some hikes to do in Bryce Canyon to get inspiration for your trip.

Openings/ Closings in Bryce Canyon in July

Free park shuttleRuns on full schedule
Visitor CenterOperates on Summer Hours (8:00AM – 8:00PM)
General Store at Sunrise PointOpen
RestroomsAll are open
Bicycle rentalThe historic service station offers bicycle and e-bike rentals. The Shared-Use Path provides 18 miles of cycling opportunity between Inspiration Point and Red Canyon.
Private and guided horse ridesAvailable
Ranger programsRanger programs are running the full summer schedule. They typically include daily Geology Ranger Talks as well as Evening Ranger Programs and Night Sky Telescope Ranger Programs. Check current ranger programs in Bryce Canyon to confirm.
The Bryce Canyon Lodge and dining roomOpen
CampgroundsBoth campgrounds in the park are open.
RoadsAll roads are typically open.
Hiking TrailsAll trails are usually open.

Is July a good time to visit Bryce Canyon?

As with every month, there are pros and cons to visiting Bryce Canyon in July.  Let’s take a look.

Pros

  • Warmer weather is great for a trip into the backcountry
  • Everything is open
  • Plenty of activities to choose from
  • Days are longer, giving you more time outdoors

Cons

  • The park is very crowded.
  • Parking spots are hard to find inside the park (use the shuttle and get there early)
  • It can get hot on some days
  • Thunderstorms are common in July.  Try not to get caught inside the canyon unawares.  Take appropriate gear in case it rains and head inside if the weather is too bad. 

Key Events in Bryce Canyon in July

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Visiting Bryce Canyon in August

August is the second busiest month of the year at Bryce Canyon.  Temperatures are very pleasant, though afternoon thunderstorms are common and best seen from inside rather than experienced firsthand while on a trail inside the canyon. 

Crowds bring problems like a shortage of parking spaces and difficulty in finding accommodations, but it also means everything is open.

Weather in Bryce Canyon in August

August is the wettest month of the year, with an average of seven rainy days. Afternoon thunderstorms are common.  Average temperatures range from 45°F to 76°F.

Things To Do in Bryce Canyon in August

Everything is open in August, so there is no shortage of things to do.  Go camping in the backcountry or hiking in the front country. Rent a bicycle and cycle from Bryce Canyon to Red Canyon, or join a horseback riding trip in either canyon. 

For something more leisurely, take a scenic drive; photograph the views; and much more.   

Read my guide to the Best Things to Do in Bryce Canyon for ideas.

Hiking in Bryce Canyon in August

All trails are open, subject to random closures. Be sun aware and don’t assume that just because there are clear sunny skies when you set out that it will stay that way all day.  Afternoon thunderstorms are common, so pack rain gear just in case. 

Read about some hikes to do in Bryce Canyon to get inspiration for your trip.

Openings/ Closings in Bryce Canyon in August

Free park shuttleRuns on full schedule
Visitor CenterOperates on Summer Hours (8:00AM – 8:00PM)
General Store at Sunrise PointOpen
RestroomsAll are open
Bicycle rentalThe historic service station offers bicycle and e-bike rentals. The Shared-Use Path provides 18 miles of cycling opportunity between Inspiration Point and Red Canyon.
Private and guided horse ridesAvailable
Ranger programsRanger programs are running the full summer schedule. They typically include daily Geology Ranger Talks as well as Evening Ranger Programs and Night Sky Telescope Ranger Programs. Check current ranger programs in Bryce Canyon to confirm.
The Bryce Canyon Lodge and dining roomOpen
CampgroundsBoth campgrounds in the park are open.
RoadsAll roads are typically open.
Hiking TrailsAll trails are usually open.

Is August a good time to visit Bryce Canyon?

Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of an August visit.

Pros

  • Everything is open
  • The weather is pleasant most days
  • Plenty of activities to choose from
  • Days are longer, giving you more time outdoors

Cons

  • It’s very crowded
  • Parking can be a pain
  • It can get hot
  • Thunderstorms are common and can be dangerous

Key Events in Bryce Canyon in August

  • Bryce Canyon Country Rodeo – Wednesday through Saturday, Memorial Day to Mid-August
  • Fly-In and Car Show – a private aircraft and classic car show. Walk around the car show, visit the airport open house, check out the airplanes, enjoy live DJ music, and grab a bite to eat at this free event. You can also book a (paid) scenic flight.
  • Canyon 2 Canyon Bike Ride –  a family-friendly bike ride along the 17-mile paved trail between Bryce and Red Canyons.

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Bryce Canyon National Park Fall (September-October) 

In my opinion, early fall is the best time to see Bryce Canyon National Park. 

Bryce Canyon in the fall is magical.  There are a lot fewer people, the weather cools down and the air is crisp but is not yet freezing cold.  Snow is possible, especially as winter closes in, but sunny days are frequent.  Most things are still open throughout fall. 

Visiting Bryce Canyon in September 

September is my favorite month in Bryce Canyon.  Everything is still open, the crowds have departed, and the weather is generally very pleasant.  It’s a win-win-win. 

Weather in Bryce Canyon in September

Things are definitely cooling down and average temperatures range from 37°F to 69°F.  There are an average of four days of rain, so it’s also drier than summer.  Thunderstorms are much less common.  Snow is possible but not very frequent in September. 

Things to Do in Bryce Canyon in September

Everything is still open, though ranger programs become more limited and the shuttle goes into a different schedule late in the month.  It’s a great time to be in the park’s backcountry or hiking in the front country. Rent a bicycle and cycle around the park or go horseback riding. 

For something less active, take a scenic drive or photograph the views

Read my guide to the Best Things to Do in Bryce Canyon for ideas.

Hiking in Bryce Canyon in September

All trails and roads are typically open. Read about some hikes to do in Bryce Canyon to get inspiration for your trip.

Openings/ Closings in Bryce Canyon in September

Free park shuttleRuns on full schedule at the start of September. The schedule becomes more limited in late September.
Visitor CenterOperates on Summer Hours (8:00AM – 8:00PM)
General Store at Sunrise PointOpen
RestroomsAll are open
Bicycle rentalThe historic service station offers bicycle and e-bike rentals. The Shared-Use Path provides 18 miles of cycling opportunity between Inspiration Point and Red Canyon.
Private and guided horse ridesAvailable
Ranger programsGeology Ranger Talks held daily. Check current ranger programs in Bryce Canyon to confirm.  
Evening Ranger Programs and Night Sky Telescope Ranger Programs are not offered early September – late May.
The Bryce Canyon Lodge and dining roomOpen
CampgroundsBoth campgrounds in the park are open.
RoadsAll roads are typically open.
Hiking TrailsAll trails are usually open.

Is September a good time to visit Bryce Canyon?

Yes, I think that September is the best time to visit Bryce Canyon Park, but let’s take a look at the pros and cons.

Pros

  • There are a fewer people than in summer
  • Everything is still open
  • Great weather – a lot fewer thunderstorms than in summer and typically no snow

Cons

  • There are still more people than in winter
  • The evening and night sky ranger programs aren’t offered

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Visiting Bryce Canyon in October

October is a transitional month in Bryce Canyon.  It’s technically still fall, and the weather can be mild, but snow is also possible.  

Things start to shut down for the winter as the month progresses and by the end of the month, the shuttle stops.  Most accommodations are open until the end of the month and you can find some cheap(er) deals at this time of the year.  

Ebenezer’s Barn and Grill Dinner Show closes for the season towards the end of October.

If you visit in October, be prepared for anything and be flexible.

Weather in Bryce Canyon in October

Things are starting to get chilly and night time temperatures fall below freezing.  Average temperatures range from 27°F to a cool 57°F.  There are still an average of four days of rain, though some of this may be snow.  Anything is possible in October. 

Things To Do in Bryce Canyon in October

Most activities are still available in October, though these are weather dependent – and the weather can be anything. 

Read my guide to the Best Things to Do in Bryce Canyon for ideas.

Hiking in Bryce Canyon in October

The trails are all open, though if it snows, some trails may close or may be slippery and dangerous with regular shoes/ boots. 

Take microspikes to give the bottom of your boots traction in the event it snows. Read my guide to the best microspikes for hiking if you need to get some. 

Openings/ Closings in Bryce Canyon in October

Free park shuttleRuns on a limited schedule until late October, when it stops for the rest of the year.
Visitor CenterOperates on Fall Hours (8:00AM – 6:00PM)
General Store at Sunrise PointOpen
RestroomsAll are open
Bicycle rentalThe historic service station offers bicycle and e-bike rentals. The Shared-Use Path provides 18 miles of cycling opportunity between Inspiration Point and Red Canyon.
Private and guided horse ridesAvailable until the end of October
Ranger programsGeology Ranger Talks held daily. Check current ranger programs in Bryce Canyon to confirm.  
Evening Ranger Programs and Night Sky Telescope Ranger Programs are not offered early September – late May.
The Bryce Canyon Lodge and dining roomOpen
CampgroundsBoth campgrounds in the park are open.
RoadsAll roads are typically open, weather permitting.
Hiking TrailsAll trails are usually open, weather permitting.

Is October a good time to visit Bryce Canyon?

Let’s look at the pros and cons of visiting in October.

Pros

  • The crowd levels are moderate
  • Accommodations are open and generally cheaper than in summer
  • The trails are still open, weather permitting
  • Most activities are still offered

Cons

  • The weather is unpredictable and it can snow
  • Evening Ranger Programs and Night Sky Telescope Ranger Programs aren’t offered

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Bryce Canyon National Park Winter (November – March)

Winter in Bryce Canyon National Park is beautiful. The red and orange rocks are even more dramatic when coated in white snow! 

However, many things close down and although there are accommodations available all year round, options are more limited in winter. 

There is no shuttle, but you are unlikely to have trouble finding a parking space. There are a lot fewer people and this is a great time to find solitude in the canyon. 

If you like winter activities like cross country skiing, snow shoeing and snow hiking, Bryce Canyon is a great place to be. Some hiking trails close when it’s snowy and ice, though most stay open for snowshoeing or hiking with microspikes.

The main park road remains open all winter, though this does depend on the weather and it’s often closed around Mile 3 after heavy snow. 

Always check the NPS Current Conditions page for up-to-date information on forecasts, roads, trails, and other park operations.

Visiting Bryce Canyon in November

November is the start of the winter season in Bryce Canyon.  Temperatures drop and snow is likely.  Most things are closed and accommodations are more limited. 

However, the canyon is especially beautiful draped in snow, and this is a great time to enjoy winter outdoor activities like cross country skiing and snowshoeing. 

The main park road, while technically open all year, closes down after snowfall, and this is less likely to happen in November than later into winter, so you’ve got a better chance of being able to drive to Rainbow Point (though closures can – and do – still happen, of course).

Few people visit in November, and it’s nice to enjoy some solitude in the canyon.

Weather in Bryce Canyon in November

Temperatures fall in November and average lows are 18°F and highs are 44°F.  

Things To Do in Bryce Canyon in November

Cross country skiing is a great way to experience some of the park. It’s illegal to ski down into the canyon, and the section of the Rim Trail between Inspiration Point and Bryce Point is closed during the winter due to the danger of snow cornices, but there are several trails around the rim that are groomed for cross country skiing as long as there is enough snow.  

These include sections of the Rim Trail along the edge of the Main Amphitheater, the Bristlecone Loop Trail; Paria Ski Loop; and the unplowed Paria View and Fairyland Point roads. 

Nearby Bryce Canyon City and Dixie National Forest also maintain many groomed ski trails.

Snowshoeing is another popular winter activity in Bryce Canyon National Park. You can set off on your own or take a ranger-led snowshoe hike around the canyon rim. Snowshoes are provided free of charge on the ranger-led hikes. Register at the Visitor Center for these hikes.  

If you want to buy some snowshoes, check my Guide to the Best Snowshoes for Beginners for tips and recommendations. You can also rent snowshoes at Ruby’s Inn just outside the park entrance. 

Geology Ranger Talks are held daily.

Hiking in Bryce Canyon in November

Just after it snows, snowshoes are usually needed.  But after a couple of days, the snow is usually compressed enough for hiking in the snow.  I prefer this to snowshoeing. 

Microspikes are essential.  These create grip on snow and ice and make it safe to descend into the canyon.  Read my Guide to the Best Microspikes for Hiking for tips and recommendations.

The Wall Street section of the Navajo Loop and the Rim Trail between Inspiration Point and Bryce Point are closed throughout the winter months. However, most trails, including the Two Bridges section of the Navajo Loop, are open to hiking with appropriate gear (snowshoes or microspikes). 

Openings/ Closings in Bryce Canyon in November

Free park shuttleNot running
Visitor CenterOperates on Fall Hours (8:00AM – 6:00PM) for the first few days, then switches to Winter Hours (8:00AM – 4:30PM) early November.
General Store at Sunrise PointClosed
RestroomsRestrooms at Inspiration Point, the Peekaboo Loop, and the General Store close in winter (Restrooms remain available at Rainbow Point, Farview Point, Sunset Point, the Visitor Center and North Campground).
Bicycle rentalClosed
Private and guided horse ridesNot available
Ranger programsGeology Ranger Talks held daily. Check current ranger programs in Bryce Canyon to confirm. 
Ranger-lead snowshoe hikes are available.  
Evening Ranger Programs and Night Sky Telescope Ranger Programs are not offered.
The Bryce Canyon Lodge and dining roomClosed. Lodging and dining options are still available in the town of Bryce Canyon City.
CampgroundsThe North Campground is open, but the dump station is closed during the winter. 
Sunset Campground closed.
RoadsThe roads to Fairyland Point and Paria View typically close in November.  
The Scenic Drive is technically open all winter but the main park road closes at mile marker 3 temporarily during snowstorms until snow is cleared. Viewpoints before mile marker 3 can typically still be accessed.
Hiking TrailsThe Wall Street section of the Navajo Loop is closed due to hazardous winter conditions. You can still hike the Two Bridges section of this loop.  
The Rim Trail between Inspiration Point and Bryce Point is also closed.  
All other trails are usually open, but snowshoes or traction devices (microspikes) are needed. 

Is November a good time to visit Bryce Canyon?

Let’s take a look at the good and bad points about visiting Bryce Canyon in November.

Pros

  • Few people
  • Less chance of the scenic drive being closed than later in winter
  • Chance to enjoy winter activities
  • The hoodoos are beautiful when coated in snow

Cons

  • Most non-winter activities are closed
  • Fewer accommodation options
  • Scenic drive will close after snow
  • Trails may close if they are deemed dangerous

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Visiting Bryce Canyon in December 

With snow covered hoodoos and Christmas celebrations and lights in nearby Bryce Canyon City, December is a magical time to visit.

It’s cold, and the scenic drive and some trails may well be closed due to snow, but if you dress for the weather and take time to soak in the views, you’ll love this month in Bryce Canyon.  

Weather in Bryce Canyon in December

December is the second coldest month of the year. Average lows are a very chilly 12°F and the average high barely scrapes above freezing at 36°F.  Snow is likely.  So be sure to dress in lots of layers before heading outside.

Read more:

The Best Winter Jackets for Extreme Cold
The Best Men’s Boots For Winter
The Best Winter Boots For Women

Things to Do in Bryce Canyon in December

December is definitely the time to enjoy winter sports and activities.  

Cross country skiing is a great way to experience some of the park. It’s illegal to ski down into the canyon, and the section of the Rim Trail between Inspiration Point and Bryce Point is closed during the winter due to the danger of snow cornices, but there are several trails around the rim that are groomed for cross country skiing as long as there is enough snow.  

These include sections of the Rim Trail along the edge of the Main Amphitheater, the Bristlecone Loop Trail; Paria Ski Loop; and the unplowed Paria View and Fairyland Point roads. 

Nearby Bryce Canyon City and Dixie National Forest also maintain many groomed ski trails.

Snowshoeing is another popular winter activity on Bryce Canyon National Park. You can set off on your own or take a ranger-led snowshoe hike around the canyon rim. Snowshoes are provided free of charge on the ranger-led hike. Register at the Visitor Center for these hikes.  

If you want to buy some snowshoes, check my Guide to the Best Snowshoes for Beginners for tips and recommendations. You can also rent snowshoes at Ruby’s Inn just outside the park entrance. 

Geology Ranger Talks are held daily.

Hiking in Bryce Canyon in December

Just after it snows, snowshoes are usually needed.  But after a couple of days, the snow is usually compressed enough for hiking in the snow.  I prefer this to snowshoeing. 

Microspikes are essential.  These create grip on snow and ice and make it safe to descend into the canyon.  Read my Guide to the Best Microspikes for Hiking for tips and recommendations.

The Wall Street section of the Navajo Loop and the Rim Trail between Inspiration Point and Bryce Point are closed throughout the winter months. However, most trails, including the Two Bridges section of the Navajo Loop, are open for hiking with appropriate gear (snowshoes or microspikes).

Openings/ Closings in Bryce Canyon in December

Free park shuttleNot running
Visitor CenterOperates on Winter Hours (8:00AM – 4:30PM)
Visitor center and fee booths are closed on Christmas Day
General Store at Sunrise PointClosed
RestroomsRestrooms at Inspiration Point, the Peekaboo Loop, and the General Store close in winter (Restrooms remain available at Rainbow Point, Farview Point, Sunset Point, the Visitor Center and North Campground).
Bicycle rentalClosed
Private and guided horse ridesNot available
Ranger programsGeology Ranger Talks held daily. Check current ranger programs in Bryce Canyon to confirm. 
Ranger-lead snowshoe hikes are available.  
Evening Ranger Programs and Night Sky Telescope Ranger Programs are not offered. 
The Bryce Canyon Lodge and dining roomClosed. Lodging and dining options are still available in the town of Bryce Canyon City.
CampgroundsThe North Campground is open, but the dump station is closed during the winter. 
Sunset Campground closed.
RoadsThe roads to Fairyland Point and Paria View typically close in November.  
The Scenic Drive is technically open all winter but the main park road closes at mile marker 3 temporarily during snowstorms until cleared. Viewpoints before mile marker 3 can typically still be accessed.
Hiking TrailsThe Wall Street section of the Navajo Loop closes due to hazardous winter conditions. You can still hike the Two Bridges section of this loop.  
The Rim Trail between Inspiration Point and Bryce Point also closes.  
All other trails are usually open, but snowshoes or traction devices (microspikes) are needed. 

Is December a good time to visit Bryce Canyon?

Let’s take a look.

Pros

  • Few people
  • A magical time around the holidays
  • It’s easy to get a parking space
  • A great time for winter activities like snowshoeing
  • The hoodoos covered in snow are incredibly beautiful

Cons

  • Unpredictable road closures. The main road is closed at mile marker 3 after snowfall until the snow is cleared.  
  • Seasonal – and weather-based – trail closures. Two popular trails are closed all winter and any trail can be closed at any time if it’s deemed unsafe.  Snowshoes or microspikes are essential on the trails that are open.  
  • There are fewer facilities open, including accommodations, restaurants, and restrooms.  Plan ahead! 

Key Events in Bryce Canyon in December

  • Christmas Bird Count – An annual activity administered by the National Audubon Society; this event is the longest running Citizen Science survey in the world. Several routes are available, from easy drives to strenuous hikes.
  • Christmas at Ruby’s Inn – celebrate the holidays with light displays, skiing or snowshoeing, and an indoor hot tub.

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Visiting Bryce Canyon in January

January in Bryce Canyon is cold.  There will definitely be (a lot of) snow on the ground and a good chance that snow will fall during your visit. 

This means that there is also a good chance that the scenic drive will be closed due to snow, even though it’s technically open year-round. 

That being said, seeing the orange and red hoodoos blanketed in white snow is a truly amazing sight.  There are only a handful of people in the national park this month and hiking or snowshoeing among the hoodoos and the pine forests inside the canyon is a magical experience.  

If you can brave the cold, are prepared for winter conditions, and enjoy winter activities, this is a really fun month to visit. 

Weather in Bryce Canyon in January

January is the coldest month of the year in Bryce Canyon.  The average low is a bone-chilling 11°F and the average high is only 36°F. 

The average snow accumulation is 17 inches!  So, dress very warmly and be prepared for winter conditions.  

Things To Do in Bryce Canyon in January

January is a great time to enjoy winter sports and activities – and you will have the trails mostly to yourself.  

Cross country skiing is a great way to experience some of the park. It’s illegal to ski down into the canyon, and the section of the Rim Trail between Inspiration Point and Bryce Point is closed during the winter due to the danger of snow cornices, but there are several trails around the rim that are groomed for cross country skiing as long as there is enough snow.  

These include sections of the Rim Trail along the edge of the Main Amphitheater, the Bristlecone Loop Trail; Paria Ski Loop; and the unplowed Paria View and Fairyland Point roads. 

Nearby Bryce Canyon City and Dixie National Forest also maintain many groomed ski trails.

Snowshoeing is another popular winter activity on Bryce Canyon National Park. You can set off on your own or take a ranger-led snowshoe hike around the canyon rim. Snowshoes are provided free of charge on the ranger-led hikes. Register at the Visitor Center for these hikes.  

If you want to buy some snowshoes, check my Guide to the Best Snowshoes for Beginners for tips and recommendations. You can also rent snowshoes at Ruby’s Inn just outside the park entrance. 

Geology Ranger Talks are held daily.

You can also drive the 18-mile scenic drive (read my guide to the drive for full details) as long as recent snowfall hasn’t caused a temporary closure. 

Hiking in Bryce Canyon in January

There’s going to be snow on the ground in January – that much is certain.  If it has snowed recently, snowshoes are the easiest way to get along the trails.  Read my Guide to the Best Snowshoes for Beginners for tips and recommendations if you’re looking to buy some. 

If it hasn’t snowed in a couple of days, then strap microspikes on to the bottom of your hiking boots and hike the trails. Microspikes create grip on snow and ice and make it safer to descend into the canyon.  Read my Guide to the Best Microspikes for Hiking for tips and recommendations.

The Wall Street section of the Navajo Loop and the Rim Trail between Inspiration Point and Bryce Point are closed throughout the winter months. However, most trails are open for hiking with appropriate gear (snowshoes or microspikes), including the Two Bridges section of the Navajo Loop.  

I also recommend taking a headlamp with you in case you’re still in the canyon when dusk comes around (get one here if you need one).  Days are short in January. 

Openings/ Closings in Bryce Canyon in January

Free park shuttleNot running
Visitor CenterOperates on Winter Hours (8:00AM – 4:30PM)
General Store at Sunrise PointClosed
RestroomsRestrooms at Inspiration Point, the Peekaboo Loop, and the General Store close in winter (Restrooms remain available at Rainbow Point, Farview Point, Sunset Point, the Visitor Center and North Campground).
Bicycle rentalClosed
Private and guided horse ridesNot available
Ranger programsGeology Ranger Talks held daily. Check current ranger programs in Bryce Canyon to confirm. 
Ranger-lead snowshoe hikes are available.  
Evening Ranger Programs and Night Sky Telescope Ranger Programs are not offered. 
The Bryce Canyon Lodge and dining roomClosed. Lodging and dining options are still available in the town of Bryce Canyon City.
CampgroundsThe North Campground is open, but the dump station is closed during the winter. 
Sunset Campground closed.
RoadsThe roads to Fairyland Point and Paria View typically close in November.  
The Scenic Drive is technically open all winter but the main park road closes at mile marker 3 temporarily during snowstorms until cleared. Viewpoints before mile marker 3 can typically still be accessed.
Hiking TrailsThe Wall Street section of the Navajo Loop closes due to hazardous winter conditions. You can still hike the Two Bridges section of this loop.  
The Rim Trail between Inspiration Point and Bryce Point also closes.  
All other trails are usually open, but snowshoes or traction devices (microspikes) are needed. 

Is January a good time to visit Bryce Canyon? 

Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of visiting in January.

Pros

  • There aren’t many people, so you can have viewpoints and trails to yourself
  • A great time for winter activities like snowshoeing
  • The hoodoos covered in snow are incredibly beautiful

Cons

  • Unpredictable road closures. The main road is closed at mile marker 3 after snowfall until the snow is cleared.  
  • Seasonal – and weather-based – trail closures. Two popular trails are closed all winter and any trail can be closed at any time if it’s deemed unsafe.  Snowshoes or microspikes are essential on the trails that are open.  
  • There are fewer facilities open, including accommodations, restaurants, and restrooms.  Plan ahead!

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Visiting Bryce Canyon in February

February is a good month to visit Bryce Canyon if you enjoy winter fun because this is when the annual winter festival is held.  Take your recreational enjoyment to the next level with a whole slew of activities, talks, workshops and games. 

Weather in Bryce Canyon in February

February is only marginally warmer than January, with an average low of 13°F and a high of 38°F. 

There will still be inches of snow on the ground and a very good chance of snow falling while you visit.  In fact, February is the snowiest month of the year, with an average snow accumulation of 18 inches!

Things to Do in Bryce Canyon in February

The Bryce Canyon Winter Festival is held each February.  Outdoor activities include snowshoe tours and kids snow boot races.  There are also plenty of indoor activities during the festival like crafts, yoga, speakers, photography clinics, and dances. 

Apart from the festival, there is a full range of winter activities available throughout the entire month. 

Snowshoeing is a popular winter activity on Bryce Canyon National Park. If it has snowed recently, snowshoes are the easiest way to get along the trails. Read my Guide to the Best Snowshoes for Beginners for tips and recommendations if you’re looking to buy some. 

If you prefer not to hike alone, you can join a ranger-led snowshoe hike around the canyon rim. Snowshoes are provided free of charge on these hikes. Register at the Visitor Center for these hikes.  

If you want to buy some snowshoes, check my Guide to the Best Snowshoes for Beginners for tips and recommendations. You can also rent snowshoes at Ruby’s Inn just outside the park entrance.

Ruby’s Inn also has an ice-skating rink and sleigh rides

Cross country skiing is another great way to experience some of the park. You aren’t allowed to ski down into the canyon, and the section of the Rim Trail between Inspiration Point and Bryce Point is closed during the winter due to the danger of snow cornices, but there are several trails around the rim that are groomed for cross country skiing as long as there is enough snow.  These include sections of the Rim Trail along the edge of the Main Amphitheater, the Bristlecone Loop Trail; Paria Ski Loop; and the unplowed Paria View and Fairyland Point roads. 

Nearby Bryce Canyon City and Dixie National Forest also maintain many groomed ski trails.

You can also drive the 18-mile scenic drive (read my guide to the drive for full details) as long as recent snowfall hasn’t caused a temporary closure.

Hiking in Bryce Canyon in February

There’s a lot of snow on the trails in February.  A couple of days after fresh snow, when snowshoers have compressed the snow, the trails are perfect for hiking. 

You’ll need crampons or microspikes to give you traction on the snowy and/ or icy trails, but with these, it’s safe to descend into the canyon.  Read my Guide to the Best Microspikes for Hiking for tips and recommendations.

The Wall Street section of the Navajo Loop and the Rim Trail between Inspiration Point and Bryce Point are closed throughout the winter months. However, most trails are open for hiking with appropriate gear (snowshoes or microspikes), including the Two Bridges section of the Navajo Loop.  

Wear plenty of layers, with a warm hat, gloves and scarf, plus plenty of water and high caloric snacks.

Openings/ Closings in Bryce Canyon in February

Free park shuttleNot running
Visitor CenterOperates on Winter Hours (8:00AM – 4:30PM)
General Store at Sunrise PointClosed
RestroomsRestrooms at Inspiration Point, the Peekaboo Loop, and the General Store close in winter (Restrooms remain available at Rainbow Point, Farview Point, Sunset Point, the Visitor Center and North Campground).
Bicycle rentalClosed
Private and guided horse ridesNot available
Ranger programsGeology Ranger Talks held daily. Check current ranger programs in Bryce Canyon to confirm. 
Ranger-lead snowshoe hikes are available.  
Evening Ranger Programs and Night Sky Telescope Ranger Programs are not offered. 
The Bryce Canyon Lodge and dining roomClosed. Lodging and dining options are still available in the town of Bryce Canyon City.
CampgroundsThe North Campground is open, but the dump station is closed during the winter. 
Sunset Campground closed.
RoadsThe roads to Fairyland Point and Paria View typically close in November.  
The Scenic Drive is technically open all winter but the main park road closes at mile marker 3 temporarily during snowstorms until cleared. Viewpoints before mile marker 3 can typically still be accessed.
Hiking TrailsThe Wall Street section of the Navajo Loop is closed due to hazardous winter conditions. You can still hike the Two Bridges section of this loop.  
The Rim Trail between Inspiration Point and Bryce Point is also closed.  
All other trails are usually open, but snowshoes or traction devices (microspikes) are needed. 

Is February a good time to visit Bryce Canyon?

The pros and cons of visiting Bryce Canyon in February include:

Pros

  • There are few people, except during the winter festival
  • This is when the annual winter festival is held
  • Great for winter activities like snowshoeing and cross-country skiing
  • The hoodoos are even more beautiful coated in snow 

Cons

  • Unpredictable road closures. The main road is closed at mile marker 3 after snowfall until the snow is cleared.  
  • Seasonal – and weather-based – trail closures. Two popular trails are closed all winter and any trail can be closed at any time if it’s deemed unsafe.  Snowshoes or microspikes are essential on the trails that are open.  
  • There are fewer facilities open, including accommodations, restaurants, and restrooms.  Plan ahead!

Key Events in Bryce Canyon in February

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Visiting Bryce Canyon in March

March may be spring in many parts of the U.S., but definitely not in Bryce Canyon.  With more than a foot of snow on the ground and night temperatures well below freezing, it’s most definitely still winter. 

This means there are still very few people, and you can still enjoy outdoor winter activities. 

Weather in Bryce Canyon in March

Things start to warm up in Bryce Canyon in March. Average day time temperatures get all the way to 44°F.  Woo hoo!  Average lows are still 19°F, however, so it’s definitely too early to stash your winter woolies away.

There is less snowfall, but still an average of 17 inches of snow on the ground!  

Things To Do in Bryce Canyon in March

With all that snow on the ground, March is still a great time to ski, snowshoe or hike.

Cross country skiing is a great way to experience some of the park. Although you can’t ski down into the canyon, there are several trails around the rim that are groomed for cross country skiing. 

The Rim Trail between Inspiration Point and Bryce Point is closed during the winter due to the danger of snow cornices, but there is great Nordic skiing along the rest of the Rim Trail along the edge of the Main Amphitheater; the Bristlecone Loop Trail; Paria Ski Loop; and the unplowed Paria View and Fairyland Point roads. 

Nearby Bryce Canyon City and Dixie National Forest also maintain many groomed ski trails.

Snowshoeing is another popular winter activity on Bryce Canyon National Park, especially after fresh snowfall. If you want to buy some snowshoes, check my Guide to the Best Snowshoes for Beginners for tips and recommendations. You can also rent snowshoes at Ruby’s Inn just outside the park entrance.

You can also join a ranger-led snowshoe hike around the canyon rim. Snowshoes are provided free of charge for these hikes. Register at the Visitor Center for these hikes.  

Park rangers also give Geology talks daily.

As long as recent snowfall hasn’t caused a temporary closure, a more leisurely activity is to enjoy the views along the 18-mile scenic drive (read my guide to the drive for full details).

Hiking in Bryce Canyon in March

A couple of days after fresh snow, when snowshoers have compressed the snow, the snow-covered trails into the canyon are perfect for hiking.  You’ll need crampons or microspikes to give you traction on the snowy and/ or icy trails, but with these, it’s safe to descend into the canyon.  Read my Guide to the Best Microspikes for Hiking for tips and recommendations.

The Queens Garden- Navajo Loop Trail is wonderful in March. The Wall Street section of the Navajo Loop is closed in winter, but the Two Bridges section of the Navajo Loop is open. 

The Rim Trail between Inspiration Point and Bryce Point is also closed for safety reasons, but all other trails are generally open, as long as you are wearing appropriate footwear (snowshoes or microspikes).  

Wear plenty of layers, with a warm hat, gloves and scarf, plus plenty of water and high caloric snacks.

Openings/ Closings in Bryce Canyon in March

Free park shuttleNot running
Visitor CenterOperates on Winter Hours (8:00AM – 4:30PM) until late March, then it typically switches to spring hours (8:00AM – 6:00PM).
General Store at Sunrise PointClosed
RestroomsRestrooms at Inspiration Point, the Peekaboo Loop, and the General Store close in winter (Restrooms remain available at Rainbow Point, Farview Point, Sunset Point, the Visitor Center and North Campground).
Bicycle rentalClosed
Private and guided horse ridesNot available
Ranger programsGeology Ranger Talks held daily. Check current ranger programs in Bryce Canyon to confirm. 
Ranger-lead snowshoe hikes are available.  
Evening Ranger Programs and Night Sky Telescope Ranger Programs are not offered. 
The Bryce Canyon Lodge and dining roomClosed. Lodging and dining options are still available in the town of Bryce Canyon City.
CampgroundsThe North Campground is open, but the dump station is closed during the winter. 
Sunset Campground closed.
RoadsThe roads to Fairyland Point and Paria View typically close in November.  
The Scenic Drive is technically open all winter but the main park road closes at mile marker 3 temporarily during snowstorms until cleared. Viewpoints before mile marker 3 can typically still be accessed.
Hiking TrailsThe Wall Street section of the Navajo Loop closes due to hazardous winter conditions. You can still hike the Two Bridges section of this loop.  
The Rim Trail between Inspiration Point and Bryce Point also closes.  
All other trails are usually open, but snowshoes or traction devices (microspikes) are needed. 

Is March a good time to visit Bryce Canyon?

Let’s take a look at the pros and cons.

Pros

  • The crowd levels are low. A visit in March will give you the opportunity to hike, snowshoe, or cross country ski on trails that in the summertime are packed with other visitors— the slot canyons, fins, and hoodoos will be all yours. 
  • Winter activities dominate Bryce Canyon throughout March.

Cons

  • Roads and trails may or may not be closed throughout Bryce Canyon in March. This is perhaps the biggest drawback of all—unpredictability. March has similar snowfall accumulations as the two months prior, but there can be days above freezing too. When a snowstorm hits Bryce Canyon, the main road that runs through the Park will be closed beginning at mile marker 3 until the snow plows have safely cleared it.
  • Seasonal trail closures also exist within in the Park. Always check the current conditions before you hit the trail.  
  • Facilities such as public restrooms, lodging, and dining options are reduced during the winter months in the Park. 

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Tips for Visiting Bryce Canyon National Park in Winter 

Dress appropriately. Wear layers and dress warmly.

After heavy snow, snowshoeing is the only way to get around the hiking trails that aren’t groomed for cross country skiing. 

After a few days, the snow is compacted enough for hiking.  However, the trails can be icy and microspikes or other traction devices are essential.  In fact, you should wear microspikes over your hiking boots at all times outside, even in the parking lots, as it’s easy to slip on ice and fall without them.

 If you are looking for new gear, read by detailed guides to the best:

If you don’t have your own snowshoes or cross-country skis and don’t want to invest in some, you can rent them at  Ruby’s Inn Winter Adventure Center in Bryce Canyon City, which is just outside the entrance to the national park. 

Packing appropriately.  When hiking in winter, always take plenty of water and snacks.  

Check you have everything on my:

Keep an eye on the sunset times.  Days are short.  I recommend taking a headlamp in your pack just in case you’re out on a trail when darkness descends.

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Stunning Scenery of Snow-coated Rock Hoodoos of Bryce Canyon National Park during Winter

Travel Insurance for Bryce Canyon National Park 

No matter what when you go to Bryce Canyon National Park, you should definitely get travel insurance.  This can protect you not only against medical and emergency repatriation, but can also cover things like trip cancellation, loss and/ or theft of property, etc.  

A great insurance option is Travelex.  It has coverage for all you’ll need. You can compare Travel Insurance plans here or get a quote right now:

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Enjoy Bryce Canyon National Park whenever you go!

If you just want a quick snapshot about my thoughts on the best time to visit Bryce National Park, check out my Best Time to Go to Bryce National Park guide.

You might also like

>> Bryce Canyon Itinerary
>> Fun Facts About Bryce Canyon National Park 
>> Bryce Canyon National Park Guide 
>> Best Hikes in Bryce Canyon National Park 
>> The Bryce Canyon Scenic Drive: A Complete Guide 
>> Best Bryce Canyon Viewpoints 
>> Closest Airports to Bryce Canyon National Park 
>> How to Get to Bryce Canyon National Park 
>> Best Things to Do in Bryce Canyon National Park 

What do you think is the best time of year to visit Bryce and Zion?  Join my private Facebook group National Parks Collectors and comment and let me know (you can also pick up extra planning tips, share your photos and stories with other national park lovers and more).

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About the author

James Ian Yosemite

James Ian is a national park, camping and hiking expert.

He has dedicated his life to travel, visiting more than 80 countries, all 7 continents and most of the national parks in the United States. With over 35 years experience in the travel industry, James has worked on cruise ships, at resorts and hotels, and as a travel planner who’s helped hundreds of people plan successful trips to US national parks. 

Based on his experience visiting our national parks multiple times, in-depth research and expertise as a travel planner, James has published detailed itineraries for most of the major national parks in the US. These itineraries, as well as in-depth park guides, comprehensive camping and hiking gear reviews and buying guides, and helpful packing lists and gift guides will help you have your own incredible trip to US national parks without stress and hassle.

As a national park expert, James has contributed to many publications, including USA Today, Time Business News, Savoteur, Best Trip, and Wired.

Read more…


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