Bryce Canyon National Park

Winter Mountain Conditions

Bryce Canyon National Park and Lodge are located at 8,000 ft on top of a high plateau. Please be prepared for mountain winter driving conditions and for weather to change without notice. Chains, snow-tires and 4-wheel drive are recommended and/or required during winter storms and conditions depending on the route you are taking. Please plan accordingly.

Bryce Canyon is unique in that it is not a "real canyon" carved by flowing water, but rather a giant natural amphitheater created by erosion along the eastern side of the Paunsaugunt Plateau. Bryce Amphitheater, which is 12 miles long, 3 miles wide and 800 feet deep, is the largest of all the amphitheaters in the park. Water is the active ingredient here, but in the form of "frost-wedging" and chemical weathering.

For two hundred days a year the temperature goes above and below freezing every day. During the day, melt water seeps into fractures only to freeze at night, expanding by nine percent. Now as ice, it exerts a tremendous force (2,000-20,000 pounds per square inch). Over time this "frost-wedging" shatters and pries rock apart. In addition, rain water, which is naturally acidic, slowly dissolves the limestone, rounding off edges and washing away debris.

The erosion exposed delicate and colorful pinnacles called hoodoos that are up to 200 feet high.The geological hoodoos formed from wind, water and ice erosion of the river and lakebed sedimentary rocks. The red, orange and white colors of the rocks provide spectacular views to visitors. It is the uniqueness of the rocks that caused Bryce Canyon to be designated as a national park.

Visitors to the park enjoy the fantastic views just as they did in the early 1900's, when The Lodge at Bryce Canyon was first constructed, by the Union Pacific Railroad. Built in 1924-1927, the architectural style was used by railroads for lodges across the American west with the encouragement of the National Park Service. Today, there are 114 comfortable guest rooms at The Lodge at Bryce Canyon, the only lodging inside the national park.

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