Red rocks and snow at Bryce Canyon

Follow the storms to Utah's stunning national park, where no crowds equal pure winter bliss. Here's where to go and what to see.

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GETTING THERE

Bryce Canyon National Park ($25 per vehicle; 435/834-5322) is roughly 270 miles from Salt Lake City and Las Vegas. The park regularly plows State 63, the 18-mile-long main road. Expect clear, crisp days with temperatures in the 30s, but if you need to get out of the snow, head for a lower-elevation destination such as spectacular Kodachrome Basin State Park ($6 per vehicle; 435/679-8562). Combine a visit to Bryce with a stop at Zion National Park ($25 per vehicle; 435/772-3256), and you have an off-season escape to a pair of the country's top national parks. Services are more limited than during other seasons, but all of the basics are available.

WHERE TO STAY

Best Western Ruby's Inn. Located 1 mile north of the park, the sprawling inn has motel-style rooms, restaurants, an indoor pool, and other services. INFO: 368 rooms from $60; 866/866-6616.

Stone Canyon Inn. Spacious and luxurious cabins as well as B&B-style rooms in the main building. INFO: 4 self-catering cabins from $225; 6 rooms from $80, including breakfast; in Tropic; 866/489-4680.


WHERE TO EAT

Clarke's Restaurant. Mostly known for chicken and ribs, it also serves steaks and Southwest entrées. INFO: $$; closed Sun–Mon; 141 N. Main St., Tropic; 435/679-8383.

Cowboy's Buffet and Steak Room. Restaurant at Ruby's Inn offers hearty dining that hits the spot on a winter's night. INFO: $$; 1000 S. State 63, Bryce; 435/834-5341.


WHAT TO DO

Cross-country ski and snowshoe rentals. (from $7) are available at the ski shop at Ruby's Inn, which grooms nearly 20 miles of trails with connections into the national park. The Red Canyon area on State 12 west of the Bryce entrance is another good nearby spot for winter sports.

Guided snowshoe walks. (free; 435/834-5322) are given occasionally by the park, weather permitting. Some destinations inside Bryce:

Mossy Cave. Easy 0.8-mile hike to a hidden winter gem. Off State 12 east of park turnoff.

Paria Ski Loop. Beautiful 3.5-mile forest route includes a spur to a hoodoo overlook.

Rim Trail. Moderate 10.5-mile round-trip between Fairyland and Bryce Points takes in the park's best winter views.

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