View Full Version : bryce canyon and arches in winter

austin granger
3-Nov-2003, 10:37
Hello. My Toyo and I have the opportunity to travel to Bryce Canyon and Arches National Parks. The catch is that this trip would have to be undertaken in late December/early January in a Nissan Maxima; is such an undertaking ill-advised? I would greatly appreciate any advise from those that have been to these parks in the dead of Winter. I apologize if this question is a bit far off field. Thank you. austin@austingranger.com

3-Nov-2003, 11:05
Sure it is possible just check road conditions. Our last few winters here in the SW have been quite mild when it comes to temperature, and very dry. This year is looking to be a bit more on the wet side. If you are not into shooting pretty flowers or leaves, winter is the best time for shooting in the SW. The crowds are way small, there are lots of evergreens, the winter blue skys are extra blue and you can see for miles and miles. This is also the time of year when the SW sees Fog on occasion. In low humidity the cold is not as cold feeling.

QT Luong
3-Nov-2003, 11:12
The question is perfectly appropriate. If you stay on paved roads, I don't think you would have any problems with your car. You have to get ready for single-digit temperatures at Bryce, especially at sunrise. For the two parks that you mention, winter is my favorite time of the year, as a fresh dusting of snow can make for a very interesting study in contrast with the red rock.

D. Kevin Gibson
3-Nov-2003, 11:16
and if you bring some of those sterno logs, you can keep yoursllf wart and provide lighting for the photographs...

D. Kevin Gibson
3-Nov-2003, 11:17
yoursllf wart - we'll that too. Keep yourself warm...

Mark Sampson
3-Nov-2003, 11:53
Shorter days and low sun too. I was at Bryce in March '99 and found single-digit temps and lots of snow, serious wind-chill, it was wonderful.

james mickelson
3-Nov-2003, 18:29
A set of chains the right size, extra blankets to keep you warm, and lots of patience while you wait for your ground glass to unfog. And lots of film as this is possibly the best time of year to photograph here. Arches is wonderful as there are few people there but be careful if hiking to Delicate Arch before sunrise as it can be very slippery because of ice. And no sterno logs please. We've had enough threads threatening death and dismemberment here. And please stay outta my way when coming to "my" park. Heheheh. Have fun.

austin granger
3-Nov-2003, 20:56
Many thanks to everyone for the advice and for helping to put my mind at ease. I wasn't so much worried about the cold as about being able to get around a little without 4wd. In any case, the trip is on! Snow capped hoodoos? Yeah! And James, if you're ever in the San Francisco Bay Area and need some recomendations on Point Reyes National Seashore, please don't hesitate. That would be "my" park; er, seashore... Thanks again. Good shooting to all. -Austin

Doug Meek
4-Nov-2003, 08:13
Hi Austin.

I travelled to Bryce In January 2002. I've been there more times than I can count, but this was my first winter trip. The lack of 4WD was not a problem. What was a problem, however, was the -15 degree temperature (honest) that I ran into 2 of the nights I was there. It froze my antifreeze ! I ended up blowing a head gasket and cracking my radiator 12 miles from nowhere as I headed up my all-time favorite highway - hwy 12. Incredible place to ride a Harley by the way, although not in winter!

Anyway, the tow truck driver told me that I should have run 100% antifreeze to avoid the problem. Granted, 15 below is unusual, even for Bryce in the winter time, but it can happen. You won't need 4WD, and the place is beautiful that time of year. Have a wonderful trip !

Paul Kierstead
4-Nov-2003, 08:43
If you are not used to severe winter conditions, I think you should read up a bit. Going into a very cold, snowy area (even by car) is dangerous if you are not prepared and fun and very safe if you are.

Essentially you need to be prepared to be snowed in should a severe snow storm occur. You need some supplies in your car, particularly very warm clothing/blankets, a little food, etc. A basic survival kit in the event you should somehow get stranded. Quite a few people die every year in Canada through simply going to remote area's unprepared and then getting caught in severa weather.

I don't know Bryce Canyon, but it certainly sounds like a place that this could happen.

Robert Haury
4-Nov-2003, 14:13
I lived in Montana for 18 years. So, I'm no stranger to cold temps. Befor you go make sure your antifreeze is fresh. I may be wrong but a 50/50 mix of antifreeze and water should give you the best resistance to freezing. I would also buy some additive for your gas tank. Any water in your fuel system can freeze in those temps, leaving you stranded. Getting yourself a strong, new battery and some new battery cables might not be a bad idea either. And don't forget your jumper cables. If you've never been in weather that cold you won't believe how fast it can get to you. It seems like I remember a gadget snowmobilers used to use that might come in handy. They had a breathing apparatus that directed their breath outside the helmet, might help with the ground glass fogging. Might look kind of dorkey but hey you'll be the only one crazy enough to be out in that weather anyway. Have fun!