Bryce Canyon Ruby’s Inn prepares to welcome hundreds to Winter Festival; Valentine’s Day getaway

BRYCE CANYON CITY — Historic Ruby’s Inn is preparing to welcome hundreds of visitors this February for a weekend of adventure, learning and sightseeing, as part of the 30th annual Bryce Canyon Winter Festival to be held Feb. 14-16. A Valentine’s Day concert featuring country music star Ty Herndon has been added to the fun, and the National Park Service is waiving the $25 Bryce Canyon National Park entry fee over the entire weekend.

Historic Ruby's Inn hosts Bryce Canyon Winter Festival, Bryce Canyon, Utah, February 2014 | Photo courtesy of Ruby’s Inn/Bryce Canyon Country Tourism Office, St. George News
Historic Ruby’s Inn hosts Bryce Canyon Winter Festival, Bryce Canyon, Utah, February 2014 | Photo courtesy of Ruby’s Inn/Bryce Canyon Country Tourism Office, St. George News

“Winter makes Bryce Canyon come alive with color,” said Falyn Owens, executive director of the tourism office for Bryce Canyon Country. “I’m always telling our summer visitors to come back in the winter for a truly unique experience.”

The winter tradition takes place over Presidents Day weekend and allows participants the rare opportunity of visiting a snow-capped Bryce Canyon. The towering red rock spires and contrasting white snow combine to create stunning scenery in the giant natural amphitheater.

“For our 30th anniversary, we’ve added even more to the list of activities and entertainment,” said Jean Seiler, director of marketing for Ruby’s Inn. “As always, the most anticipated events will be the cross-country ski races for kids and adults.”

Bryce Canyon Winter Festival, Bryce Canyon, Utah, February 2014 | Photo courtesy of Ruby’s Inn/Bryce Canyon Country Tourism Office, St. George News
Bryce Canyon Winter Festival, Bryce Canyon, Utah, February 2014 | Photo courtesy of Ruby’s Inn/Bryce Canyon Country Tourism Office, St. George News

The ski races are just the beginning of the family-friendly activities happening both indoors and outdoors. The schedule includes kayaking tutorials, running clinics, dance classes, leather working, watercolor painting and photography.

“The winter festival is an incredible opportunity to learn something new,” Ruby’s Inn General Manager Lance Syrett said. “Families can learn ski archery on Saturday at our free class and then compete in the biathlon on Monday.”

This year the National Park Service is waiving the $25 per-car entry fee over the entire weekend into Bryce Canyon National Park. This will allow winter festival attendees to take part in ranger-led geology talks, snowshoe hikes, astronomy presentations and telescope viewings.

Bryce Canyon covered in snow, Bryce Canyon, Utah, date unspecified | Photo courtesy of Ruby’s Inn/Bryce Canyon Country Tourism Office, St. George News
Bryce Canyon covered in snow, Bryce Canyon, Utah, date unspecified | Photo courtesy of Ruby’s Inn/Bryce Canyon Country Tourism Office, St. George News

“We have some of the highest elevations of Utah’s national parks, giving us reliable snow cover and clear winter air,” said Kathleen Gonder, Chief of Interpretation and Visitor Information at Bryce Canyon National Park. “Bryce Canyon is the perfect winter destination for everything from snowshoeing to stargazing.”

The winter festival is just one example of the outstanding partnership that exists between the national park and Ruby’s Inn, Gonder said. Ruby’s Inn is located just outside the gates of Bryce Canyon National Park and provides the closest available lodging and a boarding zone for the park’s shuttle during the summer.

“We appreciate our relationship with Ruby’s Inn and the opportunities it creates to expose more people to the natural wonder that is Bryce Canyon,” Gonder said.

Historic Ruby's Inn hosts Bryce Canyon Winter Festival, Bryce Canyon, Utah, February 2014 | Photo courtesy of Ruby’s Inn/Bryce Canyon Country Tourism Office, St. George News
Historic Ruby’s Inn hosts Bryce Canyon Winter Festival, Bryce Canyon, Utah, February 2014 | Photo courtesy of Ruby’s Inn/Bryce Canyon Country Tourism Office, St. George News

Another new addition for 2015 is a concert Saturday night at Ebenezer’s Barn and Grill. The Valentine’s Day concert will feature country music star Ty Herndon. Tickets start at just $10 with package options that include dinner and/or room accommodations.

During the three-day festival, children will be invited to participate in hands-on craft classes and athletic competitions, including beginning watercolor painting, pottery making, youth biathlon and cross-country ski races, and snow boot races.

Besides the winter festival competitions, Ruby’s Inn also provides a variety of other adventures that are available to guests all winter season, including an outdoor ice skating rink, horse-drawn sleigh rides, horseback riding and cross-country skiing.

While a few of the events require adequate snowfall, Ruby’s Inn reminds potential visitors that the majority of the winter festival activities are not weather dependent.

About Ruby’s Inn

Since 1916, Ruby’s Inn has been making it easy for visitors from around the world to experience the epic scenery of Bryce Canyon National Park. Ruby’s Inn is located at the entrance to the park and offers the closest lodging with everything from luxury hotel rooms to RV parks and campgrounds. Ruby’s Inn is open year-round and has exclusive access to canyon overlooks for horseback riding, ATV riding, horse-drawn sleigh rides and snowshoeing. The Ebenezer’s Barn and Grill entertains crowds nightly with a western dinner show and cowboy grub. The General Store provides fuel, groceries, camping gear, clothing and gifts.

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Event details and resources

  • What: Bryce Canyon’s 30th Anniversary
  • When: Feb. 14-16 | Activities List | Event Schedule
  • Where: 26 South Main, Bryce Canyon, Utah
  • Ruby’s Inn website
  • For more information on the Bryce Canyon Winter Festival, visit the Ruby’s Inn website or call 435-834-5341

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