Bryce Canyon officials announce spring opening, pandemic modifications and construction projects

Bryce Canyon National Park welcomes guests for the spring season, Bryce Canyon, Utah, date unspecified | Photo courtesy of the National Park Service, St. George News

ST. GEORGE —With the first day of spring little more than a week away, Bryce Canyon National Park is reopening facilities, extending hours and resuming a modified shuttle service.

Views from Red Canyon along Highway 12 on the way to Ruby’s Inn near Bryce Canyon City, Utah, Aug. 22, 2020 | Photo by Hollie Stark, St. George News

According to press release issued by the National Park Service, the Lodge at Bryce Canyon, Sunset Hotel and the General Store reopened March 5. The historic Lodge Dining Room also opened its doors and offers limited food service options for the season from 7:30 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Those looking for trail snacks, groceries, a penny machine or showers can head over to the General Store at Sunrise Point, which will be open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily. Valhalla Pizzeria and Coffee Shop and the Lodge Gift Shop are not scheduled to reopen for the 2021 season. Lodging reservations can be made online or by calling Forever Resorts at 877-386-4383.

The Bryce Canyon Visitor Center and bookstore are open daily from 8 a.m. until 4:30 p.m., with hours being extended to 6 p.m. on Sunday. Visitor Center capacity continues to be limited with short wait times during peak hours, and while the Visitor Center museum is open, the park theater remains closed.

Visitors should be aware that in order to protect the health of those who live, work and visit national parks and National Park Service facilities, face masks are required in all park buildings and facilities, including the Visitor Center, park restrooms, shuttles and concessioner buildings. Masks are also required on NPS-managed lands when physical distancing cannot be maintained, such as narrow or busy trails and all overlooks.

As park roads begin to see more traffic, the Bryce Canyon Shuttle will begin service April 2. Riding the shuttle bus is free but requires payment of the park’s entrance fee. Shuttles arrive every 10 to 15 minutes and will run from April 2 through Oct. 17 beginning at 8 a.m. daily. Shuttles run until the last bus leaves the park at 6:15 p.m. with extended hours to 8:10 p.m. from May 21 through Sept. 26.

Shuttle capacity will be limited, and social distancing between groups encouraged. All passengers will be required to wear a mask, and free masks will be available. Due to public health concerns, the three-hour Rainbow Point bus tour is not scheduled to resume at this time.

 

In this Aug. 22, 2020, file photo, Havana Reina, 8, poses with a Ruby’s Inn sign at Ruby’s Inn, Bryce Canyon City, Utah| Photo by Hollie Stark, St. George News

The press release reminded visitors that vehicles over 20 feet are restricted from the Bryce Amphitheater parking areas (Sunrise, Sunset, Inspiration and Bryce Points) during shuttle hours.

Shuttle parking is available in Bryce Canyon City, the additional parking lot across from the Visitor Center, at most hotels or campsites in Bryce Canyon City or within the park.

Riding the shuttle is a popular option to pair with camping in one of the park’s developed campgrounds. Loop A of North Campground remains open all winter for camping on a first come, first served basis. Additional loops will open as weather permits. Sunset Campground will begin its season on April 15 with first come, first served camping until May 20, at which time reservations will be required through Oct. 15.

Reservations can be made six months in advance online. Sunset Campground will return to first come, first served camping Oct. 16 until it closes for the season Oct. 31, unless weather requires an earlier closing.

Canyon Trail Rides will begin providing horse and mule rides when weather and trail conditions allow. Visit their website for booking and more information.

Looking up at the base of Wall Street, Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah, July 15, 2016 | Photo by Reuben Wadsworth, St. George News

The Utah Department of Transportation is scheduled to begin construction work focused on roadway improvements and safety later this month. Work in the area of the park will focus on state Route 12 from its junction with State Route 63 (main park road) east to Henrieville. Improvements include the construction of a traffic roundabout at the junction, lane widening, pavement rehabilitation and other upgrades.

Traffic delays of up to 15 minutes are possible at construction areas. Click here for more information.

Ranger programs will continue to be offered as the 2021 season unfolds.

Plan your visit

Visit the Bryce Canyon National Park website and click “Plan Your Visit,” “Things to Do” and “Ranger Programs” for more information on program times and locations. Along with ranger programming, the park’s beloved annual festivals are also expected to resume in 2021 with modifications for public health and safety.

The Astronomy Festival is currently scheduled from June 9-12, and the Geology Festival from July 9-10. The park’s summer Butterfly Count is scheduled for July 24.

As conditions and park operations are subject to change, visit the park’s website, call the park’s main information line at 435-834-5322 or follow park social media channels for details on operations before they visit.

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2021, all rights reserved.

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