As national parks have gotten more popular, there’s no denying that the experience of a national park vacation has changed over the years. If you’re pining for the days when you didn’t have to make reservations, circle for parking or hike in a crowd, head to Bryce Canyon. Here you can enjoy nature, bask in solitude and hopefully find that sense of nostalgia you’ve been missing.
Basecamp at Ruby’s Inn, which was founded by the man who helped make Bryce Canyon a National Park 100 years ago, Reuben Syrett. What started as a 20-room lodge is now the gateway to the park including three hotels, multiple restaurants, a general store and over 300 campsites. The Ruby’s Inn complex is still owned and managed by the Syrett family, four generations later.
Reuben Syrett was first and foremost a cowboy. When he bought a ranch near what is now Bryce Canyon National Park, he had no plans of becoming a conservationist and hotelier, but when he first set eyes on the inspiring orange and pink hoodoos of Bryce Canyon, he was moved.
In 1916, Syrett, who went by the nickname “Ruby”, opened what is now Ruby’s Inn in Bryce Canyon City, Utah. He invited friends and family from afar to experience the area’s beauty. Syrett wrote to Congress, petitioning the government to protect Bryce Canyon from development. This influenced the government to turn Bryce Canyon into a national park.
Slow down and enjoy family time by taking a horseback tour along the canyon rim, or down into the canyon. When evening rolls around, take in the Country Music Dinner show, held nightly April 20 – October 20 at Ebenezer’s Barn and Grill.
Winter at Bryce Canyon
While Bryce Canyon’s high elevation means cool temperatures year round, come winter the park is an absolute wonderland.
“We always say Bryce Canyon looks like a cake,” says Lance Syrett, general manager of Ruby’s Inn. “And a cake is always better with frosting on top.”
Ruby’s Inn is the perfect place to stay on your winter Bryce Canyon adventure. Winter activities abound. Rent cross-country skis from the inn and set off on one of the many groomed cross-country ski trails which originate from the lodge. You can ski into the park and take in the views from the rim along the Rim Trail, Bristlecone Loop Trail or Paria Ski Loop.
While you can’t ski below the rim, there are several snowshoe trails that allow you to get down into the canyon. Snowshoes can also be rented at Ruby’s Inn.
After a day spent in the park, head back to Ruby’s Inn. Enjoy skating on the ice ribbon or even book a horse-drawn sleigh ride.
A huge plus to visiting in winter? Prices are lower than summer months and the park sees a fraction of the summer visitation.
Find Ruby’s Inn at 26 S. Main in Bryce Canyon; rubysinn.com/GCJ22.