Set in scenic Ponderosa pines at 8,000 feet adjacent to the iconic Bryce Canyon National Park in Utah is Ruby’s Inn RV Park and Campground, one of the oldest destination campgrounds in the United States.
Established in 1916 by Ruby Syrett, the great-grandfather of the current family owners and operators, he was a hospitable rancher who settled in the area and saw a need to set up a few tents for travelers exploring the wonders of Bryce Canyon before 1928, when it became a national park.
“We’re still right at the entrance of Bryce Canyon National Park,” said Cary Deccio, who helps run the park that features 300 campsites, an inn and a lodge. “We’re a destination transient park. Most of our customers have an average length of stay of probably two days. Normally, when we are not affected by a pandemic, we are about 50% domestic and 50% international visitors. We get a lot of Dutch, French, German and other European guests.”
He said the alpine setting in the pines is part of a larger resort with various accommodations and three restaurants.
“In the summertime, we have lots of activities like horseback riding, hiking and different things up here in the mountains,” Deccio shared. “From the campground, we don’t have a view, but if you go into the park there’s plenty of areas to look at things. The whole reason people come to us is for Bryce Canyon. Our season is generally April through October.”
He said Ruby’s Inn and Campground has become part of the national park loop in the southwest for visitors to Zion, Arches, Capital Reef or even the Grand Canyon.
“It’s called the Grand Circle Loop,” Deccio explained. “A lot of folks are trying to hit us as they’re going to these different iconic locations throughout the southwest.”
The 300 camping sites include RV sites, tent spaces, camping cabins and traditional Native American teepees from Secret Creek.
“We’re the fourth generation running or operating the company but the owners are all third generation, and Ruby was my wife’s great-grandfather,” said Deccio.
Today, there are over 700 hotel rooms, plus the RV park and campground. The company has about 25 full-time employees with a three-person management team.
“We have mostly work campers that work for us,” Deccio added.
He shared that 2022 was a very good year, with the park up about 3% over 2021.
“We had a really good fall,” he detailed. “We did raise our prices a little bit this year and that helped with the inflation. We do a little bit of dynamic pricing, so that helped as well.”
He said as the current trends dictate, they are looking to add some family-style cabins.
“There’s a demand for families traveling,” he said. “The whole VRBO and Airbnb market has just exploded. Part of that is because people want accommodations that are bigger than a hotel room. You combine that with the camping experience, and you need to have camping cabins that are big enough to accommodate families. That’s hopefully on the horizon for us.”
Deccio also sees more Millennials traveling and camping in style.
“We see a lot of camper vans,” he concluded. “I think this last season’s been crazy with the camper vans and they are new. In talking to the campers, we’ve had to help, maybe educate more people this year on how to RV because they don’t know how to dump their tanks, they don’t know how to hook up to the water and just little things like that.”
To learn more, head to www.brycecanyoncampgrounds.com.