Grand Canyon Travel Guide

USA  #1 in Best Places to Visit in Arizona
Credit

Courtesy of Piriya Photography/Getty Images

Best Times to Visit Grand Canyon

The best times to visit the Grand Canyon are March through May and September through November when daytime temperatures are cool and the crowds are thin. If you decide to visit during the summer (the park's peak season), be prepared for hordes of tourists and very limited lodging availability. You can find deals on hotels during the winter, but much of the park (including the entire North Rim) closes after the first snowfall. The South Rim is open year-round.

Weather in Grand Canyon

Switch to Celsius/MM
Average Temperature (°F)
45
18
47
21
53
25
61
29
72
36
82
43
86
51
82
50
76
43
65
33
53
24
45
18
Jan
Feb
Mar
Apr
May
Jun
Jul
Aug
Sep
Oct
Nov
Dec
Average Precipitation (in)
1.54
1.5
1.73
1.02
0.5
0.32
1.87
2.39
1.44
1.33
1.48
1.27
Jan
Feb
Mar
Apr
May
Jun
Jul
Aug
Sep
Oct
Nov
Dec

Data sourced from the National Climatic Data Center

March-May

This is one of the best times to visit the Grand Canyon. Temperatures are on the rise, and the throngs of summer tourists have yet to arrive. However, keep in mind that some areas of the park – namely the North Rim – may still be off-limits due to lasting snow. Also, the canyon's differing altitudes make it difficult to stay ahead of the weather. Although highs tend to range between the low 50s and 70s, temperatures can fluctuate drastically. Pack plenty of layers. 

Key Events:

June-August

Summer is peak season, and it's easy to see why. From mid-May to mid-September, the park sees long, sunny days with temperatures hovering anywhere between 40 and 85 degrees. However, canyon breezes can disguise the sun's rays, making it difficult to tell if you're getting burned. Make sure to pack a hat and plenty of sunscreen. Temperatures can also vary throughout the park: Areas near the Colorado River tend to be warmer, while the North Rim can get quite chilly. Heavy rainstorms are common throughout July, but they never last long. This is also the time when all the park's facilities – on both the South and North Rim – are open for business. If you plan on staying in the park, book well in advance since rooms and campgrounds tend to fill up quickly. If you want to beat the crowds, aim to hit the trails by 10 a.m. at the latest.

Key Events:

September-November

Autumn marks another sweet spot for Grand Canyon tourism. With the kids back in school and parents back to work, there are far fewer tourists competing for hotel rooms and trail territory. Temperatures around this time range from the mid-20s to mid-70s, so make sure to pack some warm clothes. Also, you'll find that more facilities and trails are open around September and October, but once snow begins to fall, you can count on many areas (particularly the North Rim) to be out of commission.

Key Events:

December-February

This is by far the most peaceful season at the Grand Canyon, so if you're looking for a calm, quiet visit, this is the time to go. However, prepare yourself for frosty temperatures ranging anywhere from the mid-40s down to the high teens. Because it can see upward of 200 inches of snow each winter, the North Rim will be closed to visitors, but many of the South Rim trails remain open. Just be sure to pack warm clothes and waterproof shoes. 

Key Events:

Popular Times to Visit Grand Canyon

Average Tourist Volumes

Tourism volume is estimated based on in-market destination search query interest from Google and on travel.usnews.com in 2015-2016. Hotel prices are sourced from a sample of U.S. News Best Hotels rates through 2015-2016.

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