If you’re planning a trip to the Grand Canyon National Park, you're probably wondering when is the best time to visit. Each season offers a slightly different experience and the best time to plan your trip depends on what you want to do and see. You should be always be prepared for various weather conditions no matter when you go. Summers are hot with temperatures sometimes reaching 120 ºF / 47 ºC, while winters are chilly and higher elevations are often dusted with snow. The South Rim (the most popular part of the Grand Canyon) is located 7,000 feet above sea level and the temperatures can drop quite considerably in the evening, even in the hottest months. 

Average temperatures in the Grand Canyon

MONTH

AVERAGE HIGH (°F)  

AVERAGE LOW (°F​)  

January 

57.2

37.4

February

64.4

42.8

March

73.4

48.2

April

82.4

55.4

May 93.2 62.6
June  104 73.4
July 105.8 77
August  102.2 75.2
September 96.8 68
October  84.2 57.2
November  69.8 46.4
December  57.2 39.2

When is the best time of year to visit the Grand Canyon?

The best time to visit the Grand Canyon really boils down to the weather, how much you’re willing to deal with bigger crowds and the type of activities you want to do. Summer is the peak season when thousands of tourists head to the Grand Canyon on summer vacation to tick it off their bucket list, so it's not a great time to explore in solitude. However, summer, in addition to late fall and early spring, is a great time to go hiking as the conditions are dry and most of the trails are open, including the North Rim which is closed during winter. For activities like white water rafting, April through October is the best time to go.

Spring

Best for: hiking, avoiding big crowds, white water rafting 

The great thing about visiting in spring is that you’ll miss the hordes of tourists that start to arrive between the end of May and early June. You’ll also miss the intense summer heat which makes it a great time for hiking in the South Rim. The North Rim and other areas might still be off bounds, but it depends on when the snowfall melts. It's also a great time to go white water rafting at Lava Falls and Crystal Rapids with fun, moderate rapids. The weather can be quite unpredictable in spring – one day it’ll be warm and sunny and the next it might be chilly with rainstorms (although spring generally experiences less rain than in the fall). Pack a waterproof jacket and plenty of layers, and you’ll be right as rain. 

Summer

Best for: hiking, North Rim trail 

School’s out for summer, and this means one thing: big crowds. The peak season is from June to August when the park sees thousands of tourists every day. Most tourists spend time at the South Rim and will hang around at the main lookouts and viewing points. If you want to hike the North Rim trail, you'll need to visit in the summer as it's closed during winter due to unsafe conditions. The North Rim boasts fantastic scenery and is a much welcome reprieve from the heat with average daytime temperatures lingering in the 60s and 70s. You might experience the odd thunderstorm, but they don’t last long – just make sure you pack a rain jacket.

Fall

Best for: hiking, avoiding big crowds, seeing fall colours 

Big crowds head home when the kids go back to school and the park becomes much quieter, especially in the South Rim. The intense summer heat starts cooling down which makes it a great time to explore the hiking or cycling trails. Similar to spring, the weather sometimes can’t make its mind up and it can change quickly. It has been known to snow as early as October, so make sure you pack for all weather conditions. When you picture the Grand Canyon you probably don’t imagine trees, but it's full of them and the landscapes are a spectacular sight in the fall. If you’re mad about fall colours, it’s definitely worth considering a trip at this time of year.

Winter 

Best for: thin crowds, winter wonderland views 

Crowds, what crowds? Winter is the quietest time in the Grand Canyon and you can enjoy the main sights and attractions in solitude. Many of the park’s facilities close once the snow starts to fall, including the North Rim. However, the trails in the South Rim are still open and it's the perfect time to rug up and enjoy stunning views of the snow-covered Canyon with a hot beverage. Make sure you bring a sturdy pair of hiking boots and plenty of warm layers, as it can feel very fresh. 

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