If you’re planning a trip to the Grand Canyon, you might be wondering when is the best time to visit. Every season is different and the best time to plan your trip depends on what you want to do and see. You should always be prepared for varying weather conditions no matter when you go, however, summer is generally hot with temperatures reaching up to 120ºF / 47ºC, while winter is chilly and the canyon valleys are sometimes dusted with snow. The South Rim (the most popular part of the Grand Canyon) is located around 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 for their summer vacation, so it's not a great time to explore in solitude. Late fall and early spring are great for hiking as the conditions are dry, it's not stinking hot and most trails are open, including the North Rim which is closed to the general public during winter. For activities like white water rafting, April through October is the best time when run-off is moderate.

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 arrive between the end of May and early June. You’ll also miss the intense summer heat which makes it a good time to go hiking. Some trails like those in the North Rim might still be off-bounds depending on snowmelt. Spring is also the best time for white water rafting at Lava Falls and Crystal Rapids with fun, moderate rapids. The weather can be unpredictable in spring – ranging from warm and sunny to chilly spells and rainstorms – but generally there's 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, access to the 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, which means most view points and trails will be highly trafficked. However, the summer is one of the best seasons to hike the North Rim trail, which boasts fantastic scenery and cooler daytime temperatures that linger in the 60s and 70s. You might experience the odd thunderstorm, but they don’t last long (so just make sure you pack a rain jacket).

Fall

Best for: hiking, thinner crowds, 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 cools down which makes it a great time to hit the trails. Similar to spring, the weather sometimes can’t make up its mind, and it has been known to snow as early as October so ensure you pack for all weather conditions. The Grand Canyon isn't famous for its fall colours as its trees are mostly evergreens, but there are a few sections of aspens on the North Rim that'll impress you.

Winter

Best for: thin crowds, lightly-trafficked trails, magical winter landscapes

Crowds, what crowds? Winter is the quietest time of year when you can truly immerse yourself in the beauty of the Grand Canyon. Many of the park’s facilities close when snow falls, including the North Rim (unless you're on an expert-led winter trekking adventure), however, the South Rim is open and offers stunning views of the snow-dusted canyon valleys. Make sure you bring a sturdy pair of hiking boots, plenty of warm layers and a flask of hot tea or coffee as it can get quite chilly.

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