If you’re planning a trip to the Grand Canyon National Park, one of the first questions you’ll ask is when is the best time to visit. Each season offers a slightly different experience, but no matter when you go, you should be prepared for various weather conditions. Summers are hot with temperatures sometimes reaching 120 ºF / 47 ºC and winters often have snowfall. 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 big crowds and the type of activities you want to do. For example:

  • Are you happy to see the top attractions and get some epic photos?

  • Do you want to explore the park's many hiking trails and go into the canyon?

  • Are you traveling with kids?

  • Do you want to camp?

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 at the end of May/early June. You’ll also miss the intense summer heat which makes it a great time for hiking. The North Rim and other areas might still be off bounds, it all depends on the amount of snowfall and when it melts. Another thing to note is that 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 it’s usually much less rainy than in the fall). Pack plenty of layers and you’ll be right as rain. 

Summer

Best for: hiking the North Rim, long days of exploring, taking part in park activities 

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 single day. Most tourists spend time at the South Rim only and will venture towards the main lookouts and viewing points. Despite the crowds, summer is a great time to hike around the North Rim as it’s closed during winter. It’s a chance to escape the tourists, have a much quieter experience and enjoy slightly cooler temperatures that average in the 60s and 70s during the day. You’ll experience the odd thunderstorm but they don’t last long – just make sure you pack a rain jacket. Book your accommodation or camping spots in advance as they get booked up fast. 

Fall

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

Big crowds start heading 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 can change quickly. It has been known to snow as early as late October, so make sure you pack for all weather conditions. When you picture the Grand Canyon you probably don’t imagine trees, but in actual fact, it’s full of them and they’re spectacular in the fall. If you’re mad about fall colors, it’s definitely worth considering a trip at this time of year.

Winter 

Best for: thin crowds, cheaper accommodation deals, amazing views of a snow-covered canyon

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 (to vehicles). If you’re a winter adventurer, you could hike from the South Rim and camp in the North Rim for an epic winter camping experience. Or enjoy picture-perfect views of the snow-covered Canyon from one of the viewpoints with a hot beverage. Make sure you bring a sturdy pair of hiking boots if you’re hiking the South Rim trails and plenty of warm laters... it's very chilly down there!

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