Best Time to Visit the Grand Canyon

The Grand Canyon is the world’s most famous US National Park, which is located in the northern part of Arizona and is very popular among both foreigners and local residents. With a landscape like that on the moon, it draws so many tourists that it is almost impossible to fully enjoy it when thousands take selfies against the scenic background. So, the best time to visit the Grand Canyon is March-May and September-November. This is not peak season and the temperatures are not super hot, as in June, July and August.

Grand-Canyon-National-Park-Ranger-Guided-Hike-To-Cedar-Ridge

March-May

Spring is a great time to visit the canyon as it is already warm, but there is still no summer influx of tourists. The north rim of the canyon opens only in April due to lasting snow. In the morning, you can expect a bit of rain and +5°C. By midday the sun warms up the air to about 22°C, which is the typical weather during spring in the Grand Canyon. The evenings become cold like the mornings.

The daytime temperature rises to 28 degrees in April and 31 degrees in May. We highly recommend taking windbreaker and fleece jackets for the chilly morning and evening hours.

Grand Canyon is situated at 2000m altitude. The bottom of the canyon is almost always warmer than at the top. Due to this temperature difference there are often fogs in the morning and beautiful sunsets almost every day. This may not be the case in the summer months.

June-August

June to August forms the peak season in the Grand Canyon, despite the hot weather. Even from the beginning of May the best hotels in Grand Canyon Village or Tusoyan are sold out. Therefore, we recommend booking at least six months in advance.

The temperatures can easily scale up to 40°C in July and the sun will feel very intense under direct rays. Sometimes there is a breeze blowing through the canyon, that may mask high temperatures. But we recommend drinking a lot of water to stay hydrated, especially if you are hiking. Getting sun burns is a real possibility here, so always apply sunscreen and wear a hat!

Two people watching a hazy sunrise from Hopi Point, on the South Rim of Grand Canyon National Park.

The air is dry and hot in the summers. Even at night, the temperatures in summer are rarely below 24 degrees Celsius. There is no rainy season at the Grand Canyon. The North Rim is noticeably cooler throughout the year, but also reaches peak temperatures above 40°C in midsummer.

Because these travel months are so popular, helicopter flights to the Grand Canyon are particularly in high demand and are booked up even faster than in the other months. Hence, if you have found a helicopter flight for your desired date, book quickly! Drinks are included with most helicopter flights.

September-November

According to locals, Autumn is the best time of year to visit Grand Canyon. It is worth considering that in the first half of September the Grand Canyon Music Festival is held and this means that you will enjoy the scenery in the crowd, but it will be fun. Note that early September can be still hot. But deeper into the fall season the weather cools down and there are fewer tourists. November becomes cold.

Many parts of the canyon close together with the first snow, nevertheless there is a lot of space for hiking. The southern canyon cornice (the most popular) is almost completely open for visitors in November.

In autumn, days are still warm and the air temperature is up to 20°C. The nights however, are cold, frosts are frequent and temperatures are down to -5°C. Thus warm clothes are a must.

December-February

Winter is also different in the Grand Canyon. The south with the Grand Canyon Village is open all year round and only receives light snow in exceptional cases. The wilder North Rim, on the other hand, closes completely due to cold winter.

The temperatures during the day are 13 to 17°C , at night the temperature drops to 0°C. On average you can expect 3 rainy days per month.

Climate in the Grand Canyon

 JanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
Day temp °C13 °17 °22 °28 °31 °34 °38 °36 °34 °29 °20 °14 °
Night temp °C0 °5 °9 °13 °17 °22 °26 °24 °21 °14 °8 °2 °
Precipitation in mm171722633212422171725
Rainy days333100342223
Hours of sunshine8th9101213141212111098
Sunrise7:407:156:405:555:255:105:205:456:106:357:057:30
Sunset17:4018:1018:3519:0019:2519:4519:4519:2018:3517:5517:2017:15

FAQ

  1. Which side of the Grand Canyon is the best to visit?

    For your first visit to the Grand Canyon, we recommend the South Rim of the national park due to the excellent infrastructure and facilities. 
    It is open 365 days a year, is easier to access and has several viewpoints and trails. It also has several restaurants and shops directly in the park, and hotels directly in front of the park entrance, such as in the town of Tusayan.

  2. How can you get to the Grand Canyon?

    You can drive or take the shuttle bus to the South Rim of the Grand Canyon, which is less than 63 miles (100 km) from Williams, Arizona and 81 miles (130 km) from Flagstaff, Arizona. From Las Vegas the drive is about 276 miles (445 km) or 4.5 hours. The Grand Canyon Railway does daily rides from Williams to the south rim of Grand Canyon, taking 2 hours 15 minutes and goes through a very scenic route. Lastly, you can fly private or take charter flights to the Grand Canyon Airport near Tusayan, which is 15 minute drive from the south rim entrance.

  3. How much does it cost to go to the Grand Canyon?

    The Grand Canyon entrance pass costs $30 per vehicle and $25 per motorcycle and is valid for 7 days. If you visit several national parks on your trip, it is worth buying the “America: The Beautiful Annual Pass”, which is valid for the whole year and costs USD 80. You can buy the passes at the entry points to the national park.

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