Planning a visit to the Grand Canyon, Arizona? Find out when is the best time to visit Grand Canyon National Park.
Grand Canyon National Park is one of the busiest national parks in the United States with an average of five million visitors per year. It’s easy to see why- you won’t forget that unique, jaw-dropping scenery in a while.
The Grand Canyon also offers a variety of activities such as hiking, photography, rafting, and camping.
When to visit the Grand Canyon largely depends on you and your interests. While spring and fall and normally seen as the best times of the year to visit Grand Canyon National Park, you might find the ideal time to be outside of those seasons.
Considering when to visit the Grand Canyon in AZ, it’s important to factor in the weather, trip costs and even the crowds.
In this guide, we’ll consider each carefully and break down what each month and season at the Grand Canyon looks like. You’ll then be able to find the best time of the year to go to Grand Canyon, for you.
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Why Visit the Grand Canyon?
So you’ve heard all about the Grand Canyon AZ, from friends, in magazines, TV, but why should you pack your bags and head to this iconic Wonder of the world?
Simply put, there’s no place in the world like it. The sheer magnitude of this place is awe-inspiring and the views are nothing short of spectacular. If you’re an early riser then catching the sunrise casting a warm glow over the rugged terrain is a sight to not forget in a hurry.
There are also all the activities you can do here for the outdoorsy types. With many different hiking trails and Grand Canyon viewpoints to explore, there’s plenty to keep you busy during your visit.
North Rim vs South Rim?
Given the Grand Canyon’s magnitude, you’ll be right to think there are many great places to view it from. Generally, however, when people refer to the Grand Canyon, they mean Grand Canyon South Rim.
South Rim is the popular, touristy side that sees over 80% of the park’s visitors annually. It’s more popular because it’s easier to access and it’s closer to Arizona’s major cities and airports.
Grand Canyon South Rim also stays open all your round while North Rim closes during the winter.
In this guide, we’re talking about the best time to visit Grand Canyon South Rim as that’s where travelers tend to visit more.
Ultimately you can choose to visit the South Rim or North Rim or both if you have more time as they both offer different vantage points of the canyon. Note however that if you are visiting the Grand Canyon in winter, South Rim is your only option as the North Rim is closed.
Grand Canyon West Rim is another possibility and due to it’s proximity to Las Vegas, it can be the best choice if you’re basing yourself there.
When is the Best Time to Visit Grand Canyon?
In general, the best times to visit the Grand Canyon for pleasant weather and fewer crowds are spring (March to May) and fall (September to November).
These seasons offer comfortable daytime temperatures and beautiful scenery, making them ideal for hiking and outdoor activities.
Spring is particularly appealing with wildflowers in bloom, while fall showcases the changing colors of the foliage.
For those wanting the best time to travel to Grand Canyon South Rim with very few crowds and low prices, winter is also a great time but you’ll need to be more prepared for cold weather and abrupt weather changes.
The Best Time to Visit Grand Canyon, Month by Month and Season
There are many great times of the year to visit Grand Canyon. Whether your priority is good weather, avoiding the crowds to have viewpoints to yourself or visiting the Grand Canyon on a budget, there’s a best season and month for you.
Keep reading to find the Grand Canyon temperatures by month.
The best time of year to visit Grand Canyon at a glance:
The spring months (March-May): Spring tends to be fairly warm during the day but cool at night. March and April are still fairly quiet but crowds start to really increase in May. Spring is the best time of year to visit the Grand Canyon.
The summer months (June-August): They tend to be the hottest and wettest time of year, with temperatures reaching 90+ degrees Fahrenheit during the day. It’s the most expensive time to visit and crowds are at their highest.
The fall months (September-November): The fall is a great time to visit Grand Canyon as crowds start to disperse, the weather gets chillier and accommodation rates come down.
The winter months (December – February): The winter season is the driest time of year but temperatures can still easily dip below freezing. Weather is unpredictable but there are no crowds and you’ll find the cheapest hotel rates.
Winter Season in the Grand Canyon
Winters at Grand Canyon are cold, quiet and most probably snowy. During the day, temperatures are pretty comfortable but at sunrise, sunset and at night, they drop well below freezing so you’ll need to come prepared with plenty of layers and warm clothes.
Snow is expected and roads in the park can close due to heavy snowfall.
Grand Canyon North Rim is closed, so South Rim sees all the few visitors that come through.
Visiting Grand Canyon in winter is perfect for budget-conscious travelers and for escaping the crowds. If you’re lucky with the weather and you don’t mind the cold, winter can be the best time to go to the Grand Canyon.
Providing there isn’t too much snow and ice on the ground, winter is also a great time for hiking, especially the long trails that are just too hot to tackle in the summer months.
December in Grand Canyon Weather
Average High: 44°F (7°C)
Average Low: 17°F (-8°C)
Precipitation: 1.64 inches of rain with snowfall highly likely
December marks the start of winter at the Grand Canyon, and it can get quite cold during this time.
Average highs are 43°F (6°C) and lows drop to 20°F (-7°C). There is also an average of 1.64 inches of snowfall, so be sure to bring appropriate clothing for the winter weather if you plan to hike.
Despite the colder temperatures, there’s still plenty of sunshine to warm you up during the day and visiting Grand Canyon in December is very doable.
January in Grand Canyon Weather
Average High: 44°F (7°C)
Average Low: 17°F (-8°C)
Precipitation: 1.31 inches of rain with snowfall highly likely
The Grand Canyon is a beautiful place to visit in the winter. January brings cold temperatures with average highs of 44°F (7°C) and lows of 18°F (-8°C).
But it’s worth braving the chill for a unique, serene experience when visiting Grand Canyon in January. With few visitors in the park, one can truly take advantage of the pristine beauty and solitude.
It’s best to prepare for snow and come with warm clothing, as bone-chilling temperatures are not uncommon.
Thinking about visiting the Grand Canyon in January? Read our guide to Grand Canyon in Winter.
February in Grand Canyon Weather
Average High: 46°F (8°C)
Average Low: 19°F (-7°C)
Precipitation: 1.55 inches of rain with snowfall highly likely
Grand Canyon weather in February brings an even colder chill, but also tranquil atmospheres ideal for those looking for a ‘lost world’ feel.
Average highs of 45°F (7°C) and lows of 19°F (-7°C) are to be expected.
Precipitation averages 1.55 inches, with snowfall also occurring on occasion. The park is especially quiet during this time, offering a great opportunity for introspection and reflection while admiring the breathtaking landscape that surrounds you.
Visiting Grand Canyon in February is a budget-friendly and quiet experience.
Is winter a good time to visit the Grand Canyon?
Winter is surprisingly a very good time to visit the Grand Canyon. When visiting in winter you take a big risk with the weather which is why when planning a trip, make sure to schedule a few more days in the area, just in case.
With crowds virtually nonexistent, and accommodation rates at their lowest it’s the time to visit for budget travellers.
We visited in January and there were times it felt like we had the park to ourselves. Sunrise and sunsets were freezing but we had two beautiful sunny days. We were very lucky indeed.
Spring in the Grand Canyon
Spring is another good time to visit the Grand Canyon as days get warmer and longer.
As the season progresses accommodation rates increase and so do crowds. There’s quite a big difference between costs and crowds in March vs May.
May is more similar to summer rates and visitor numbers whereas in March you’ll benefit from more winter-like factors.
Spring also brings plenty of wildflowers to Grand Canyon National Park. It’s also the perfect time for hiking as temperatures aren’t too hot.
Grand Canyon in March Weather
Average High: 53°F (12°C)
Average Low: 25°F (-4°C)
Precipitation: 1.38 inches of rain with potential snowfall expected
Visiting Grand Canyon in March is a great idea as temperatures start to get warmer, with average highs of 53°F (12°C) and lows of 25°F (-4°C).
Weather conditions can be unpredictable in March, however, with frequent gusty winds. It’s best to come prepared for both warm and cold weather, as the temperatures can drop quickly with the onset of the wind.
Backpacking Grand Canyon in March becomes a possibility again after the cold and harsh winter.
There’s a chance of snow at night and in the morning, but it typically melts before noon- ideal for those planning Grand Canyon vacations in March.
Grand Canyon April Weather
Average High: 60°F (16°C)
Average Low: 28°F (-2°C)
Precipitation: 0.93 inches of rain with possible snowfall
April is an ideal season to plan your visit to the Grand Canyon South Rim. With average highs of 60°F (15°C) and lows of 33°F (1°C), the temperatures are just right for outdoor activities.
It’s also a relatively dry month with 0.93 inches of precipitation making it a great time for visiting the Grand Canyon in April
On clear days, you can witness unrivalled sunsets and stunning canyon views that will take your breath away. In my opinion, April is the best month to visit Grand Canyon for the perfect balance between crowds, weather and costs.
Grand Canyon May Weather
Average High: 71°F (22°C)
Average Low: 35°F (2°C)
Precipitation: 0.66 inches of rain with potential snowfall expected
May is one of the most perfect times to visit the Grand Canyon. When visiting the Grand Canyon in May, you’ll generally experience mild and dry weather, with high temperatures reaching around 70°F (21°C) and low temperatures only dropping to 39°F (4°C).
It’s usually a great time for outdoor activities like sightseeing or hiking due to its low humidity and pleasant temperatures. Plus, although there is an average of 0.66 inches of precipitation in May, it’s usually relatively dry.
However, be aware that strong winds can occur at this time of year, so pack accordingly to stay comfortable during your visit.
Is Spring the best time to visit the Grand Canyon?
Spring is a fantastic time to visit the Grand Canyon AZ as the weather gets milder in March, April and May. Days also start to get longer throughout spring with earlier sunrises and later sunsets. Mornings and evenings are milder too.
Visitor numbers start to increase as spring progresses but you still shouldn’t have problems with finding parking or getting on one of the park’s shuttle buses for Hermit Road.
There is a big difference in visitor numbers between March and May, with May being significantly busier than March.
At the end of spring, as North Rim opens, it becomes possible to hike Rim to Rim again.
Summer at Grand Canyon
Summer is the season of scorching temperatures, endless sunshine, and a constant wave of visitors from across the globe. It’s the hottest, busiest and most expensive time.
Summer days are nice and long, however, giving you endless hours to hike and explore the park. If you are planning to catch a sunrise, you’ll need to get up super early though!
Grand Canyon June Weather
Average High: 82°F (28°C)
Average Low: 43°F (6°C)
Precipitation: 0.42 inches of rain, possible storms
June marks the beginning of summer at the Grand Canyon South Rim, and it’s a great time to visit for those looking to experience both warm and cool temperatures.
Grand Canyon weather in June sees high temperatures of about 81°F (27°C), while the low temperature is only 47°F (8°C). Although there’s less precipitation than in May, with an average of 0.42 inches, there is the potential for occasional storms to occur in June.
It’s always wise to be prepared with a raincoat or umbrella before heading out on any outings in the Grand Canyon in June.
Grand Canyon in July Weather
Average High: 86°F (30°C)
Average Low: 50°F (10°C)
Precipitation: 1.81 inches of rain with some rain storms
Grand Canyon in July sees the hottest temperatures of the year at the Grand Canyon South Rim. Grand Canyon temperatures in July average at 84°F (29°C) and see lows of 54°F (12°C).
Not only that, but July is also one of the wettest months with an average of 1.81 inches of precipitation. Storms are quite frequent during this time, especially in the late afternoon and evenings.
When visiting the Grand Canyon in July, it’s important to be prepared for intense heat during the day and occasional thunderstorms.
Grand Canyon August Weather
Average High: 82°F (28°C)
Average Low: 50°F (10°C)
Precipitation: 2.25 inches of rain with frequent rainstorms
Grand Canyon in August is much like July in terms of weather conditions, with average highs of 82°F (28°C) and lows of 53°F (12°C).
The main difference between the two months is that Grand Canyon weather in August can be a little more unpredictable.
August sees more frequent and often major storms, with 2.25 inches of rainfall on average.
This can lead to flash flooding in the Colorado River, so be sure to avoid this area if you’re visiting the Grand Canyon in August. This month is also a great time for witnessing spectacular lightning displays at night.
Is summer the best time to visit the Grand Canyon?
Summer is the busiest time to visit the Grand Canyon. It’s also the most crowded and the most expensive so it’s best avoided.
However, if you can only visit during the summer months, try to visit in June rather than July or August as visitor numbers in June are still a little lower than the peak summer months.
The summer months also make daytime hiking difficult, the dry and super hot temperatures aren’t ideal for comfortable hiking and illnesses like heat stroke or sunstroke become real issues.
If you’re hiking in the summer months make sure to bring out plenty of water, sunscreen and a hat and start out early.
Fall at Grand Canyon
Grand Canyon September Weather
Average High: 75°F (24°C)
Average Low: 42°F (6°C)
Precipitation: 1.52 inches of rain with possible rain
September is known for bringing some of the most unpredictable weather conditions to the Grand Canyon.
Average highs reach 76°F (24°C) and average lows drop to 42°F (6°C), but you can still get some unexpected storms or even early winter snowfall during this time.
While it’s not a common occurrence, it does provide an amazing sight to witness while visiting Grand Canyon in September.
Grand Canyon October Weather
Average High: 64°F (18°C)
Average Low: 33°F (1°C)
Precipitation: 1.10 inches of rain
October is a great month for hiking, as it offers more comfortable temperatures during the day and relatively stable weather conditions.
Grand Canyon in October sees average highs reach 65°F (18°C) and average lows drop to 36°F (2°C). The amount of rainfall is significantly lower than in previous months, only reaching 1.10 inches, and dramatic weather events are rare during this time of year.
October is a very good month to visit Grand Canyon.
Grand Canyon November Weather
Average High: 52°F (11°C)
Average Low: 25°F (-4°C)
Grand Canyon in November Precipitation: 0.94 inches of rain with occasional snowfall
November brings cooler temperatures to the Grand Canyon South Rim, with average highs falling to 52°F (11°C) and lows dropping to 27°F (-3°C).
Even though it’s still warm enough to hike, when visiting the Grand Canyon in November it’s wise to bring warmer clothing with you as mornings and evenings can get quite chilly.
There is an average of 0.94 inches of rainfall in November, and the occasional snow can be expected as winter begins to set in.
Is fall the best time to Visit the Grand Canyon?
Fall is a great time to visit the Grand Canyon as summer visitor numbers begin to decrease. This will mean fewer people at viewpoints and on the most popular trails.
Temperatures begin to decrease, however, which is great for hiking but you’ll need to come more prepared with layers and winter gear.
The weather becomes a little more unstable with more days of cloud cover and even some snow towards the end of fall.
The Best Time to Go To Grand Canyon on a Budget
If you’re prioritising costs on your visit to the Grand Canyon then you’ll want to visit at the cheapest time.
While Grand Canyon National Park entry fees stay the same all year round ($35 per vehicle or free with an Interagency Pass like America The Beautiful), accommodation costs fluctuate a lot throughout the year.
The best time to go to Grand Canyon is at the cheapest time aka the low season. The worst is the summer high season.
Costs in Spring
Costs vary quite a bit depending on whether you visit at the beginning of spring compared with the end. After the winter, prices of accommodation begin to increase through spring until they peak in the summer months.
Visiting the Grand Canyon in March is much cheaper than visiting in May. If you visit at the beginning of March you’ll still be able to pick up some good deals on hotel rooms near Grand Canyon South Rim.
Costs in Summer
The most expensive time to visit is during the Grand Canyon peak season summer months of July and August.
Not only that you’ll need to book accommodation and car rentals months in advance as it tends to sell out quickly.
If you’re visiting on a budget but want to visit in the summer, try to plan your visit for June. Otherwise, the shoulder seasons of spring and fall or even winter are better bets for a more budget-friendly trip.
Costs in Fall
Travel costs in fall begin to slowly decrease after summer. They will remain quite high still in September, however in November you’ll once again be able to pick up some great deals.
I’d still suggest booking your hotel a few months in advance.
While rental cars in Phoenix, Las Vegas and Flagstaff will be increasingly more available through the fall, it’s still a good idea to book in advance.
Costs in Winter
Winter is the most cost-effective season at Grand Canyon. With the fewest people visiting it’s in the winter that you’ll be able to get some great deals. Good accommodation near the park can be found for less than $120 per night and it’s readily available.
Rental cars too are readily available with some great deals to be snapped up- just make sure to have snow chains or snow socks with you.
Due to the low number of visitors, there’s no need to book accommodation months in advance. For those who love spontaneous trips, they are certainly doable with little notice when visiting Grand Canyon in the winter months.
The Best Time to Visit Grand Canyon to Avoid the Crowds
The Grand Canyon is a beautiful place that naturally lots of people visit. Sometimes, it can get very crowded, and that might not be what you want. If crowd control is a priority for you, here’s when to visit Grand Canyon and when to avoid it.
Less Crowded: The best time to see Grand Canyon when it’s quiet is in the low season or in December, January, or February. There aren’t as many people, and you get to see the Grand Canyon with a little bit of snow, and you’ll have many of the viewpoints pretty much to yourself.
March and November are also not too crowded, and the weather is okay. It’s not too hot or too cold, so you can enjoy your visit more but expect more people than in the winter months.
Crowded: From April to October, the Grand Canyon gets super busy. Lots and lots of tourists come during these months. The South Rim can feel very crowded, especially at popular sunrise and sunset spots. Hiking trails at this time will also be crowded.
Busy: During the summer months of July and August in particular, many folks come from Las Vegas just for the day. This makes it even busier. The park sees most of its visitors in July and August so if you’re not one for crowded, avoid this time.
If you want to visit in the summer but don’t want the crowds, another option is to visit the North Rim instead of the South. The Grand Canyon North Rim gets far fewer visitors than the South Rim so this might be a better option.
The Best Time to Visit Grand Canyon for Hiking and Outdoor Activities
The best time to hike Grand Canyon largely depends on your preferences and tolerance for weather conditions.
In general, spring and early fall are the best times for hiking and outdoor activities as temperatures are cooler and more tolerable.
Winter can also be a great time for hiking if conditions are right, however, you’ll need to pay close attention to snow and ice on the trails.
If you’re visiting in summer it’s best to start hikes early in the morning to beat the summer heat, carry plenty of water with you and avoid the especially long trails.
Best Times to Visit the Grand Canyon for Good Weather
You never can be 100% certain of the weather, especially nowadays as the climate in general gets more and more unstable. However, the best times to visit the Grand Canyon for good weather are generally during the spring and fall.
During both spring and fall, you can generally expect clear skies and lower chances of precipitation. These seasons are ideal for hiking, sightseeing, and enjoying the stunning vistas the Grand Canyon has to offer. Additionally, you’ll encounter fewer crowds compared to the peak summer season.
Winter (December to February) can be a challenging time for weather, but if you’re lucky enough to have clear skies you might be able to capture the Grand Canyon blanketed in snow.
When to Avoid Visiting Grand Canyon
Grand Canyon is best avoided in the summer months. The summer months are the hottest, most expensive and the most crowded.
Viewpoints and shuttle buses are crowded, there’s often traffic on Desert View Drive and hiking trails are full. The oppressive heat doesn’t make for comfortable hiking or sightseeing either.
Given the summer vacation, this is the best time of year to go to Grand Canyon for many. If you can only visit in the summer months, but to avoid the worst of the crowds, try to visit in June rather than July or August.
Top Tips for Getting the Most out of Your Visit to the Grand Canyon
Avoid Peak Periods – Peak season in Las Vegas and Grand Canyon runs from April to September. The prices for flights, hotels, and attractions tend to be higher during these months so it’s best to avoid it if you can.
Look out for Off-Season Deals – June to August is considered the off-season in Las Vegas, while October to April is best for Grand Canyon. During this time, you can get great deals on flights, hotels and attractions due to the lower demand.
Pack for all weather – The Grand Canyon generally sees warmer temperatures during the day and cool temperatures at night- even in the summer. This means you’ll need adequate clothing for all seasons. Make sure to pack well and include plenty of layers and warm clothes.
Check the NPS website– Before your visit, no matter the season, make sure to check the National Park Service website for road closures, weather reports and alerts to see what could be affecting your visit.
Try a Helicopter Tour– This gives a very different vantage point over the Grand Canyon and provides a once-in-a-lifetime experience for the whole family. Check out this Helicopter Tour of Grand Canyon South Rim which includes a full refund in case of cancellation due to bad weather.
When is the best time to visit Grand Canyon National Park for you? Have any questions or comments about your trip? Let me know in the box below.
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