When to Visit the Grand Canyon

by SmarterTravel Staff

With sweeping views and temperate weather, the Grand Canyon attracts visitors throughout the year. The most popular time to visit is during the summer, when schools are on vacation and the weather is hot.

Spring break is also gaining popularity, and more visitors come each year. Winter is the least popular time to visit and can be the most difficult time to travel, with storms, road closures, and colder temperatures. However, those who brave the cooler weather are rewarded with snow-accented views and reduced prices in the surrounding areas.

  • high season: late May to early September
  • low season: November to February
  • shoulder season: mid-September to October, March to mid-May

Weather Information

The Grand Canyon's climate varies dramatically with the change in its elevation, which spans from around 2,000 feet to more than 8,000 feet.

Summer temperatures remain pleasant along the South and North Rims, which experience highs in the 80s and 70s, respectively. Temperatures at lower elevations such as at the river near Phantom Ranch can reach highs over 100 degrees. Thunderstorms are common from July through early September, and flash floods are a concern.

Fall is a warm period for the canyon, with rim temperatures in the 60s in September and the 50s in November, and the river area temperatures in the 90s in September and the high 60s in November.

Winters can be cold, with icy trails and roads and heavy snowfall in the higher elevations. Along the rim, afternoon temperatures can reach highs in the 40s, while river area temperatures range in the 40s to 50s due to cold air trapped in the canyon.

Spring can be a pleasant time for the canyon, but high winds reaching nearly 40 mph may occur. Rim temperatures reach highs in the 50s and 60s in April and 70s and 80s in June, while the river area sees highs in the 80s in April to nearly 105 degrees in June.

Crowd Information

The Grand Canyon area gets very busy in the summer and during spring break (four or five weeks before Easter and one or two weeks after), when there may be traffic and parking congestion at the south entrance.

Closure Information

South Rim facilities remain open throughout the year, but North Rim businesses are only open from mid-May through mid-October. Roads into the North Rim open in mid-May and close at the first significant snowfall, typically in late November or early December.

When to Save

Park prices do not vary seasonally. However, businesses in nearby towns may offer winter specials.

Information provided by the National Park Service.

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