The beginning of a new year is just around the corner. Maybe this year you make travel resolutions or are eager to check a few boxes off your bucket list. Seeing the Grand Canyon is an experience one must have in their lifetime. The biggest obstacle to tackle is usually when you should go. Weighing all the pros and cons, here is everything you can expect during the 4 seasons at the South Rim of Grand Canyon National Park.
Arizona is known as a hot, dry desert and is usually portrayed as a rugged and intense environment. Though most of the state can fall into this description, the Grand Canyon resides at almost 7,000 feet in elevation and experiences snow and cold weather during the winter months. Average temperatures remain around 40 degrees Farenheit during the day and can fall into the teens at night! Snowfall and precipitation can occur during this time of year as well. When hiking along trails wear crampons to reduce slipping on ice.
Don’t let the cold weather discourage you from seeing this natural wonder! This is usually the quietest and most peaceful time to visit the Grand Canyon South Rim. During the summer months the park is usually filled with tourists and parking can be a hassle. Winter allows for spectacular views of the canyon dusted in snow; photographers of all levels try to captivate what can only be described as a magical experience. Enjoy a hot cocoa as you walk along the rim and take in a view that most people do not get to witness.
Once the snow has begun to melt and flowers start to bloom, the canyon begins to come back to life. Visiting Grand Canyon South Rim in the spring is always an enjoyable experience. The weather fluxuates this time of year but guests can expect warmer temperatures, usually between 50 and 70 degrees Fahrenheit. Snowfall can still occur but it is less likely. The park begins to see more traffic due to the delightful weather.
National Park Week happens each April where visitors can experience a variety of programs and events from rangers and special guests. While wildlife is present year round, the animals that migrate south for the winter begin to head back to the canyon. This is a great time to see elk, mule deer, and maybe even bighorn sheep; remember to always stay as far away as possible from these wild creatures.
Summer is peak season for Grand Canyon South Rim. Long, sunny days allow guests to enjoy the view for hours on end. This is also the hottest time to be at the canyon. Temperatures hover around 80 degrees Fahrenheit along the rim but step inside the canyon and you’ll experience triple digit temperatures! Monsoon season happens this time of year. Heavy, sporadic rainfall should be expected particularly in July. Although the weather is usually gorgeous, these storms create flash floods and lightning is a serious threat.
Trying to beat the crowds? Make your way to the park before 10:00 AM. Parking and long wait times occur daily during the summer. It is easy to forget to stay hydrated or protect oneself from the sun while gazing upon the vastness of the canyon. Try to limit sun exposure and drink plenty of water throughout the day, especially if descending into the canyon.
As the heat becomes less intense, Autumn is a favorite time to head to the canyon. Temperatures begin to fall into the comfortable 60s but can reach as low as 20 degrees Fahrenheit at night. Be sure to pack clothes accordingly. With the image of the hot desert in mind, many people do not come prepared for the colder weather during these months.
The Grand Canyon in the fall is a spectacular sight. Look out for aspen trees as they begin to turn bright orange and yellow. Crowds begin to dissipate this season but many people still continue to flock to the canyon since the weather is ideal for hiking.
Many people ask “when is the best/worst time to visit the South Rim of Grand Canyon?” The honest answer is there is none. Each season brings something unique and extraordinary. If you seek less crowds, winter time is excellent. Looking for a great time to hike? Transition seasons like Spring or Autumn might be best. Have some vacation time over the summer? Bring the whole family! The South Rim welcomes you with inspiring views year round.