Grand Canyon Weather

The spring and summer months are THE most popular season for visiting Grand Canyon National Park. When considering what weather to expect, you should also keep in mind that with good weather comes large crowds, scarce parking and busy viewpoints and visitors centers.

Average temperatures for the South Rim are: May high 70 / low 39; June high 81 / low 47; July high 84 / low 54; August high 81 / low 53; September high 76 / low 47.

The North Rim is open for the summer, and sees about one-fifth of the annual visitors of the South Rim, so don't miss out on seeing what some argue are even more spectacular views of the Grand Canyon. Average summer temperatures at the North Rim are: May high 62 / low 34; June high 73 / low 40; July high 77 / low 46; August high 75 / low 45; September high 69 / low 39.

If you're headed for the Grand Canyon Skywalk on the West Rim, be prepared to experience hot, dry summer temperatures and wear tons of sunscreen and/or a wide brimmed hat and drink plenty of water. Average summer temps at the West Rim are: May high 96 / low 65; June high 108 / low 73; July high 113 / low 79; August high 110 / low 78; September high 102 / low 70.

In July and August, when the dew point rises, Arizona experiences what are called monsoon rains. Quick, intense thunderstorms contribute to the rapid-shift swings in weather in the summertime, but locals will tell you that the monsoon season is one of their favorite times of year because it brings relief to seasonally high temperatures and makes the landscape incredibly verdant and fragrant. The Grand Canyon's spectacular vistas just 'pop' against a stormy background.

A note about hiking into the Inner Canyon:
You've probably read or heard this before, but you must use extreme precaution and planning if you decide to hike down into the Grand Canyon itself. This is crucial year-round because the temperature rises approximately 5.5 degrees for every 1,000 you drop in elevation, which means that the temperature inside the Inner Gorge can be up to ~27 degrees warmer than on the rim. This is of particular importance in the summer months where the temperature on the floor of the Grand Canyon ranges as follows: May high 91 / low 62; June high 101 / low 71; July high 106 / low 77; August high 103 / low 74; September high 98 / low 68.

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The first thing to say is: Please do come to the Canyon in winter... you'll love the views and even more you'll love how few other visitors there are!

In the winter months, the most-frequently asked question we get is Is it too cold to see the Grand Canyon?" The answer is, it depends. Only you know what you consider tolerable when it comes to cold or hot weather.

At the South Rim, the average high in October, November, December and January is between 64 and 40 degrees F and the low between 36 and 18 degrees F. You can expect snow at the South Rim, which makes for some unbelievably beautiful views of the Canyon, but you must be willing to pack on the layers and get out of your car to see them. You'll often see morning fog or low-lying clouds settled into the mile-deep canyon, but if you're patient, the views will reveal themselves later in the day as the weather warms.

Take note: the North Rim is closed from Oct - May, so if you're coming in the winter, plan to see the South Rim or the West Rim.)

If you are leaning toward a wintertime visit that includes simply driving to the South Rim, parking and looking over the edge of the canyon and calling it a day, you'll just need enough warm clothing to stand being outside in 43 degree cold for an hour or so to take pictures, walk along the Rim trail and tour Grand Canyon Village, etc. Expect some pretty moderate-to-strong winds, too, which can bring the temperature down considerably.

If you're planning to spend a full day doing a hike down to the Colorado River where it's warmer and camping overnight at the bottom, you'll need to apply for a backcountry permit or hook up with one of the guided hiking companies we feature on theCanyon.com, and get more specific details on what to pack, wear and how to prepare.

Our recommendation year-round, weather permitting, is that you book a helicopter tour (well worth the money, even for a family of four; a 20 minute flight is just as good as a 45-minute flight if budget is a concern.) It's a climate controlled environment and you'll get great views you can't get by just looking over the side of a guard rail.

Another great option around Christmastime is the Polar Express on Grand Canyon Railway. The Grand Canyon Railway is probably one of the most popular wintertime activity at the Canyon... the Polar Express version of the Grand Canyon Railway run is shorter than at other times of year and Santa Claus is on the train and there are festive refreshments and music and entertainment... a great time. Grand Canyon Railway can be found on theCanyon.com of course. Book early - it fills up fast.

Last, the Grand Canyon itself is not a town, so holiday activities are not centered inside the park. However, check out theCanyon.com's calendar of events for the December events happening in the town of Williams just south of the South Rim entrance and the college-town of . These towns/cities are where you'll find winter holiday events happening.

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Late winter and early spring are glorious at the Grand Canyon. Visit the South Rim or the West Rim (the remote North Rim is closed annually through mid-May). Average high/low temperatures at the South Rim are as follows each month: February high 45 / low 21; March high 51 / low 25; April high 60 / low 32. Expect to see breath-taking views of snow blanketing the Grand Canyon's surrounding plateau and settled on the nooks and crannies of the chasm walls. Snow can make hiking or walking on the rim trail tricky, so be even more careful than usual and obey posted signs and guard rails.

Highway travel to the Grand Canyon in the winter, even with snow and rain present, is fairly simple and safe. Your best bet for entry in and out of the Grand Canyon South Rim is Highway 64 between Williams and the South Rim entrance, particularly if you're coming from Las Vegas. If you're coming from Flagstaff, we recommend taking the route of Interstate 40 to Williams and Highway 64 as described above versus taking Highway 180 which cuts diagonally northwest from Flagstaff toward Valle because Highway 64 gets more traffic and is maintained by snow removal tractors a tad better.

At the West Rim (which is not part of Grand Canyon National Park but under operation of the Hualapai Native American Tribe) annual temperatures and precipitation on record are for nearby Dolan Springs, Arizona. The West Rim is much warmer than the South and North Rims, with average temperatures as follows: February high 70 / low 43; March high 77 / low 49; April high 86 / low 56. Very little annual precipitation - only about 5.6 inches per year - means you're almost guaranteed clear, sunny conditions at the West Rim which is great because rain can make the 15 mile unpaved road a little trickier than usual. But it also means you should definitely pack the sunscreen as waiting in line for the Skywalk can get pretty sunny during the approximate one hour wait.

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Great West Adventure Tours

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GRAND CANYON'S NEAREST AIRPORTS

Most visitors fly into Phoenix or Las Vegas and drive to the Grand Canyon. Learn how: See All Nearby Grand Canyon Airports »

PLANES, TRAINS AND AUTOMOBILES

Drive yourself or take a shuttle? Learn the transportation options for each Grand Canyon rim. See All Grand Canyon Transportation »

SOUTH RIM HOTELS & THINGS TO DO

Find places to stay and things to do at the South Rim of Grand Canyon National Park. See All South Rim Hotels & Things to Do »

DRIVING DIRECTIONS TO THE SOUTH RIM

Get to the Grand Canyon South Rim from anywhere using the quickest, shortest and best routes. Driving Directions to the South Rim »

A Day At The Canyon from John Burcham Photography. John Burcham is a commercial, editorial photographer based out of Flagstaff, AZ. You can see more of his work at www.johnburcham.com