Best Time To Visit Grand Canyon National Park 2023
Spring and fall are the finest seasons to visit the Grand Canyon South Rim. However, the most fantastic time of year for you will mostly depend on why you’re visiting northern Arizona’s fabled scenery. The optimum time to visit the Grand Canyon will be determined by breaking down each season month by month.
Would you prefer to descend by foot to the Colorado River? Are you only taking a day excursion to the top Grand Canyon vantage points? Or do you intend to take your camera outside to capture the unmatched Grand Canyon sunrises and sunsets?
The best time of year to visit the Grand Canyon depends on three main elements, including hiking, driving to overlooks, and canyon photography. Crowds, expense, and weather-possibly most importantly-are, are these three.
Let’s examine the facts to determine when you should visit the magnificent Grand Canyon.
Best Time For Good Weather in Grand Canyon
Spring will last from March to May at the South Rim, situated at a 6,800-foot height and about two hours north of Flagstaff, Arizona. Fall will last from September to November. The temperatures are generally temperate during both seasons.
During these seasons, nighttime lows frequently reach the 30s, while daytime highs reach the 60s. Although there may be a potential for rain, the weather is pleasant for hiking the Grand Canyon. During the shoulder seasons, the temperature inside the canyon ranges from 55 to 82 degrees.
Due to the possibility of snowy conditions, the North Rim, which is four hours north of Flagstaff and lies at an elevation of 8,000 feet, is only open from mid-May through mid-October. Low 30s to 60s are typical when this park area first opens to the public; as summer progresses, the temperature rises further.
Springtime is warmer at the West Rim, where you can find the well-known Grand Canyon Skywalk, with lows in the 50s and highs primarily in the 80s. The West Rim experiences highs in the 60s to the 90s in September, 58 to 84 in October, and 46 to 68 in November, cooler months. East of Las Vegas, the West Rim is four hours away.
Summer brings scorching temperatures and dry circumstances, which is not surprising. At the bottom of the canyon, temperatures can reach as high as 100 ℉ on the South Rim. Less extreme temperatures, from the mid-40s to the upper 70s, are experienced at the North Rim from June through August.
The West Rim can be miserable, with typical summertime temperatures in the upper 70s to more than 100 degrees.
Winter months temperatures at the South Rim area are often in the 20s to the low 40s, while they are typically in the high 30s to the high 50s on the canyon floor.
Fewer people go to see the stunning red rocks covered in snow during the winter, which is why many visitors think it’s a particular time to go. Only approximately 10% of summer visitors also visit during the winter. Winter may be the best season to come if you want to avoid crowds.
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Best Time To Explore The Interior In Grand Canyon
If they can’t descend into the canyon at least partially, most visitors won’t be satisfied with their trip to the Grand Canyon. Compared to the expansive views near the rim, the perspective from the inside is very different. There are several ways to complete this unique experience, either on foot or with guided mule excursions.
You can only hike into or out of the Grand Canyon during the day, regardless of the season you visit. There are numerous signs at the South Rim warning people to avoid hiking to the bottom and return in a single day.
Dependent on which trail you take, the distance to the canyon’s floor is between 7 and 9 miles; the hike back up is challenging and takes at least twice as long as the trip down, even for seasoned hikers. Those lovely, well-kept trails become dangerous if you continue on them after dark. Read the FAQ for hikers on the National Park Service’s website.
Several service operators arrange mule rides into the canyon from the South Rim and guided hikes to the canyon’s base.
Your tolerance for heat or cold and your favorite activities will determine when it is ideal for traveling to the canyon floor. Choose the summer or early fall when the water is a little warmer if you want to splash around the Colorado River. (Rafting excursions start in mid-June.) A winter getaway is ideal for vacationers who prefer fewer crowds and evenings by the fire.
Best Time To Avoid Crowds
The Grand Canyon is busier when school is out, which you probably didn’t need me to mention. There will be an increase in attendance during the summer, spring break, or any other holiday.
There could be lengthy lineups to enter, crowds at the most famous vistas, and delays for almost everything else due to the more than 6 million tourists the area receives annually. The National Park Service provides even survival advice for the South Rim’s crowds.
You’ll benefit from less crowded conditions if you can visit when school is not taking a usual break. Check out the NPS crowd survival instructions linked above if you have to visit during a school break because your schedule depends on it, and be sure to get to the park as early as you can in the morning.
Best Time In Grand Canyon For Special Events
Grand Canyon National Park regularly organizes yearly activities, including a July 4th parade, June stargazing events, and a November two-day Native American Heritage Celebration in observance of National Native American Heritage Month.
Best Time To See Wildlife In Grand Canyon 2023
There are 447 species of birds, 91 species of mammals, 48 species of reptiles, ten species of amphibians, and a wide range of bugs and insects in Grand Canyon National Park.
The Grand Canyon’s elk are considered the park’s most hazardous inhabitants. The National Park Service advises remaining at least 100 feet away from these creatures since they can reach weights of 730 pounds and become violent in the fall (when they mate).
Visit the park when it’s cool and calm for the best chances of seeing creatures, including elk, bighorn sheep, bison, mule deer, javelinas, and mountain lions. The best times of the day to see animals are dawn and dusk.
You’ll notice increased animal activity during the cooler months of late fall, winter, and early spring. This is due to the weather, and more animals are present when there are fewer people nearby.
Given that the park is home to several threatened and endangered bird species, birdwatchers may be able to spot unusual species there. These species include the western yellow-billed cuckoo, California condor, southwestern willow flycatcher, and others.
The park is home to several raptors in addition to the California condor, including peregrine falcons, red-tailed and zone-tail hawks, and Mexican spotted owls. Although autumn is the finest bird-watching season, you can see some of these species yearly.
The Best Time For Cheap Deals In Grand Canyon
The cheapest time of year to fly from major cities to Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport (PHX) or Las Vegas’ Harry Reid International Airport (LAS) varies by origin, as you can see when you search for flights on Skyscanner.
Although costs increase around Thanksgiving, November is often an excellent time to travel if you’re going from New York City to Phoenix. In a typical year, Boston flights decline in August, while Los Angeles flights are at their lowest in June. The cheapest month for airfares is October.
Find a reasonable time of year to depart from your desired airport with Skyscanner. You should reserve your trek (15 months in advance) if you intend to see the canyon floor; this will give you plenty of time to secure a good flight. Here are some pointers for getting the most out of your airline miles for domestic travel.
You can stay inside Grand Canyon National Park or in a nearby village when you visit. Each alternative has relatively clear advantages and disadvantages.
Staying inside the park provides a more immersive experience and more time to take in the canyon’s natural surroundings. When you visit outside, you’ll have access to a broader range of amenities and the option to reserve your hotel using reward points.
Due to the pandemic, not all rooms are available at this time. Always make direct contact with the hotel to verify availability.
Hotel inside the park: Reservations for hotels at the South Rim of the park are handled by Delaware North and Xanterra Parks & Resorts; rooms become available a year in advance.
To stay inside the canyon at Phantom Ranch, enter the National Park Service’s lottery 15 months before your travel dates. At the North Rim, Grand Canyon Lodge offers a few types of cabins and lodge rooms; only the Western Cabins provide two queen beds.
Enter the National Park Service lottery 15 months before your visit dates to stay at Phantom Ranch inside the canyon. Grand Canyon Lodge has a few different types of cabins and lodge rooms available at the North Rim, but only the Western Cabins include two queen beds.
Hotels outside the park: Here’s an enjoyable, hassle-free method for tourists to see the Grand Canyon: Stay outside the park at Williams (a quaint tiny town 54 miles south of the South Rim), then enter the park using the Grand Canyon Railway (two hours and 15 minutes). Two trains depart from the depot every morning, returning to Williams in the late afternoon.
You can take in the breathtaking landscape without having to drive. The least expensive choice, Pullman Class, is $67 roundtrip for adults and $32 roundtrip for children. The price of a seat in the glass observation dome can reach $189 for adults and $153 for children. The cost of the Luxury Dome and Luxury Parlor automobiles is higher (and no children are allowed in either).
The Holiday Inn Express & Suites Williams, a half-mile from the railway depot, offers accommodations with two queen beds, 42-inch televisions, microwaves, and refrigerators. With breakfast included, rooms start at 15,000 IHG Rewards Club points per night.
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For 15,000 points per night, Wyndham offers a variety of properties in Williams, including the Travelodge by Wyndham Williams Grand Canyon. This hotel offers accommodations with two queen beds, including continental breakfast, and the option of booking adjoining rooms.
The Best Western Plus Inn of Williams is another option; it costs 16,000 points per night and offers breakfast.
The town nearest to the park’s entrance is Tusayan. The Best Western Premier Grand Canyon Squire Inn is located there, and rooms with two queen beds start at 24,000 points per night.
Why You Should Visit Grand Canyon National Park?
If it’s your first time, visiting the Grand Canyon has a nearly holy quality. Grand Canyon National Park, located in northern Arizona, spans 278 miles and features breathtaking views, trails, and, of course, the magnificent Grand Canyon.
The flowing Colorado River slowly carved deep channels through banded rock to create this unfathomably deep and expansive canyon.
If you can believe it, the Grand Canyon is now more than a mile deep, 18 miles broad, and 278 miles long. It is larger than the entire state of Rhode Island! The Grand Canyon’s absolute vastness and extent are only vaguely depicted in photographs.
You will only know why there is so much controversy once you see it firsthand. The Grand Canyon’s views are frequently described with unmatched, majestic, spectacular, and mind-blowing adjectives.
Incredibly, anyone can describe the view; when they realize the magnitude and scope of this enormous red-rock canyon in the middle of the desert, many people are rendered entirely speechless. The stratified bands of the Grand Canyon’s famed red rock convey a story of geological history.
Even though Grand Canyon National Park (GCNP) was founded in 1919, the breathtaking gorge that more than 5 million visitors throng to see in person every year was formed by natural forces that have been at work for millions of years.
Some of the most famous vistas and perspectives are on the South Rim side of the canyon. The best locations on the North Rim can also provide breathtaking views; you need to know where to look.
- Mather Point (South Main Entrance)
- Lipan Point (South Rim)
- Redwall Bridge (North Kaibab Trail)
- Hopi Point (South Rim Trail)
- Plateau Point (Bright Angel Trail)
- Shoshone Point (South Rim)
- Yavapai Observation Station (South Rim)
- Desert View Watchtower (South Rim)
You will always have things to do at the Grand Canyon in terms of activities. Additionally, you can go to the bottom to see Phantom Ranch if you’re up for a true adventure.
Even better, you can stay the night here and get a filling lunch to refuel before the climb back up to the rim! For a less strenuous approach to explore the canyon, day walk or cycle along the edge.
Take trails that lead deep into the canyon; if you have the time and energy, hike to the bottom. Using mules to explore the canyon will transport you back in time.
Camp overnight by trekking along hard, rocky paths. Or get in a boat or a raft and travel down the Colorado River to experience the canyon from a different angle. The park offers a wide variety of hotel, dining, beverage, and family-friendly activities.
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You’ll discover many convenient options inside the park, including the Canyon Village Market and General Store, pubs, coffee shops, food trucks, and dine-in restaurants.
During the busiest months, there are practically daily guided tours and educational excursions for individuals interested in learning about the geology and history of the Grand Canyon. Use the Grand Canyon Railway train from Williams, Arizona, for simple access to the park.
To acquire a truly unique perspective, you may even take a helicopter tour over the canyon! It’s a good idea to research the ideal time to visit Grand Canyon National Park before you begin making travel arrangements because many hotels, restaurants, shops, and visitor centers are closed for a portion of the year.
The ideal time to visit, the least expensive period, and the busiest and most crowded times are all listed below. To make the most of your GCNP trip, you’ll also find practical travel advice and the worst time to visit!
Conclusion: Best Time To Visit Grand Canyon in 2023
There’s always a terrible time to visit the Grand Canyon if you want to see the North Rim, which is closed during the year’s colder months.
Every day of the year is beautiful. However, some times might be more effective for you than others, depending on what you’re looking for.
July and August would be avoided because of the heat and many people. Instead, travel from September to October or from March to May (before Memorial Day) (after Labor Day). If you must visit during a busy season (summer), think about the more isolated North Rim.
Consider including a visit to the nearby Zion National Park, which is only a few hours away. That way, you can check off several of the country’s best national parks in one trip.
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