Best Time to Visit Grand Canyon National Park

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A river running through a canyon and a blue sky with mountains in the distance
The Grand Canyon is one of the world's natural wonders and a top travel destination

The Grand Canyon is at the top of countless people's travel bucket lists. That's not surprising, since it's one of the world's natural wonders.

However, the best time to visit Grand Canyon National Park Is different for everyone. So, it's important to consider multiple factors before you make your travel plans.

The summer (June-September) is the most crowded time to visit. Costs will be at their highest, and the temperatures can rise as high as 85 degrees Fahrenheit during the day.

During the March-June and September-December periods, crowds and costs are lower, but it's less warm, too. Parts of the canyon are also closed to visitors before May and after October.

No matter what, the Grand Canyon is worth seeing. Keep reading to assess the best time for you to plan your visit!

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  • 12 Grand Canyon National Park best time to visit tips

Best Time to Go to Grand Canyon National Park

Grand Canyon National Park Vacation Planning Questions

A landscape with trees and hills with a blue sky and the sun rising in the distance
The best time to visit Grand Canyon National Park and other questions answered
A sign on a white brick wall "Grand Canyon National Park" in black letters
The South Rim of the Grand Canyon is open 24 hours a day all year round

When is the best time to visit Grand Canyon National Park?

You have two options if you're looking for the best time of year for a trip to the Grand Canyon. The spring (March-June) and the fall (September-December) are both considered "low" periods for tourism, but they're highly recommended times to visit according to the locals.

During spring, daytime temperatures are between 54 and 82 degrees Fahrenheit and usually between 50 and 76 degrees Fahrenheit at night. The weather is usually sunny, so keep that in mind when you pack, however, the nights can get chilly so throw in a sweater.

The Grand Canyon's opening times won't be a problem if you plan your visit around which rim to visit. The South Rim is open 24 hours a day all year. The North Rim, however, is only open for five months between May 15th and October 15th.

A snowy canyon with a river running through it and a cloudy blue sky
The Grand Canyon is cheapest to visit between November and February

When is the cheapest time to visit Grand Canyon?

If you want to plan a trip to the Grand Canyon, the most cost-effective trip will be between November and February. Not many people visit the park then since the North Rim is closed and temperatures can go as low as 30 degrees Fahrenheit, which is chilly.

Airlines and lodgings offer deals to entice more visitors to visit in the fall (September-December) and winter (December-March) "low season." Even the best hotels near Grand Canyon National Park will lower their prices or offer special deals.

You'll still have to pay the same visitor's fee to get into the park, but you can keep an eye out for national park free pass days that pop up occasionally.

Manuela Durson/Shutterstock.com
A couple of cacti in a desert with airplanes in the distance
The cheapest times to fly to the Grand Canyon are during the fall and winter

When is the cheapest time to fly to Grand Canyon?

The cheapest times to fly to the Grand Canyon are during the fall (September-December) and winter (December-March). In particular, between November and February, you're more likely to find deals on flights.

There are three major airports near Grand Canyon National Park. Grand Canyon National Park Airport, Flagstaff Pulliam Airport, and Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport, which are all in Arizona.

Though travelers fly into and out of these airports all year, there is a dip during the fall and winter when fewer people are going on vacation. Since the airlines know the Grand Canyon draws millions of people to Arizona every year, they lower flight prices to encourage visitors.

A waterfall of blue water in a canyon surrounded by green trees
The Grand Canyon is a popular family destination in the summer

When is the Grand Canyon's peak season?

Summer (May-September) is the Grand Canyon's peak season. The landmark is a popular family destination, so many people plan their visits to coincide with schools' summer vacations.

The weather during this time of year is very pleasant. While the rest of Arizona can get extremely hot in the summer, the Grand Canyon's weather is sunny and mild. Temperatures range between 70 and 82 degrees Fahrenheit during the day and between 36 and 50 degrees Fahrenheit at night.

Unfortunately, with so many visitors arriving during the summer months, the cost to visit Grand Canyon National Park also reaches a peak. While the price of the permit needed to enter the park does not change, there are other costs to consider. Flights, accommodation, and even tours are at their highest prices since the demand for these amenities is very high.

A tree branch and a wooden bench overlooking the mountains
Visiting Grand Canyon National Park in springtime offers lower crowds and prices

When is the least crowded time to visit Grand Canyon?

The best time of year to visit Grand Canyon National Park if you want to avoid crowds is springtime (March-June). Since springtime falls within the school year, most families prefer to schedule their trips to the park during the summer or winter breaks.

The weather is sunny and pleasant with temperatures ranging from 54 to 82 degrees Fahrenheit during the day and from 25 to 43 degrees Fahrenheit at night. Arizona is famously sunny for the majority of the year so you should dress in layers if you plan on spending all day in the park.

Fewer crowds also mean lower prices. Since the demand for hotel rooms or flights won't be very high, you can make last-minute plans and still find good deals.

The best time to visit Grand Canyon National Park for hiking is in Autumn
Bright Angel Trail is a popular hiking path at the Grand Canyon National Park

When is the best time to hike the Grand Canyon?

Autumn (September-December) is the best time to visit the Grand Canyon if you intend to do a lot of hiking. While most of the trails in the park are open all year, fall has the most ideal weather and terrain conditions.

Fall temperatures range between 43 degrees Fahrenheit in December and 76 degrees Fahrenheit in September, so you won't have to worry about overheating, though you'll still want to pack sunscreen, water, and a protective hat.

Bright Angel Trail is one of the most popular hiking paths in the park. You can take the trail yourself, or you can go on a guided trek to ensure you see everything it has to offer.

A dirt road walking path with rocks and plants on either side with mountains ahead
Visit in spring or fall to avoid crowds and get good deals on travel and lodging

When is the best season to visit Grand Canyon?

Most locals recommend visiting the Grand Canyon in the fall (September-December) or in spring (March-June). Both of these seasons offer comparable experiences in terms of costs, weather, and crowds.

In the spring, temperatures vary between 54 and 82 degrees Fahrenheit during the day and between 25 and 43 degrees Fahrenheit at night. During the fall, it's a little cooler with daytime temperatures between 43 and 76 degrees Fahrenheit and between 18 and 44 degrees Fahrenheit at night.

Arizona is famously sunny, so you likely won't have to worry about rain while you are there, though a small flurry of snow is possible in late December when winter is approaching.

Spring and fall are both low seasons for tourists, so crowds won't be too bad. You'll be able to find good deals on travel and lodging and you will have more luck finding last-minute deals.

A blue tent on the sand overlooking a river and the canyon
The best time to camp at Grand Canyon is during the spring and fall months

When is the best time to camp in Grand Canyon?

If you're trying to decide the best time to see Grand Canyon from a campsite, you have a few things to consider. Namely, what weather and crowd levels you're willing to tolerate.

Prices to visit the park are stable all year, so the only costs that could vary would be your travel expenses. It's worth noting, however, that "free pass" days pop up periodically throughout the year at all US national parks which can lower your overnight costs a bit.

The spring (March-June) and fall (September-December) months are the best times to camp if you want to avoid crowds. These periods are a little cooler and occur during the school year, so there are fewer families.

While daytime temperatures are mild and comfortable, usually ranging between the low-50s and low-80 degrees Fahrenheit, depending on when you travel, it's much cooler at night. Temperatures can reach a below-freezing 18 degrees Fahrenheit overnight and usually aren't warmer than 43 degrees Fahrenheit.

A rainbow over a canyon with a dark sky and clouds
The Grand Canyon has two periods of substantial rainfall during the year

When is the best weather to visit Grand Canyon?

The spring (March-June) and summer (June-September) months are the best times to visit the Grand Canyon if the weather is a concern for you. Since the park is in Arizona, there's rarely any precipitation.

However, the area is prone to getting substantial rainfall twice a year, once near September and once near early spring when there are more drastic seasonal changes. To avoid visiting during one of these times, plan your trip between April and August.

The Grand Canyon's average temperature during the daytime is around 70 degrees Fahrenheit in the spring and around 80 degrees Fahrenheit in the summer.

A rocky canyon with a river running through it and a greyish-blue sky
The summer months are the most popular times for tourists to visit the Grand Canyon

When is the worst time to visit Grand Canyon?

The Grand Canyon in summer (June-September) is beautiful and has a wonderfully sunny and warm climate, but it's often considered the worst time to plan a visit. Locals recommend avoiding the park during this season due to the crowd levels.

As one of the USA's most famous landmarks, it's a popular destination for family vacations. Most people with children choose to travel when school isn't in session, making summer the perfect time to plan a trip.

Summer brings the most people to the area and so prices for flights and accommodation go up, but if you plan to go then, you will need to book weeks if not months in advance.

A view of a canyon from a helicopter window
The best time for a helicopter tour of the Grand Canyon is in the spring or summer

When is the best time for a Grand Canyon helicopter tour?

If you want a bird's eye view of the park, the best time of year to go to the Grand Canyon is in the spring (March-June) or the summer (June-September). During these seasons, the temperatures are warm enough that the high altitude that comes along with a helicopter tour won't be uncomfortably chilly. However, always bring a warm layer.

March temperatures usually hover around 54 degrees Fahrenheit and rise steadily until July when they reach their peak at around 85 degrees Fahrenheit. Since these tours only take place during the daytime, you won't have to worry about dealing with the nighttime chill while you're taking in the breathtaking sights below you.

Another bright side to taking a helicopter tour in the spring or summer months is the amount of daylight you'll have at your disposal. Since the sun is out longer than it is during the fall (September-December) and winter (December-March) you'll have more slots available to schedule a tour.

Weather, Prices, and Crowds in Grand Canyon National Park

A large rock in a body of water surrounded by a canyon and a sunset in the background
Considerations for weather, prices, and crowds when planning a trip to Grand Canyon

Grand Canyon in January

January isn't typically a popular time to visit the Grand Canyon since it's the time of year with the lowest average temperatures. There is still plenty of sunshine, but it usually doesn't get much warmer than 44 degrees Fahrenheit.

The colder climate gives visitors the best chance to see the rare Grand Canyon snow. The South Rim of the canyon gets about five feet of snow per year, with most of that snowfall occurring during January.

However, since the North Rim can get up to 11 feet of snow, which can pose risks for visitors, that section of the park is closed during the winter (December-March). The closure of this section contributes to lower crowd levels which usually result in flight and accommodation discounts.

Grand Canyon in February

If crowd levels are one of the most important factors you consider when you're making travel plans, February might be the perfect time to visit the Grand Canyon. During the winter (December-March), not many people come to the park.

Many families choose to postpone their trips until the spring or summer when the weather is warmer and there are more breaks from school. Fewer crowds also mean lower prices since hotels and airlines are more prone to offer deals to entice people to travel in the winter months.

February temperatures in the Grand Canyon can get chilly. It usually doesn't get much warmer than 48 degrees Fahrenheit during the day. You should also keep in mind that only the South Rim is open in the winter since the road conditions to get to the North Rim are considered unsafe.

Grand Canyon in March

March is one of the best months to get deals on accommodation in Grand Canyon National Park. Prices are generally affordable and both hotels and flights are less likely to sell out quickly, so you won't have to book your trip weeks in advance.

Depending on when Easter falls during the year, March can sometimes be a busier month in the park compared with January or February. However, crowd levels are generally still fairly low.

The weather in March can be a little unpredictable. At the beginning of the month, temperatures are chilly, often ranging between 46 and 50 degrees Fahrenheit. However, as spring (March-June) approaches the temperature sometimes reaches as high as 54 degrees Fahrenheit during the day but is cooler at night, so pack accordingly.

Grand Canyon in April

According to locals, April is the best month to visit Grand Canyon National Park. It's the month that has the best balance of budget-friendliness, good weather, and tolerable crowd levels.

April is usually a pretty calm month as far as tourist numbers are concerned. It doesn't usually get many spring break visitors since many people prefer to wait until mid-May when both the park's North and South Rim are open to the public.

If you track costs for flights and hotel rooms in the area, you might notice prices start to go up around April, but they're still fairly budget-friendly. Easter is the only time you might have trouble finding cost-effective deals.

The April weather at the Grand Canyon is comfortable. You can expect temperatures in the low-60 degrees Fahrenheit during the day and in the low-30s at night. Since it won't be too hot or too cold, it's the perfect time to book a guided Hummer Tour to have a one-of-a-kind experience.

Grand Canyon in May

May offers different visiting experiences depending on when you visit. In the first half of the month, the park is open with limited operations while the spring (March-June) weather stabilizes. Temperatures are around the mid-60 degrees Fahrenheit.

By May 15th, it's usually warmer at the park with temperatures reaching 70 degrees Fahrenheit regularly. The North Rim re-opens to visitors and if you want to hike with a Grand Canyon guide, this is the perfect time to book a trekking tour.

Crowds are fairly tolerable in May, but you'll notice more families during the last week of the month when schools around the country start ending their terms. You probably should book your flights or accommodation early to make sure you are not left stranded and to get a better deal.

Grand Canyon in June

For many people, June is the best time to travel to the Grand Canyon, especially if you want to camp while on your trip. Night temperatures usually don't dip below 43 degrees Fahrenheit and daily temperatures are on average 82 degrees Fahrenheit.

June is also the least humid month of the year with an index of around 13.8% which makes the heat and sunshine even easier to tolerate. However, since the weather is so nice, you'll notice more visitors while you're in the park.

Summer (June-September) vacation at most schools starts by the beginning of June, so families will be heading for the canyon. This not only increases the crowd levels but also raises prices since there's a high demand for everything touristy.

Grand Canyon in July

July is the busiest month for Grand Canyon tourism, however, that doesn't mean you should avoid the park. If your main concern is making sure there's nice weather for you to enjoy, July could be an ideal time for your trip.

Since July is in the middle of the summer (June-September) there are plenty of daylight hours to enjoy the breathtaking sights for longer. The best time of day to visit the Grand Canyon is between 9 and 11 a.m. or after 5 p.m. During these hours you'll avoid peak temperatures, which can reach 85 degrees Fahrenheit, and there will be lower crowd levels.

Unfortunately, since July is a popular month for tourists, you're not likely to find many discounts on flights or lodging. You need to book flights, accommodation, tours, or excursions in advance to ensure they don't sell out.

Grand Canyon in August

August is a bit of a transition month for trips to Grand Canyon Park. Early in the month, it's usually quite busy since there are still a lot of summer (June-September) tourists. However, the second half of the month starts to slow down a bit.

August at the Grand Canyon has the most unpredictable weather. Temperatures are hot, usually reaching the mid-80 degree Fahrenheit during the daytime. However, it's also the month that has the most rain. The area's climate starts changing to its fall (September-December) and winter (December-March) weather. This change in weather patterns means there can be upwards of two inches of rainfall some days.

The weather and sudden drop in crowds can cause prices to drop so last-minute deals can pop up if airlines and hotels are trying to entice people to come in August.

Grand Canyon in September

For people who want to avoid crowds while still enjoying warm weather, September is widely considered the best time to see the Grand Canyon. There are fewer families at the park since schools nationwide start their fall (September-December) term by the beginning of the month, which drastically decreases crowds.

The weather is similar to the area's peak summer (June-September) climate. Temperatures are usually comfortably warm and stay around 76 degrees Fahrenheit. There's also plenty of sunshine. Since September is technically still part of the late summer, some rain showers are possible, but they're infrequent and end quickly.

September is a good time to look for budget-friendly flights and hotels as well. There's less of a demand for both, so there are more deals available and you're more likely to have the option to book last-minute trips.

Grand Canyon in October

the Grand Canyon is beautiful in October, but there are a few things to keep in mind before you plan a trip then. The main thing to decide is which of the canyon's rims you want to see.

For the first half of the month, both the North and the South Rim are open to the public. However, after October 15th, the North Rim closes until May since weather conditions could pose a threat to guests unused to the very cold, snowy, and icy conditions.

During the entire month, you can expect temperatures around 65 degrees Fahrenheit, with nighttime lows dipping as far as 33 degrees Fahrenheit. Dress in layers if you want to hike, and keep in mind that the days are shorter in the fall (September-December), so it will get dark earlier.

October isn't usually a very crowded month at the park if that's an important factor you consider when you travel. That also makes it easier to find affordable travel and lodging options.

Grand Canyon in November

If you're trying to decide when to visit Grand Canyon National Park, November might be a good month to consider, depending on your travel preferences. Except for Thanksgiving weekend, it's not a very busy tourist period.

You'll be able to find plenty of deals for flights and accommodations to fit most budgets because there is less demand. You'll also be able to book last-minute trips since there are fewer November bookings.

Arizona might be the desert, but it can still get cold. November temperatures are usually around 53 degrees Fahrenheit during the day and 25 degrees Fahrenheit at night, so camping is possible but not recommended.

Grand Canyon in December

The Grand Canyon isn't usually the first place that comes to mind when people think about holiday trips in December. However, many locals love going to the park around this time.

Many tourists go to the Grand Canyon in December for the peace and quiet in the area. There aren't many visitors, so it virtually feels like you have the park to yourself.

The weather in December is usually pretty predictable, but it's not the best for hiking in. You can expect colder temperatures around 43 degrees Fahrenheit. It's also the most humid month in the park with an index of 53.7%. There are even occasional snow flurries late in the month.

December is one of the best budget-friendly months to visit the park. Hotels will lower their prices to encourage visitors. However, airlines likely won't discount their flights since the Grand Canyon's nearby airports also service other cities, like Phoenix, that have high traffic during the winter (December-March).

In Summary

The Grand Canyon is truly a one-of-a-kind place that deserves to be seen at least once in your life. It's one of the most famous landmarks in the world and attracts millions of visitors every year.

No matter when you visit, Grand Canyon National Park is breathtaking. Hopefully, this article has helped you determine the best time for you to take your trip. Whether you're a budget traveler or you're looking forward to seeing snowfall at the canyon, there's a perfect time of year for you to see this world wonder. All that's left to do is start planning!

This article was edited by Henry Grahame.

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Written by Gabrielle T

ggtraveler1213 WRITER Gabrielle loves all things travel and culture. She is originally from the USA, but she has lived in Italy for over a decade. She's always ready to pack her bags, grab her passport, and head out on an adventure!


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