Grand Canyon National Park Through the Seasons
The Grand Canyon National Park is open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, but some roads will close if the weather does not cooperate. It is the fourth most visited National Park in America. However, generally, most park services on the more popular South Rim are available year-round. The North Rim is closed during winter.
What is the Best Month to Visit the Grand Canyon?
Our data and research shows the best month to visit Grand Canyon National Park is November. It has mild temperatures (high 50s and 60s during the day) and its visitation numbers are down 46% from the peak in July. If we had to pick the best month per season, it would be as follows:
- May in the Spring
- September in the Summer
- November in the Fall
- December in the Winter
Spring (March – May)
Certain shuttle routes throughout the Grand Canyon National Park are still closed due to limited staff and/or weather conditions. For example, the Tusayan Route that shuttles people between Grand Canyon Visitor Center and the gateway community of Tusayan is not in operation during the spring. Starting in March, access to Hermit Road is by free shuttle or on foot, but private vehicles are no longer permitted. The North Rim opens by May 15th.
The campgrounds that had closed for the winter, begin opening in the Spring, starting in mid-April through May.
The second half of May could easily be considered part of the Summer season, as crowds are starting to become more plentiful, and virtually all services and roads are now full open to the public.
Grand Canyon’s Spring Statistics:
- Average Precipitation Amounts: 14 inches (36 cm)
- Average High Temperature: 66 °F (19 °C)
- Average Low Temperature: 37 °F (3 °C)
- Average Park Visits per Month: 408,000
Summer (June – September)
By the first of June, the whole park is now open and is at full service in preparation for the huge crowds that will be arriving.
July is the busiest month for the Grand Canyon. It sees well over 550,000 visitors this month, and at times can be extremely crowded. July is also the hottest month at the park, with the average high nearly 90 °F, with max temperatures nearing 100 °F.
Grand Canyon’s Summer Statistics:
- Average Precipitation Amounts: 17 inches (43 cm)
- Average High Temperature: 85 °F (29 °C)
- Average Low Temperature: 56 °F (13 °C)
- Average Park Visits per Month: 482,000
Fall (October – November)
Unfortunately, you won’t find too many trees changing their color at the Grand Canyon in the Fall. Most trees here are Ponderosa or Pinyon pines, which will not change colors since they are evergreen. Almost everything stays open here in the fall, but the crowds see a slight decline from their summer peaks.
Along with the amount of visitors, the temperatures begin to fall as well. The average high drops from 80 °F in September to 70 °F in October, then to 56 °F in October. There is no doubt that winter is coming soon.
Grand Canyon’s Fall Statistics:
- Average Precipitation Amounts: 15 inches (38 cm)
- Average High Temperature: 62 °F (17°C)
- Average Low Temperature: 35 °F (2 °C)
- Average Park Visits per Month: 390,000
Winter (December – February)
Much of the Grand Canyon stays accessible during the winter season. One notable exception is the North Rim, which closes annually from December 1st until May 15th. Some campgrounds like the Desert View Campground on the South Rim also close for the winter.
Expect much fewer visitors, virtually empty trails and easy-to-find accommodations during the Winter in the Grand Canyon. I took a one-day trip here from Vegas in January, and while the shuttle services and amenities were light, there was still plenty there to take care of what we needed during our stay.
Snow often covers the Grand Canyon in the winter. With highs usually reaching into the 40s, the snow will melt, but expect snowfalls from a dusting to multiple inches. In fact, the South Rim averages 58 inches (ca. 147) of snow throughout the season. While inside the canyon, Phantom Ranch sees less than 1 inch.
Grand Canyon’s Winter Statistics:
- Average Precipitation Amounts: 19 inches (48 cm)
- Average High Temperature: 47 °F (8 °C)
- Average Low Temperature: 27 °F (-3 °C)
- Average Park Visits per Month: 200,000