Best Time to Visit the Grand Canyon, Arizona
The Grand Canyon - with its 1,900 square miles on the Colorado Plateau, Arizona - is undoubtedly one of the major visual spectacles on Earth. Elevations ranging from 1,200 to 9,100 feet create bewildering shapes and colors - and also diverse climatic conditions that you should take into account in your visit.
Best time to travel to the Grand Canyon, Arizona
When not to go to the Grand Canyon
What to visit in the Grand Canyon
Hotels, Tours and flights to the Grand Canyon
Best time to visit Arizona
WHAT TO VISIT IN THE GRAND CANYON
The Grand Canyon involves two major tourist spots: the South Rim (by far the most visited) and the North Rim. Both rims are divided by the abysses of the Grand Canyon, which make the few miles that separate them into a 200 miles road travel.
Today's most visits are reduced to some hours of sightseeing or to some quick tours around the main spots, namely in the South Rim.
The Grand Canyon South Rim
The South Rim is located 81 miles northwest Flagstaff, 60 miles north Williams, and 280 miles east Las Vegas (5-6 hours drive)
The Grand Canyon Village is its main reference point and holds most facilities: restaurants, lodges, visitor center.
The Matter Point is the best spot for views and a major visit starting point. Other top travel references include theYavapai Point (just some minutes west of Matter Point) and the West and East Rim drives (better explored by bus).
For those who would like longer visits and hiking into the Canyon (an hard task, even for expert hikers), the Bright Angel Trail and the Phantom Ranch are unavoidable references.
The North Rim is located around 280 miles east Las Vegas (5-6 hours drive) and it's far less accessible and visited then the South Rim.
The views are equally astonishing, but facilities are scarcer and closed from mid-October till May, due to snow and bad weather.
Tourist facilities are rather concentrated at Bright Angel Point.
North Kaibab Trail (linking Bright Angel to Phantom Ranch, at the bottom of the Canyon) is the main hiking trail.
BEST TIME TO VISIT THE GRAND CANYON - SOUTH RIM
The South Rim is open year-round, and summer is the most popular season. Spring and Fall are excellent times to go (early Spring and late Fall are the best for those who want to avoid crowds), but the best season depends mostly on the kind of visit you want to make...
Temperatures, snow and rainfalls vary greatly within the Canyon regions. In summer, temperatures in the canyon bottom may easily reach 115°F (46ºC), while in the upper South Rim temperatures rarely exceed 90°F (32ºC)...
The amounts of snow and rain are reduced in the South Rim: rainfalls do not exceed 16 inches in a typical year.
BEST TIME TO GO TO THE GRAND CANYON - NORTH RIM
Summer, late Spring and early Fall are the best times to visit the North Rim. Most facilities are closed during the mid-October through mid May period.
Rainfall exceeds 26 inches annually (twice the amount in the South Rim), and it snows a lot (around 130-150 inches per year), but this part of the Grand Canyon is also cooler in the Summer.
WHEN NOT TO GO TO THE GRAND CANYON
Do not go to the North Rim in the Winter (or even before mid May and after September) due to snow and common bad weather conditions..
Summer and spring-break are the most popular times, though summer can be too hot and too crowded in the South Rim.
Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year's are also busy times (in the South Rim).
Grand Canyon Average Weather Table
TOURS IN THE GRAND CANYON
There are lots of Grand Canyon bus tours (local, or Las Vegas & Grand Canyon) as well as local helicopter tours, local riverrafting and float tours and even local mule tours.
HOTELS AND FLIGHTS TO THE GRAND CANYON
Accommodation is scarce in the Grand Canyon, and should be booked well in advance. Instead of in-park accommodation you may search accommodation in the nearby Tusayan village (6 miles from the South Rim) or in Williams and Flagstaff.
There is a small airport at Tusayan, used mainly by flight tour companies. Las Vegas airport and Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport are the main international airports serving the Grand Canyon area.