Las Vegas Grand Canyon Airplane

Grand Canyon weather is one of extremes. Hot during sumer, cold during winter. Then there's the Monsoon. But no worries - it's the weather that makes the National Park so exciting and dynamic.

An Overview Of The Grand Canyon Weather

grand canyon weatherGrand Canyon weather can easily be described in one simple word: Extreme! Because of its location in the western United States, the heat can get very hot and dry in the summer. During winter, it regularly gets below freezing.

There are plenty of examples of people perishing due to heat stroke. Interestingly, it's usually men in their 20's who try to hike to the bottom of the canyon and back in a day. The rule of thumb during summer is to stay hydrated. I also recommend bringing sunscreen and a brimmed hat while wearing lightweight long pants and long-sleeved shirt.

Canyon temperatures can easily rise above triple digits about 6 months out of the year, and that's considered the norm. It rarely rains at the Grand Canyon, but to be fair, it rarely rains at all in most of the southwestern United States. To experience such heat, turn on your oven to the highest setting, let it get hot, then open the oven door and stand 3 feet from it. That extreme, dry heat is about what it's like during summer.

Winter daytime temperatures are cold and pleasant. It often hits freezing at night. Again, dress for the weather. Here, I suggest a medium-weight jacket, a hat, gloves, long pants and sturdy footwear. I usually pack a pair of YakTrax, which are ice-cleats that snap over your shoes. They work great anywhere there's ice (e.g. all South Rim lookouts).

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May through September are considered the "Danger Months" for hiking below the rim and to the bottom. If you do go hiking, go in the early morning and go at a leisurely pace. Bring plenty of water and salty trail mix. Try to get to your destination before 3p when temps top out. Indeed, hiking/walking is a year-round activity at the canyon. Just be smart about how you do it.

The Monsoon, a seasonal period marked by thunderstorms and torrential downpours, begins in July and ends late September. This is a particularly poignant time to visit the Park, as brief bouts of lightning and showers mix with billowing rain clouds to throw the canyon's orange cliff sides into brilliant relief. Use a bit of caution when outdoors, though. Seek shelter during lightning and get to higher ground during heavy rain.

It's not my intent to make Grand Canyon weather appear ominous. Quite the opposite. It's these exact extreme weather conditions that make the National Park such a fascinating place. Roadways to the canyon are in excellent condition and open all year. So is the Park. But do come prepared. Summer means water and protection from the sun and winter means bundling up.

Happy Travels,

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