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Grand Canyon Weather

The Grand Canyon is so large it actually has the ability to create its own weather.  From an elevation of over 8,000 feet on the North Rim to 2,000 feet at Phantom Ranch along the Colorado River, weather at the Grand Canyon varies greatly depending on your location and the time of year.   Weather on the South Rim has four seasons with average summer highs in the mid 80s, while temperatures along the Colorado River can soar over 110 degrees and snowfall has rarely been seen.

Overall the best seasons to visit the Canyon are Spring and Fall, as they offer the best weather to enjoy everything the area has to offer, especially for hikers.  The summer is hot, even at 7,000 in Grand Canyon village, but it is a good time to visit the North Rim (which is only open seasonally), or to go rafting on the Colorado River.  The summer is also a nice time to enjoy Havasu Falls, and the other waterfalls of Havasu Canyon.   The winter season can be cold and snowy, but it is still Arizona with average highs in the 40s and a 95% chance of sunshine sometime each day.  The winter season also offers the most solitude for those of you who want to avoid hordes of tourists.

Climate Overview for the Grand Canyon Region

With an elevation spanning from around 2000 feet to over 8000 feet, the Grand Canyon area experiences a variety of weather conditions. This weather variety includes cold winters and mild pleasant summers, moderate humidity, and considerable diurnal temperature changes at the higher elevations, with hot and drier summers at the bottom of the Grand Canyon along with cool damp winters. Summer thunderstorms and winter snowfall adds to the weather variety in this region.


Summer temperatures on the South Rim are relatively pleasant with high temperatures generally in the 80s (27-32°C). Summer thunderstorms frequently occur with the potential for torrential rains, frequent lightning, and sudden flash floods.


The summer heat gives way to a cooler but nonetheless pleasant fall period. The summer rains typically diminish in mid September with a drier fall period. However, late summer thunderstorms or early winter snow storms have been known to take place during this transition season.


Winter conditions on the South Rim can be extreme. Be prepared for snow, icy roads and trails, and possible road closures. Fog occasionally forms, however, it usually breaks up quickly by morning.


By mid-April, the winter cold gives way to a warming and pleasant spring period. Spring is typically breezy to windy. Late season frosts and freezes are still a possibility.


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