Grand Canyon weather can vary greatly between seasons and even within the hour. As in any desert climate, nights can be cold even after extremely hot days. Summer temperatures along the rim are usually much more comfortable than the hotter temps inside the Canyon, which can soar over 100 degrees Fahrenheit.
Seeing the Canyon covered in snow may be preferable to some winter-lovers. While the North Rim is closed during the wintertime, the South Rim remains open year-round. Keep reading to find out more about the Grand Canyon weather forecast in winter, spring, summer and fall. Learn how to stay updated on current conditions and discover what kind of extreme weather situations you may encounter.
Winter at the Grand Canyon
A Grand Canyon winter visit can be a great getaway for people who like smaller crowds and cold weather. Winter days can alternate between cloudy and sunny, with conditions changing rapidly. However, a Grand Canyon snow can add a magical touch to your photos as it adds another layer of beauty to the landscape.
Keep in mind that snowfall can become heavy, resulting in ice buildup and road closures. Heavy fog during a Grand Canyon winter can also obscure some of the best canyon viewpoints, although the fog usually breaks up by mid-morning. South Rim winter temperatures range from a low of 20 degrees to a high of 43 degrees.
The North Rim is even colder than the South Rim, and the road leading to the North Rim is closed to vehicle traffic from November through mid-May. However, hikers can still sign up for rim-to-rim hiking and camping excursions during the winter months. It can also be easier to get a backcountry permit during this season.
Springtime at Grand Canyon National Park
Grand Canyon weather in March still feels very much like winter, even though the spring equinox and many schools’ spring breaks happen in this month. Grand Canyon weather in April usually ushers in the first break from winter conditions. By May, most days are warm and pleasant.
Spring weather in the Grand Canyon can be unpredictable, however. It’s not unusual to experience a light snowfall during April or early May. Spring is a windy time of year in the Canyon, with gusts over 40 miles per hour. It is also a dry season punctuated with few rain showers. The average Grand Canyon temperature in spring includes a low of 34 and a high of 62.
Grand Canyon in the Summertime
The favorable summertime Grand Canyon weather forecast is one reason it is the most popular time of year to visit the National Park. At the South Rim, expect warm days with average high temperatures in the mid-80s and lows in the high 50s. It is also not unusual to experience several days in a row of highs over 90 degrees during the summer.
The Grand Canyon climate at the North Rim is typically cooler than the South Rim due to its higher elevation. In fact, overnight lows at the North Rim can sometimes drop near freezing even in the summer months. The hottest place in the park during the summer is along the river near Phantom Ranch, where temperatures often rise to over 100 degrees.
Summertime thunderstorms in Grand Canyon National Park can be sudden and severe. Large storms can produce hail, damaging winds and possibly even a tornado. It is important to follow any weather advisories and stay away from places where flash flooding is a problem.
Grand Canyon Fall Weather
The onset of fall ushers out summer heat and returns moderate temperatures to the Canyon, which drops gradually through September and October. Grand Canyon weather in November at the South Rim includes an average high of 52 and a below-freezing low of 27.
Summer rains diminish, and fall usually has even less precipitation than spring in the Grand Canyon. However, fall and spring are equally unpredictable. Late summer thunderstorms and early light snowfall have been known to occur during these transitional seasons. Inner Grand Canyon temperatures remain warm well into fall, with October highs around 84 and lows of 58.
Weather Differences at the Rims
As noted above, Grand Canyon South Rim weather is usually quite different from conditions along the North Rim. Because its elevation is 1,000 feet higher, North Rim temperatures are consistently lower than those at the South Rim. At night, the Grand Canyon temperature on the North Rim can drop below freezing at any time of the year. On a summer day, it can be 95 degrees at the South Rim and a comfortable 80 degrees on the North Rim.
The West Rim, the closest to Las Vegas, has the warmest Grand Canyon temperatures year-round. It gets very hot and dry in the summer months, so be sure to wear adequate sun protection and stay hydrated when visiting the famed Grand Canyon Skywalk.
Extreme Weather Situations at the Grand Canyon
Because the Grand Canyon’s climate is continually fluctuating, extreme weather events can happen during any season. July, August, and early September can bring sudden heavy thunderstorms. These storms are unpredictable and often have the potential for torrential rains leading to flash floods.
In July 2018, around 200 tourists had to be evacuated by helicopter from the Havasupai Indian Reservation when a thunderstorm caused a sudden eight-foot rise in the area’s water levels. The storm began after dark, but most heavy summer storms hit between 11 a.m. and 6 p.m.
Some of these storms can reach severe levels, with large hail, damaging winds, and occasionally even a tornado. Between October and March, Grand Canyon snowfall can be heavy enough to cause road and trail closures. Booking a tour can be a good way to make sure that you are visiting during the best Grand Canyon weather conditions.
Always check the current Grand Canyon weather forecast before heading out. You can call (928) 638-7496 any time of the day or night to hear recorded information about current conditions and closures. Or, visit the Grand Canyon National Park Service online. Weather and other alerts will appear at the top of the webpage, notifying visitors of extreme weather situations, road closings, smoke warnings and more. You can also view live webcam footage to see current conditions for yourself.