About the Weather in the Grand Canyon

By Jodi Thornton O'Connell

From sunshine to snowflakes: All about the Grand Canyon's climate

About the Weather in the Grand Canyon

What you wear to the Grand Canyon can really make or break your visit to the scenic wonder. Choose your clothes by season and the part of the canyon you intend to visit: Elevations range from 2,000 to 8,000 feet with an average change in temperature of 5.5 degrees F for each 1,000 feet. Once you've determined the averages, make allowances for unexpected changes in weather and temperature that characterize the canyon climate.

Join the crowd

If you're like the majority of visitors to the Grand Canyon, you might travel along the South Rim of Grand Canyon National Park. Weather along the rim and in Grand Canyon Village can be windy at any time of year, making things cooler. Temperatures after darkness or during a rainstorm can vary by 20 to 40 degrees. Expect snow from late December through early March. Roads and walkways are well-maintained but look for icy patches when driving along the rim. Summer monsoons roll in beginning in late June, cooling temperatures and offering stunning cloud displays at sunrise and sunset.

Daytime temperature averages

  • Winter (December to February):  41 to 45 degrees
  • Spring (March through May): 51 to 60 degrees
  • Summer (June through mid-September): 70 to 85 degrees   
  • Autumn (mid-September through November) 52 to 65 degrees

Nighttime temperatures dip into the teens during winter and can be into the mid-40s during summer.

Up north in the canyon

Elevation at the North Rim is 8,000 feet, the highest in the park. The cool, dry climate sits against a backdrop of towering Ponderosa pine and breezy vistas. Because of its long winter and relatively remote access, the North Rim is open only from May 15 through August 15. However, you can park at the entry gate to go snowshoeing or cross country skiing at your own risk.

Daytime temperature averages

  • Winter (mid-October through May): 16 to 31 degrees  
  • Spring (May through mid-June) 62 to 73 degrees
  • Summer (mid-June through August): 73 to 75 degrees   
  • Autumn (September through mid-October): 59 to 69 degrees

Nighttime temperatures dip into the teens during January and February and only rise to the mid-40s during the warmest summer months.

Getting to the bottom of things

With an elevation of only 2,000 feet, warm weather is never far away at Phantom Ranch and along the Colorado River. Heat is a real danger in the canyon depths where temperatures can reach 120 degrees and water isn't always readily available.

Daytime temperature averages

  • Winter (December through January): mid 50s
  • Spring (February through April) 62 to 82 degrees
  • Summer (May through October): 92 to 106+ degrees   
  • Autumn (November): High 60s

Nighttime temperatures in the inner canyon rarely get down to freezing. Expect 36 degrees during the winter and temperatures up to 80 degrees in summer.

Away from it all

Tuweep on the northwestern rim offers an away-from-it-all experience accessible by high clearance dirt roads. Fill your gas tank and bring plenty of water. The clay roads turn slick and muddy after rain or snow.

Daytime temperature averages

  • Winter (December to January):  49 to 50 degrees 
  • Spring (February through May): 55 to 79 degrees
  • Summer (June through September): 85 to 95 degrees 
  • Autumn (October through November): 60 to 75 degrees

Nighttime temperatures range from the upper 20s in winter to the mid-60s in summer.

Way out west

Grand Canyon West is where you'll find the famous Grand Canyon Skywalk and smooth water rafting. Prep for windy weather and only a slight chance of winter snow.

Daytime temperature averages

  • Winter (December to February):  Low 40s to low 60s
  • Spring (March through April) 60 to 77 degrees
  • Summer (May through September): 78 to 105 degrees   
  • Autumn (October through November):  69 to 85 degrees

Nighttime temperatures range from the upper 20s in winter to mid-60s in summer.

About the Author

Indulging her passion for vacation vagary through the written word on a full-time basis since 2010, travel funster Jodi Thornton-O'Connell guides readers to the unexpected, quirky, and awe-inspiring.