Grand Canyon Tours in the Fall

We here in the Southwest know the score. The Northeast and the mountains get all the ink when it comes to fall destinations in the travel guides. We’re used to it. But you know what? Those sugar maples and oaks and birches put on the same show every year. Grand Canyon Tours in autumn, when the sun dips lower in the sky, the colors of the mile-deep walls and rock formations are just as vivid as those mountain forests – and they change every day.

view of Grand Canyon Arizona

Also, don’t think the desert Southwest is without its own autumnal arboreal displays, especially on the North Rim of the Grand Canyon. The gold leaves of the aspens and deep reds of Rocky Mountain maples look magnificent against our stately pine and fir forests. The soft light of fall is intoxicating to Grand Canyon backpackers who also happen to be shutterbugs. Ever wonder when most of those spellbinding photographs of the Grand Canyon that appear in magazines are taken? In the fall.


The above does not even begin to consider the Harvest moon at night, so clear and bright that you could read a star map by its light. And if the moon is not out, those stars will put on an unforgettable light show of their own. After all, with no human intervention for many hundreds of miles, the clear skies of the Grand Canyon are one of the country’s most sought after skyscapes.

Wild ram Grand Canyon


As the searing summer heat of the inner canyon abates in mid-September, beautiful hiking conditions return. The cool fall temperatures make hiking the Grand Canyon a delight – perhaps the only drawback is that you won’t be able to pack as lightly as you do in the summer. A pair of thermal long johns might have to be added to your pack list to go with that mug of hot chocolate if snow comes early to the upper reaches of the canyon. On the other hand, the weather is often drier in the autumn so there is less rain gear to deal with.

nighttime at Grand Canyon

Those temperatures down in the canyon, by mid-October, are in the 70s. Backpacking into the gorge in the autumn is typically conducted at a quick-stepping pace that is a refreshing break from the higher, rest-demanding temperatures of just a couple months before. Even the big horn sheep seem to know to come out of hiding this time of year, and are much more active around the trails, for your pleasure.


So don’t fall for the hype of the Leaf-Peeping industrial complex in the north this fall. Come backpack where the real American colors are, the Grand Canyon.

1 Comment

  1. avatar
    Posted by Elizabeth| 09/27/2017 |Reply

    I am wondering if you have any availability for R2R hikes in the next month? Ia m in excellent shape and looking to do GC in 2 or 3 days. Please advise if you could assist.

    Thank you,

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