When is the Best Time to Hike Grand Canyon?

Of all the quandaries facing the first-time adventurer to the Grand Canyon, the question of, “when is the best time to hike’, is the most prominent. After all, hiking a vertical mile down into the world’s greatest gorge is the trip of a lifetime, at the top of every bucket list. You want to choose the time of year that gives you the best chance for a perfect trip.

So, when is the best time to hike Grand Canyon? The good news is that the this can be completely up to you. With an outdoor canvas so vast and so magnificent, there will always be a time worth hiking into it. That is why there are guided hiking and backpacking trips down the Grand Canyon throughout all four seasons of the year. Let’s take a look at some of the benefits and drawbacks of different times of the year so you can find the season that’s best for you:  When-Is-The-Best-Time-To-Hike-Grand-Canyon

Winter. This doesn’t sound fun, does it? But what if you were to consider having one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World almost to yourself and escaping the searing desert summer heat? For photographers, winter is the best time to hike Grand Canyon because the sun is lower in the sky and the ice hanging from ancient rocks makes for dramatic compositions. The weather may be challenging and extra equipment such as over-the-shoe traction devices will be required, but probably not what you would be expecting – the inner gorge temperatures can dip into the 30s, but daytime highs can reach the 50s and 60s. 

Spring. Early spring is a great time to hike into the canyon; the hot weather has not yet arrived and the tourist season is just starting to pick up. Both will envelop the canyon as May rolls along. One drawback of spring for rim-to-rim hikers is that the park facilities on the North Rim may be still be closed due to snow (at over 8,000 feet in elevation, the North Rim facilities close for the winter). But the wildflower blooms in March and April can be a stunning addition to the already brilliantly colorful landscape.

Summer. Hiking Grand Canyon in the summer begins with one con: the heat. If you are the sort who likes a good sweat, summer can be a good time to hike the canyon because experienced guides have the know-how to avoid the ills of heat stress. Summer is best for early risers as well since hitting the trail early is the key to summer canyon hiking. And although the rims are bustling with visitors, the inner-canyon is relatively quiet since most people don’t want to (or know how to) manage the hot days.

Fall. If only ideal conditions will do, autumn is your best time to hike Grand Canyon. The crowds are thinning and temperatures are abating. There is little downside to an October hike in the canyon and the fall colors can add an extra splash of delight, taboot! Even November is fantastic. The nights are definitely getting chillier but the daytime hiking temperatures are unbeatable. Keep in mind, however, that early season snow on the North Rim can limit access for those seeking a Rim to Rim adventure.

The best news is that there is no wrong choice to be made here. The Grand Canyon is spectacular and different every time you descend – that’s why folks who hike into the canyon, often come back and try an adventure in every season.

1 Comment

  1. avatar
    Posted by Heather| 06/22/2017 |Reply

    I a. Really interested in going the grand canyon

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