Visiting Grand Canyon During Winter
Dramatic winter storms, bringing several inches of snow, are contrasted with sunny days, perfect for walking along the rim or into the canyon. Crisp air and a dusting of snow bring a new perspective to the temples and buttes emerging from the canyon floor and provide a perfect backdrop to view the canyon's flora and fauna.
Michael Quinn, NPS
Most animals in the park have developed some sort of adaptation to the cold weather. Rock squirrels, frequently seen along the rim during summer months, spend the fall caching food and preparing for the cold winter.
Although they spend much of the winter in their burrows, they can be spotted along the rim during warmer days. Mule deer and elk grow thick winter coats to deal with the low temperatures and the Abert's and Kaibab tree squirrels grow fur tassels on their ears to keep out the cold.
Michael Quinn, NPS
The South Rim of the park is open year round, and roads are drivable except in inclement weather. Weather changes quickly at Grand Canyon, and so does visibility. Planning a visit for multiple days allows visitors to experience some of these changes, and provides a good chance for a great view of the canyon. Learn more about Lodging - Train Service
Jessica Pope, NPS
Locations inside the canyon, like the Phantom Ranch lodging facility and Bright Angel Campground, offer milder temperatures in winter, and backcountry permits may be more easily obtained during the winter months than during peak hiking seasons.
A trip to Grand Canyon can be a great winter getaway, especially with careful planning. The Grand Canyon Trip Planner is a great place to start.
Pack your jacket and winter gloves, avoid the crowds, and come experience a Grand Canyon winter wonderland!
By Becky Beaman, Interpretive Support Assistant, Grand Canyon National Park
Download the 2013 Winter (English)
Did You Know?
There are different river trip opportunities through Grand Canyon National Park, including professionally guided raft trips, available to the public and often reserved a year or two in advance; and self-guided, or "private" river trips, made available to the public through a weighted lottery. More...