Air Quality at Grand Canyon National Park

Map of Grand Canyon National Park in Arizona. Map depicts closeness of Grand Canyon NP to the Four Corners region.
Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona

Clean Air and Clear Views?

Grand Canyon is in the northwest corner of Arizona, close to the borders of Utah and Nevada. The Colorado River, which flows through the canyon, drains water from seven states, however the natural feature we know as Grand Canyon is entirely in Arizona.

Most visitors expect clean air and clear views in parks. Grand Canyon National Park (NP), Arizona, world-renowned for its breathtakingly iconic views, is affected by air pollution from coal-fired power plants from nearby states, mining, oil and gas sources, transportation, and urban and industrial pollutants from Mexico and California.

 

Visibility Comparison from Yavapai Point Webcam

Webcam view on a clear day showing peaks, ridgelines and cliffs within a mile deep canyon landscape Webcam view on a clear day showing peaks, ridgelines and cliffs within a mile deep canyon landscape

Left image
The clear image (left) was taken midday in January 2019, where all aerosol (compositions/concentrations) were low (01/18/2019)

Right image
a day obscured by haze, again midday, at the end of March 2019 (03/27/2019).  There were multiple influences on this day, as shown by the IMPROVE monitor, with the highest impacts from sulfate and nitrate.

These views from the Yavapai Point webcam show the range of visibility that is possible. Compare thee views to the current live view below to get an idea of how today's visibility falls on the scale.  

 
Webcam

Yavapai Point

The Grand Canyon National Park's Air Quality Webcam offers a window into the current sights, weather, air quality and seasonal changes that the park is experiencing. The view refreshes every 15 minutes.

View Webcam
 
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Several sightseers behind guardrails at a scenic overlook above a mile deep canyon filled with colorful peaks and cliffs.
Viewing Grand Canyon from Mather Point on the South Rim

Grand Canyon National Park is one of only 49 Class I air areas managed by the National Park Service and is afforded the highest level of protection under the Clean Air Act.

Air pollutants carried into the park can harm natural and scenic resources such as forests, soils, streams, fish, and visibility.

The National Park Service works to address air pollution effects at Grand Canyon National Park, and in parks across the U.S., through science, policy and planning, and by doing our part.

Find out more about air quality in the Park: Park Air Profiles - Grand Canyon National Park (U.S. National Park Service) (nps.gov).

 

Grand Canyon is part of a network of air monitoring stations in almost 70 national parks.

The Air Quality Monitoring Network - Air (U.S. National Park Service) (nps.gov) focuses on:

  • Visibility

  • Gaseous pollutants (mainly ozone)

  • Atmospheric deposition (nitrogen, sulfur, and ammonia)

 

Primary Pollutants of Concern

Reduced air quality can occur year-round at Grand Canyon National Park from wildfire and regional air pollution. Ozone and particulate matter 2.5 microns and smaller (PM2.5) are the most harmful pollutants at the Park, particularly when performing more strenuous activities.

Federal health standards are described using the Air Quality Index (AQI). The AQI was developed by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for air quality communications and has color-coded categories that provide health statements based on measured pollutants in a given area.

To view the current condition Air Quality Index (AQI) for the Grand Canyon National Park reporting area, plus a two-day forecast, visit: AirNow.gov - Tusayan, AZ Grand Canyon National Park Reporting Area.

 
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Links:

Live Weather & Air Quality Data (U.S. National Park Service) (nps.gov))

EPA AirNOW: https://www.airnow.gov

EPA’s Fire and Smoke Map (https://fire.airnow.gov)

Historic Visibility Studies: Historic Visibility Studies in National Parks (U.S. National Park Service) (nps.gov) (includes GRCA – shows that areas as far as southern California contribute to visibility impairment at the Grand Canyon)

Park Examples:


Park Air Quality - Sequoia & Kings Canyon National Parks (U.S. National Park Service) (nps.gov)

Current Air Quality and Smoke Monitoring - Yosemite National Park (U.S. National Park Service) (nps.gov)
 
Webcam

Grand Canyon Village

This view is looking north from historic Kolb Studio in the South Rim Village Historic District. The camera is hosted by Grand Canyon Conservancy. The view refreshes every 6 minutes.

View Webcam

Last updated: September 3, 2021

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

PO Box 129
Grand Canyon, AZ 86023

Phone:

928-638-7888

Contact Us