Weather Planner

Click to learn more about our video: Hiking the Grand Canyon:  The Corridor TrailsGrand Canyon weather is divided into three zones:

  • South Rim (about 7000 feet above sea level)
  • North Rim (about 8000 feet above sea level), and the
  • Inner Gorge (about 2000 feet above sea level).

Click for Grand Canyon, Arizona ForecastThe arid South Rim is pleasant, even in the peak of summer. It gets nippy in the winter. The forested North Rim is generally cool in summer and receives so much snow that it is closed during the winter months. Pleasant summer temperatures on the rims give no clue of the inferno atmosphere of the inner gorge. Inner Gorge temperatures are generally 20 to 25 deg F warmer than those experienced at the North or South Rim. Elevation differences create this temperature variation.

What's the inner gorge like in the summer? Try this: Preheat your oven to 500 deg F. Open the door to let the wave of heat envelope you. Stand there. Keep standing there. Imagine you can't close the door. Imagine that heat is every where you turn. There's no escape. There's no shade. Even the night radiates relentless heat. That's the Inner Gorge Grand Canyon in the summer. Is your body prepared for that? Are you prepared for that?

Along the Tanner Trail.  Grand Canyon National Park.  (C) 1998 Rob Kleine. All Rights Reserved.Desert adaptation. Just as body physiology adapts to altitude, your body adapts to desert conditions. Your body learns how to use fluids more effectively. Your body learns how to sweat more effectively. Desert adaptation takes about two weeks.

How does your body react to desert conditions? You must learn how your body reacts to desert conditions. This includes leaning the warning signals of heat exhaustion and heat stroke. The Grand Canyon is unique in that within a few hours your concerns can shift from the possibility of heat stroke to the possibility of hypothermia. Even experienced Grand Canyon hikers get into trouble, as this story illustrates.

Decending the Tanner Trail.  Grand Canyon National Park.  (C) 1998 Rob Kleine. All Rights Reserved.Manage fluid intake. Dehydration is a Grand Canyon hiker's biggest threat. Dehydration-related maladies are the most common factors leading to hiker death or disability in the canyon.

You must learn how to manage fluid intake so you stay hydrated. If hiking in the peak of the summer swelter, your body may require more than one gallon of water each hour. At about 8 pounds per gallon, the distance you can hike is quickly limited by the amount of water you can carry. Water sources in the Grand Canyon are few and far between.

So, What's the Best Time of Year to Hike the Grand Canyon?

  • DO: Hike below the rim during the Canyon's Temperate Months (October through April).
  • DON'T hike to the Inner Gorge during the Danger Months. Stay near the cooler rims.

The Temperate Months
If possible, plan to hike the Grand Canyon during October, November, and April, when weather is about as close to ideal as you can get in the Canyon. Temperatures on the rim and within the inner gorge are moderate. Precipitation is minimal.

The Grand Canyon's Temperate Months
South Rim   North Rim   Inner Gorge
  Max Min Precip   Max Min Precip   Max Min Precip
October 65 36 1.1   59 31 1.38   84 58 0.65
November 52 27 0.94   56 24 1.48   68 46 0.43
December 43 20 1.62   40 20 2.83   57 37 0.87
January 41 18 1.32   37 16 3.17   56 36 0.68
February 45 21 1.55   39 18 3.22   62 42 0.75
March 51 25 1.38   44 21 2.63   71 48 0.79
April 60 32 0.93   53 29 1.73   82 56 0.47

Note: Blue indicates a month in which the average minimum temperature is 30 deg F or less. Green indicates a month in which average monthly precipitation is 2 inches or greater.

Inner Gorge temperatures in December through March are also very pleasant. Yet, be aware that snow and ice are likely near the rim November through February. Snow can obscure the trail. Ice can make hiking very treacherous. Pack instep crampons if you hike during these months.

Hiking from the warm inner gorge to the cool rim is a fine recipe for hypothermia. Make sure you stay hydrated, eat frequently, and adjust your clothing frequently when climbing out. Be especially vigilant when you stop for a break. Sweat soaked clothing can yield rapid chill and possible hypothermia.

Danger Months
Do not consider hiking the Grand Canyon during the Danger Months of May through September. Look at the average daily maximum temperature in the inner gorge to see why. Not convinced? Consider the fate of this experienced Grand Canyon hiker. Hike during the Danger Months months only if you have considerable desert hiking experience and are desert acclimatized.
The Grand Canyon's DANGER Months
South Rim   North Rim   Inner Gorge
  Max Min Precip   Max Min Precip   Max Min Precip
May 70 39 0.66   62 34 1.17   92 63 0.36
June 81 47 0.42   73 40 0.86   101 72 0.30
July 84 54 1.81   77 46 1.93   106 78 0.84
August 82 53 2.25   75 45 2.85   103 75 1.40
September 76 47 1.56   69 39 1.99   97 69 0.97

Note: Red indicates a month in which the average maximum temperature is 90 deg F or greater. Hike with extreme caution. Green indicates average monthly precipitation of 2 inches or greater.
Trails: Trail Data : Backcountry FAQ
Share: Your Grand Canyon Trip Reports | Your Grand Canyon Photos
PLAN: Weather Planner| Gear Planner | Getting There
FREE Stuff: Send a Grand Canyon Postcard | Grand Canyon Stereo Images
Community: Mailing List
Grand Canyon Hiker Shoppe: Books | Our Return Policy
  Contact Us |Partner With Us | Disclaimer | Your Privacy
© 2007 Conmara Publishing, All Rights Reserved | Another Site by GentlEye