North Rim Grand Canyon’s Weather: When Is The Best Time To Visit It?

The Grand Canyon’s weather patterns vary widely depending on area and months due to the national park’s wide area and topographical variation, which spans 193 km from the West to the East and 113 km from the North to the South.

Thus, the most favorable-to-visit weather on each side is also different. So, if you’re heading to the Northern side of the area and want to know the North Rim Grand Canyon’s weather, today’s post is for you.

North Rim Grand Canyon’s Weather

North Rim is 8,300 feet above sea level, meaning lower temperatures. Thus, the primary National Park’s amenities at the Northern ridge (along with all accommodation and campsites) often close in October and won’t open again until winter. 

Yet, one route, AZ 64, is accessible for another month or two, shutting down only after the first heavy snowfall. The first heavy snowfall generally starts by November’s end, when nightly temps begin to plunge far under the freezing point.

Once the entrance is shut, it remains impassable to tourist vehicles until the area amenities reopen in May, when all snow on the route has melted. Yet, visitors might access the park at all times on foot, skis, or snow boots throughout the wintertime.

North Rim Grand Canyon’s weather is colder than other areas of the park. - Travel in USA
North Rim Grand Canyon’s weather is colder than other park areas. – Travel in USA

Each year, there is approximately 50 and 100 inches of snow during the winter, while the greatest rainfall and harshest temperatures (several evenings being below 0°F) happen from January to February. 

Although the evenings are still near freezing point or under when the Northern area opens again in May, the daytime could be extremely comfortable. Notably, on windless days when the temperature rises to 60°F or even 70°F, visitors could travel around in trousers and t-shirt.

The warmest time of the year begins in June and July, yet the residual traces of snowfall deep in the woods and on rocky, north-facing hillsides will not disappear until the hottest summer days.

However, the highest temps of the Northern edge seldom exceed 80°F, although readings below 32°F have been reported throughout the season.

Because of the neighboring Kaibab Plateau’s wide higher elevations, the North Rim is increasingly inclined to midsummer thunderstorms.

When Is The Best Time To Visit Grand Canyon North Rim?

Summer months, we say.

Summertime is typically the peak period at the Grand Canyon, and most visitors head to the South Rim these months. However, if you go to the North Rim, you’ll get a more remote and private trip.

Summer is the best time to visit the North Rim. - Az Central
Summer is the best time to visit the North Rim. – Az Central

As an additional reward, the North Rim of the Grand Canyon has colder conditions than most of the park, offering a great escape from the hot sun in the summertime. 

The North Rim is also shut down entirely throughout the wintertime, so you’re best advised to visit this location between springtime and autumn.

Further reading

Grand Canyon: What Is It Like In Different Seasons?

March-May

This is among the most beautiful months to explore the area. Indeed, Grand Canyon’s weather in March is pretty comfortable with gentle sun and breezes. 

What makes this a great time to go is that the area is getting warmer, and the crowds of summertime visitors have yet to come. Yet, remember that certain parts of the park, particularly the North Rim, might still be closed owing to severe snowfall.

Grand Canyon in March is getting warmer, perfect for traveling and camping. - Wildland Trekking - north rim grand canyon's weather
Grand Canyon in March is getting warmer, perfect for traveling and camping. – Wildland Trekking

Furthermore, the canyon’s different heights make knowing the exact weather challenging. Even though the overall temperatures typically span from the lower 50°F to the lower 70°F, it could indeed vary greatly. Thus, equip yourself with a jacket if you plan to visit Grand Canyon.

June-August

Summertime is a popular period to visit, and it’s understandable. Longer days and clear skies with daytime highs from 40°F to 85°F are typical in the area. 

On the other hand, Canyon winds might cover the sun’s beams, making it harder to know if you’re being sunburned. Remember to bring a hat and lots of sunblocks.

June to August are the crowdest months of the year. - National Park Service - north rim grand canyon's weather
June to August are the crowdest months of the year. – National Park Service

Moreover, temperatures fluctuate all over the region: places along the Colorado River are hotter, whereas the North Rim may be rather cold. Also, torrential rainfalls are frequent during July, although they never last long.

This is also when most of the park’s services — on both South and North Rims – reopen to the public. If you intend to stay overnight in the area, make your reservations well ahead because accommodations and campsites tend to be out of room soon. If you prefer to avoid the crowds, get to the slopes no later than 10 a.m.

September-November

Fall is a great time to visit the Grand Canyon. Now that children are back to class and adults are back in the workforce, significantly fewer visitors are jostling for hotel accommodation and route areas.

Readings fluctuate from about 20°F to the highest of 70°F during this period, therefore bringing various clothing items to use in necessary conditions. 

Many amenities and routes are available from September to October in the Grand Canyon. Still, as snowfall begins to occur, several places (especially the North Rim) will be out of service.

December-February

This is by far the most peaceful season at the Grand Canyon, so if you’re looking for a calm, quiet visit, this is the time to go. However, prepare yourself for the freezing days ranging anywhere from the 40°F down to the 15°F. 

Grand Canyon in the winter is extremely cold. - Canyon Tours - north rim grand canyon's weather
Grand Canyon in the winter is extremely cold. – Canyon Tours

Indeed, Grand Canyon’s weather in December, January, and February could be pretty harsh with freezing temperatures, heavy snowfalls, and torrential rains, especially on the Northern side.

Thus, the North Rim will be inaccessible to all vehicles during this time. However, most South Rim paths will stay accessible to skiing, walking, and mountaineering. Just remember to bring warm clothing and waterproof footwear.

Wrapping Up

Now you know how the North Rim Grand Canyon weather is like throughout the seasons and when to best visit the destination. Although many people favor the Southern side, visiting the North Rim will offer more private memories.

For more traveling advice, refer to our Traveling homepage. We have everything you need, from the weather in Puerto Rico to info about the city where the sun don’t set.

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