Grand Canyon National Park RECOMMENDATIONS See all

Know Before You Go: Visiting the Grand Canyon in Winter

By Viator, December 2017

4.5 262 Reviews | Add your review

A wintertime visit to Arizona’s Grand Canyon is a great way to avoid crowds, spot the national park’s elusive wildlife, and enjoy festive activities organized by nearby businesses. Here are some tips to maximize your visit during the year’s colder months. 

Head to the South Rim
During the winter the Grand Canyon’s North Rim area is closed to visitors, meaning you should plan your accommodations and sightseeing outings near the park’s South Rim. Even during the colder periods of the year, the Grand Canyon’s South Rim is a main attraction, offering a wide variety of hiking trails, restaurants, and sightseeing opportunities.

Watch the Weather
Weather can be downright unpredictable in Grand Canyon National Park during winter, with periods of rain, snow, and sun all possible—even in one day. Average temperatures typically hover between 20°F (-6°C) and 40°F (4°C). Keep in mind that sometimes even the South Rim can be temporarily closed due to weather. Make sure to check the forecast and road conditions before you head out each day, and plan to dress in layered, quick-drying clothing that be easily taken on and off as conditions demand.

Plan for Winter Activities
Again, winter weather at the Grand Canyon can be hard to forecast. As a result, you’d be wise to consider planning a few “climate-controlled” activities where weather isn’t likely to be a factor. Bus and railroad excursions are great options for getting out of the elements. And of course, if the weather goes really south, consider catching an IMAX Movie at the Grand Canyon IMAX Theater.

Celebrate the Holiday Cheer
One of the biggest benefits of a winter visit to the Grand Canyon is the wide variety of holiday-themed activities and attractions that local businesses organize. Eateries like El Tovar make a great spot for a celebratory holiday meal, and Grand Canyon Village is the perfect locale for some holiday shopping. The Hermit’s Rest gift shop and snack bar is another nice spot to soak up the holiday atmosphere with a mug of steaming hot chocolate.

Tours & Tickets

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Grand Canyon Railway Adventure Package, Grand Canyon National Park, null
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Grand Canyon Railway Adventure Package

4.5 star rating: Recommended 194 Reviews

Step aboard the Grand Canyon Railway for a trip to the majestic Grand Canyon you'll never forget. Feel the rumble of a vintage train as the engine chugs ...  Read more

Location: Williams, Arizona
Duration: 8 hours (approx.)

From USD $146.99
Grand Canyon East Rim Drive by Jeep and IMAX Movie, Grand Canyon National Park, Rail Tours
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Grand Canyon East Rim Drive by Jeep and IMAX Movie

5 star rating: Highly Recommended 27 Reviews

Departing from the South Rim, this scenic Jeep tour takes you through Grand Canyon National Park along East Rim Drive to show you the Grand Canyon’s most ...  Read more

Location: Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona
Duration: 3 hours (approx.)

From USD $125.99
Grand Canyon IMAX Movie, Grand Canyon National Park, 4WD, ATV & Off-Road Tours
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Grand Canyon IMAX Movie

5 star rating: Highly Recommended 12 Reviews

The larger-than-life Grand Canyon IMAX® experience brings the Grand Canyon to life on a giant six-story screen. The Grand Canyon movie traces the canyon’s ...  Read more

Location: Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona
Duration: 34 minutes (approx.)

From USD $13.59
Grand Canyon Railroad Excursion, Sedona, Attraction Tickets
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Grand Canyon Railroad Excursion

4.5 star rating: Recommended 18 Reviews

Take a step back in time as you travel on the historic Grand Canyon Railroad. Each car of this Arizona railroad, which made it's maiden voyage in 1901, has ...  Read more

Location: Flagstaff, Arizona
Duration: 10 hours (approx.)

From USD $218.60
Grand Canyon South Rim by Tour Trekker, Las Vegas, Rail Tours
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Grand Canyon South Rim by Tour Trekker

5 star rating: Highly Recommended 11 Reviews

Relax on this unique adventure to the South Rim of the Grand Canyon National Park. Travel in a comfortable 10 passenger Tour Trekker and enjoy the beautiful ...  Read more

Location: Las Vegas, Nevada
Duration: 13 hours (approx.)

From USD $269.00

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