Visiting Grand Canyon in the Winter?
Are you wasting your money by going to the Grand Canyon in the winter? No! There is never a bad time to visit the Grand Canyon. Visiting here in the Winter can be a breathtaking winter experience. It was better than we could have ever imagined. Here is what you can expect by visitng the Grand Canyon in the winter.
COVID-19 Warning: There is currently no statewide mask order in Arizona. You are at a National Park, therefore a mask is required in all public buildings. Also, masks are required outside when social distancing cannot be maintained.
We went in December with temperatures at 10 to 20 degrees. Despite the cold temperatures, we had the most amazing experience. The best part about going in December is the crowds are small and it's less expensive. This is the ideal time to go for people who want to social distance. I suggest going during the months of December-February.
The North Rim is closed from October-May. The South Rim is open year-round and driveable.
What to bring
Transportation to the Grand Canyon
It's important you go on a day that it is not snowing. Our first day we had perfect views of the Grand Canyon. However, the next day it snowed at the canyon and there was zero visibility. Here is the view the day before it snowed.
When going in the winter, the trails can be icy in some spots. Therefore, do not expect to be able to hike all the trails, unless you have hiking boots with ice cleats. Some trails DO require ice cleats. Below is a video of my husband doing a trail that does not require cleats. This was him sliding on an easy trail.
My kids enjoyed playing in the snow. We are from Texas, so it's a big deal to see snow. However, snow is not a guarantee at the South Rim. Usually, the North Rim gets all the snow, that is why it is closed during the winter months.
Lodging inside the Park
You have several lodges to select from at the Grand Canyon National Park. Each hotel has a different price point to fit everyone’s budget. The best part about staying at the lodges during the winter months, is you can get a room without having to book a year-out in advance. "Cough, Cough" and it's cheaper.
We stayed at the Kachina Lodge, which is a middle-priced hotel.
El Tovar Dining Room
Currently, there is only one restaurant open at the park. It is considered fine dining. Bring plenty of food if you do not want to eat at this restaurant for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. The wait to eat at El Tovar can get up to 3 hours, but you are allowed to leave and walk around while you wait. The food is delish and the views are stunning. You can't tell, but out that window is a breathtaking view of the Grand Canyon. It looks like a painted picture of the Grand Canyon.
Please note, there is a quick service restaurant that has a limited amount of quick food you can pick up while at the park. The selection is small. Most of the restaurants are closed due to COVID, so check online to see if any new restaurants will be opened for your trip.
Overall, we highly recommend visiting the Grand Canyon National park during the winter months. There are so many benefits to staying during summer months, as well as the winter months. I suggest you do both.
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