The Grand Canyon, Trip Planning Resources

8 Pro Tips for Beating the Heat at the Grand Canyon

Summer is fast approaching, with sunshine and soaring temperatures hot on its trail.

The Grand Canyon is usually a little cooler than the dry desert heat of Las Vegas because of its higher elevation, but the mercury still skyrockets along the Rim and inside the Canyon during the summer. In some areas, average temperatures regularly reach (and exceed) 100 degrees:

South Rim

Low 80s

North Rim

Mid 70s

West Rim

100+

Despite the heat, the summer months are peak tourism season thanks to summer break and the influx of family vacationers. So don’t let a little weather deter you from visiting the Grand Canyon!

We reached out to expert travel bloggers to get their tips on beating the heat and staying cool during your visit. Here’s what they had to say:

1. Refill your water bottle whenever you can

The air at the Grand Canyon is very dry (it is in the desert, after all), so it’s important to stay hydrated and drink water often, even if you don’t feel thirsty.

Keep hydrated; drink plenty of water and frequently. Use a spray bottle to keep your face misted and clothes dampened. Use cold water on pulse points; wrists, temples and neck to keep cool.Suzanne from The Travel Bunny

If you do spritz your face with water, be sure to reapply sunscreen afterward. There are water refill stations located throughout the park. Try to fill your bottle every time you see one.

2. Consider a guided tour

Instead of sweating it out as you walk along the Rim, sit back and relax in the comfort of an air-conditioned bus, complete with historical tidbits from expert tour guides. Bonus: You’ll also avoid waiting in line for and standing on one of the National Park’s crowded shuttle buses.

3. Stay out of the sun

The National Park Service recommends staying out of the sun between 10 AM and 4 PM, which gives you ample opportunity to explore other attractions along the Rim. Megan & Mike Jerrard of Mapping Megan and Waking Up Wild recommend activities beyond hiking, such as:

[…] shuttle bus tours, museums, or spending time at the Grand Canyon Visitors Center. With air conditioning, films, information and interactive displays, the Visitors Center is a great place to spend your time during the heat of the day. And the sun doesn’t set during summer until around 8 pm, so you’ll still have 4 hours of hiking in the afternoon / evening.

The Visitor Center plays a film, “Grand Canyon: A Journey of Wonder”, every day on the hour and half hour, offering an informative and entertaining introduction to the Grand Canyon and its rich history. It’s a great way to stay cool and kick off your Grand Canyon adventure at the same time!

4. Time your visit

Plan ahead and schedule your visit with the hottest times of day in mind. Suzanne from the Travel Bunny suggests visiting early in the day or in the early evening, “especially if you’re hiking”:

[A]void exertion during the hottest hours of the day. Find a shady spot for rest breaks and nibble on salty snacks to help replenish body salts.Suzanne from The Travel Bunny

5. Pack layers

It can be cool in the mornings and evenings, and a light layer during the day can help protect you from the sun’s rays.

grand canyon what to wear layers

Image Source: Grand Canyon National Park

Take Suzanne’s advice:

Cover up. Wear light coloured, loose fitting clothes in natural fabrics to help keep cool. A wide brimmed hat, high-factor sunscreen and sunglasses are essential.

6. Visit a cooler region

JoAnna from Kaleidoscopic Wandering recommends visiting the North Rim:

[M]ake your way to the North Rim, which is far less crowded, higher in elevation, significantly cooler and much more enjoyable. It takes more effort to reach the North Rim, but your effort will definitely be rewarded.

The quickest and easiest way to reach the North Rim is by air.

7. Don’t forget bug spray

Bug spray is a must-pack item if you’re planning a summertime visit to the Grand Canyon.

There are some nasty little biters in the Canyon so put them off with a bug spray or anti-bug clothing.Suzanne from The Travel Bunny

8. Go for a swim!

If you have the time and can make the trip deep into the Canyon, Havasu Falls is a hidden desert oasis where you can take a refreshing dip in the cool waters of the Colorado River.

There’s no better way to beat the heat of the Grand Canyon than to take a swim at Havasu Falls located on the Havasupai Indian Reservation. The water running through Havasu Falls and other nearby waterfalls stays near a constant refreshing temperature of 70 degrees throughout the entire year. Not only do the falls provide perfect relief from the heat, they are some of the most beautiful on the planet, with bright blue-green water flowing through.James from Escaping Abroad

The only way to reach Havasu Falls is on foot, but the Havasupai trailhead (called Hualapai Hilltop) is located at a remote location that is accessible by car.

Image Source: Gonzo fan2007 via Wikimedia Commons

Stay cool!

If you’re planning a summer vacation to the Grand Canyon, these expert tips can help you stay cool and hydrated while you visit.

Big thanks to all the travel bloggers who graciously agreed to share their expertise with us!

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About Ria Borja

Ria is a Customer Experience Manager at Canyon Tours and an avid lover of the outdoors. When she isn't helping other travelers check destinations and dream vacations off their bucket lists, she's busy exploring the Southwest. Her favorite place to visit is (unsurprisingly!) the Grand Canyon.

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