Grand Canyon Time Zone

Morning travelers! Perhaps the “subtitle” of this entry should be an old Chicago tune: “Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is?” At the Grand Canyon, that’s a loaded question!

Time. One simple word that induces much head-scratching at the Grand Canyon. Upon seeing the Grand Canyon, one’s sense of time and its passage certainly changes. It’s hard not to be humbled in the presence of a work of art that took millions of years to sculpt. But in a more practical sense, the question of the Grand Canyon time zone can be something of a pain. I’ll explain: (hey that rhymes!)

At this time of year, lots of prudent folks are setting about planning their spring  vacations. And a popular destination is the Grand Canyon. But here’s the problem: when the rest of the country is “springing forward,” Arizona is staying put! TripAdvisor contributor “travelloverOntario” is just finding out how confounding the concept of Grand Canyon time is:

I feel kind of silly for not being able to figure this out for myself…but I have some questions about time zone areas in mid March. If we leave Bryce and head into Page on March 12, 2013 do we gain/lose any time? What about going from Page to Flagstaff/Sedona the next day: any time gain/loss? Is Page on different time than Antelope Canyon as it’s on Navajo land? Sorry for being so daft. I did try to look it up and got lost.

I attempted to put things into perspective for ‘travelloverOntario’ as follows:

Arizona does NOT observe Daylight Saving Time, with the exception of the Navajo Indian Reservation. Utah DOES observe Daylight Saving Time all round. I checked the calendar and the transition to Daylight Saving Time will occur on Sunday March 10th in 2013, so on the day you’re traveling, you will cross time zones heading into Arizona, in this case, you will “gain” 1 hour. 10 AM in Utah = 9 AM in Arizona.

Page is not technically on the Navajo Indian Reservation (right next door, but not quite there), so it will also be on Standard Time. If you visit Antelope Canyon with one of the tour outfitters out of Page, they will all operate on Mountain Standard Time.

And since so many people have asked this particular Grand Canyon Time Zone question before, I had to add:

And you’re NOT being silly about this at all, it’s totally confusing I know! Good rule of thumb: “when in doubt, check it out.”

Now here’s what’s silly: in my 25 years’ experience as a Grand Canyon travel consultant, I’d never actually questioned why Arizona took a pass on the Daylight Savings Time thing. Not surprisingly, it had a lot to do with weather.  Chris Kline from ABC 15 explained:

The history of daylight saving is tied to energy conservation. Switching to DST in the summer means more sunlight at night, which in turn means homes don’t have to turn on lights as early.  … In 1973, a permanent federal law was enacted to help with the oil shortages of that time. But Arizona asked for and was eventually granted an exemption. According to an Arizona Republic editorial from 1969, the reason was the state’s extreme heat. If Arizona were to observe Daylight Saving Time, the sun would stay out until 9 p.m. in the summer (instead of 8 p.m., like it does currently). ‘[Data] clearly show that we must wait until about 9 p.m. DST to start any night-time activity such as drive-in movies, moonlight rides, convincing little children it’s bedtime, etc,’ the editorial stated. ‘And it’s still hot as blazes!’

Makes perfect sense! So if Grand Canyon Time makes you nuts, we’re sorry – I guess you can say we’re just a little ‘crazy from the heat.’ 😉

By the way, Daylight Saving Time transition dates for 2013 are as follows: “Spring Forward” Day: Sunday March 10th; “Fall Back” Day: Sunday November 3rd.

Speaking of time, it’s time to get back to your questions on the phone and on our chat line. After all, as the Alan Parsons Project once said, “Time keeps flowing like a river to the sea!”

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