Winter Storm at the South Rim

Many of you have been asking about weather and road conditions at the South Rim.  This past weekend there was a winter storm at the South Rim.  At approximately 10:00 am Sunday December 16th, the most recent park service weather update took place.  There have been closures on the Hermit Road and the Desert View Drive.  They expected to possibly get the roads cleared by late afternoon.  No updates are available yet today.

Winter at the South Rim

The Park Service website has some really good suggestions for winter driving:

  • Drive with caution and at speeds appropriate to the road conditions.
  • Watch for deer and elk
  • Always accelerate and decelerate slowly
  • Do not turn abruptly
  • Do not tailgate – allow extra distance for stopping and steering time
  • Properly defrost all windows before driving
  • Use low beam lights in blowing and heavy snow

You can call the park service during business hours for weather information – 928-638-7888.  You can also go online to https://www.az511.com/adot/files/traffic/ for road closures and travel conditions.

You may also be interested in the in-park alerts for the South Rim.  The alerts are usually at the top of each of the pages on the Park Service website.  You can find the current construction zones and projects here. 

Safe and happy traveling to you as you choose to spend your holidays at the Grand Canyon!

15 thoughts on “Winter Storm at the South Rim”

  1. I would love to know if both rims are open in Feb. and Mar; if so what iare the general weather conditions that time of the year.

    Thanks so much.

  2. Planning a trip for 2015. What is the weather like and temperatures in April and May, not sure which rims we’ll visit. May visit all four if we plan our trip for after Mary 15.

    1. Marlene,

      The Weather in April can be right down delightful, or if you visit in a Storm…not the best and cold. April is the time of the year the weather can go either way on you. May is typically better, but still can surprise you with a storm. The thing that attends both April and May is the wind in Northern Arizona.

      If you are planning on visiting all 4 Rims, here is a summary of each below (if a summary even does each of them justice):

      South Rim – Most Popular Rim to Visit at Grand Canyon:
      See average Temperatures here: https://grandcanyon.com/category/weather/south-rim-weather/
      Here’s Why-
      It’s the views in photo’s you’ve seen over time at the widest and deepest point of the Grand Canyon. It’s what you are expecting.
      Grand Canyon Village: El Tovar, Bright Angel Lodge, Kolb Studio, Lookout Studio, Bright Angel Trail and Mather Point highlights.
      People spend time on the Rim desiring to get to the Bottom…
      It gets the most visitation at about 3.5 to 4+ Million Visitors annually.

      West Rim – 2nd Most Popular:
      See Average Temperatures here: https://grandcanyon.com/category/weather/west-weather/
      Here’s Why-
      The Grand Canyon Skywalk is here (By the way, visitors think it’s at the South Rim.)
      You have the ability to get to the Bottom via Helicopter here.
      It’s the closest Rim to Las Vegas…where the largest Group of Visitors that go to Grand Canyon depart from.
      It gets the 2nd most visitation at just about 1 Million Visitors annually now.

      East Rim – 3rd Most Popular:
      Average Temperatures vary due to Altitudes from Little Colorado River to Horseshoe Bend to Marble Canyon Bridge.
      Here’s Why-
      Horseshoe Bend – intimate picture on the rim with the Colorado River in background (people think it’s at the South Rim)
      Antelope Canyon – baby canyon that you can touch both sides (becoming popular because of photography…and people think it’s near the Grand Canyon)
      Marble Canyon Bridge – where Grand Canyon begins
      Little Colorado River Arm – direct 1500 feet views down to the Little Colorado River / Nick Wallenda’s Tightrope Walk across
      It gets Grand Canyon visitors who are leaving the South Rim and transitioning to the North Rim, Zion National Park, Bryce Canyon National Park and Monument Valley.

      North Rim – 4th Most Popular:
      See Average Temperatures here: https://grandcanyon.com/category/weather/north-rim-weather/
      Here’s Why-
      It’s the most seasonal and remote Rim to access.
      North Rim is open from May 15th through October 15th Annually.
      It has great views with Pt. Imperial, Cape Royal and Bright Angel Point in front of the North Rim Lodge.
      It gets about 800,000 Visitors annually now.
      Bar Ten Ranch is a newer attraction on the North Rim that is primarily accessible by Airplane Only.

      Thank You,

      Karlyn

  3. We are planning a trip to the South Rim and maybe doing the 1 day rafting trip sometime between September 13- 23. What is the weather like then? We read that the monsoon rains go thru mid September. Is the water in the Colorado river in the canyon high and more dangerous then?

    Thank you for any information you might have,

    Jane

    1. Generally the weather is good during that part of September. While the monsoon rains could still be around they generally aren’t. The water level in the Colorado River remains fairly constant all year round due to Glen Canyon Dam. There could be a slight increase if there were very heavy rains and flash flooding in the tributaries between the dam and where the tour takes place in the lower part of the Canyon. Mostly, storms just change the color of the water from emerald green to reddish brown.

  4. Hi! My family and I are planning to visit the South Rim in mid November. I have seen it both with and without snow. But they don’t want any snow. Since they want to see the details on the rocks. Is it a good idea to still go in November or don’t risk it?

    1. Hi Mandy,

      Obviously, we don’t control the weather but generally speaking there isn’t snow at the South Rim in mid-November. You will have to determine if it is worth the risk. This is a link to the Grand Canyon Webcam with archives going back for several years: https://npgallery.nps.gov/AirWebCams/GRCA You can check the history for the dates you are planning to come back a few years and see if you think the odds are good.

  5. Hi,

    We are travelling from Australia, and are planning to travel from Yosemite to Las Vegas to Monument Valley to the Southern Rim of the Grand Canyon from about the 27th November to 5th December 2017. What are the road and weather conditions like at this time? Can we drive through east of Yosemite to Las Vegas at this time? What are the roads like travelling to Monument Valley via the northern side of the Grand Canyon through Colorado City and Page?
    Thanks.

    1. Maz,

      I was following your post until you added in Yosemite???

      I am confident that you can navigate Las Vegas to Monument Valley, the South Rim between Las Vegas to Monument Valley, and then around the Northern Side of the Grand Canyon via Colorado City and Page. Unfortunately, I believe Yosemite can be a major problem in the winter. However, I’d ask someone there locally how the winter roads go.

      Now, with all of that said, winter snow storms do come through the area and can cause a day delay for snow plowing…so take that into consideration. However, all of these roads are navigable in the winter…as they are the roads I personally use in the winter. I live in Page, Arizona and drive on them constantly during the winter.

      Thank You,

      Karlyn

    1. Nic,

      Yes, it is highly possible that the South Rim will experience a Snow Storm in December.

      The North Rim is closed on December 1st or the first major Snow Fall after they close the Lodge on October 15th.

      Thank You,

      Karlyn

  6. My family and I are booked to visit the Grand Canyon South Rim on February 1-2, 2019. Weather forecast indicates 1 deg C. Any tips to share for my family to enjoy Grand Canyon? Thanks!

    1. Reycelle,

      It’s actually a fun time of the year to be there if you like it to yourself and enjoy the cold BECAUSE the fire at Hermit’s Rest while sipping Hot Chocolate can’t be beat! Or sitting by the fire in the El Tovar…or in the Bright Angel Lodge. Great memories of mine.

      Of course you will dash out and take look over the Edge, however, it makes time in those Historic Buildings more memorable. Enjoy the Lookout Studio, Kolb Studio, Verkamps, Hopi House and drive out or take the Shuttle out to Hermit’s Rest for Hot Chocolate by the fireplace.

      Mary Jane Colter did her best in designing a great experience in many of these Historic Buildings for you!

      Oh, and don’t forget to go East to the Desertview Watchtower too.

      Enjoy,

      Karlyn

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