Autumn in the Grand Canyon

September 16, 2014 by

Things to Do, Travel Tips

Elk in the Grand Canyon

Elk in the Grand Canyon. Photo credit: Grand Canyon NPS via Flickr.

The Grand Canyon is appealing year-round, but the main benefit of visiting during the autumn season is that summer crowds have started to dwindle — and the wettest month of the year (August) has passed, taking the thunderstorms with it.

Temperatures peak at 76, 65 and 52 degrees Fahrenheit (24, 18 and 11 degrees Celsius) on the South Rim in September, October and November, respectively. The North Rim closes in the middle of October, but highs there are always a bit cooler.

The Grand Canyon Music Festival (GCMF) takes place in August and September; it began nearly three decades ago when a pair of hikers performed an impromptu concert for a retiring ranger. The now three-week series of concerts brings in world-renowned musicians and also fosters an education outreach program to Native American reservations. Tickets are usually $15 for adults and $8 for children — advance purchasing is recommended, as seats are limited and do fill up (season tickets are also available). After a concert at the Shrine of the Ages, you might want to do a little hiking, horseback riding, or river-rafting before leaving the Canyon.

Planning a trip? Browse Viator’s Grand Canyon attractions.

Visually, the Grand Canyon comes alive in a whole new way this time of year. The golden aspen trees and numerous four-legged species will be easier to appreciate without the crowds of people flowing up and down the trails. October can be just about the perfect time to go.

Remember that you should plan on bringing certain equipment no matter what season it is; sunscreen, sunglasses and hats aren’t just for summer, and warmer layers and waterproof jackets aren’t just for winter. Book ahead — and don’t be caught off-guard if winter comes early!

-Natalie Grant

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