A powerful and inspiring landscape, the Grand Canyon overwhelms our senses through its immense size; 277 river miles (446km) long, up to 18 miles (29km) wide, and a mile (1.6km) deep.
SUMMER temperatures on the South Rim are relatively pleasant. North Rim temperatures are a few degrees cooler due to the higher elevation. Inner canyon temperatures are extreme. Daytime highs at the river often exceed 105°F. Thunderstorms frequently occur during July, August, and early September.
WINTER conditions on the South Rim can be extreme. The road into the North Rim is closed from the first heavy snow in November or early December to mid-May.
SPRING and FALL. Come prepared for a variety of conditions. Pleasant weather can change to rain or cold.
A 277 mile long (446 km) canyon separates the park into South and North Rims. The Grand Canyon of the Colorado River is a mile-deep, (1.6 km) and creates a barrier that bisects the park. Even though the average distance across the canyon is only 10 miles/ 16 km, be aware that it is a five-hour drive of 215 miles/ 346 km between the park's South Rim Village and the North Rim Village.
Scenery, climate and vegetation are noticably different between north and south rims because of differences in elevation. It is almost like having two parks in one and it takes time, planning and effort to be able to visit both sides of the Canyon in one trip.
Most people visit Grand Canyon National Park's South Rim
The South Rim of the Grand Canyon is open all year and is located on the "Arizona" side of the Canyon. The South Rim is closer to InterArizona & Utah 40 and to the transportation centers of Williams, Flagstaff and Phoenix, Arizona. The South Rim also has a local airport and rail service. Since it is easier to get to, the South Rim is very busy, and during the summer season, campgrounds hustle and bustle and are often filled to capacity. Reservations are strongly recommended.
The North Rim is harder to get to and is more wild and secluded
Because of it's 8,000 ft/ 2438m elevation, the North Rim of the park is only open from May through October. The North Rim is located on the "Utah" side of the Canyon. The nearest towns to the park's North Rim village are Fredonia, Arizona, and Kanab, Utah. There is no airport or rail service to the park. (that means that the North Rim village may only be reached by road) Because the North Rim has a shorter season, Campground Reservations are strongly Recommended.
The View from Toroweap Overlook,
3000 vertical feet above the Colorado River, is breathtaking; the sheer drop, dramatic! Equally impressive are the volcanic features, cinder cones and lava flows, which make this viewpoint unique in Grand Canyon National Park. Renowned Lava Falls Rapid is just downriver and can easily be seen and heard from the overlook.
Toroweap, a Paiute term meaning "dry or barren valley," refers to many local features, including the geologic formation and fault, the valley, and the overlook. Tuweep came into use to describe the local white settlement and later the park district. Tuweep in Paiute refers to "the earth," but this place name may be derived from a longer Paiute word meaning "long valley."
A visit to this area can be challenging, but rewarding. Since the National Park Service manages the area for its primitive values, improvements and services are minimal.
First time Grand Canyon hikers tend to react to the experience in one of two ways: either they can't wait to get back, or they swear they'll never do it again.
Going on a hike is wonderful way to experience some of the canyon’s rich natural beauty and immense size. However, even if you are an avid hiker, hiking the Grand Canyon is very different from most other hiking experiences.
Mental attitude and adequate water and food consumption are absolutely essential to the success of any Grand Canyon hike, particularly in summer. The day hiker and the overnight backpacker must be equally prepared for the lack of water, extreme heat and cold, and isolation characteristic of the Grand Canyon.
Hiking in the Grand Canyon is so demanding that even people in excellent condition often emerge sore and fatigued. Yet small children, senior citizens, and people with physical disabilities have successfully hiked the canyon.
A hike into the Grand Canyon will test your physical and mental endurance. Know and respect your limitations. Moderation is the key to an enjoyable hike.
All Grand Canyon backcountry users are asked to follow Leave No Trace principles. The goal is to have minimum human impact on the canyon as a result of your trip.
Background information provided by nps.gov
Preservation of the Grand Canyon area requires that hiking, camping and other activities be well managed, and that all visitors be fully prepared & practice 'leave no trace' wilderness etiquette.
Planning a trip to Grand Canyon?
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Following is suggested low-impact camping equipment for visiting Grand Canyon that you will find useful in making your trip that much more memorable & responsible...
Power Your Stuff
Keep cameras, GPS, sat phones & more charged
regardless of where your adventures take you.
Light Your Way High-efficiency lighting for the camp & trail
Headlamps, flashlights, & lanterns