Images: South Rim of the Grand Canyon in Winter

The Grand Canyon.

It is arguably Arizona’s most famous claim to fame and absolutely one of the most popular destinations in the United States. Millions of people visit the Grand Canyon every year, but most visit in the summer, when crowds are crammed at the overlooks and trails are anything but peaceful.

Visiting the Grand Canyon in the winter offers a new perspective of this famous natural wonder. There are still lots of people but far fewer than in the summer, and the pace of life is much more laid back. A few of the roads aren’t plowed, and if you venture up these hard-to-navigate trails on your own, you essentially have the entire place to yourself.

Winter at the Grand Canyon still requires advance planning: Book a room at the lodge or a cabin in advance, and be prepared for snowy conditions. Warm clothes, an ice scraper for your car and winter provisions are all necessary. But it’s so worth it. If you don’t believe me, let the pictures speak for themselves:

Images: South Rim of the Grand Canyon in Winter

Images: South Rim of the Grand Canyon in Winter

Images: South Rim of the Grand Canyon in Winter

Images: South Rim of the Grand Canyon in Winter

Images: South Rim of the Grand Canyon in Winter

Images: South Rim of the Grand Canyon in Winter

Images: South Rim of the Grand Canyon in Winter

Images: South Rim of the Grand Canyon in Winter

Images: South Rim of the Grand Canyon in Winter

Images: South Rim of the Grand Canyon in Winter

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Images: South Rim of the Grand Canyon in Winter
JoAnna is a globe-trotting, idea-inventing, culture-collecting creativity connoisseur with big dreams and a desire to touch all seven continents. You can also find JoAnna at joannahaugen.com and at The 52 Letters Project.

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17 Responses

  1. Wow. It looks gorgeous in the winter! I’ve always wanted to go to a national park in the winter, but I would be too cold to camp, so finding accommodation near some of the parks is not easy in the winter. Great photos!

  2. JoAnna says:

    We stayed in a little cabin on the South Rim, and it was only about $50/night. That’s how we spent Christmas, so it was worth the splurge to us.

  3. Turtle says:

    I’m not sure if I’ve ever seen photos of it in winter before. How beautiful!

  4. Cam says:

    Great pics Joanna! Looks chilly

  5. Wow, I had no idea it snowed at the Grand Canyon. It looks amazing!

  6. I love the diversity of shots and different perspectives — great photo essay!

  7. I have never been a fan of hordes of tourists, so the Grand Canyon in summertime has never held any appeal for me. But if going in the Winter allows you to avoid crowds and get awesome photos like this, I may need to reconsider!

  8. JoAnna says:

    They don’t often publish pictures of the Grand Canyon in the winter, which is a shame because it’s gorgeous, but maybe that’s the great secret.

  9. JoAnna says:

    It was colder than I expected. I’ll definitely add a couple more layers next time!

  10. JoAnna says:

    Thank you! We probably would have taken more photos if it wasn’t so cold, but tucking the camera away made the day a lot nicer too.

  11. JoAnna says:

    I’ve actually never been to the South Rim in the summer because there are so many people. I prefer the North Rim during the summer.

  12. Abby says:

    Gorgeous!!! Wow. I forget how beautiful snow can be. I never thought of the Grand Canyon as being a place of such intense snowfall.

  13. Carol says:

    We will be at the Grand Canyon for Christmas. Can you please tell be about Christmas activities being held? Are there religious services at a church or chapel, carol singing at the lodges, etc.? Thank you

  14. JoAnna says:

    It’s at a fairly high elevation, so it’s not all that surprising when you consider that fact. The North Rim is actually 1,000 feet higher and so covered in snow it’s closed in the winter.

  15. JoAnna says:

    Hi Carol ~ Sorry for the late response to your questions. I hope you enjoyed your trip to the Grand Canyon for Christmas. I would suggest that anyone who wants to know about special events the national parks should check the nps.gov website for details on the site, or contact the park directly. When we were at the Grand Canyon for Christmas, I remember there were special meals served at the lodge, and there were lots of holiday lights, but I don’t know for sure if there were specific caroling events or services.

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