Location: Grand Canyon (Winter)

View of Bright Angel Canyon from Yavapai Point, Grand Canyon National Park.
It feels like forever since I’ve been on a proper road trip and the Grand Canyon has been calling my name for awhile. What better time to visit than the dead of winter? Besides the temperature swings ranging from -9 to 40 degrees Fahrenheit and the majority of the park being closed, it’s a great time to visit. It really is beautiful this time of year, however, I think I’m going to choose a different time of year the next time I visit the GC. The South Rim Entrance is the only entrance open in the winter, leaving only a fraction of the park accessible by car. Getting off the beaten track is a bit difficult, but if you’re adventurous enough, it is possible. The crowds at the lookout points near the visitor center (Mather and Yavapai Point) are uncomfortably crowded, but the harder-to-get-to points are rather peaceful. The Rim Trail provided incredible views of endless canyon walls and would be my number one suggestion when visiting in the winter. My favorite view points were Hopi Point and Powell Point, both along the Rim Trail. At either point we must have only run into five other people.
Broken light on the canyon walls, Grand Canyon National Park.
Sunrise at Yavapai Point, Grand Canyon National Park.

 

Afternoon light on the canyon walls below, Grand Canyon National Park.

 

Sunset at Yaki Point, Grand Canyon National Park.

 

Sunset at Yaki point, Grand Canyon National Park.
The temperature dropped quickly during sunset shoots, so wearing the proper gear was essential. However, even the so called “essentials” weren’t enough. The biting wind at the edge of the canyon can be unrelenting. Layers and determination can go a long way, though.
Hopi Point, Grand Canyon National Park.

 

Broken light on the canyon walls, Grand Canyon National Park.

 

Sunset at Yaki Point, Grand Canyon National Park.

Despite the cold and limited access, the Grand Canyon did not disappoint. With a little planning and a resilient spirit, visiting the Grand Canyon in the winter can be very rewarding. Regardless, I look forward to going back, winter or not.

Grand Canyon in the Winter (Dec 1-Feb 28):

  • The North Rim is closed during the winter. The South Rim is the only part of the park that is open to vehicles.
  • Hermit Road is closed, even to the shuttle. Hiking along Rim Trail is the only way to access Powell Point, Hopi Point and beyond. The trail is slick, but flat and offers some of the better views of the area. If you venture from the path you may find a grave site for a Charles Brant, his wife Olga, and their pet dog: Razzle Dazzle. The quote alone is worth the visit:
    • “In this place doubt is impossible. Else, why all these wonders, this surpassing beauty, this grandeur, this deep peace, this confident repose? No, here is the spirit of God. Here one must believe.” -C.A. Brant.
  • The East Entrance is closed as well as the Desert View Drive road that heads east along the rim from the South Rim Entrance.
  • Only access to Yaki Point is to take the shuttle or walk from Desert View Drive (unless you get lucky/gutsy and drive up to the point anyway without getting caught. Parking is pretty much non-existant, though).
  • Bring plenty of warm clothes. Even if it’s pleasant during the day, the temperature will drop quickly.
  • Think about purchasing some kind of traction device to slip over your shoes, such as this. My knee wishes I would’ve bought a pair.
  • The light can be pretty good all day with the sun so low in the sky, so get out there, explore and bring back some keepers.

2 thoughts on “Location: Grand Canyon (Winter)”

  1. Can't get over the coloring!
    Sorry about your knees too. 🙁 I think I need me a pair of those shoe devices just for my drive way 🙂
    As always, YOU ROCK Lindsay!
    Keep em' coming.

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