You have your finger on the “Reserve” button, but you’re still not sure. Is visiting the Grand Canyon in August a mistake? You have the time off and the kids won’t be starting school for another couple of weeks. But, there are still a lot of questions to answer.
- 1 Will it be too hot to visit the Grand Canyon in August?
- 2 How crowded will it be in the Grand Canyon in August?
- 3 Are there activities that are better enjoyed in August?
Will it be too hot to visit the Grand Canyon in August?
The climate of the Grand Canyon is as vast and diverse as the canyon itself. Ranging from an arid desert to a high forested land of the Kaibab Plateau, temperature ranges can vary from 16 degrees Fahrenheit to 104 degrees, depending on the season. Fortunately, any rim you visit will be warm but still pleasant in August. The elevation of 7,000 feet and the low humidity will make a warm day still feel like spring.
However, as you descend in elevation, you will feel the the temperature change as you lower yourself into the canyon. A perfect 85 degree day on the rim can quickly change to 110 at the bottom of the canyon. So, if you plan on hiking, you need to take this into account. For every 1000 feet descended you can add five degrees.
The night time temperatures are heavenly in August. Chances are, you will be back at your hotel room or campsite and the temperatures will be amazing at around 50 degrees. This is perfect for a fire and s’mores with your family and new found friends you met that day.
How crowded will it be in the Grand Canyon in August?
In 2021, over 4.5 million people visited the Grand Canyon. The majority of these visitors enjoyed the South Rim and almost one million of those visitors entered the gates in August. As you can see, August is a popular time and the crowds will be something to contend with. However, there are ways to avoid the height of the crowds during your stay.
Enjoy the park at non-peak hours
Plan to visit the points of interest early in the morning or later in the day. If you get up and watch the sun rise, you will get to see much of the park before many have their breakfast. Shuttles begin at 4 a.m., so you can begin your day super early and have the first peeks at the canyon before anyone else.
My family and I enjoy visiting national parks in the later part of the day. We like to get up, take our time, have a leisurely breakfast and then head out to the park after lunch.
This may sound counterintuitive, but with fourteen hours of daylight in the summer, you can begin any excursion at 2 p.m. when the park begins to slow down a bit and still have six hours of daylight. This is ample time to see plenty of sights and get home before it gets too late.
We love to take our dinner with us and watch the sunset while we eat. We have so many great memories at so many national parks of dining while watching the sun sink into its slumber. You can also stay later and watch the stars for a while and maybe even catch the Milky Way!
Visit the North Rim
The North Rim of the Grand Canyon only sees 10% of the visitors in the park. Therefore, it is almost never crowded. There won’t be the hustle and bustle and the energy of the South Rim, but it will be quiet, serene and the experience will leave you much more in tuned with nature. There is also still a lot to do at the North Rim such as hiking, mule riding, ATV rentals and helicopter rides. The weather is always cooler at the North Rim and the pines offer more shade and opportunities to take a rest out of the hot August sun. The campground at the North Rim is the best in the park. Situated on the edge of the canyon itself, you can enjoy your morning coffee on the rim, moments after you have exited your tent.
Enjoy the International Excitement
We have visited the Grand Canyon in three different season and the summer is definitely the most interesting time to visit. You will see people from all corners of the globe. As you walk around, you will be hard pressed to hear any English being spoken. However, no words need to be exchanged or understood. The language of amazement is the language shared as we all stare at the astonishing creation of millions of years. This gives the ambiance of a planetary “togetherness” that I don’t think you can get in many places in the world.
Are there activities that are better enjoyed in August?
There are some times of year that are better than others for certain activities. August is a great time to enjoy things that are more comfortable in the summer months when it is the warmest.
Take advantage of great white water rafting
White water rafting is one of the best activities you can do in the Grand Canyon. Imagine flying down the rushing waters of the Colorado River with shear cliffs over 4,000 feet on either side of you. August is the best time for peak water flow due to the needs of the Southwest for power. Water is released at peak capacity at 12,000 to 18,000 feet per cubic second. This means a wild ride for you and your crew. The most famous rapids of Crystal and Lava Falls will be the most exciting and will be at their peak.
In addition, when you have the chance during lulls between rapids, taking a dip in the river is a welcomed reprieve from the hot summer sun. The average temperature of the river is a cool 46 degrees, even in the summer. Therefore, a dip will keep you cool and happy.
Camping is superb in August
August is also the best time for camping in the park. Evenings can get quite chilly outside any other time of year, but August sees an average temp of around 50 degrees. This is perfect camping weather and your nights will be spent around a campfire cooking your favorite meals in comfort. Many of the national parks are moving to “reserve only” sites, but the Grand Canyon still has some first-come-first-served sites which makes it easy for the last minute vacationer. There are three established campgrounds at the more popular South Rim and one at the North Rim.
More people means more to do
August is the height of the national park visiting season, this has its drawbacks, but it also means everything is open and operating. All of the outfitters are ready for your business. All of the hotels, lodges and campgrounds are open. Additionally, the park’s museums and visitors centers are all open and fully staffed with park rangers that are there to teach you about the park and help with any needs that arise.
Visiting the Grand Canyon in August has a few challenges, but with the proper planning, it can be the best vacation you will ever take. So, don’t worry about booking the vacation of a lifetime in August for your family. Go ahead and hit that “Reserve” button!