Visiting Grand Canyon in March when the crowds start to return!

Visiting Grand Canyon in March when the crowds start to return!

Things to do in the Grand Canyon in March

One of the benefits of visiting the Grand Canyon in March is that there are far less crowds than in the summer but you need to be on the lookout for the crowds to start in late March for spring break. 

March and April are two of the best months to visit the Grand Canyon.  You will have pleasant temperatures and fewer crowds than in the summer.  Depending on when Easter is this will be a busy time at the Grand Canyon along with spring break.

Grand Canyon North Rim

Keep reading to check out these Grand Canyon in March reviews and what to do in the Grand Canyon in March.  This is everything you need to plan your Grand Canyon visit in March.

Is the Grand Canyon open in March?

The Grand Canyon National Park remains open every day for year-round visitors.  

The South Rim is open year round and there are many beautiful Grand Canyon Lookout Points.  Grand Canyon South Rim in March is a pleasant time to visit the Grand Canyon.

During March in the Grand Canyon, the North Rim is closed, due to safety concerns from the snow.  The North Rim is open from May 15 – October 15.

How busy is the Grand Canyon in March?

March is a popular time at the Grand Canyon.  With spring break in late March and sometimes Easter falling in March as well it makes it a great time to visit the Grand Canyon.  You will not have the same crowds as you would in summer but it is much busier than visiting the Grand Canyon in Winter.

The more popular South Rim remains open year-round but the North Rim does not open until May 15th.  You can read more about the South Rim vs the North Rim on my site.

Spring is a great time to visit the national park if you don’t want to be surrounded by too many tourists. The low tourist numbers also allow spring visitors to experience more of the tranquillity that the canyons have to offer.

Another benefit of going in the spring with less tourists is the fact that booking accommodation will be easy!  I don’t recommend just showing up though because some places will be booked out but check out the list of the best accommodation in Tusayan below.

Grand Canyon in January

Is it a good time to visit Grand Canyon in Spring?

There is never a bad time to visit the Grand Canyon. 

In March, the weather will be warming up, the chance of snow will be less, you will be able to do more of the hiking trails, and the days will be getting longer.

Early March is quiet as the Grand Canyon is coming out of winter and into Spring.  In late March, the traffic is picking up with all of the spring breakers.

Winter in the Grand Canyon is a great time to visit with less crowds, clear skies and cooler weather.  I think the key to visiting in the winter is to have good shoes. You cannot just wear sneakers as the snow will melt and get in your shoes.  Waterproof shoes are a must!

Make sure to pack the following if you are planning to visit the Grand Canyon in February:

  • Waterproof shoes
  • Winter Jacket
  • Gloves, Hat, Scarf
  • Thermal Layer, sweater, sweatshirt
  • Shoes with a good grip

Does it snow in the Grand Canyon in March?

Yes, the Grand Canyon does see snow storms during March.  Storms can close the roads and hiking trails unexpectedly. 

Grand Canyon in january

Storms in the Grand Canyon in March can dump several inches of snow.  The chances of a storm die down in the later part of the month.

The blankets of snow are contrasted with clear sunny skies and crisp air providing great conditions to get out and experience the beautiful views of the sweeping canyons and Grand Canyon with snow.

Is the Grand Canyon cold in March?

Yes, it can get cold in the Grand Canyon in March.  January and February are the coldest months and it is starting to get warmer in March.  During the day it is on average 55 degrees but at night it averages 18 degrees but it can get well below freezing.

Did you know that it is actually much warmer in the Canyon?  If you walk down into the Canyon or stay at Phantom Ranch, it averages 72 during the day.

Lipon Point Grand Canyon in February
A snow covered ledge overlooking the grand Canyon at Lipon Point.

Things to do at the Grand Canyon in the Spring

You can do all of the same activities in the Grand Canyon in spring that you can do during the warmer months.  Yes, a few trails will be closed due to the icy conditions but as long as you check with the visitors center you will be able to enjoy visiting the Grand Canyon in spring.

1. Visit the Visitors Centre to find out the conditions.

Located just inside the south entrance station at the south rim, the visitors centre is open from 9am-4pm during these winter months.

At the visitors centre you will be informed of the weather conditions of that day, finding out if it is safe to hike some trails, if some trails are closed off and what viewpoints are safest to visit. Also, at the visitor centre, there is a short film all about the park that takes visitors through a visual experience before jumping into it themselves.

Arizona National Parks

Just a short 5-minute walk from the visitor centre is the Mathers Point viewpoint. This is often the number one choice for many visitors, particularly during the winter due to the close proximity to the carparks and the visitor centre.

To get to the viewpoint does not require much effort nor is it time consuming, making it an easy spot to see the canyon if you don’t want to tread the wintery conditions.

2. Take a Shuttle if its snowy and you don’t want to drive.

If it’s snowy it is best recommended to take a shuttle bus to the viewpoints rather than driving yourself.  It is safe to drive if the roads are clear, however, unless fully experienced and confident with driving on snowy roads – the shuttles are the best and safest choice.

things to see at grand canyon south rim

The Grand Canyon offers two shuttle bus routes to see the best of the canyon, although the orange route (Kaibab Rim) is arguably the best for free transport to the best spots. Beginning at the visitors centre, the orange route shuttle bus leaves every 30 minutes.

During the route, the bus takes visitors to 5 major viewpoints offering beautiful scenery of the canyons. These viewpoints include, Mathers Point, Yavapai Geology Museum, South Kaibab Trailhead, Yaki Point and Pipe Creek Vista.

One bonus for riding the shuttle in winter is that there are no lines for the shuttle.  If the roads are not good, I’d recommend taking the shuttle.

3. Drive to Hopi Point, if not snowy and you want to drive

One of the must visit spots along the west rim of the canyon, is located on

Hermits Road, Hopi Point! Located about half way down the 7-mile road lies

arguably one of the greatest lookouts of the canyon. Hermit’s road is only

open to private vehicles during the winter months, making it a perfect time to

plan your trip out there.

Grand Canyon January

Hopi Points is one the most popular viewpoints along the west rim due to the

stunning panoramic views of the Colorado River, the Dana Butte, and the

sweeping canyons. Hopi Point is also voted as being one of the best places to

see the sunrise and sunset due to the wide vistas.

If, however, it is snowy and the roads are deemed unsafe for private vehicles,

the park does offer shuttle buses along the Hermit road which takes you to

Hopi Point. Ensuring that no matter the weather you get a chance to see this

beautiful view.

4. Take a Short hike in the Grand Canyon

Hiking in the Grand Canyon in winter my seem impossible but I’ve listed a few short hikes that can be done.  Most of the trails will be extremely icy so if you are planning to do any more hiking you will need extra gear for it.

All the Trails are monitored and open most days.  Check with the visitors centre to see what the conditions are like.

Take a hike to Shoshone Point

The trail begins along the Desert View Drive at a discrete gate. The trail in its

entirety is only 1.7 miles, making it a short and easy hike to do during the

winter months. The trail is along a dirt road and only has a slight almost

unnoticeable upwards incline along the way. The end of the trail offers

magnificent panoramic views of the beautiful canyons below and due to the

privacy of this trail, almost always offers a tranquil and calming experience in

nature.

Take a hike to Ooh Aah Point

Grand Canyon January

Located about 0.9-miles down the South Kaibab Trail is a beautiful viewpoint

and great end to short winter hike. Although the hike is short it isn’t

necessarily easy. The hike down to Ooh Aah Point is relatively downhill,

therefore coming back up takes approximately double the time. Therefore, in

conditions where it isn’t raining or snowing too much it could be a fantastic

hike for those who want a small challenge along with a great view along the

way.

Check out my post on the best hikes in the Grand Canyon

5. Drive the Hermits Rest Scenic Drive.

Hermit Road located at the west end of the south rim is a popular 7-mile route

that takes you along many scenic viewpoints before finishing at Hermits rest.

There are shuttle buses provided by the Grand Canyon on offer along this route.

Hermit’s Rest Grand Canyon in March

In the summer months, you must take the shuttle as there are too many people at the Grand Canyon and

not enough parking spots.  In the winter months, the road is

open to private vehicles.

Along this route, there are some of the best views that the canyon has to offer, including the views from

Hopi Point, Mohave Point and Pima Point.

6. Rim Trail – Visitors Centre to Village

A nice and easy 2.5-mile trail from the visitor’s centre to the Grand Canyon

Village. The paths are paved and mostly flat, making it perfect for those who

want to see the beauty of the canyons while remaining on flat grounds.

grand canyon best hikes

Along the trail, there are many viewpoints that bring in a different piece of beauty to

your experience at the canyon. This trail is also perfect for those who love

walking as it’s generally easy and can be compared to a walk in the park –

with added bonuses of the canyon views!

7. Tusayan Museum and Ruin

The Tusayan Museum and Ruin located just 3-miles west of Desert View

Point, is one of the most important archaeological discoveries in Arizona.

The Ruin itself contains the remains of a Pueblo Village that is believed to be over

800-years old. The Museum is located nearby the Ruins and contains many

exhibits designed give visitors a greater understanding into the unique history

of the canyon. Visiting the museum and learning about the 12,000+ years of

rich archaeological history sounds like a great way to spend a crisp winter

day.

8. See the wildlife in the park

Many animals in this area have developed a tolerance and adaptation to the

colder temperature. So, during the winter months many more animals can be

seen out foraging along the trails and forests.

Grand Canyon January

Mule deer, rock squirrels, elk and ravens are all popular sites among the canyons during these colder

months.

9. Catch the Sunset at one of these points

There are many places along the Grand Canyon ranked as great places to

view the sunset. Two of the best places to sit and enjoy the sunset on a crisp

winter’s evening are arguably Hopi Point and Yavapai Point.

Hopi Point is one of the most popular places along the south rim to view both

the sunrise and sunset. This is largely due to the incredible panoramic views

of the canyon that is seen from this point. Making any sunrise or sunset truly

magical.

Visiting the Grand Canyon during the winter months has its added

bonus of getting to watch the sunset from the best spot without having it being

overpopulated by visitors. Making the experience just a bit more exciting.

Yavapai Point is yet another great and popular spot to see the sunset at the

Grand Canyon. Just a short walk from the visitor centre is Yavapai Point, a

viewpoint with truly magnificent views of the canyons and a great spot to view

the sunset.

Check out my post on the Best Grand Canyon Viewpoints in the South Rim or the North Rim Look Out Points.

Where to stay near the Grand Canyon

Tusayan is the nearest city to the Grand Canyon.  The population city of Tusayan is only 550. The city is located along Highway 180 about 70 miles from Flagstaff.

You will find shops and restaurants there, the Grand Canyon IMAX, and the Grand Canyon Airport is about one mile south of town.

Another benefit of going in the winter with less tourists is the fact that booking accommodation will be easy!  I don’t recommend just showing up though because some places will be closed.

Canyon Plaza Premier Studio and Apartments

Views of the valleys and forest areas are featured in select Arizona apartments. Grand Canyon South Rim Entrance is 5 minutes’ drive.

Studios feature a kitchenette and apartments offer a fully equipped kitchen at Canyon Plaza Premier Studio and Apartments. A balcony is provided in each unit.

JJK’s Restaurant is open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner at the Studio and Apartments Canyon Plaza Premier.

Check out Rates on Booking

Arizona Luxury Expeditions – Grand Canyon

Arizona Luxury Expeditions has tents where you can glamp overnight.  This is part of their ll inclusive and customized to include 12’x12′ Expedition Tents, all meals freshly prepared daily, and a professional Tour Guide for your stay with us.

The weather at the Grand Canyon during Dec. averages 30-40 degrees Fahrenheit daytime and 20’s degree at nighttime. They provide heaters for inside your sleeping and the private dining tents with plenty of warm heavy wool blankets.  Most guests enjoy this time of the year in the Grand Canyon because of less crowds of people and the winter landscape that is incredible to experience.

Check out Rates on Booking

Best Western Premier Grand Canyon Squire Inn

Located right next to the Holiday Inn Express, the Best Western has 250 rooms.  The Best Western has an indoor heated pool, a hot tub, sauna, and fitness center.

There is also two restaurants in the hotel – Coronado Room and the Canyon Room.  If you are looking for fast food you can find the McDonalds and Pizza Hut are close.

Check out Rates on Booking

Holiday Inn Express Grand Canyon

The Holiday Inn Express is located just two miles from the South Entrance of the Grand Canyon.  The Holiday Inn Express has 164 rooms and is located centrally in Tusayan which means you can walk to the restaurants and shops.

The Holiday Inn Express has an indoor pool, a whirlpool, and a continental breakfast is included.

Check out Rates on Booking

The Grand Hotel at the Grand Canyon

The hotel offers 5-star accommodation with a hot tub.  All units are equipped with air conditioning, a flat-screen TV with satellite channels, a microwave, a coffee machine, a shower, a hairdryer and a desk. Guest rooms include a wardrobe.

Featuring a restaurant, bar, shared lounge and free WiFi, The Grand Hotel at the Grand Canyon is located in Tusayan, 10 km from Mather Campground and 12 km from Bright Angel Trail. This 5-star hotel offers a concierge service and a tour desk. The hotel features an indoor pool, fitness centre, evening entertainment and a 24-hour front desk.

Check out Rates on Booking

Grand Canyon Plaza Hotel

Canyon Plaza Premier Studio and Apartments is a 3 star hotel located 6 miles from the Grand Canyon.

There are only 10 rooms here and each room has a microwave, a refrigerator, and a coffee maker.

There is one restaurant here called JJK’s restaurant.  Close to the hotel is the Plaza Bonita where you can also eat.

Check out Rates on Booking

Conclusion – worth visiting the Grand Canyon in March?

The crisp cold weather, the blankets of snow across the canyons, the low

tourism, the foreign animals roaming about and the beautiful sunsets all make for winter to be a great time to visit the Grand Canyon.

Many parts of the Grand Canyon offer spots of tranquillity and serenity, however, when visiting in the winter these can be found more frequently and often in many of the most popular spots of the canyon.

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Grand Canyon in March

Continue Reading More on my website about the Grand Canyon:

Grand Canyon in December

Grand Canyon in January

Grand Canyon in February

Grand Canyon National Park Hiking Trails

Best Grand Canyon Viewpoint on the North Rim

15 Best Grand Canyon Viewpoints you won’t want to miss

 

 

 

American Southwest Obsessed

Nicole is a travel expert who has been traveling to the American Southwest since 1992. There is so much to see and do in Arizona, New Mexico, Utah, Nevada, and California. I spend part of the year in Phoenix and travel around the area visiting all the best places and going on the best hikes. Check out my detailed destination guides, the best hiking in each state guides, and the travel gear you need for your next trip.

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