Visiting the Grand Canyon in September – Insider Tips

Grand Canyon in September– one of the best months to visit the Grand Canyon

Visiting Grand Canyon in September

If you are planning your Grand Canyon vacation in September you are in the right place.  Visiting Grand

Canyon National Park is great any time of year – just ask any of the 6 million visitors the site sees a year!

grand canyon weather in august

One thing you should know about visiting the Grand Canyon, September is a busy month.  The Grand Canyon weather in September is both hot and wet.  Its not quite as hot as down in the canyon but you will encounter afternoon thunderstorms in early September.

Grand Canyon in May

Is the Grand Canyon open in September?

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.  The Grand Canyon South Rim in September is starting to get hot to visit the Grand Canyon.

During September in the Grand Canyon, the North Rim is open.  The North Rim is open from May 15 – October 15.

grand canyon temperature in june

How busy is the Grand Canyon in September?

In September it is the perfect time to visit the Grand Canyon.  It is a popular time at the Grand Canyon. The crowds will be at their busiest in August and September sees the kids go back to school so there is plenty to do.  There are still ways to get away from the crowds by hiking in the canyon or going white water rafting.  The more popular South Rim remains open year-round but the North Rim has opened on the May 15th.  You can read more about the South Rim vs the North Rim on my site.

Please note if you do any hiking down into the Canyon it is a lot hotter – like 20 degrees warmer.  This is something a lot of people do not know and it is crucial when deciding to go hiking.

Make sure you have your bookings in place a few months in advance.  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 Fall?

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

In September, the weather will be warming up but there is a high chance of thunderstorms in the afternoon.

Summer in the Grand Canyon is a great time to visit with even though there are crowds, sometimes stormy skies in the afternoon and warmer weather.  Make sure you pack your hatsunglasses, and sunscreen as you are at 7,000 feet in elevation and that much closer to the sun.

What is the Grand Canyon weather in September?  Grand Canyon temperature in September

The temperature at Grand Canyon in September is perfect.  Grand Canyon weather in September is warm and very pleasant at night but just starting to get to mid 70s during the day.

Grand Canyon july

During the day the grand canyon temperature in September is on average 76 degrees but at night it averages 43 degrees.  Temperatures in Grand Canyon in September can get even higher.

Early September can be quite hot with the chance of thunderstorms in the afternoon carrying over from August.  By mid September you will be enjoying the beautiful weather.

Did you know that it is actually much warmer down in the Canyon?  If you walk down into the Canyon or stay at Phantom Ranch, it averages 100 during the day.

Things to do at the Grand Canyon in the Fall

Visiting the Grand Canyon in September means you will be experiencing the longer days in the park.  In the summertime leading up to and right after June 21 you will have 15 hours of daylight each day compared to 10 hours of daylight in the winter.

You’ll have 12 hours of daylight in September.  You can catch the sunrise at the canyon or if early mornings are not your thing than the sunset.  I have listed out Viewpoints in the Grand Canyon for each in my list of things to do in the Grand Canyon below.

Things to do at the Grand Canyon in September

Visit the Visitors Centre to find out the conditions

Located just inside the south entrance station at the south rim, the visitors center is open from 8am-5pm during the spring months.  This may not sound like the most exciting thing to do but there are two things very near to the visitor’s center that you can do – visit Mathers Viewpoint and walk the Rim Trail.

best views grand canyon south rim

At the visitor center, you will be informed of the weather conditions of that day. As well as if any hiking trails, viewpoints and activities are closed that day or what the safest and best options are. At the visitors center, there is also a short 20-minute movie informing visitors about the park, the trails and the history as well as taking them through a visual experience before jumping into it themselves.

Just a short 5-minute walk from the visitor center is the Mathers Point viewpoint. This is often a go-to for many visitors of the park, largely due to the close proximity of the visitor center as well as the beautiful views of the canyon it offers.

Rim Trail from Visitor Centre to the Village 

The paved mostly flat trail from the visitor center to the Grand Canyon Village is 2.5-miles and includes some of the best viewpoints along the canyon. This is perfect for those who want to experience the beauty of the canyons without exerting themselves too much by hiking through the canyons. This trail is considered to be generally easy by those who have completed it and is a great way to spend a warm sunny day.

Hike the Rim to Rim Trail

The rim to rim hike through the Grand Canyon is often on many hikers’ bucket lists! The route itself is beautiful and offers majestic views of the canyon that no other single hiking trail could offer.

hiking in the grand canyon

However, it sure is not an easy route or something that should be taken lightly. The trail is 24-miles long (one way) and to complete in its entirety could take up to a few days to complete.

It is best to begin at the north rim and work your way down to the south. Therefore, the recommended route is to begin walking the North Kaibab Trail then moving on to the Bright Angel Trail.

Beginning on the North Kaibab Trail, walking through the gorgeous scenery of the canyon and experiencing the rich history it has to offer; the route ends at the Bright Angel Campground. This is
where you will have the chance to fully rest and spend a night or two before jumping on to the next adventure – Bright Angel Trail!

In the early morning, begin the experience of hiking up through the Bright Angel Trail, one of the most popular on the south rim. The trail takes you through the inner canyon walls and offers stunning and majestic views along the way.

Once you have reached the end of the Bright Angel Trail, you would have completed the rim-to-rim hiking experience and it would have been a great one at that! Due to the longevity of each of the two hikes individually, it is recommended that you complete the rim-to-rim over the course of a few days while staying at the multiple campgrounds, that the canyon has on offer.

See the sunrise at Mathers Point or Yavapai Point

Mathers Point is one of the most popular places at the canyon to see the sunrise. Due to the close proximity of the visitor center and large carpark as well as the truly magnificent panoramic views it provides; no wonder Mathers Point is a popular go-to spot for viewing the sunrise.

best views grand canyon south rim

The only downside to viewing the sunrise here is due to the high popularity, this area is generally crowded with people wanting to see the sunrise so getting a good spot is sometimes difficult. During May, visitors might want to get there extra early in order to secure a front row seat for the sunrise. Although, the early arrival is well worth it once the sun rises through the canyon hills.

Yavapai Point is another great place for many tourists and visitors to see the sunrise.

Yavapai Point Grand Canyon
Arizona sunset Grand Canyon National Park Yavapai Point

Unlike Mathers Point, Yavapai Point generally is not as crowded for sunrise, making it a bit more appealing to those who want a peaceful, tranquil experience while viewing the sunrise. The sunrise here is a must-see when visiting this national park due to the stunning panoramic views the spot offers of the sun rising through the canyons.

 

Desert View Drive 

The Desert View Drive is a 25-mile stretch of road located just one mile west of the Grand Canyon village. The desert view drive offers some of the most magnificent views of the Colorado river on offer at the Grand Canyon. There are many stops along the way that offer beautiful sceneries and unique experiences of the canyon. However, two must-visit stops along the way include Yaki Point and Duck on a Rock.

Yaki Point is a gorgeous lookout point where visitors can sit and enjoy the panoramic views of the canyons. This is also a great location to view both the beautiful sunrise and sunset over the canyons. Yaki Point is not accessible via a private vehicle and is only accessible through a free shuttle bus operated by the park.

grand canyon south rim best views

Duck on a Rock is located just east of Yaki Point and is thought to resemble a duck sitting atop a rock. The unofficial point is unmarked by the park so is easy to miss to those passing by. However, it is definitely worth a stop and a look by those visiting the Desert View Drive.

See the sunset at Pima Point

Pima Point is the final stop along the Hermit scenic drive, before arriving at Hermit’s rest. From this point there is a wide panoramic view of over 40-miles of the canyons and makes a great spot to view the sunset.

Grand Canyon in May
Grand Canyon sunny day landscape view

The only downside is that during May, this road is closed to private vehicles, and therefore the only way to access it is through the use of free shuttle buses (or hiking it). Therefore, this spot is likely to be a bit crowded of other visitors wanting a glimpse of the sunset too. however, if you arrive a bit early, you’ll be sure to sore a great spot and enjoy the beautiful sunset without the distraction of others in front of you.

Helicopter Tour over the Canyon

What better way to see the beauty of the canyons and all it has to offer than seeing it from a helicopter flying above?! Helicopter rides over the canyon give visitors a unique experience and provide views that otherwise would be missed. By doing a helicopter tour, visitors get to experience the canyons by looking down into them, something that is often missed when just looking out from a viewpoint.

Although these tours are often a bit pricey, they are well worth it and will provide unforgettable memories.  This is the helicopter ride I took over the West Rim.

Grand Canyon Skywalk

The skywalk is located along the west-rim of the Grand Canyon and consists of a horse-shoe glass bridge extending 70-feet over the rim of the canyon. The bridge itself is made from glass, so if you look down you can see over 4,000 feet below to the canyon grounds. This is truly a unique experience and offers views of the canyons that you can’t get anywhere else! There is also a gift shop and a restaurant located at the bridge to make your experience even longer and better.

Grand Canyon North Rim vs South Rim

 

South Kaibab Trail is one of the best Grand Canyon day hikes

Located along the south rim of the Grand Canyon, South Kaibab Trail is another very popular trail for hikers.

hiking at the grand canyon

The trail is quite steep, and because of this it will likely take twice as long walking back up as it did to walk down. It is also recommended to do this hike in the early morning or afternoon due to the
minimal shade along the trail.

The trail in its entirety is just over 7-miles, and the view at the end is a stunning 360-degree panoramic view of the beautiful canyon. However, the views along the hike are also just as beautiful, so there
are many opportunities to only hike parts of the trail without missing out on the beauty that the trail offers.

If you’re wanting to experience this for yourself, private vehicles are not permitted. Therefore, you will have to get a shuttle bus to the beginning of the trail.

North Kaibab Trail is a North Rim Day Hike

North Kaibab Trail is a popular hiking trail located on the north rim of the Grand Canyon.

hiking in grand canyon

This trail is one of the most difficult hiking trails to complete along the Grand Canyon. However, because of this it also offers privacy and solitude due to the minimal people that tackle the hike.

Along the hike, you will get a view over the Bright Angel Canyon through an array of trees, wildflowers and ferns.

The full trail is 14-miles. However, there is a campground located half way as well as at the end enabling you to complete the trail in its entirety over a couple of days. Although, hikers need a permit from the Grand Canyon National Park Backcountry Information Centre in order to legally stay overnight at any of the campgrounds located at the Grand Canyon.

If you do choose to tackle this impressive hike, you will get to see the ‘Pumphouse Residence’ located about 5-miles into the hike. This was home to artist and reserve worker for many decades where he lived, worked at the canyon and spent his time painting.

Although the hike may seem like a lot or difficult, the views that it offers, makes it well worth the hard work.

 

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 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 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 – Is it worth visiting the Grand Canyon in September?

The warm weather, the unique activities and the beautiful canyons all make September a great time to visit the Grand Canyon!  The unique experiences offered during this time also make September a perfect time for those wanting to visit the Grand Canyon!

Over to you!  Have you visited the Grand Canyon in September?  How did you like it?  Let me know in the comments below about your experience at the Grand Canyon.

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Grand Canyon September

Visiting the Grand Canyon in August

Visiting the Grand Canyon in July

Visiting the Grand Canyon in June

Visiting the Grand Canyon in May

Visiting the Grand Canyon in April

Visiting the Grand Canyon in March

Visiting the Grand Canyon in February

Visiting the Grand Canyon in January

Visiting the Grand Canyon in December

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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