GRAND CANYON NATIONAL PARK WEATHER
Grand Canyon National Park is situated in high desert that is Northeast Arizona. Elevations climb to over 7000 feet on the South Rim and over 8000 feet on the North Rim. Seasonal changes bring possible snow and freezing temperatures in the winter while there are pleasant high temperatures not frequently reaching 90°F in the summer. Yearly precipitation averages of less than 3 inches per month are the norm.
Inside the Grand Canyon, heat becomes a major factor year-round. Every thousand feet of downward elevation change equals roughly 4°F higher. March through October, average temperatures at the Phantom Ranch reach over 70°F every month. During the summer months, daily highs average over 100°F. Light, long-sleeved clothing and hats are recommended for shade purposes. Nighttime lows can be expected to dip around 25° cooler than the daytime high. August is the only month that sees more than 1 inch of precipitation, on average.
Visitors are reminded to be mindful of the extreme climate they are visiting. Average temperatures and precipitation sound nice on paper, but experiencing wide shifts between daily highs and lows can turn life-threatening while camping. The many smaller canyons can act as drainage chutes during a rainfall and flash floods can surprise anyone. Make sure and supplement the forecasted weather during your trip with a preparedness for any other circumstances that may pop up.
YELLOWSTONE NATIONAL PARK WEATHER
Yellowstone National Park is situated high in the Rocky Mountains. It has an average elevation 8000 feet, with mountain peaks reaching past 11,000 feet. This can be a harsh environment.
Winter is fierce in the park. Average snowfall of 150 inches is a valley measurement, and there are areas that receive double that amount. Temperatures top out with highs below freezing in December and January, barely creeping above that in November and February. The record low temperature in Yellowstone was -66°F. Most of the parks roads close in late October/early November and are not reopened until April or May. Popular winter activities include snowmobiling, cross-country skiing, geyser viewing, and enjoying the scenery from one of the seasonal lodges.
March and April signify the coming of spring with wildly unpredictable weather patterns. Upwards of a foot of snow can fall during a storm, but daytime temperatures can reach nearly 50°F, making for rapid changes in condition. May is the month with the highest average rainfall (2 inches). Scenery really comes to life in Yellowstone as winter melts away and the animal began spreading out from their winter locales to repopulate the majority of the park.
Summer months in Yellowstone mean temperatures reaching an average of nearly 80°F and frequent afternoon thunderstorms. Even during July, the warmest month, nighttime lows dip to the mid-40s, so visitors are urged to stay prepared with layered clothing. With nearly 2000 campsites available within the park, it would be unfortunate to find oneself hypothermic due to a lack of packing the correct number of blankets or coats.
Autumn is when the animals in Yellowstone most active. Many of the big game animals enter mating season, and all of them are feeding actively in preparation for the coming winter months. Nightly temperatures fall below the freezing mark by the end of September and generally will not rise out of that realm until the following May. Daytime highs hover near a moderate 60°F on average. Tourists are making their final trips to prepare for another year at school or work. Park employees are busy keeping everyone safe and enjoying their experience!
BRYCE CANYON NATIONAL PARK WEATHER
The area around the amphitheaters featured in Bryce Canyon National Park is a plateau reaching elevations of almost 9000 feet. At this elevation, inclement weather has a tendency of turning dangerous. Snow in the winters and thunderstorms in the summer are to be especially respected by visitors.
Seasonal variations in the weather can be drastic. From October through May, expect freezing temperatures, especially overnight. Cold weather does not keep the sun from having a damaging effect on human skin, though. Harsh rays combined with extremely cold temperatures can cause burns. Upwards of 6 feet of snow fall on average over the winter months. December is the coldest month, with an average high of 36°F.
Summer months bring mild highs that generally reach near 80°F with overnight lows around 50°F. July and August are the rainiest months in this semi-arid climate, with intense, brief storms. Visitors are asked to use extreme caution whenever they hear thunder as the lightning is life-threatening. A short rhyme is presented to promote tourist safety: "When thunder roars go indoors." July is the warmest, with an average high of 80°F.
Mild days are the general rule in Bryce Canyon National Park, though. Temperature variations of 30° between the day and night are common. It is important to dress in layers and be prepared for changing conditions!
ZION NATIONAL PARK WEATHER
Zion National Park is situated in a part of the United States that experiences all four seasons! Patterns exist as a progression in winter, spring, fall, and summer, but that does not preclude the odd day from happening. Elevation changes and cardinal direction movements matter to daily experiences. The information provided here is only intended as a general outline.
Winter months in Zion can get very cold, but are generally highlighted by a mix of rain and snow. Daily highs between December and February average in the mid-40s°F with nighttime lows in the 20s°F extending from November through March. People visiting the park during these months need to make sure and dress in warm layers.
June, July, and August are the warm weather summertime temperatures. Highs in the 80s°F and lows in the 50s°F are still quite the swing, so folks staying overnight want to be prepared for a chill compared to t-shirt weather days. It is technically considered a desert, but there are late-summer monsoons to consider.
The months of May and September have come to be considered optimal by many visitors in the park. Plant life blooming in the spring and changing colors in the fall really accent the pleasant temperatures, averaging in the 70s°F for the highs, and typically sunny days make viewing them a true pleasure. Animals are also very active during these two months.
Make sure and check the forecast before visiting!