Go Back  Fodor's Travel Talk Forums > Destinations > United States
Reload this Page >

Would anyone in their right mind go to Grand Canyon and Bryce Canyon NPs in July or August?

Would anyone in their right mind go to Grand Canyon and Bryce Canyon NPs in July or August?

Jan 10th, 2009, 10:27 PM
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: May 2007
Posts: 764
Would anyone in their right mind go to Grand Canyon and Bryce Canyon NPs in July or August?

My wife and I are considering a tour of these National Parks later this year but, to fit in with other arrangements, we may be limited to doing this in either July or August.

Using the tour prices as a guide, this seems to be the off-season (if there is such a thing), presumably because of the heat. From the research that I have done, it does appear to get rather hot there at that time of year (an understatement?) but, sometimes, high temperatures can be bearable provided that humidity is not a problem (as, I assume, it would not be here).

We do not want to be limited to viewing the spectacular scenery from inside air-conditioned vehicles. Other than for mad dogs and Englishmen, are normal activities (walks, etc) do-able in these parks at that time of year or would we be better advised to leave it until a later trip when we may be able to visit this part of the USA at some other time of the year?
kiwi_rob is offline  
Jan 10th, 2009, 11:52 PM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Posts: 70,495
Thousands go. That's when kids are out on school holiday. My guess is that's when most Americans (with families) go.

It's hot...but it's a "dry heat".
starrs is offline  
Jan 11th, 2009, 03:58 AM
  #3  
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Posts: 7,443
Have you already seen Zion? It rates right up there with GC adn Bryce. You might want to see GC from the North and South rims. Your not crazy, plan most of your activities early and late in the day to beat the heat. In Bryce, the temperature is normally about 10 degrees cooler as it is higher in elevation. Zion, hike a portion of The Narrows to cool off.
spirobulldog is offline  
Jan 11th, 2009, 04:31 AM
  #4  
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Posts: 58
kiwi_rob, I agree with spirobulldog, you should look at Zion and the N. Rim. The crowds will be less at the N.R. than at the S.R. that time of year. You have to make the reservations early though and then adjust later if need be. Zion was our favorite stop. Google Zion, there are numerous hikes. But, definitely do the Narrows and Angel's Landing. Bryce was pretty but can be seen in 1 day. Vegas will be your best airport for those areas. Let me know if we can help.

mes3
mes3 is offline  
Jan 11th, 2009, 04:57 AM
  #5  
 
Join Date: Jun 2003
Posts: 3,672
We did it in July one year -- did a loop from Phoenix to GC to Santa Fe to Four Corners to Bryce and Zion to Vegas back to Phoenix. Make sure you carry lots and lots of water. One thing about the humidity, though -- I was surprised to find humidity increasing in later July and August; there's a "rainy" season then. Go figure. It meant that it didn't cool down much at night.
sludick is offline  
Jan 11th, 2009, 07:35 AM
  #6  
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 3,977
Altitudes at the Grand Canyon and Bryce play roles. The GC south rim is 7,000 ft. I don't know about Bryce, but it's up there. If you want cooler days, stay away from lower altitudes. July and August -- the time of the southwest monsoon -- can be quite cool, especially when the rain comes. We live at 4,500 ft. altitude in AZ. Just take it easy during the middle of the day. Time your outdoor activities to start early in the a.m. and then resume after 4 p.m.
USNR is offline  
Jan 11th, 2009, 08:49 AM
  #7  
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 2,240
Of course you can go during July or August! We have gone a few times during those months. Bryce and Grand Canyon are at higher elevations, so the heat is not so bad. One particularly hot visit at Bryce, we arose early (just before dawn) and hiked down into the canyon before breakfast. We then had a great breakfast at the lodge, spent the afternoon napping and reading, ate an early dinner and then took evening walks until sunset. This plan worked well and we were active, yet comfortable.

The only National Park I would not visit in the summer is Death Valley.
Do go, and have a great adventure!
elnap29 is offline  
Jan 11th, 2009, 09:40 AM
  #8  
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Posts: 2,829
If you go to these parks in summer (and there's no reason not to), walking/hiking is a must to get the full experience. In fact, I found the dry heat in these spots during June notably more bearable than the humid heat in places I've lived. Just keep a few things in mind:

-use sunscreen or cover up -- and this includes wearing a hat and sunglasses. Bad sunburns or heatstroke are very likely if you don't.

-drink water, and plenty of it, during the course of the day even if you don't feel thirsty. It's very easy to dehydrate in this dry climate, and you can start to have problems before you realize you're in trouble.

-if you hike into Grand Canyon or Bryce Canyon, the temperature tends to get hotter the further you descend.

-the altitudes are pretty high at these attractions. Consider taking it a little easier on your first day to get acclimated.

These parks are absolutely wonderful, though. Most definitely include Zion in your itinerary if you haven't seen it. And if you do a wider loop that includes the Four Corners area, see Monument Valley as well.
bachslunch is offline  
Jan 11th, 2009, 09:50 AM
  #9  
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 57,890
It depends on what temps you're used to - and enjoy. I'm assuming you're used to cooler temps most of the time - and not prepared for desert heat.

I know everyone says it's dry heat and you don;t feel it as much. Nonsense!

It's ghastly hot and IMHO many people (me included) wouldn't go them if you paid me. But then I don't want to go anywhere outside if the temp is higher than low 80s - I just can;t stand it. (But do LOVE cold weather.)

So - only you can judge. But yes - a lot of people go then - but many other avoid it due to the heat.
nytraveler is offline  
Jan 11th, 2009, 10:53 AM
  #10  
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 7,693
We visited Bryce, Zion, and the Grand Canyoun last July. It wasn't nearly as bad as we expected. In fact, we didn't find it too hot at all. In fact in the evening and the early AM we needed a light jacket at Bryce. Just make sure you drink plenty of water.
schmerl is offline  
Jan 11th, 2009, 11:45 AM
  #11  
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Posts: 2,304
It always amazes me when people answer these questions with subjective terms. Telling someone it's hot or ghastly hot doesn't help as those are relative terms. It's quite easy to find out the average temperatures and let the OP decide if those temps are agreeable or not.

http://www.nps.gov/grca/planyourvisi...-condition.htm

http://www.nps.gov/brca/planyourvisi...heroutlook.htm

Scroll down on both pages. Temps are in Fahrenheit.
Average high/low at the Grand Canyon South Rim:
July: 84/54
August 82/53

Same thing for Bryce:
July: 83/47
August: 80/45

As others have said, the temps go up if you hike down into the canyon. Given the typical low temps at both places, starting early in the day will virtually guarantee good hiking/sightseeing conditions. Save your driving for mid-day when temps are hottest and you'll be just fine. It's generally the people who don't get an early start and are fighting the afternoon crowds/heat at the South Rim who complain about how awful it is in summer.
WhereAreWe is offline  
Jan 11th, 2009, 11:54 AM
  #12  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 22,243
We were there near July 4th several years ago - great trip. Started in Las Vegas where car rental place had signs warning that when temp was over 100, a/c would not work effectively. But rest of trip was fine.

Son and husband even did short below the rim hike at GC - leaving at 5 AM. One advantage of the heat was that we saw a spectacular thunderstorm from El Tovar dining room one night - it was after dark, the lights flickered, and the Canyon was lit up with flashes of lightening - one of the most beautiful natural events I have ever seen.
gail is offline  
Jan 11th, 2009, 04:38 PM
  #13  
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 977
The week before Labor Day is one of the quietest in the Natonal Parks.
peterboy is offline  
Jan 11th, 2009, 06:18 PM
  #14  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: May 2007
Posts: 764
Thanks, everyone, for your helpful comments. That gives me the encouragement to press on with the planning. We are certainly not desert-dwellers but, from the sound of your experiences, we should be able to get plenty of enjoyment from a visit at that time of year.

You would enjoy our climate in NZ, nytraveler. Occasionally, we get summer temperatures in excess of 85 (we had 97 one day last week) but, usually, they are in the 68 to 83 range with winter temperatures in the 48 to 55 range (these are the daily maximums). Here, in the South Island, humidity is seldom an issue.
kiwi_rob is offline  
Jan 11th, 2009, 08:48 PM
  #15  
 
Join Date: Dec 2008
Posts: 23
It will be hot. I went in May and it was very hot. Don't let that dissuade you, though. It's a beautiful part of the country and well worth the visit. One of the highlights of my travels was being able to tour the Southwest.
cancankant is offline  
Jan 11th, 2009, 09:45 PM
  #16  
 
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 11,488
>>-use sunscreen or cover up -- and this includes wearing a hat and sunglasses. Bad sunburns or heatstroke are very likely if you don't.<<

Actually, you should use sunscreen *and* cover up, especially with the hat and sunglasses.

Yes, it's a dry heat, but it's still just plain hot.

Lee Ann
ElendilPickle is offline  
Jan 12th, 2009, 05:10 AM
  #17  
 
Join Date: Sep 2008
Posts: 223
kiwi_rob
I would definitely go! We were there summer before last and yes it was hot but the heat didn't stop any activity we planned!! Actually when we were at the GC the morning temps were quite hot, but afternoon rain showers cooled it down a good bit!

Enjoy planning
tambennett is offline  
Jan 12th, 2009, 10:46 AM
  #18  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 1,936
I was at Bryce a few years ago in June and it was quite cool. I don't know what the temperature was but you definitely needed a jacket. And I live near Boston so I'm used to cold weather and I was cold. Perhaps it was unseasonably cool when we were there but just be advised that it can be cool at higher elevations even in the summer. I believe the elevation at Bryce is around 9,000 feet.
sharona is offline  
Jan 12th, 2009, 03:05 PM
  #19  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 1,960
We were just there this past summer, in July, staying in tents and it wasn't bad at all. I figure since you are going to Bryce you are going to the north rim of the GC. Bryce and the north rim are high in elevation and wooded.

Hiking down into the canyon will get pretty warm at that time of year. There are recommended distances for those doing day trips. Go early and get out by noon.

The south rim is warmer as is Zion which is fairly close to the north rim and Bryce. Between the three, it is my least favorite.



Connie is offline  
Jan 12th, 2009, 04:17 PM
  #20  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 1,960
For the record I'm from Texas and heat is relative.
Connie is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy -

FODOR'S VIDEO

All times are GMT -8. The time now is 01:17 AM.