Cathedral Rock, Sedona Arizona
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Weather and Seasons of the Southwest USA
Northern Arizona, Northern New Mexico, Southern Colorado and Southern Utah all have four distinctive seasons. Most of our high country Southwest USA seasons and weather is very similar. The desert areas of Arizona, New Mexico and California have less distinctive seasons. The south rim of the Grand Canyon is about 7000 feet high (2,134 meters). When traveling to some locations in southern Utah and southern Colorado, we reach elevations of over 10,000 feet (3,048 meters). Most of our desert areas vary between 1000 feet (305 meters) and 5000 feet (1524 meters).The fall colors of Northern Arizona and Southern Utah are spectacular. All of the high country of the Southwest can get large quantities of snow in the winter and nice cooling thunder showers in the summer, yet we average over 348 days with the sun shining. The average high daytime summer temperature at the south rim of the Grand Canyon is about 76 degrees. The average high winter desert temperature is about the same. The Grand Canyon and the canyons of southern Utah can be especially beautiful with fresh fallen snow and are not ever crowded in the winter!
Summer temperatures on the South Rim, at 7000 feet (2134 meters), are especially pleasant from 50° to about 85° F (10°s to 20°s C). The inner canyon temperatures are extreme and hot, with a lower elevation of about 2400 feet (732 meters). Daytime highs at the Colorado river in the bottom of the canyon often exceed 100° F (38° C). North Rim summer temperatures are cooler than those on the South Rim due to increased elevation. The North Rim is 8000 feet (2438meters) to 9000 feet (2743 meters) above sea level.
Summer conditions in southern Arizona desert areas can vary from low's in the 70's to highs above 110°F.
Spring & Fall
Spring and fall weather is more unpredictable. Fall time weather can often be the best for hiking and general outdoor activities. Spring weather can bring late snowfalls and cold winds. Be prepared for sudden changes in the weather at these times of year.
Winter conditions Flagstaff and at the Grand Canyon South Rim can be extreme and varied. Be prepared for snow, icy roads, and possible road closures. Trails can also be snowy, icy and sometimes closed. Canyon views may be temporarily obscured during winter storms and temperature inversions. Inner canyon temperatures can also be below freezing. Entrance fees to the national parks and monuments are never refundable. The North Rim is closed during the winter and spring, from about December into May.
Winter conditions in our southern Arizona desert areas are often ideal, from lows in the 30's and highs in the 70's. Conditions for outdoor activities can often be ideal.