The Grand Canyon. AH, WHAT A PLACE. As a site that finds itself on more bucket lists than most other destinations, I knew I'd have to make the trek to this giant hole in the ground at one point or another during my year-long stint in Phoenix, Arizona. But did anyone know that the Grand Canyon is also there during the winter months? I mean, if you do a Google image search for the Grand Canyon, all you see is an array of pictures of reds, oranges, and greens: summertime photographs. People on online trip forums who are going to be enjoying Phoenix's beautiful February weather ask if it's even worth it to go up to the Grand Canyon, the doubt evident in their words. They've probably already made up their minds, on the verge of telling the kids that it won't be happening this trip, sorry, but the Grand Canyon isn't really a cold weather type of guy. But guess what? This place is more than worth it, even in the wintertime. It is a DREAM, a snow-covered winter wonderland. And in some ways, it is even better in chilly temps than it is in the summer months. Here are my suggestions.

Enjoy the fewer tourists

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Not a tourist for miles.

Obviously, though we are all tourists ourselves, no one LIKES to be called a tourist. It carries a sort of stigma with it. We prefer to call ourselves "travelers," "wanderers," "explorers," fueled by our wanderlust and thirst to experience the world. And we CERTAINLY do not like it when we are somewhere being not-tourists and we are surrounded by actual-tourists who are unwittingly posing in the background of our photos. No no no. The good news about visiting the Grand Canyon in the wintertime: it is the off-season. You are going to avoid the hoards of tourists that flock here in the warmer months, the wait to pay your $25 park entrance fee is going to be comparatively short, and, if you're from way out of town, it will be much easier to get accommodations, too!

Hikes and Helicopters

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Though the North Rim is usually closed after snowfall, you can still walk along the South Rim from Grand Canyon village easily. I have also heard of people who have made the hike down into the canyon in the wintertime; regardless of the temperature at the top, the temperature down inside is balmy! Don't let the season deter you from enjoying the Grand Canyon as you would in the summer, as much as you possibly can! It is possible! However, in the event that it is looking particularly treacherous, helicopter tours are a great way to really see the canyon from the best possible seat. There are tons of companies offering flights of all different lengths, if you have a couple hundred to spend for this once-in-a-lifetime experience.

Marvel in the spectacular new perspective

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The first time you see the Grand Canyon is a really incredible moment. It literally takes your breath away (and not because of the altitude, heh heh). The Grand Canyon in the winter is a whole new animal. The colors are different, the rocks are capped with snow. It is a perspective that many people who see this beauty in the summer miss out on, simply because it is not there during peak season. What a pity for those people. This view is dynamite.

Wear lots of layers

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I am wildly uninformed and naive, so I was actually very surprised at how cold it was when we arrived ("Hello??" I thought. "This is Arizona?? What is all this white stuff doing here?" In a stroke of pure genius I had gotten rid of my winter coat before making the move across the country thinking I'd never need it again. Smart move). Steven, having lived in Southern California his entire life and who could probably count on one hand the number of times he has seen the snow, was particularly perturbed. Yes, it gets cold up here in the wintertime. So bundle up! The Arizona sun can't save you here, but a scarf and a few sweaters can!

I plan on returning to the Grand Canyon in the warmer weather and hopefully camping for a few days, as well as being able to see and truly appreciate the contrast between the winter and the summer. But am I disappointed that my first experience with this natural wonder was in the middle of January? Absolutely not. I am lucky to have done it.

http://www.runninandroamin.com/2016/09/17/visiting-the-grand-canyon-in-wintertime/

Published by Robin Beck