Layer It Up!: Grand Canyon Weather in May

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We hiked the Grandview Trail on the 5th and 6th of May with an overnight at Horseshoe Mesa campground. The weather couldn’t have been better. After reading info on the National Park Service (NPS) site about hiking in the “summer,” we thought we’d have to worry about the heat, but that wasn’t nearly the case for early May (see our clothing in above photo).

With a higher elevation, Flagstaff is much cooler than Southern Arizona, especially when compared to Phoenix. When we hiked down the Grandview Trail, the temperature was in the mid 60’s to low 70’s. Overnight, at Horseshoe Mesa Campground, there were howling winds through the canyon and temps in the 30’s. Pat did an excellent job of tying down our tent, so we didn’t have to worry about it blowing over. Mornings were cool in the 40’s/50’s and it was in the mid 60’s to 70’s by noon.

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As far as clothing, we both started off with long sleeves, and stripped down to our sleeveless layers about half-way through, after it heated up around noon. The sun was just hot enough to get a tan, but we were kept cool by a nice breeze blowing through the canyon. We both wore baseball caps to shield our faces from the sun. I also had a bandana that helped with sweat and later soaked it in the cool water from Page Spring. Take note of our clothing on the first photo/cover photo on this post. This was our last morning at the park, with some misty rain, and it was cool enough to have us both in jeans and myself even wearing a scarf. All the more reason to layer it up!

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The NPS certainly has point about dehydration and heat exhaustion in the summer. We couldn’t imagine hiking any later than June in the heat. It’s very easy to get dehydrated during a long, strenuous hike; especially if you’re not prepared with enough water. We were exhausted from the hike alone, we couldn’t imagine having to deal with excessive heat too.

It’s a no brainer, but before you go, make sure to check the weather. Don’t rely on the forecast completely though, because it can change at any moment. Be prepared for all the elements and always pack an extra layer. Ideally, try to be able to change/eliminate layers without having to take your pack off; it will save you a lot of energy. Also, before beginning your hike, stop at the backcountry office and talk to a park ranger. They hike the trails on a regular basis and can give you info on any hazards or weather conditions to be aware of. Happy hiking 🙂

HIKE SMART!

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If you’re thinking about hiking the Grandview Trail, check out our post: Grandview Trail to Horseshoe Mesa & Page Spring: Things to Know.

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Share your experiences with us! When did you visit the Grand Canyon? Are you thinking of going? We’d love to hear from you!

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