Grand Canyon National Park in April

Many visitors and locals say that April is an ideal time to visit the famous national park in Arizona.

I have often been to both rims of the Grand Canyon, and April is an ideal month to hike and explore the canyon and see its breathtaking landscape. For adventurous travelers the Grand Canyon is enchanting.

There are many things I wish I had known before visiting the Grand Canyon in April!

That’s why I wrote this guide, which will prepare you for your April visit with essential tips about:

  • The weather for every part of the month
  • What to wear/what to pack
  • Accommodation and camping tips
  • Things to do
  • Open/closed facilities | shuttles

Our tips will help you make the most of your April visit!

In this article, we primarily feature the South Rim in the Grand Canyon National Park.

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West Rim Skywalk: To read more about visiting West Rim’s Skywalk in April, we’ve listed some recommendations at the end of this article.

North Rim Access: In April, the North Rim is still closed to vehicle traffic until mid-May. The only option to visit is via hiking with a backcountry camping permit. More about that later.

Is April a Good Time?

Grand Canyon in April: A gorgeous South Rim view

April in the Grand Canyon is a very good time to visit as the daytime temperatures are mostly mild with enough sunshine.  Another advantage is the fewer crowds compared to the busy summer month. That means it’s easier to get lodging and find parking.

However, the weather can be unpredictable at times. Despite the variable spring weather, I suggest you visit the Grand Canyon’s South Rim during this month, since there are still significantly fewer tourists, and the temperatures aren’t dangerously hot inside the canyon.

Weather

Averagege high temps. Photo: Maricopa Point view in April.

The weather in the Grand Canyon during April is usually pleasant, as the conditions transition between spring and summer. The temperatures range from the 30s Fahrenheit to the upper 60s (16°C) in the daytime. Most days offer clear skies and mild temperatures, with less than a 10% chance of rain.

During this month the average high temperatures at the canyon’s South Rim are:

  • Early April: 58°F (14°C)
  • Mid-April: 60°F (15°C)
  • Late April: 65°F (18°C)

In April, the average daytime high temperature in Grand Canyon National Park is 61°F (16°C), making it a great time to explore. On a sunny day, you’ll feel very comfortable and warm, but in the early morning or on cloudy days, you may feel cold. Temperatures rarely drop to freezing.

Like most months in the canyon, April weather varies greatly depending on the day, time of day, and elevation. For instance, going to the bottom of the canyon will offer a hot summer microclimate, while the top of the canyon is windier and slightly cooler.

Snow and rain: In April, there is very little chance that you’ll have a wet day, with less than a 10% chance of precipitation (mostly rain, if anything). There’s about a 5% chance of rain, a 2% chance of sleet (rain and snow), and a 1% chance of snow. If you experience a cold, wet day, walk further into the canyon, where there is less precipitation.

The chance of snowfall in April in the Grand Canyon’s South Rim is rare, but even if it happens, it’s usually minimal compared to the earlier month. Any snow that falls usually clears up in the sunshine very quickly.

Wind: April is one of the windiest months of the year, especially at the top of the canyon, where you’ll want to wear a windbreaker. In fact, April 10 is the windiest day of the year. The good news is that winds calm down deeper into the canyon.

Good to know: Inside the canyon at lower elevations, it’s about 10-20°F degrees warmer. It also feels much warmer when you’re outside and the sun is shining. You will warm up in the bright sunshine with the proper clothing and sun protection (read our tips below).

Early April Weather

Between April 1-10, the average daytime high temperature is 58°F (14°C), with freezing temperatures between midnight and 8:00 a.m. on most days. However, temperatures are cool to comfortable for about eight hours per day.

Here are the average temperatures on a typical day in early April:

  • Early morning (7 a.m.): 34°F (1°C), frigid
  • Morning (8:00 – 10:00 a.m.): 35-52°F (2-11°C), cool, sometimes pleasant
  • Daytime (10:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m.): 51-58°F (11-14°C), pleasant, sometimes cool
  • Evening (7:00 p.m. – 12:00 a.m.): 49-35°F (9-2°C), cool

Though South Rim temperatures drop to freezing in the early morning, the average daytime high temperature in early April is around 58°F (14°C), which is comfortable on a dry and sunny day.

Additionally, the further you walk into the canyon, the warmer the air will feel.

Mid-April Weather

In mid-April, temperatures begin to warm rapidly, mainly in the early morning hours. Between April 10-20, the average daytime high temperature is 60°F (15°C). Temperatures are cool to comfortable for about 11 hours per day, between morning and evening.

Here are the average temperatures in mid-April:

  • Early morning (7:00 a.m.): 36°F (2°C), frigid
  • Morning (7:00 – 10:00 a.m.): 36-54°F (2-12°C), cool, sometimes pleasant
  • Daytime (10:00 a.m. – 7 p.m.): 54-60°F (12-16°C), pleasant, especially in the afternoon
  • Evening (7:00 p.m. – 12:00 a.m.): 54-36°F (12-2°C), cool

The South Rim does experience freezing temperatures in the early morning hours, but temperatures begin to increase daily at this time of year.

As always, the lower into the canyon you walk, the warmer the air is.

Late April Weather

Between April 20-30, the average daytime high temperature is 63°F (17°C). Temperatures are cool to comfortable for 12 hours per day, between morning and evening, and there are only a couple of hours of frigid to freezing temperatures.

Here are the average temperatures in late April:

  • Early morning (7:00 a.m.): 40°F (4°C), frigid/cool
  • Morning (7:00 – 10:00 a.m.): 40-56°F (4-13°C), cool/pleasant
  • Daytime (10:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.): 56-63°F (13-17°C), mostly pleasant
  • Evening (6:00 p.m. – 12:30 a.m.): 56-37°F (13-33°C), cool/pleasant

There are a couple of freezing hours in the early morning at the South Rim, but temperatures steadily increase, rising to very warm temperatures by late April.

Weather Summary

A somewheat rare sight in April: Storm over the Grand Canyon with a dramatic sky.

April typifies spring on the South Rim: windy, cool, clear, and mostly dry. Regardless, check the forecast at Grand Canyon Village, Arizona, before heading to the park.

Some days will be breezy and chilly. But other sunny, clear days may feel like summer, requiring you to wear t-shirts or long-sleeved shirts. And if you’re walking even a mile into the canyon, temperatures could feel hot.

Summary: April offers variable weather, so check the forecast and remember to account for any elevation changes, such as deeper in the canyon.

Here are quotes from visitors and locals about April weather in the Grand Canyon:

“It’s just starting to warm up. Take rain gear and shorts, you will probably need both !”

“We went last year in April and our first two days it was 70, sunny and beautiful, perfect for hiking. The next day was 50 and cold!”

 

What to Wear in April | Outfit Guide

You may even wear shorts on sunny afternoons in late April. However, that’s not suitable when you start in the early morning.
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In April, you should wear wind-resistant and waterproof layers at or near the top of the rim in Grand Canyon National Park. During the day, dress in removable outer layers. Pack pants, long-sleeve shirts, t-shirts, as well as a light- and medium-jacket.

💡 Bringing a light jacket is essential.

Even on sunny days, you may still need layers like long underwear and a warm jacket in the early morning.

If you’re going to view the sunrise (typically around 6:00 a.m. in April), remember that it takes a couple of hours to warm, so bring your warmest layers and expect freezing or near-freezing temperatures at sunrise.

The evening is more comfortable, and temperatures don’t drop until after sunset (typically around 7:00 p.m. in April). Between sunset and sunrise, wear your warmest clothing.

How to Dress at the Bottom of the Canyon

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During April at the bottom of the Grand Canyon, wear warm base layers like jackets and long-sleeved shirts between sunset and sunrise, but expect hotter temperatures at lower elevations, where you’ll need sunscreen, sunglasses, a hat, and a t-shirt or sun-protective long shirt.

There is less precipitation at the bottom of the canyon, so waterproof layers aren’t as essential as at the rim.

What to Pack for the Grand Canyon in April | Warm Clothing

Early mornings in the canyon can be frigid, even freezing in April.  So, pack warm clothing like medium jackets, waterproof jackets, windbreakers, pants, and long-sleeve shirts to keep you warm until morning, after sunrise, when temperatures increase.

Local opinion: In April, I often start with shorts and layers of jackets at the top of the rim. Then I just feel sorry for myself until the sun comes up. It’s a toss-up between being comfy in the morning versus having to lug a bunch of stuff around

What to Pack for the Grand Canyon in April | Sun-Protective Clothing

The sun is very intense as you are at a high elevation in the canyon, and the UV index rises, creating exposure risks. Bring sunscreen, a hat, and sunglasses. Wear layers that protect you from the sun, such as UV-resistant clothing and long, lightweight pants and shirts.

What to Pack for the Grand Canyon in April | Hiking Clothing and Gear

April is a stellar month for hiking in the Grand Canyon, as long as you’re prepared for the exposure risks at various elevations. Hiking in Grand Canyon in April requires preparation for significant temperature variations:

  • Morning: In the early morning and after sunset, you’ll need warmer clothing layers like long underwear, long pants, long-sleeved shirts, waterproof jackets, hats, scarves, and gloves.
  • Daytime: During the day, particularly if it’s a strenuous hike (most in the canyon are) or if you’re near the bottom of the canyon where it can be hot, you will need to remove layers and dress in lightweight layers like t-shirts or long-sleeved shirts and shorts or long pants.

For gear, we recommend bringing hiking boots or sturdy shoes with a firm grip on the bottom to avoid slipping if the trail is muddy. Due to the technical, steep, and often rocky path, you will benefit from carrying trekking poles, too. Other items to bring include:

  • Extra food
  • Extra water and electrolytes
  • Thick blankets
  • Radios and additional batteries
  • Matches
  • Flashlight

When in doubt, ask the ranger for suggestions, as the National Park staff frequently hike in and around the park at different elevations.

How Busy? How Crowded?

April is not too busy, since it’s a shoulder season month at the Grand Canyon. It’s a great time to visit the South Rim without the summer crowds. The average number of visitors in April is between 500,000 and 600,000 people, about 60% of July, the busiest month (when around 800,000 visitors arrive).

While weekends are busier, it’s still not as jam-packed at popular spots like Mather Point. The Viewpoints along Desert View Drive and Hermit Road will start to get busier in April. However, you shouldn’t have trouble parking or boarding a shuttle.

Tip: While it’s not a super busy month, the best time to start your adventures is in the early morning (dress accordingly and read our clothing tips below). Stay at least one night. Daytrippers typically arrive mid-morning and leave before sunset.

The busiest times in Grand Canyon Village and its surrounding areas are the lunchtimes, up until dinner hour.

If you’re looking for the next-best shoulder season month to visit, it would be September.

Grand Canyon Maps | South Rim and North Rim

For visitors to the Grand Canyon, there are two excellent maps:

Both maps are weatherproof, tear-resistant, and accurate at mapping this giant park. Even if you’re only visiting for a couple of days in April, you may wish to buy one or both of these maps.

As a reminder, the North Rim of the Grand Canyon is closed in March (it reopens in May), but you can still use these maps to navigate the South Rim.

Recommended Tours from Las Vegas in February

If you plan a trip to the Grand Canyon from Las Vegas, we recommend taking at least one of the above-shown tours. We have done all of them and had a great time doing so. Everything is taken care of by the tour operators. Hassle-free!

Grand Canyon Accommodation | South Rim



Booking.com


One easy and comfortable option for staying near the South Rim is to book a hotel or lodge in the park in Grand Canyon Village. However, it may be challenging to get a reservation as rooms typically sell out quickly.

So, the second best option is Tusayan Village (see the hotel deals above). You can get to Grand Canyon South Rim from Tusayan:

  • Winter Off-Season Option (i.e., March): A 15-minute drive from Tusayan to the Grand Canyon South Rim Parking Lot (Google Maps).
  • Summer High-Season Option: Via shuttle (Tusayan Route). It runs from late May to early September, so you won’t have this option in April.

Tip: Use the deals finder above from booking.com or this link: Tusayan – Grand Canyon Hotel Deals (via booking.com – price match! Sort by star rating and price)

Camping | South Rim
Mather Campground in Grand Canyon National Park

For those who wish to camp, the Mather Campground (327 sites) is the only campground in Grand Canyon Village and is only a 20-minute walk from the South Rim. Mather is open to reservations from March to November, and you can book sites up to six months in advance, so book as early as October if you’re trying for an April campground.

Since early morning temperatures are frigid and may drop below freezing, you may want to skip the campground or stay overnight in a recreational vehicle (RV). Mather Campground has several pull-through sites that fit RVs up to 30 feet long, with trailers up to 27 feet long. You can rent an RV for $100 to $200 per night.

Things to Do

Hiking the South Kaibab Trail in the spring.

April is an adventurous time to visit the Grand Canyon’s South Rim.

The park is primarily self-guided, with numerous overlooks directly in the village region. However, to explore, you’ll need to take shuttles. For one, use the free Kaibab Rim Orange shuttle bus to go to some of the more eastern vistas. And to see Hermit’s Rest, take the free Red route.

To travel further east, drive the 23-mile scenic Desert View Road.

Top Tip: Always go to the visitor center in the morning. Rangers will tell you about the weather conditions for the day, including whether it is safe to hike specific trails, whether some trails are closed, and which overlooks are the safest to visit.

Hiking

Hiking is at the top of the list of activities to participate in while visiting the South Rim. It’s an activity that most people can do year-round, but April is a lovely month for hiking. Some parts of the trails are even handicap-friendly.

Generally, April hikers will meet fewer people on the trails than they would in the summer. It’s important to remember to dress in layers during April. For more information, read this informative National Park Service (NPS) guide to hiking questions.

Rim Trail: The 13-mile Rim Trail is mostly easy to walk and offers stunning canyon views. It is paved, has little elevation gain, and is perfect for a short half-hour or one-hour stroll.

Popular Hikes: Below are other hikes recommended for April, though they’re best for experienced hikers:

If you are planning a Rim-to-Rim (South Rim to North Rim) or Rim-to-Rim-to-Rim hike, be sure to research these tremendously tricky and sometimes dangerous routes, which are only recommended for people with hiking experience.

Dangers: The trails can be muddy in April, so be careful of your steps as people die from falls and slips in the canyon.

Overnight Permits: A wilderness permit is required ($10 plus $12 per person per night) for overnight hikers and backpackers.

Watching the Sunrise and Sunset

You can enjoy a Grand Canyon sunrise in April when the sun often rises around 6:00 a.m. Sunsets are awe-inspiring and happen around 7:00 p.m. in April.

To catch the sunset, drive or take a shuttle to a scenic oversight (shuttles depart as early as 4:30 a.m.).

Sunrise and sunset times are updated on NPS.gov.

Discovery Air Tour

Air tours are available all year long at the Grand Canyon. Words cannot describe the beauty of the Grand Canyon you will see from this angle!

The plane takes off from Grand Canyon National Park Airport (Google Maps), which is not too far from GC Village.

Openings and Closures in April

South Rim

The South Rim is open year-round, and there are no closures during the weekends or holidays such as Easter. National Park passes will need to be purchased to enter the Grand Canyon, and you can buy these ahead of time online or at the park entrance.

April is the shoulder season in the South Rim and still a prime time for hiking into the canyon.

North Rim

The North Rim is still closed in April to everyone who is visiting by car. You may visit the North Rim via hiking with a backcountry permit. Check the NPS website for more information. The North Rim and its roads are only fully open each year from May 15 to October 15.

West Rim

The Skywalk attraction is on the West Rim of the Grand Canyon and is closer to Las Vegas (about a two-hour drive). It is located on the Native land of the Hualapai Reservation. The West Rim is not part of the National Park.

Shuttle Services in April

Visitors boarding the Hermit Road Shuttle

In April, almost all shuttle services at the South Rim are running, except for the Tusayan Route shuttle, which resumes in May. Below are a few of the most popular routes.

Village (Blue) Route
  • Stops at the visitor center, lodges, Mather Campground, and Bright Angel trailhead.

This free Village shuttle runs on a loop that stops at central visitor and accommodation sites like the campground, lodges, and visitor center. Hikers can take this Blue Route to the east to walk Bright Angel Trail.

This route runs throughout the year. Because the schedule changes during different seasons, you’ll need to check the park website for an official schedule. However, the below timelines are an excellent place to start.

Rides run from an hour before sunrise to 9:00 p.m. each day. From 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., buses run approximately every 30 minutes.

Kaibab Rim (Orange) Route
  • Stops at Yaki Point, Yavapai Point, and South Kaibab trailhead.

Most visitors to the South Rim will take the free Kaibab Rim shuttle bus which runs on a loop and stops at many of the park’s scenic points. Hikers can take this Orange Route to the east to get to South Kaibab Trailhead, a popular starting point for a Rim-to-Rim (South Rim to North Rim) trek.

This shuttle is open year-round, even during snowy or rainy weather. The bus runs both eastbound and westbound, making it convenient to catch. As with all shuttles in the area, the hours will vary depending on the season.

The Kaibab Rim (Orange) route starts at 4:30 a.m. and runs until one hour after sunset. The bus picks up passengers every 10-30 minutes.

Hikers’ Express Shuttle
  • Stops at South Kaibab trailhead.

For hikers, there is a year-round one-way hiker’s express shuttle to South Kaibab trailhead, the most convenient location for a Rim-to-Rim (South Rim to North Rim) or Rim-to-Rim-to-Rim hike. There are only four stops on this express route, so you’ll want to double-check that your intended destination is listed.

The hiker shuttle departs at 7:00, 8:00, and 9:00 a.m. in April. Remember that you’ll need to take a different shuttle back from the trailhead, such as the Kaibab Rim (Orange) Route.

Hermit Road (Red) Route
  • Stops at Hermit’s Rest trailhead.

The free Hermit Road shuttle is the longest bus in the park (80 minutes without disembarking), stopping at nine amazing canyon overlooks. The route is a 7-mile road to Hermit’s Rest and is closed to car traffic, so taking this shuttle will put you in a more remote part of the park, an excellent location to spend the day walking or biking along the South Rim.

In April, the Hermit Road (Red) route starts at 4:30 a.m. and runs until one hour after sunset. The bus picks up passengers every 10-30 minutes. The shuttle runs even during rainy or snowy weather.

Can I Visit the Grand Canyon Skywalk in April?

The Grand Canyon Skywalk is open in April from 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. daily. However, the Skywalk is a 4-hour drive from the Grand Canyon National Park, so it is essential to plan your visit by leaving early in the morning or staying overnight near the West Rim. Las Vegas is closer to the Skywalk, only a 2-hour drive.

April is one of the best months to visit the Skywalk; this is still shoulder season for visitors. You can purchase tickets at the entrance or online for $65 per person ($39 for general admission and $26 for the Skywalk).

The sun sets at around 7:00 p.m. in April, so if you’re looking for a golden hour visit to the Skywalk, buy the last tickets of the day at 5:00 p.m. Since the Skywalk closes before sunset, it’s best to see the sunset from the South Rim.

Note: Personal belongings (including cameras and phones) are not allowed on the Skywalk. If you want a photo, you’ll need to purchase an additional service from a photographer onsite. Lockers are available to place your items in while walking on the Skywalk.

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