Grand Canyon National Park in February is an excellent destination. Locals say that it would be a shame not to visit during this winter month. Thanks to its stunning views and convenient lodging options, it’s a must-visit national park regardless of the cooler weather conditions.
Despite the chilly weather, we highly recommend visiting the Grand Canyon’s South Rim in February. Snowy vistas and fewer people during this month far outweigh the cooler temperatures. Our tips will help you make the most of your visit in February.
Tip: If you are interested in walking the Skywalk in February, read our tips at the end of the article. Please remember that this article is about the South Rim and the Skywalk.
Make sure to grab the brand new Lonely Planet Grand Canyon Guide (via Amazon) before you visit in February:
North Rim/Closure: The North Rim is completely closed during winter, including February, and will open again on May 15.
Weather in February
Along with February and January, February is among the coldest months in the Grand Canyon. However, towards the end of the month, it gets noticeably warmer.
Average high temperatures at the South Rim during the month:
- Early February: 45°F (7°C)
- Mid-February: 47°F (8°C)
- Late February: 50°F (10°C)
In February, the average daytime high temperature in Grand Canyon National Park is 46°F (8°C). In the sunshine, the perceived temperature is significantly higher. It snows or rains on five days on average.
Wind: While sunshine makes it more comfortable being outside in February, wind, on the other hand, can make your explorations a little more uncomfortable. Even if it isn’t freezing cold, the wind feels extra cold, especially on a cloudy day.
Good to know: Inside the Canyon, it’s about 10-20°F degrees warmer. It also feels a lot warmer when you’re outside, and the sun is shining. With the proper clothing (read our tips below), you will feel pleasantly warm in bright sunshine at the South Rim.
While the Grand Canyon nights will be freezing in February, it’s usually more pleasant during the day. However, if there is a winter storm passing through, it can get uncomfortable. Checking the weather forecast is essential during February.
Early February Weather
- Average High: 45°F (early February)
Temp differences from February 1 (average temps, not average high):
- Morning (8:30 AM): 25°F
- Noon (12 PM): 42°F
- Afternoon (3 PM): 43°F
- Evening (6 PM): 36°F
While it’s still freezingly cold in the mornings, the average high temps in early February hover around 45°F in the Grand Canyon (South Rim) during the daytime.
Late February Weather
- Average High: 50°F (late February)
Examples from February 28 (average temps, not average high):
- Morning (8 AM): 29°F
- Noon (10:45 PM): 43°F
- Afternoon (3:15 PM): 48°F
- Evening (6 PM): 43°F
Although it gets warmer by the end of the month, snow and winter storms are still possible.
February Weather Summary
February is a cold month in the Grand Canyon (South Rim) with the occasional snowstorm. Check the weather forecast, as February might bring some pretty big winter storms.
Possible springtime weather: On the other hand, the weather can be almost like spring during some years, especially later in the month. Some visitors remember having an outdoor picnic in short sleeves in late February a couple of times.
Summary: Be prepared for anything during this month and watch the weather forecasts as your trip date approaches.
Quote about visiting in February weather from a Grand Canyon expert:
‘While there is a good chance of snow in February, don’t be afraid about snow on the ground at the Grand Canyon National Park. However, do avoid driving in an ongoing snowstorm. Check the weather forecast 2-3 days in advance and if the weather is severe, choose another route.’
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!
Does It Snow in February in the Grand Canyon?
There is snow at the Grand Canyon in February, and the days are short but becoming longer as spring approaches. For example, there are 10 hours and 54 minutes of daylight in mid-February.
The scenery with snow is beautiful: The layers of snow are a welcome addition to the clear sunny skies and fresh air, creating ideal conditions for getting out and enjoying the spectacular views of the vast Grand Canyon, which has been blanketed with snow.
Snow | South Rim Road Conditions in February
Expect good road conditions in February in general. Except during and after a snowstorm: it can take some time for the roads to be plowed. Start checking weather forecasts a week before your trip. If a storm is coming, you’ll be warned early enough. Adjust your plans as needed.
Hermit’s Rest: The road to Hermit’s Rest is open in February (and throughout the winter), but it’s the last area that will be cleared after a snowstorm. Thus it may be entirely closed for some time.
Snow | South Rim Trail and Overlook Conditions
The areas to the lodge entrance are normally shoveled, but not the Rim Trail within the village or other areas. The slope and daytime runoff re-freezing make the area around Bright Angel Lodge to the trailhead especially challenging.
Overlooks: The Overlooks are usually not shoveled or cleared of ice. However, that usually does not cause major problems. Additionally, plowing the parking areas for the overlooks is not a priority.
How Busy Is Grand Canyon in February?
February and January are the least crowded months at the Grand Canyon. This makes a February visit perfect for exploring this gorgeous area without heavy crowds.
The average number of visitors in February is between 210,000 and 260,000. How does this compare to the busier times? During one summer month, over half a million people visit this place.
Grand Canyon Map | South Rim & North Rim
The NatGeo Map (via Amazon) is essential, even for short and easy hikes. It’s reliable, weatherproof, and an accurate map for most of the park’s regions. Even if you’re only visiting for 1-2 days in February, we highly recommend bringing this map.
The simplest and most comfortable option is to book a hotel or lodge in the park in Grand Canyon Village. However, it’s often tricky to get a reservation as rooms sell out quickly, even in February. The second best option is Tusayan Village. You can get to Grand Canyon South Rim from Tusayan:
- Via shuttle (not operating in 2021, maybe in February 2022 again)
- Via car (a short 15 minutes drive): Google Maps Route Tusayan – Grand Canyon South Rim Parking Lot.
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)
What to Wear in February?
In February, you will need gloves and a hat (even under the hood of the parka). Visitors usually have long underwear. It takes some time to warm up to the high temperature of the day so viewing the sunrise unquestionably requires warm clothing.
Layers: You’ll want to wear either multiple layers (hiking) or warm clothing (sightseeing) when visiting Grand Canyon National Park in February.
What to Wear | Sightseeing
You can pack much lighter for sightseeing as chances are you’ll be out during the day with higher temperatures. Bring thicker pants like jeans along with closed-toed shoes or boots to avoid cold feet or to expose feet to snow. A t-shirt with long sleeves and a jacket or sweater should be sufficient in keeping you warm.
While the weather is often cloudy in February, there are still sunny days. Bring a cap to wear on days like this to avoid too much sun exposure.
What to Wear | Hiking
In February, winter hiking in Grand Canyon requires a long list of items to wear as you’ll need to be prepared for large temperature drops.
Morning: Early morning and after the sun has set, you’ll need a thick jacket, hat, gloves, and potentially even a scarf. Of course, you will need thick pants/multiple layers of pants and hiking boots as well.
Daytime: During the day, with the exertion of the hike, you may find yourself needing to shed a few layers to stay at a comfortable temperature. Consider wearing a long-sleeved t-shirt and bring or wearing a sweater under your jacket to wear during the warmer parts of the day.
Recommended Hiking Gear
We recommend bringing hiking boots with a good grip on the bottom to avoid slipping if the trail is icy. You’ll also want to include trekking poles to help you get through the terrain. Other items you should consider bringing are:
- Extra food and water
- Thick blankets
- Radios and additional batteries
Things to Do in February
There are many exciting things to do while visiting Grand Canyon in February.
The park is primarily self-guided, with numerous overlooks directly in the village region. To go to some of the more eastern vistas, use the (free) orange shuttle.
You’d have to drive if you wanted to travel any further east (Desert View). While the Hermit Road shuttle runs in the warmer months to take you to the western vistas, it does not run between February and February, so you will have to drive there.
Even if you leave your car at the South Rim and don’t go east to Desert View or west to Hermit’s Rest, you’ll have plenty to see and do.
Top Tip: Always go to the visitor centre first thing in the morning. Rangers will tell you about the weather conditions for the day, including whether it is safe to hike certain trails, whether some trails are closed, and which overlooks are the safest to visit.
If you’re visiting Las Vegas as well, make sure to check out our Las Vegas February Guide.
Hiking, of course, is at the top of the list for activities to participate in while visiting the South Rim. It’s an activity that is performed year-round and offers gorgeous views of nature. This is an activity for those well-versed with hiking as the trails can be slippery and snowy during February.
Those who decide to hike during this month will be rewarded with fewer people on the trails. It’s important to remember to appropriately dress for your hike and ensure you give yourself extra time on the trails due to potential ice.
Leave earlier than you think you should in the morning to avoid hiking in the darkness. Below are some hikes you can take in February. However, these are recommended for experienced hikers.
- Rim Trail
- Bright Angel Trail
- South Kaibab Trail
You’ll need to head to the Kaibab National Forest to enjoy cross-country skiing in the South Rim. Other areas of the South Rim are not fit for this activity.
Luckily, Kaibab Forest primes specific trails to allow for cross-country skiing. This provides for easy-to-follow trails for everyone.
Make sure to check ahead as there may not always be sufficient snow for skiing. You can check on the Kaibab National Forest’s website or call for this information.
Riding A Helicopter
Helicopter tours are available all year long at the Grand Canyon. You’ll want to experience the views during February to see the gorgeous canyons with blankets of snow.
While there are multiple tours available, this Grand Canyon Helicopter Tour is one of the best. You’ll be flown over the South Rim and Kaibab National Forest during a 45-minute ride.
Watching the Sunrise
Yes, you can watch the sunrise each month at the Grand Canyon. However, the combination of fewer visitors and the white snow will provide an unforgettable experience in February. If you’re heading out for a hike, leave a few minutes early so you can stop and properly enjoy the sunrise.
The sunsets are also breathtaking. If you’re not hiking, you can catch a shuttle later in the day or drive to a scenic area to enjoy the sun rising or setting.
Openings and Closures in February
The South Rim, the most visited area, is open year-round. There are no closures during the holidays or weekends here, making it the best spot to visit. National Park passes will need to be purchased to enter the GC – you can buy these ahead of time online.
There are a few facilities that are closed during this month at the South Rim. For example, Hermit Road bus service is not operating during this time and only allows private automobiles until the end of February.
The North Rim is closed during the winter. Each year, this area is shut down from February 1 to May 14. The roads are closed as well, so there is no access during this time.
Shuttle Services in February
Most shuttle services at the South Rim are available in February, except for the Hermit Road bus. As this road is closed, the bus can not travel on the route like normal. Other shuttle services include:
This route runs throughout the year. The schedule changes during the different seasons, so 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 the sun rises to 9 pm each day. From 8 am to 6 pm, buses run every half hour. Before and after, buses run every 15 minutes.
This route will take you between the Grand Canyon Visitor Center and the local lodges. It’s also an excellent way to reach the Shrine Of Ages, Mather Campground, and Bright Angel Trail. Each stop offers beautiful views of the canyon as well.
Kaibab Rim Route
The Kaibab Rim Route is also available to use in all seasons. As with all shuttles in the area, the hours will vary depending on the season. You can use the below times as a guide for February visits.
Starting at one hour before sunrise and running until 6:30 am, the orange route picks up passengers every half an hour. After 6:30 pm and until an hour after the sun sets, the pick-ups become more frequent at 15-minute intervals.
Take Kaibab Rim (Orange) Route to the east to get to South Kaibab Trailhead. The shuttle can be caught at Yaki Point or Yavapai Geology Museum. You’ll find this to be the shortest bus route, with a bus traveling eastbound and westbound.
Hikers’ Express Shuttle
The Hikers’ Express Shuttle runs for the whole year. This bus service is also known as the early morning shuttle. These are the least frequent bus rides, with two available each morning in February.
During February, the Hiker’s Express picks up passengers at 8 am, or 9 am only. There are also only four stops on this route, so you’ll want to double-check that your intended destination is listed.
This shuttle leaves from Bright Angel Lodge and stops at Backcountry Information Center, Visitor Center Shuttle Bus Terminal, and finishes at South Kaibab Trailhead. Keep in mind, this is a one-way trek, and you’ll need to find a different route to get back later in the day after hiking.
Hermit Road Route
This route is also known as the red route. As noted above, this service does not run from February 1 to February 28 each year.
Is Grand Canyon Skywalk Open in February?
Yes, the Grand Canyon Skywalk is open in February. As with most attractions, the Grand Canyon Skywalk has differing hours in the winter. You can visit this glass-bottom attraction from 9 am to 6 pm each day in February.
This is one of the best months to visit the Skywalk as crowds are minimal due to the cold temps. You’ll be able to enter the attraction pretty quickly. You can purchase tickets at the entrance or online for a cost of $20 per person.
Heads up, 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 you are walking on the Skywalk.