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Grand Canyon in January?

New Jersey
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Grand Canyon in January?

I happen to have 3-4 days free in mid January near the Scottsdale/Phoenix area. I was thinking of spending the time instead in Grand Canyon South Rim.

From what I read, winter is relatively less crowded in the park and lodge reservations are easier. That apart, what would experienced TA members suggest about the pros and cons of spending 3-4 days in GC in Jan? Are the trails and roads generally accessible? Or am I beter off spending that time in Petrified Forests or Saguaro NP?

I am coming from the North East, so I am not really bothered by light snow or day time temperatures in the 30's or 40's.

Thank you in advance for your replies.

The Bakery
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1. Re: Grand Canyon in January?

About the only problem with the snow is the cars rented in Phoenix often don't even have scrapers in them and wallow around rather badly in snow. Make sure whatever you rent at least has front wheel drive. I've had no problems in Jan and it is great, but do try and take at least 1 night in Sedona if you can. And fresh snow in the canyon is a sight to see. Sedona is usually warmer than GC or Flag.

I live in north Jersey, and the snow out there is usually not as bad as around by me, but around Flag it can be very bad, so do check before leaving. I-40 area is sometimes closed due to heavy snow and wind. You'll have this same problem trying to reach petrified forest, Sunset Crater, and Wupatki.

I like Saguaro NP, doesn't take that long to do, and Chiricahua NP both of which are very interesting and has trails.

Check www.arizonaguide.com

Grand Canyon...
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2. Re: Grand Canyon in January?

Winter at the south rim is spectacular. Roads are generally kept clear. They don't salt the roads though, they just spread cinders if it's icy.

The tops of the trails into the canyon can be ice-packed, followed by mud as you get further down. If you're an avid hiker, it won't matter so much, but be sure to bring crampons, and dress in layers. Also, water is turned off on the trail, so you will need to carry your own.

If you're not an avid hiker, it would still be worthwile to come to the south rim, but a day or two would probably be enough for you.

We also might have single digit to teen overnight temps, so be prepared for cold mornings. Usually we wouldn't have 30-40 until afternoon, and it can start getting colder pretty quick when the sun starts going down.

But be sure to bring your camera--the canyon is gorgeous in January.

New Jersey
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3. Re: Grand Canyon in January?

Thanks GCMaven and Tourmaline. I booked a 2 night stay at the Bright Angel Lodge and a 7 hour mule trip (they say it is almost never cancelled). I plan to spend the remaining day at Sedona.