Updated on May 6, 2020 by Asher Fergusson
This amazing National Park offers spectacular views both from the top and from within, and there are plenty of activities in and around the Canyon to explore.
It can be hard to know what to pack for your visit, so we’ve put together this helpful list which includes what to wear at the Grand Canyon, what NOT to pack, and answers to all of the biggest Grand Canyon FAQs.
What to Pack for the Grand Canyon – 17 Essentials
For any type of trip, large or small, packing cubes will be a total game changer! Use these to keep yourself organized and to avoid overpacking. The cubes come in different sizes and in a variety of bright colors, and even include shoe and laundry cases, too! We never travel without using our handy packing cubes.
Few items will come in handy during your visit to the Grand Canyon more than a lipstick-sized portable charger. If you plan to use your camera and smartphone for photos, videos, music, communication, and more throughout the day, you’ll be happy you brought a backup battery to recharge your device while you’re out and about.
3. Neck Wallet
A neck wallet is an essential item to bring with you to the Grand Canyon, as it provides a safe and organized place to keep your cash, credit cards, passport, keys, and phone. Wear it around your neck and under your clothes for extra protection from pickpockets, as some sections of the Grand Canyon can get particularly crowded and touristy.
You’ll definitely need a good reusable water bottle for your trip to the Grand Canyon. While you’re out hiking under the hot sun, it’s important to stay hydrated. This LifeStraw water bottle comes with a built in filter to ensure the water you’re drinking is fresh and clean. Plus, using a reusable water bottle is a great way to protect the environment and save yourself money spent on single-use plastic bottles, too!
Though you’re unlikely to experience too much rain at the Grand Canyon depending on when you visit, a good windproof travel umbrella like this one is great to use for sun protection. While you’re hiking and walking around the Canyon’s wide rim, you’ll be glad you brought an umbrella to shield you from the intensity of the sun.
There are lots of cool experiences available in and around the Grand Canyon, including kayaking and rafting down the river at the bottom of the Canyon. If you plan to explore the river or participate in water activities during your vacation, don’t forget to pack this awesome affordable underwater camera to capture your trip from all the best angles.
A daypack is an item you’ll use during practically your entire visit to the Grand Canyon. Use it to carry everything you’ll need during the day, including sunscreen, snacks, water bottle, swimsuit, towel, and more. This daypack in particular is awesome because it’s sturdy, reliable, and large enough to hold anything you might need for a day trip or excursion.
Don’t forget to pack a handy quick dry towel for your Grand Canyon adventure! Whether your trip includes river rafting, canoeing, or just hiking around the Canyon, you’ll definitely be glad you brought a towel like this one. It’s lightweight and compact so it’ll easily fit in your daypack, plus it dries quickly, so it’s great to dry you off after a swim or to keep you cool during a hike.
Don’t visit the Grand Canyon without electrolytes! The desert heat can be overwhelming, and when you spend the entire day out under the hot sun, staying hydrated is absolutely key. Simply bring along some of these electrolytes to pop into your water bottle for an extra boost of hydration.
10. Deodorant wipes
Whether you’re horseback riding through the Canyon or strolling along the rim, you’re bound to be sweaty and stinky after a day out in the sun. These lightweight deodorant wipes will come in handy when you need to quickly freshen up throughout the day. Simply toss them in your daypack and you’ll be good to go!
11. Sturdy Sandals
Weather at the Grand Canyon can get HOT and you won’t want to trap your feet into sneakers or hiking boots for too long. Instead, consider bringing along a pair of sturdy sandals like these, which are breathable, comfortable, and dry quickly. Your feet will thank you after a long day of exploring all that the Grand Canyon has to offer!
If the Grand Canyon is more than 100 miles away from home for you, consider investing in World Nomads Travel Insurance. This will protect you from flight cancellations, medical emergencies, lost or stolen luggage, and a variety of other things to give you peace of mind before, during, and after your trip.
Any way you slice it, a visit to the Grand Canyon will most likely involve a lot of exposure to the sun. Whether you’re canoeing down the river or hiking along one of the Grand Canyon’s many paths, you’ll definitely experience plenty of sun. Protect yourself by wearing and reapplying plenty of sunscreen throughout your visit, as well as making sure to wear a sunhat and sunglasses to keep you safe and comfortable.
Activated charcoal will come in handy if you find yourself eating or drinking something that doesn’t sit right with you, as it will quickly flush out all the unwanted toxins from your system. Regardless of where your trip takes you, you’ll be glad you brought along these pills to keep you on your feet and enjoying your vacation!
A universal waterproof phone case like this one is a reliable way to make sure your smartphone is protected from the elements during your trip to the Grand Canyon. Whether you have any water activities planned or you get caught in the rain, this case will keep your phone out of harm’s way.
16. Portable Speaker
A great way to make your Grand Canyon trekking more enjoyable is to bring along a portable speaker! Keep everyone you’re with feeling good and in the zone as you take in one of the world’s most magnificent sights. This one is waterproof, compact, and comes in some fun colors, too!
17. First Aid Kit
You never know what can happen when you’re out and about hiking and doing activities in the Grand Canyon. You’ll want to make sure you’re prepared for anything, especially splinters, cuts, and scrapes that may occur whenever you spend time doing outdoor activities. Toss this first aid kit in your daypack so you don’t have to worry about a thing!
Other Grand Canyon Packing List Items Not to Forget
Virtual Private Network (VPN)
Travel Neck Pillow
Over the Counter Medications
Makeup Remover Wipes
Noise Cancelling Headphones
Hanging Toiletry Case
Steripod Toothbrush Cover
What to Wear at the Grand Canyon
In the summer and warmer months, be prepared with shorts, t-shirts, swimsuits, and sun protection, as the weather can get hot.
During the winter, weather can change rapidly, so be prepared with layers so you can easily adapt. In the colder months, you might even want a hat and gloves if you plan to go down into the canyon, as it can be cold and snowy.
Women should wear whatever they are comfortable in depending on the weather and season when visiting the Grand Canyon. During the warmer months, opt for things like t-shirts, tank tops, and sturdy sandals, while in the winter come prepared with layers and hiking shoes. Regardless of when you visit, you’ll likely want a good pair of sunglasses and some sunscreen to stay comfortable and protected!
Men should dress for the weather and their particular location within the Grand Canyon when visiting this unique destination. If you plan to visit during the summer, be sure to bring plenty of clothing for warm weather, including athletic shorts and t-shirts, sturdy sandals, and a sunhat. If you’re visiting when it’s a bit colder, don’t forget to pack layers so you can easily adapt to changing weather.
Dressing for the Seasons in the Grand Canyon
The weather in and around the Grand Canyon varies largely depending on location. The base of the canyon tends to be hot during May to September, while the upper rim of the canyon has warm and mild temperatures. From December to March, expect the canyon floor to be cold and snowy, while the upper rim remains mild to cold.
WINTER – December, January, February:
Winter temperatures at the Grand Canyon will vary based on your location. Typically, the base of the canyon is cold and snowy during the winter months, while the rim remains mild to cold in most locations around the canyon. Winter is a good time to visit the Grand Canyon, as there are fewer tourists and you’re likely to experience beautiful clear skies.
SPRING – March, April, May:
Springtime weather at the Grand Canyon will be more extreme at the basin, and will typically start to heat up around this time. The rim maintains mild temperatures throughout the entire season, ranging from the 40s to 80s°F. However, don’t be surprised if you experience a snowfall as late as may!
SUMMER – June, July, August:
Depending on where you’re located along the canyon, summer weather in the Grand Canyon will vary from warm to hot temperatures. Prepare for extremely hot weather at the base of the canyon, and more mild temperatures along the rim. You can also expect frequent thunderstorms and the occasional flash flood during this time as well.
FALL – September, October, November :
Fall is pleasant at most locations along the Grand Canyon, as summer temperatures have begun to cool off but still remain mild. You can expect sudden changes in weather, from rain to snow storms, as the season transitions from fall into winter. Be prepared with plenty of layers so you can easily adapt to changing temperatures.
Hiking Along the Rim – You will want to dress for the season when hiking along the rim of the Grand Canyon, though you can expect relatively mild temperatures year round. Regardless of the season, be prepared with sturdy hiking shoes and sun protection.
Hiking at the Base – The base of the Grand Canyon typically has more intense temperatures, meaning it gets hotter in the summer and colder in the winter. Be sure to dress for the season by bringing plenty of layers, a swimsuit, sun protection, and a water bottle!
River Rafting/Canoeing – If you’re planning to explore the river at the base of the canyon, don’t forget to pack a swimsuit, swimsuit cover up, sunscreen, sunglasses, and a quick dry towel. Wear what you’re comfortable in and bring clothing that can withstand your chosen activity.
Donkey and Horseback Riding – For these activities, it’s best to bring long pants and sturdy shoes that won’t fall off; some places may even require you to wear closed-toe shoes. As always, come prepared with layers to adapt to the weather, and consider bringing a sun hat or baseball cap as well.
What NOT to Bring to the Grand Canyon
You’ll most likely be doing a ton of walking and hiking during your time at the Grand Canyon, and the last thing you want is sore feet! Wear shoes that are already broken in, are sturdy enough for hiking, and won’t give you blisters.
3) DON’T TAKE a full-size towel: Why take up unnecessary space in your luggage by bringing a bulky full-size towel that takes forever to dry? Instead opt for a handy quick dry towel like this one, which is lightweight, compact, and dries incredibly fast.
5) DON’T BRING too much stuff: You won’t want to be bogged down with heavy luggage or an overstuffed daypack as you make your way in and around the Grand Canyon. Try to bring only the essentials and leave room for souvenirs to make the most of your trip!
4) DON’T PACK your winter coat:Unless you’re planning to head down to the base of the canyon in the dead of winter, you will likely have no need for a winter coat. Instead, pack plenty of layers so you can easily adapt to rapidly changing weather.
6) DON’T TAKE full-size liquids:If you’re only planning to visit the Grand Canyon for a few days or even a week, you will have no need for full-size liquids during your trip. Instead, use travel-size shampoo, conditioner, toothpaste, and anything else you need to save space in your suitcase.
FAQs for Going to the Grand Canyon
1. Where should I stay at the Grand Canyon?
It’s best to try to stay inside the park itself when looking for lodging around the Grand Canyon. This will be the most convenient way for you to maximize your time exploring the park and experiencing everything this awesome place has to offer. Most of the hotels and tourist accommodations can be found along the South Rim of the canyon.
2. When Should I visit the Grand Canyon?
Avoid visiting the Grand Canyon during the summer, if possible, as that is peak tourist season and when temperatures are the hottest. Instead, consider taking a trip during the spring or fall, when temperatures are still pleasant and you can avoid the hordes of tourists.
3. What activities can I do at the Grand Canyon?
The Grand Canyon is full of activities for every type of traveler. Throughout the canyon there are plenty of hiking paths, ranging from easier to more complex. If you’re not one for hiking, you can also visit one of the lookout points along the rim that require no hiking at all. Helicopter tours above the canyon as well as rafting, horseback and donkey riding tours, canoeing and kayaking are also available at the base of the canyon.
4. Is it safe to visit the Grand Canyon?
Yes, it is safe to visit the Grand Canyon. As long as you respect the rules of the park by remaining on designated hiking paths and keeping your wits about you as you hike and enjoy the lookout points, you should have no problem at all. Avoid running and jumping as well as hiking at night.
5. Are there dangerous animals at the Grand Canyon?
Yes, there are dangerous animals at the Grand Canyon that tourists may encounter. These include mountain lions, coyotes, squirrels, foxes, and bats. As long as you keep to yourself and stay on the designated paths, though, you are unlikely to have a problem with dangerous animals.
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