When to go and how long to stay?
I receive loads of e-mail from people outlining their intended vacation itinerary,
asking for my humble opinion. Overwhelmingly, most people plan on staying at the Grand Canyon too long. Unless you are planning on hiking or you are a
photographer, you do not need an entire week.
While the Canyon is spectacular, and it is a once-in-a-lifetime trip, I believe two
days is plenty. Photographers will want to capture the sunrise and sunsets from different locations, and in those cases, a week may not be long enough.
If you're the average person who wants to see the Canyon and have your photo taken
pointing to the view, a day is adequate. It won't be a wasted trip if you include visits to Lake Powell, Zion, Byce, Canyon de Chelly or Flagstaff.
The summer months can be extremely busy with busses, cars, air tours, etc.
Sometimes you simply can't avoid the high season due to school vacations and work schedules. If at all possible, try planning your trip for sometime other than July and
August -- if you must go those months, consider the North Rim, or take a trip from Flagstaff, Williams,
Cameron or Tusayan.
During the winter it can and does snow at the Grand Canyon and North Rim will be
closed (South Rim will be open). However, the crowds are not as bad and the view is unusual. I enjoy October and November, as the colder weather doesn't hit until
January or February most years.