All tourist areas have peak seasons and off seasons. For the majority of them, this is going to correspond to the spring or summer months, because tourists are looking for an experience where they will not have to worry about poor weather or carrying a coat with them. For the most part, the biggest tourist seasons will be outside of the time frame defined as “winter,” and some quick research into the seasons of the place you are planning on visiting will give you the best times to visit, if you are looking for the warmest weather. In the American Southwest, this can actually be a huge mistake. There are many tourist attractions in the Southwestern United States, predominantly national parks like Bryce, Zion and the Grand Canyon. These areas are outdoor spaces, so weather is going to have a large impact on the experience that you have, if you plan on moving outside of the tour bus or vehicle at all. When planning trips from places like Las Vegas to national parks in the surrounding areas, many people will book their time in the summer, believing that this is the best time to visit because of this being the case elsewhere. In the desert of the Southwest, this is completely untrue. During the summer months in places like Zion and the Grand Canyon, the daily temperatures can reach over 100 degrees, and in Death Valley National Park it can reach over 120. In these cases, the summer season is actually the worst time to visit.
So what is considered the “best” time to visit national parks of the Southwest? That answer is going to depend on what you are looking for. If you are looking for perfect weather for hiking and exploring, then the best times are going to be spring and fall, when the peak heat times have gone away. The landscape will still look much the same as it does in the summer, but you will not be exposed to the heat. Many seasoned travelers to the area will actually claim that winter is the best time to visit places like the Grand Canyon, due to the fact that the winter temperatures in the Grand Canyon area during the day are actually much like spring on the east coast of the United States. You will see temperatures in the mid-fifties and low-sixties during the day, and probably around the thirties at night. You may need to bring a jacket, but if you are hiking and exploring this is actually perfect weather. The reason many consider this the best time to visit is that the misinterpretation of the seasons drops the tourism levels to around 10% of peak times, so essentially if you are not bothered by wearing a jacket when you visit the park, in exchange you will get a far less crowded experience. So is it worth it to you to wear a jacket and get the Grand Canyon all to yourself? That is for you to decide!