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Topic: Grand Canyon Area in November, Probably a Stupid Question ... Snow?< Next Oldest | Next Newest >
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PostIcon Posted on: Oct. 04 2012, 1:37 pm  Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Hey All,

My wife & I are heading to Arizona for the week of November 11 to 18 to celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary. Flying into Phoenix, and hoping to do a bunch of dayhikes for the whole week - with our first thought being primarily in the Flagstaff & Grand Canyon areas.

Is this area generally snow-free at that time of year, or should we be looking at other parts of the state?

Thanks!
Pete :cool:


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PostIcon Posted on: Oct. 04 2012, 2:17 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

It's a crap shoot.   Flagstaff could be dry or they could have a foot on the ground by then. It can be pretty cold up there, too. Getting down into the low teens isn't unusual.  Whether there's snow or not, it's great to see at that time of year and I never go two years in a row without a November visit.

If you want to avoid the snow, there's endless good hiking within striking distance of Phoenix at that time of year.
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PostIcon Posted on: Oct. 04 2012, 3:12 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Thanks Big Load ... that's kind of what I thought with regards to the Flagstaff area.

We'll probably head up that way, and see how things look. We get 5 months of snow on the ground at our place up here in central BC, so if we start running into snow up in the Flagstaff area then we'll probably be heading to southern AZ in a big hurry! :D

Cheers,
Pete


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PostIcon Posted on: Oct. 04 2012, 3:57 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

If you're staying in Flagstaff, you should visit Wupatki National Monument.  It's not much for hiking, but the various ruins are really beautiful out on the open plateau, especially in the late afternoon light.
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PostIcon Posted on: Oct. 04 2012, 4:19 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(big_load @ Oct. 04 2012, 2:17 pm)
QUOTE
It's a crap shoot.   Flagstaff could be dry or they could have a foot on the ground by then. It can be pretty cold up there, too. Getting down into the low teens isn't unusual.  Whether there's snow or not, it's great to see at that time of year and I never go two years in a row without a November visit.

If you want to avoid the snow, there's endless good hiking within striking distance of Phoenix at that time of year.

Really? They could get 1' of snow in AZ? I didnt realize that ANY area of Arizona would get snow, especially as early as Nov. Do they get it at the Grand Canyon too?

Whats the typical temp there during, say late Nov - Feb?

Thanks...

Technically, I have been there, but I was 35,000 feet above it in a 747 on the way to  to Phoenix, where I assume it doesnt snow much...
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PostIcon Posted on: Oct. 04 2012, 4:38 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

The Flagstaff ski area gets 260 inches of snow a year. That's pushing twenty-two feet.

The North Rim has some nice nordic skiing. In the southwest it's more about the elevation than the latitude. Due east of San Diego you can get a snowchain requirement on the freeway in winter (I have) an hour east of downtown. You can see snow from downtown L.A. or Pasadena....
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PostIcon Posted on: Oct. 04 2012, 5:25 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

The North Rim usually closes near the end of November doesn't it or do they wait for the first storm? I know they don't open the highway again until early to mid May.

When we got there in May several years ago they had just opened it back up for the season and there were still some big snow drifts encroaching in the interior backroads. We were able to drive around them but had to manage a few winter blow downs with the ax and saw to get in where we were going. There is always tons of wildlife in there and few people unlike the extremely crowded South Rim.
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PostIcon Posted on: Oct. 04 2012, 5:36 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

I've just skied in late in the season so the gate being open wasn't a consideration. A bit like skiing into Tuolumne Meadows from the eastern gate of 120.... Yeah the wildlife are a great attraction to that side.

ANd there's the North Rim Yurt

"Routes to the yurt:

Winter travelers are reminded that precipitation patterns in Northern Arizona are quite variable. Just because it is the winter season doesn't mean it looks or feels like winter on the ground. The following descriptions assume that winter has set in and that a snowpack exists on the North Kaibab Plateau. This is most likely to be true January through March.
From Jacob Lake: The highway into the North Rim is closed from the Monday following Thanksgiving until May 15th. Snowmobiles are not allowed inside the park or on Highway 67 leading to the park from Jacob Lake. It is an approximate 50 mile ski from Jacob Lake Lodge to the North Rim yurt via the highway. The highway is the most direct route to the North Rim and the snow will likely be deep and uncut. Always be prepared. If you don't make it to the yurt, carry the equipment and clothing necessary to spend the night outdoors. Attempting to make it to the North Rim in one day using this route is not recommended."
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PostIcon Posted on: Oct. 04 2012, 6:18 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(CharlesTheHammer @ Oct. 04 2012, 4:19 pm)
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Whats the typical temp there during, say late Nov - Feb?

Others have answered the snow question pretty well.  I'll add that higher elevations get a lot of snow even as far south as the Mexican border.    If you ever hike Mt. Wrightson (south of Tucson), you'll see a couple memorials to some Boy Scouts who perished in a mid-November snowstorm.  The ski area at Mt. Lemmon outside Tucson gets plenty of snow, too, as do the Rincons.

Anyway, winter temps vary considerably with altitude and location.  Anywhere on the Colorado Plateau can get pretty cold, and the NE corner (pretty much all of the Navajo Reservation) is quite reliably cold.  Average mid-winter lows are in the low teens with occasional sub-zero weather, when Phoenix might have highs in the mid 60s and lows around 40.
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PostIcon Posted on: Oct. 05 2012, 10:19 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(Arizona @ Oct. 04 2012, 5:25 pm)
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The North Rim usually closes near the end of November doesn't it or do they wait for the first storm? I know they don't open the highway again until early to mid May.

North Rim park services (lodge, restaurant, etc.) are open May 15th - October 15th.  They close the gates (to vehicular traffic) toward the end of November or a big storm, whichever comes first.  I think they generally announce Nov 30th as the latest closing day.

I've been hiking in the Canyon the first week of November the last few years (won't this year, however  :( ) and we've had snow the last two years.  On the South Rim 2 years ago, it was just a few inches overnight that melted off by mid-day.  On the North Rim last year, we hiked out to 3-4 inches at Monument Point.  It was a full-fledged winter storm by the time we got to Bryce.


Once you get to the river, it's 70+ degree days and 50's at night.  A couple of thousand feet up (~4-5K), it gets down to the low 30's at night.  On the rim, last fall, it was 12deg at the trailhead in the morning.


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PostIcon Posted on: Oct. 05 2012, 12:12 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Thanks for all the info everyone!

It's hard for us far northern types to wrap our heads around the fact that places that far south of us actually have a winter. Gotta say ... when I think of what Arizona is supposed to be like, there are many 'sunny type' things that pop in my mind way before snow! :laugh:

Cheers,
Pete


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PostIcon Posted on: Oct. 05 2012, 12:21 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

And that keeps the SAR folks very, very busy there and in "Southern" California....
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PostIcon Posted on: Oct. 05 2012, 12:24 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(BCPete1 @ Oct. 05 2012, 12:12 pm)
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It's hard for us far northern types to wrap our heads around the fact that places that far south of us actually have a winter. Gotta say ... when I think of what Arizona is supposed to be like, there are many 'sunny type' things that pop in my mind way before snow! :laugh:

Yeah, I hear ya' (I live in Michigan.)  I had trouble getting my head around the concept of skiing in New Mexico for a long time...

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PostIcon Posted on: Oct. 05 2012, 6:07 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(TigerFan @ Oct. 05 2012, 3:19 am)
QUOTE

(Arizona @ Oct. 04 2012, 5:25 pm)
QUOTE
The North Rim usually closes near the end of November doesn't it or do they wait for the first storm? I know they don't open the highway again until early to mid May.

North Rim park services (lodge, restaurant, etc.) are open May 15th - October 15th.  They close the gates (to vehicular traffic) toward the end of November or a big storm, whichever comes first.  I think they generally announce Nov 30th as the latest closing day.

I've been hiking in the Canyon the first week of November the last few years (won't this year, however  :( ) and we've had snow the last two years.  On the South Rim 2 years ago, it was just a few inches overnight that melted off by mid-day.  On the North Rim last year, we hiked out to 3-4 inches at Monument Point.  It was a full-fledged winter storm by the time we got to Bryce.


Once you get to the river, it's 70+ degree days and 50's at night.  A couple of thousand feet up (~4-5K), it gets down to the low 30's at night.  On the rim, last fall, it was 12deg at the trailhead in the morning.

If that is you in the photo, you look happy. The scene is serene. I love hiking during a snowfall.

12 degrees at the morning trailhead is what I call cold. Low 30s at night is about right but 12 degrees is something I am no longer acclimated to enjoy. I'd hike right out and keep moving until it warmed some and then make breakfast.
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PostIcon Posted on: Oct. 05 2012, 6:26 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(TigerFan @ Oct. 05 2012, 9:24 am)
QUOTE

(BCPete1 @ Oct. 05 2012, 12:12 pm)
QUOTE
It's hard for us far northern types to wrap our heads around the fact that places that far south of us actually have a winter. Gotta say ... when I think of what Arizona is supposed to be like, there are many 'sunny type' things that pop in my mind way before snow! :laugh:

Yeah, I hear ya' (I live in Michigan.)  I had trouble getting my head around the concept of skiing in New Mexico for a long time...

The southern most developed ski lift/area is just 25 road miles from Tucson. Of course being at 9000 feet it gets some snow every year.

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PostIcon Posted on: Oct. 05 2012, 6:55 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(High_Sierra_Fan @ Oct. 05 2012, 12:21 pm)
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And that keeps the SAR folks very, very busy there and in "Southern" California....

I can only imagine ... they must see it all when it comes to being unprepared for weather down there.

Like I mentioned above somewhere, we 'endure' enough snow & ice at our house for five months of the year, and we sure don't need to seek more ... so
if we see even one snowflake falling down while in AZ, then we're heading further south & staying low!  :laugh:


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PostIcon Posted on: Oct. 05 2012, 10:39 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

People still hike the North Rim in November and the South Rim should be Ok.  Even with a storm, the South Rim and Flag may be chilly but getting into the canyon, it warms up dramatically.  I've pack mini-crampons at the end of winter for 2 mid-March trips and never used them on the South Rim.

It's still North America and Mexico can bring in moisture from Baja to hit a cold front.

I remember late November 06 or 07 when a snowstorm came in from old Mexico into Las Cruces NM and El Paso TX - right on the border, so if it can happen on the Mexican border ...

It burns off real fast in November though.


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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 22 2012, 5:23 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic.  Ignore posts   QUOTE

Hey Everyone,

We just go back from AZ on Monday. Did nothing but dayhikes for the entire week. Spent some time in the Prescott area - hiked the Granite Mtn trail and the Woodchute Mtn trail. Did a couple of dayhikes in the Sedona area - crazy rock formations around there! We actually added a life list North American mammal to our trail sightings record - a javalina family! Those little piglets give black bear cubs a run for their money on the cuteness scale.  :D  

Grand Canyon was the highlight ... of course. Amazing, amazing place to see - not too hard to figure out what they mean when they say it's one of the seven natural wonders. We did the classic tourist hiking - Bright Angel trail to Plateau Point & back on our first day, and the Rim Trail from Hemit to Grand Canyon Village the next day. Weather was great - stayed above freezing on the rim the two days we were there, and no snow anywhere. I have a feeling we'll be back to the GC some year for a multi night backpacking trip.

Anyway, thanks for all the information beforehand!

Cheers,
Pete
:cool:


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