I read a lot of mixed reviews about coming to the Grand Canyon in the Winter. I guess we just lucked out, because we had a great time! There were very few people compared to what I’ve heard described before and the main trails and roads were all cleared of ice and snow.
Having a two-year-old, I was worried that the trails along the rim would be too icy for her to run around on, but they were in good shape and she only slipped a little a time or two before touching down on solid ground. I was hoping that we might be able to explore a little below the rim, but this time of year that’s a little too much to ask of a North-facing slope after snowfall. I decided we better not risk it at the suggestion of Park Rangers who said a fall would be likely on the ice-packed trails. Luckily, she was very content to climb on the boulders near the cleared pathways and enjoy the scenic overlooks on the rim itself.
Desert View road was worth the time it took to make the drive and take the stops at viewing points for sure, but it wasn’t until the evening trip on Hermit Road when the sun was setting that the canyon really showed it’s “true colors”. I was completely amazed at the way the scenery changed as the sun dropped. And when it finally slipped away, the haziness in the air disappeared and the subtle color variations in the rock immediately came alive. It’s worth noting that the temperature dropped at a crazy speed as soon as the sun was gone. Within 25 minutes of sunset, I was clearly underdressed, but near my vehicle for a bundle up session.
I am a big proponent of wearing layers in the outdoors. I would never stray far without them. This trip is made complete by the generous offerings of Merino Wool sheep next to my skin. I have a mid-weight piece from Smartwool that I have found to be the most durable wool garment I’ve used so far. It’s my staple long-sleeve base layer for the cold. I’ve recently picked up a ultra-light merino bottom from Bergans of Norway and am trying it out this trip. I don’t like bulky base layers under my pants, so I’m going with ultra-light stuff and more review to come on that.
Moving on to Zion National Park tomorrow on the way to Winter Outdoor Retailer Show in Salt Lake. I’ll keep you posted!