A hot day at the Grand Canyon

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April's boys check out the Grand Canyon April's boys check out the Grand Canyon
(3TV/CBS 5) -

My husband and I recently took our kids on a summer vacation road trip to Park City, UT. It was an 11-hour drive, which we figured might be a bit long for two impatient little boys, so we decided to break it into two days and make a special stop along the way.

The boys have been BEGGING to go to the Grand Canyon. Every time they see the Canyon on television or in a magazine, they ask about it.  When we did “Good Morning Arizona” live from the Grand Canyon last year, they were tuned in -- and very jealous.

MOBILE/APP USERS:  Click here to see the image of GMAZ live at the Grand Canyon

On this late June day with our family, I expected summer crowds but was caught almost a bit off guard by the summer heat at the canyon. Yes, the meteorologist in the family wasn’t paying close attention to the weather for once. 

Between packing a family of four for a major road trip and being caught up tracking the record-breaking heat -- nearly 120 degrees -- in the Valley before we left, I didn’t even check the weather for the Grand Canyon before our visit. 

As we arrived and parked behind all the tour buses and vans, we noticed signs posted warning of the heat.

The Grand Canyon was under the same Excessive Heat Warning as Phoenix that week. In fact, the area is under the same warning this week.

Typical summer weather near the Canyon brings highs in the 80s at the South Rim. But on this day, we were sweating with the mercury climbing to the mid-90s. Tourists joined these Valley natives huddling in the shade of a few trees. And it wasn’t just people seeking shade. Check out this elk hanging out in the shade of a tree near the Visitors Center.

MOBILE/APP USERS:  Click here to see the image of an elk seeking shade at the Grand Canyon

The South Rim sits at an elevation of 7,000 feet, but at the bottom of the Canyon near the river, temperatures climb to well above 100 degrees. Overnight lows on the rim typically bottom out in the 40s and 50s during the summer. That’s a huge daily spread between highs in the 90s and lows in the 40s! 

Needless to say, it’s not the best time of year to hike the Canyon with that kind of heat near the bottom, but many people do it anyway. Monsoon season also brings the danger of lighting, strong winds and flash flooding in the area. 

The most popular time of year to climb the Canyon is during the spring and early fall. 

Even in the spring though, be prepared for the potential for a snowy surprise. When "Good Morning Arizona" broadcast from the South Rim last April, temperatures were in the upper 20s and we were treated to a light snowfall just as our show was wrapping up for the morning. What a contrast to the heat wave we experienced there this past week!

MOBILE/APP USERS:  Click here to see the image of light snow coming down at the Grand Canyon

Still, our boys loved seeing the incomparable beauty of the Grand Canyon and probably won’t even remember the weather that day. They’ll just remember their overprotective mama telling them to stay away from the edge at least 5,000 times while telling them to say "cheese" for a few dozen pictures. 

Isn’t that what road trips are all about?

MOBILE/APP USERS:  Click here to see the pic of April's boys at the Grand Canyon

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