Although the Grand Canyon is breathtaking at any time of day, many people think there is nothing more breathtaking than watching the sun set over the Canyon's towering red granite spires, buttes and cliffs.
The Grand Canyon is changed by the setting sun from every vantage point, as the fading light and changing shadows make the colours of the rock more vivid, from oranges and pinks to purples and reds.
The Grand Canyon is also an area free of light pollution, so at sunset you can also enjoy a magnificent emerging star show, unhindered by the light of the city sky, plus the grandeur of the changing sky. It is a life-changing event, believe us...
It's worth staying to watch the sunset if your schedule permits while you're on holiday on the Grand Canyon side. The time of year you visit the national park will make all the difference as the sun sets at a different time each day:
Approximate sunset times by season
Spring : between 6.50 pm and 8.00 pm
Summer : between 6.35 pm and 8.00 pm
Autumn : between 5.15 pm and 6.30 pm
Winter : between 5.30 pm and 7.00 pm
Spring (April to June)
Visiting the Grand Canyon in the spring ensures the best weather. Because of the pleasant, temperate weather and the fact that it's not yet high season, there are fewer people and therefore more room at the best sunset viewing spots than in the summer, when every square inch costs money.
In spring, you can watch the sunset between 6:50 and 8pm, from April to June.
Summer (from July to September)
Longer summer days lead to later sunsets but also to more people wanting to attend.
So plan to stay later in the evening if you visit the Grand Canyon in the summer to get the best views, and be prepared to arrive early at your favourite viewpoint to secure your spot. Also remember to bring an umbrella as thunderstorms are common late in the day at this time.
In July and August the sun sets after 7pm, while in September it sets after 6pm.
If you are visiting the Grand Canyon in summer, be sure to check the weather forecast to ensure you don't block off a large part of your day waiting for a sunset that will be ruined by rain or clouds.
Autumn (October to December)
When the days get shorter from October to the end of December, you will notice that the sunset quickly changes from 6.30 pm to 5.15 pm.
If you don't mind visiting the Grand Canyon out of season, then you can take advantage of the less crowds and shorter days to see the sunset in time to make the most of your evening.
This is also a great time to enjoy the night sky if you prefer to stay and stargaze. Visitor numbers to the Grand Canyon will drop considerably as children return to school and the weather cools.
Important information to bear in mind:
Unlike most of the US, the Grand Canyon does not observe a difference between summer and winter time.
When travelling from states with different time zones, such as Las Vegas, be very careful about this rule so you don't miss your chance to see the sunset.
Since Las Vegas is on Pacific Time (PT) and observes daylight saving time, from April to October, the Grand Canyon and Las Vegas share the same time during this period. However, from November to March, Las Vegas will be one hour later than the Grand Canyon due to Daylight Saving Time.
Winter (January to March)
After the winter solstice, which usually occurs around 21 December, the days begin to lengthen once again.
As in autumn, the Grand Canyon is less crowded. If you don't mind a little snow, you can probably find a great place to watch the sunset and maybe even get a picture of it with no one on it.
The sun will still set between 5:30pm and 7pm during January and March, but it will do so later and later the further you get from the solstice.
What is the best way to see the sunset at the Grand Canyon?
La méthode la plus simple pour voir le coucher de soleil est de voyager par vos propres moyens jusqu’au Canyon, afin d’être sûr de ne pas avoir à partir avant le coucher de soleil.
Once there, there are several guided tours that offer incredible views of the sunset, whether by hummer or even helicopter for example. A sunset helicopter ride over the Grand Canyon is a once in a lifetime experience.
Grand Canyon Sunset Tour
The Grand Canyon Sunset Tour, which departs from Las Vegas and flies over the Grand Canyon Skywalk before landing at the bottom of the Canyon is the best possible experience for watching the sunset from the Grand Canyon sky.
During this 70 minute flight you will fly over Hoover Dam, Lake Mead and the West Rim of the Grand Canyon. The price also includes a 30 minute landing at the bottom of the canyon, with a glass of champagne, and a complimentary shuttle to pick you up at your Las Vegas hotel.
Wind Dancer Sunset
Embark on one of Maverick's flagship excusions. The Wind Dancer Sunset Tour takes off from Las Vegas and lands at the bottom of the Canyon, right in the middle of Hualapai Indian territory.
On this flight, you'll fly over the must-see Hoover Dam, Lake Mead and Mojave Desert, enjoy a glass of champagne at the bottom of the Canyon, and most importantly, you'll have the chance to make thereturn flight at sunset, to see the incredible colours of the Bowl of Fire and the Las Vegas Strip just before night envelopes it... You'll remember it!
If you'd rather not have to worry about driving to the Grand Canyon, there are helicopter tours from Las Vegas that will give you an unforgettable experience from Sin City.
Whether you are on the South or West Rim of the Grand Canyon, always remember to check the weather before planning your sunset as weather conditions can change very quickly in the area.
Plan to arrive at your viewpoint at least 90 minutes before sunset and stay there for at least 10 minutes after the sun has set and no longer illuminates the Canyon. Chances are that the colours in the sky will change to beautiful reds, pinks or oranges after the sun has set.