Best time to travel to Grand Canyon

California Condor in Grand Canyon

Grand Canyon is one of the best sites in the world to spot the largest bird of North America

Best time: April–September

California Condor
California Condor
California Condor
California Condor

With an impressive wingspan of 9 feet across, it's the largest of all bird species found in North America. It's a stunning sight to behold when this already huge bird grows wider and wider while unfolding its long wings. You're lucky if you happen to spot one of those morning condors on the edge of the rim with their wings spread to the sun. However, it's generally a treat to see a condor soaring in the wild, as the bird is one of the world's rarest species.

Roughly from the 1880s to the mid-1920s, there were scattered reports of condors in Arizona. By the late 1930s, the condor population wasn't spotted outside of California. They've been on the Endangered Species List since 1967. Their numbers were constantly declining until they reached a breaking point in 1983, with a total population of only 22 birds left. That year was the beginning of a captive breeding program. The condor population is now growing, but the birds still need protection. So don't be surprised if you see a number-marking on a condor—the park's officials mark them to trace the recovery.

Moreover, everyone can contribute to the California Condor support through buying a plush toy of a condor for only 12$. The raised money is spent on various initiatives to increase the condor population in the Grand Canyon area.

Grand Canyon is one of the best places in the world to watch these birds which once dominated the skies of the South-West. The best season to see them is in the spring to early fall, namely April through September when they nest in the cliffs of the inner canyon. In March and October, it is also possible. May through July promise the best viewing chances. You may watch the canyon's condors and learn more about them at Ranger Programs held daily throughout the summer.

The South Rim is the most popular spot for California Condor viewing, namely such locations as Yavapai Point, Yaki Point, and Lookout Studio. Other good viewing spots not far from the Grand Canyon are Vermilion Cliffs and Navajo Bridge, Marble Canyon.

Besides Northern Arizona, a few hundreds of wild condors also inhabit the states of California and Utah.

Practical info

When is the best time to see California Condors in Grand Canyon?

The California Condors in Grand Canyon mate and nest on the canyon cliffs between April and September, which is their peak season. They can still be observed in March and October, but their presence is substantially lower. The best opportunity for viewing them is between May and July when they are more active. Show more

Where are the best locations in Grand Canyon to see California Condors?

Visitors can witness the California Condors' breathtaking view from the Grand Canyon South Rim at spots like Yavapai Point, Yaki Point, Lookout Studio, Vermilion Cliffs, and Navajo Bridge, Marble Canyon. These vantage points offer an unobstructed view of the birds. The Ranger Program, which involves professionals educating tourists about the birds and their habitat while keeping an eye on their activities, is also worth attending. Show more

How can we help protect the California Condor population in the Grand Canyon area?

For only $12, you can purchase a toy plush of the California Condor, and the money raised goes into protecting and breeding the bird population in Grand Canyon. The authorities have marked the birds so that there is a record of their progress. It is imperative to bring public attention to enforcing the law that protects these birds from poaching and hunting. Show more

What is the current California Condor population in the Grand Canyon?

Efforts to preserve the California Condor population in Grand Canyon are paying off, and as of 2020, there are over 100 condors in the area. Officials have marked these birds to keep a record of their progress, so sometimes you may see them with number markings. These markings are part of their recovery efforts. Show more

Besides Grand Canyon, where else can we find California Condors in the US?

In addition to the Grand Canyon, California Condors can be found in smaller population numbers in parts of California such as Big Sur, Castle Mountains, Pinnacles National Park, and Sierra Nevada mountain range, as well as Utah's Zion and Bryce Canyon National Parks. These birds are often seen in rocky and cliffy terrains as they prefer to perch on rocks and nest on cliffs. Show more

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Last updated: by Eleonora Provozin