Phoenix and Grand Canyon, early November: What to wear?

I'll be in Phoenix for work purposes for a few days in early November. I have to give two panel presentations there and will also be visiting a friend of Mr. Suz. 

Then we're taking a few days to visit the Grand Canyon. 

I have been checking weather and it looks like we might face a range of temps. and conditions. 

Any advice as to wardrobe? I have never been to that part of the world before. 

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33 Comments

  • Teresa replied 3 weeks ago

    Likely Phoenix will be hot outside, but AC everywhere! And in the desert, evenings can get quite cold. Up by the Canyon it can get quite cool too. I’d suggest layers—I’d likely bring a short lightweight down jacket, like Uniqlo’s packable down, and a lightweight merino scarf to add in when you need a little extra. Hope you have time to hike down into the Canyon a way, it’s spectacular. If you can, drive through Sedona on the way to the Canyon, it’s beautiful.

  • delurked replied 3 weeks ago

    I’ve been to the Grand Canyon in October and seen snow.

    Generally speaking, the weather in Phoenix will be 80-90 during day and maybe 50s at night. So, I personally (remember, I cannot relate to you who are cold all the time) would plan for pretty mild to warm daytime temps and add a jacket for nighttime.

    For Sedona/Flagstaff/Grand Canyon, it can still feel quite warm during the daytime hours if it’s sunny. It will be cooler for sure compared to Phoenix. And the nighttime will likely be cool to cold. I often end up in more gear for Northern AZ just because there are so many incredible sights to be seen, and a lot of National Parks worth your time.

  • Kyle replied 3 weeks ago

    Suz, it could still be quite warm here then, especially for someone not accustomed to desert climate. Don’t skimp on sunscreen or moisturizer. The sun is brutal and it’s super dry. Layering is your best strategy in terms of clothing. While it may feel quite hot outside in the sun, the air conditioning inside is often very cool. Also, even if it’s hot during the day, things tend to cool off at night. So you need to be prepared with some light sweaters or blazers, but should not need anything heavier than a jean jacket. People here tend toward the casual, too, if that helps. You’ll see lots of shorts and flip flops, though I’m sure you will elevate our fashion quotient and bring your own special flair to redefine desert chic. Don’t forget your western belt!

  • delurked replied 3 weeks ago

    Are you staying up at the canyon, or williams?

  • Kyle replied 3 weeks ago

    Suz, to clarify, my comments were geared toward your time in Phoenix. I’m less familiar with the weather you’ll experience at the Canyon, though it will surely be cooler.

  • texstyle replied 3 weeks ago

    Suz - assuming you are going to the south side of the Grand Canyon and in early Nov. it should be nice fall weather in the day and cool to cold at night. We hiked in Sedona in mid to late Oct. years ago and it was still quite warm - we did drive up the Canyon during the day and it was also warm - like 70's if I remember.  Night temps were more like 40's. Layers recommended. Depending on your itinerary you may want to visit Jerome, AZ too.

  • Christina F. replied 3 weeks ago

    I haven't been there, but things I brought to other desert climates include a tri-climate coat (for excustions in the early morning to the mountains and at night to see stars) and a linen button down shirt to act as a top layer over other items. You have one of those Halogen linen sweaters, right? That might be a good layering piece.

  • delurked replied 3 weeks ago

    Texstyle - I finally got to the north rim this year. Been to the south rim many times. It was a beautiful drive to it, but maybe not how I’d spend my time if I only had a couple days.

    South Rim - make a reservation to eat at El Tovar.

    Some of my personal favorite Northern AZ sights are:

    Sedona (oak creek canyon). Briar Patch Inn. Love. Good hikes all around Sedona. I like Fay Canyon. Add a Jeep tour.

    Petrified Forest/Painted Desert (if heading further east)

    Around Flagstaff - low key, but one of my favorites is walnut Canyon. This is good if you only have a couple hours. It’s not an all day place.

  • Suz replied 3 weeks ago

    More on my itinerary later today. Mr. Suz is in charge of that part since he is not there for work and I need to focus on my presentations. :) 

    Thank you for the good reminders re daytime AC in the hotel. I will bring layers! And yes, we plan to do a bit of hiking at the canyon -- we don't have a lot of time and right now the forecast is for RAIN the days we are there (!!!) but it's still a few weeks ahead, so things might change. 

  • Sal replied 3 weeks ago

    We went to Arizona in October - it was warm and lovely during the day and pleasant at night.  Shorts, light pants with a sweatshirt or jacket and maybe jeans in the evening.

    We hiked and my sons swam in the river...  we didn't get to the Canyon because it was closed due to US Govt Shut Down!!

    I loved Sedona, Jerome, Prescott - we also stayed in the Briar Patch Inn :)

  • delurked replied 3 weeks ago

    Sal - really? You stayed there? Even if I don’t stay there, I try to stop and have breakfast there. Did they have musicians there for breakfast? I find it soo relaxing, and have many good memories from my visits there.

  • La Pedestrienne replied 3 weeks ago

    Well, it's two different climates, really! Phoenix will be dry, sunny, summer temps. 80s/90s during the day, down into the 50s/60s at night (sorry, I'm rushing and putting these in Fahrenheit). Really pleasant. High desert will be gorgeous too, but expect classic fall temps. 50s/60s during the day; if it's sunny if might feel (deceptively) warmer -- until the sun drops to the horizon or the wind picks up. Nights may dip below freezing and you could even get a little snow if you're lucky -- Grand Canyon with a dusting of snow is so gorgeous. (Whenever we camped in northern AZ it was always colder than forecast at night, but staying in hotels you won't freeze your tush off the way we always did!).  Sedona will be somewhere in between the two, temperature-wise.

    Definitely bring layers -- merino sweater, chambray/denim shirt, lightweight puffer, something wind-proof, both a sunhat and something to keep your ears warm. Your western belt and booties will feel right at home! I adore Arizona, especially the higher elevations. Lots of nice food stops in both Sedona and Flagstaff, but I have a special fondness for Macy's Coffeehouse in downtown Flagstaff -- Euro-style cafe/bakery, with lots of hearty veggie fare and very kind staff. Nodding along with delurked's list of favs as well. 

  • Sara L. replied 3 weeks ago

    Layers like everyone else has said.  Bring lots of water if hiking - more than you think you'll need.  I usually plan on hats too when hiking since it's usually so sunny (I can't always get the kids to actually wear a hat, but at least I make the effort).

    The weather is super variable at that time of year so your best bet is to pack for all conditions (except super cold) and watch the weather closely.

  • Laurie replied 3 weeks ago

    Arizona in October!  The best.      Have a great time.  If you (or Mr Suz) have time for a hike in Phoenix, Camelback is awesome.

  • Chris987 replied 3 weeks ago

    Can't add to the copious great info already posted, but wanted to say to take some time to just enjoy the scenery. I was totally blown away the first few times I visited the American Southwest....the landscape, the plants, and even thy sky are just slightly different from what you see in northeast US and eastern canada, and you can see for great distances, it's well worth just soaking it in.

  • bonnie replied 3 weeks ago

    You've had some great advice. Phoenix will probably be at it's best in early November. The Grand Canyon will be cold so you need layers.  We've had an unusual fall this year with lots of rainstorms and cooler weather than usual for this time of year. Highs have been in the 70s - 80s F rather than the usual 80s to 90+F. Don't miss Sedona and be sure to drive through Oak Creek Canyon on your way to the Grand Canyon. We like to eat lunch at the Grand Canyon Lodge. If you have time, the Broken Arrow Jeep Tour offered by the Pink Jeeps is the most fun thing to do in Sedona. Be sure to book ahead because it sells out fast. 

  • torontogirl replied 3 weeks ago

    Ooh following with interest ... DH and I were just discussing a trip there in March!

  • Suz replied 3 weeks ago

    Thank you all so much for your thoughts! This is really helpful. We don't have a lot of time -- we visit with Mr. Suz's friend on Oct. 31 and then my conference runs from Nov. 1 to 3. We leave on the 4th for the canyon and fly home on the 7th. We'll be at the south rim and in Sedona. Thank you for all the detailed recommendations!

  • FashIntern replied 3 weeks ago

    I’ve already told my story on here of getting completely overheated in AZ in late November. Besides the sunscreen, make sure you have plenty of water all day long.

    Idk about the Canyon, have never been there, but the desert is beautiful after the rain. My aunt, who was acclimated to Phoenix but grew up in Wisconsin and Minnesota, said it got cold there at night. I’m glad you’re hiking down—can’t imagine going all the way there & then just looking. One of these days I’d love to raft through it with my son, now that he’s old enough (last time we were near there, he was 6).

    Enjoy your trip, and good luck on your presentation!

  • rachylou replied 3 weeks ago

    Well, when I lived in Tucson, I remember warm days, cold nights, and FRIGID a/c. It’s the desert, so temp swings are pretty wide from day to night. On the other hand, you are used to Canadian winters... After those Tucson summers, 70 became sweater weather to me...

  • JAileen replied 3 weeks ago

    I thought this was funny when I read it last night, since I was in Phoenix yesterday! But just at the airport. However, it was very warm getting off the plane. The other time I was in Phoenix (Scottsdale, actually), it was in March, and it was sleeting at home, and over 90 in Scottsdale.

    What I always keep in mind: the lower the humidity, the bigger the temperature swings.

  • lisa p replied 3 weeks ago

    I haven't been to AZ in years but what great hiking country !    Enjoy your trip, and good luck with the presentation ....I know you'll knock 'em dead :)  

  • Angie replied 3 weeks ago

    I've been to both places too. Kyle has spoken - YAY. 

    Suz, Phoenix will probably feel like Summer to you! 

    Grand Canyon. Wrap up and cover up. COLD at night. I had altitude problems there too :(

  • Suz replied 3 weeks ago

    Angie, good point! I'm used to living more or less at sea level. I do get some altitude weirdness going on my first day or two in Banff whenever I go, so I will be mindful of that. It's usually very minor -- I just find myself out of breath more quickly -- but some of my friends got downright ill from it. 

    We are wishing now that we left ourselves more time. Alas, we didn't feel we could leave our teen alone for too long, so limited the trip's length. 

    I'm thinking I will need:

    • a conference capsule with toppers to deal with the AC; 
    • an "outdoors in Phoenix and vicinity" outfit (Mr. Suz's friend loves to hike so might take us on a day trip nearby); 
    • a "hiking in and near canyon and Sedona" set of outfits;
    • something to wear if we go out to dinner. 

    Hmmm. Looks like I won't manage with a carry on. So what else is new?

  • Angie replied 3 weeks ago

    Suz, I had a SPLITTING headache the entire time I was in the Grand Canyon - painkillers were useless. I felt a bit off too. As soon as we drove back to Phoenix - I felt 100%. 

    LOVED Sedona. My favourite part of AZ. You'll enjoy it. 

  • La Pedestrienne replied 3 weeks ago

    My husband has the altitude issue too. As soon as we get up to around 8-10,000 feet, it's headaches, nausea, the whole deal. He's from the Maritimes, so spent most of his life right at sea level. I grew up at low elevations too, but for some reason it's never been an issue for me.

  • Suz replied 3 weeks ago

    Angie, La Ped, thanks for weighing in on that. It seems to vary between individuals, for sure. Jet lag can make it much worse, I think. And not drinking a lot of water. 

    I'll mention it to Mr. Suz, too. He's not used to walking/ hiking the way I am, so he'll be more vulnerable to begin with. 

  • Joy replied 3 weeks ago

    The time we were at the Grand Canyon ( windy!) and Phoenix ( scalding hot). It had been over 100degrees F since February. The donkey rides into the canyon are not safe. A friend fell and was badly hurt with a broken back. She is tiny and thin, not overweight at all.

  • Cee replied 3 weeks ago

    Good advice, all.

    They got you covered, Suz... Literally !!

  • Angie replied 3 weeks ago

    It's good to be prepared, as you always are, Suz. You'll have a GREAT time. 

  • suntiger replied 3 weeks ago

    Lucky :) take the helicopter tour if they're still doing it at Grand Canyon!

  • shiny replied 2 weeks ago

    I've been to Phoenix, Sedona, Grand Canyon but in May and February, not November.  If you get a chance to do a day or two in Sedona, I highly recommend. One of my favorite places on this earth.

    Phoenix will be hot, but cool at night. Think California. Layers. That for me was also the business portion and yes remember the AC! 

    Sedona & Grand Canyon can get a lot crisper. And are much more casual. Gear is fine for this leg of the trip. Indispensables for me were patagonia packable puffer with hood, packable puffer vest, fleece leggings (often layered under gear tights for hiking). Long sleeve gear top, long sleeve fleece top. Jeans and merino wool sweaters. I brought a dress and never wore it. A hat. Scarf. 

    And depending on where you are staying -- a swim suit. We stayed at a resort that had heated pools all throughout. It rained a lot but we hit the pool every night, nice after a day of hiking. Had the pool to ourselves. Got to watch the stars from the pool. I used a fleece circle cardigan as cover up to dash between pool and hotel room and/or a packable patagoina rain coat (on the night it was raining really hard). 

    Do the pink jeep tour! Sounds corny but we loved it.

    When we went to the Grand Canyon it was pretty cold. The wind. It was lovely though, but I layered everything for it. We walked down the canyon as far as we could go -- initial trails were muddy. Then we hit ice and turned around. Got back up top in time to drive around getting in and out of our car to watch the sunset from various points. 

    If you are driving back from Grand Canyon to Sedona at night, watch out for the ghost. We almost ran over her, went to the police about a "wondering woman in her nightgown."  Found out later she was a local ghost. 

  • Style Fan replied 2 weeks ago

    Lots of advice here already Suz but I thought I would weigh in.  Sedona is one of my favourite places.  We were there in 1995.  We stayed at the Sky Ranch.  We did lots of hiking.  Also, hiked down Grand Canyon.  
    Have a great time.

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