Grand Canyon Cloud Inversions – A Spectacle of Nature



Grand Canyon Cloud Inversion
Photo Credit: Michael Quinn NPS

If you’re really lucky, during a winter visit to the Grand Canyon, you might get to experience a rare but extraordinary weather phenomenon called a total cloud inversion. It’s almost unearthly and truly one of the most spectacular tricks that nature can pull.

Cloud inversions occur when cold air is trapped in the canyon and topped by a layer of warm air. If the moisture in the cold pool of air below is high enough, condensation will ensue and fog will form, creating an unbelievable sea of clouds, because… nature is magic!

Grand Canyon National Park Cloud Inversion: November 29, 2013
Photo credit: Erin Whittaker NPS

A full cloud inversion at Grand Canyon is incredibly rare happening only approximately once a year, but visitors can still luck out and see a partial inversion from time to time. Mother Nature does not disappoint when she unveils a cloud inversion, and for those lucky enough to experience this phenomena, it’s truly mind-boggling to stare out onto clouds that look solid enough to step out on to.

Located inside the park, Yavapai Lodge is the perfect home base in the winter to be close enough to make it the rim quickly if word of a cloud inversion breaks. An easy walk to the rim, Yavapai is centrally located to trailheads and parking is a breeze (especially if traffic picks up as people try to get into the park to see an inversion).

Grand Canyon Cloud Inversion 2
Photo Credit: Maci MacPherson NPS

Cloud inversions at Grand Canyon truly are a sight to behold. An ocean made of clouds, filling the grandest of canyons… just one of a million reminders of how special this national park really is. Want to see more incredible images of the nature’s unbelievable cloud inversions? Search the hashtag #seaofclouds on Instagram.

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