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Know Before You Go: Desert Edition

Being Prepared for Adventure

There is nothing like heading out into the Mojave Desert to see towering red and white Navajo Sandstone cliffs, canyons and wildlife, amazing geological sites that exist nowhere else in the world, cinder cones and an almost constant Utah blue sky. Our expansiveness of beauty is hard to put into words and better suited for first-hand experience.

As you plan your trip, we suggest you keep in mind the climate and scenery. These things that make Greater Zion so beautiful make it an area that requires awareness and diligence too.

Snow Canyon State Park rivals Zion

Climate

Our climate ranges dramatically during the course of the year and through a day. We have winter in the desert! December, January and February overnight temperatures can get as low as 20 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 6 Celsius) but will warm up to 50 or higher (10 C) by afternoon. Compared to many parts of the world, these temperatures are ideal for winter. This is still perfect daytime weather for golf and outdoor activities.

Our summers get hot with morning July and August temperatures starting around 80-90 F (26-32 C) and reaching highs during the day of over 100 (37 C). We have short windows of heat in this extreme temperature, but it is not uncommon.

We are unique in that we typically reach our high temperature late in the day. Depending on the time of year, it can be between 4 and 6 p.m. before we reach our daily high.

It is common for more activities to begin earlier in the day as we move into summer. A 7 a.m. excursion start time is not uncommon.

Current Weather

For current weather conditions visit our weather page.

See Current Weather
Jagged, red rock cliffs.
Snow Canyon State Park

Rainfall

Our winter months are our rainy season with total rainfall of just over an inch in January, February and March. Typically, during the rest of the year, we do not experience rainfall of significance; totals are less than an inch per month. When it does happen to rain, it comes down fast for a brief period.

When you have planned your travel dates, check the weather. Keep checking the weather and plan accordingly.

Should you be planning to visit Zion National Park or Bryce Canyon, please pay special attention to rain. Flashfloods in Zion are frequent and not something in which you want to be stuck. Bryce Canyon is higher in elevation and lightning strikes are not uncommon.

Waterfalls inside canyon after rain with foggy sky.
Post-Rain Waterfalls at Emerald Pools

Humidity & Dry Heat

When coming from other parts of the world, most of our visitors are unaware of the impact of a “dry heat” and how it affects your body, hydration, and ability to function.

The most common issue we see for those unfamiliar with the area is a lack of water. Dehydration is, by far, one of the largest challenges our visitors face. Bring more water than you think you need. Going on a hike on an unfamiliar trail … bring lots of water. Two-three liters per person is recommended. Be prepared, if not over-prepared.

We have beautiful flowers, cacti, and flowering seasonal vegetation. What we do not have in abundance are shade trees. The sun gets hot and after prolonged exposure, without the right precautions, it can be draining.

Apparel

Our advice is typically to wear easy-to-add-and-remove layers. Depending on where you are going and what you are doing, you will need to be able to adjust. A morning ATV/UTV or horseback ride can start off cool and end up warm by the end of the ride. Canyoneering has you higher in elevation with more shade, but in and out of sunlight varies the temperatures. Mountain biking will range as well with changes in elevation, exertion and other conditions.

Depending on what you are planning to do, you will most likely want to bring closed-toed shoes (hiking boots/shoes, trainers, athletic shoes, etc.), potentially long pants, as well as seasonally appropriate clothing.

Visiting Greater Zion provides an amazing amount of active vacation options and we want you to enjoy them. Please be informed, plan cautiously and have fun. Check the weather, bring the correct apparel and invest in a camel pack or bottle for carrying your water.

Should you wish to learn more about experiencing new things and having amazing memories, please contact us, we would love to help.

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