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Autumn, Winter, and Spring Climate Ideal

Due to the wide range in elevation, temperature, and rainfall, the weather records for the low, desert part of the monument are quite different from those for the middle and higher elevations. In the Cactus Forest, temperatures range from a minimum of 16° F. in January to as much as 110° F. during the summer. The average annual rainfall is 11.5 inches. Snowfall in the Cactus Forest is rare, but the higher parts of the Rincons (where weather records have not been kept) are normally blanketed with snow each winter. It is believed that temperatures range in the higher Rincons from 0°, or below, in January to a high of 80° in June. An estimated annual precipitation of 25 inches comes principally during January-February and July-August.

Desert mule deer as seen through view-window of the Visitor Center.

Ideal weather for visiting the Cactus Forest may be expected from early October until Christmas and throughout March and April. Winter daytime temperatures in the desert are usually mild and comfortable, but hot days may be expected at any time from May through September. Day-night temperature differences average 30 degrees. Prevailing winds are from the southwest. High winds are rare; the maximum recorded being 50 miles an hour.

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Last Modified: Sat, Nov 4 2006 10:00:00 pm PST

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