Current Weather Information at Saguaro National Park

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Desert Seasons

Saguaro National Park is divided by the city of Tucson, which is the only major city located in the Arizona Upland. It is always interesting to hear new residents and visitors protest about the lack of seasons here in the desert. Interestingly, this part of the Sonoran Desert actually has five seasons. Learn more about the desert seasons.

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Chollas produce buds and flowers in the spring, and some continue to bloom well into summer.

NPS Photo / T. Wiewel


It's hot out here! Summers can reach extremely high temperatures from early spring into fall. Daytime temperatures regularly reach well over 100 degrees with evening lows averaging 72 degrees. If you're looking to visit in the summer, make sure you are prepared for the elements of the Sonoran Desert. Sunscreen, water, hats and sunglasses are never a bad idea out here. In fact, they are incredibly encouraged! The month of June is generally the driest as we wait for the summer monsoon to arrive.

Tips for hiking in the summer heat:

  • if the daily high temperature is between 95° and 110°, finish your hike by 10am
  • if the daily high temperature is above 110°, please do not attempt to hike
  • turn around BEFORE you have consumed half of your water supply

Monsoon season (June 15 - September 30) brings the desert to life! These rains occur mostly in the afternoons over the mountains, sending gushes of water down the drainages and onto the desert floor. The monsoon season is mating season for many of the animals of Saguaro National Park, and you can expect to get some wildlife sightings during this time. Washes (dry river beds) will fill with water around the park, as well as drainages and canyons, sometimes resulting in a flash flood. Avoid being in canyons when rain is expected. Flash floods are known to sound like wind blowing through trees. If you are caught in a flash flood, go up! Climb as high as you can to avoid the water.

Let's learn about some hiking safety.

During the late spring and summer months, due to the heat, Saguaro National Park only offers interpretive programs on an intermittent basis. Check out our calendar to get a full list of events.

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Snow occasionally covers the desert floor, but afternoon temperatures facilitate a quick melt.

NPS Photo / T. Wiewel


Winters in the Tucson area are delightful with mildly warm days averaging 65 degrees Farenheit and cool nights averaging 40 degrees Farenheit. However, weather elements are subject to change depending on the year. Throughout the winter, we have a wet season that is not as strong as the summer monsoon, but it is equally important to our ecosystem. Unlike the summer monsoon, these winter rains are more sporadic, occurring about once a week for a couple months. When we get rainfall through the winter, that water seeps into the ground to keep our plants and animals happy until the summer monsoon.

Even in the Sonoran Desert, Saguaro National Park can be a snowy place! At higher elevations in the park, snow is actually quite common throughout the winters. Snow drifts in the mountains sometimes make hiking trails impassible, and during wet winters, it can persist for months. There is ample evidence that snow is one of the most important factors for water in the desert. Slow-melting snow does not run off quickly like rain does, but instead seeps gradually into underground aquifers. During the snowiest years, desert streams flow many weeks longer through the spring season into June, and isotopic analysis of springs reveal that most of the water in them originally fell as snow in the mountains. Unfortunately, warming temperatures over the years are leading to less snow falling in the mountains around Tucson and faster snowmelt in the spring.

What can we do? Celebrate this amazing form of water while we have it and protect it by doing our part to reduce the impacts of climate change.

Many ranger-led programs are offered throughout the winter. Check out our calendar to get a full list of events.

Last updated: June 17, 2024

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Contact Info

Mailing Address:

3693 S Old Spanish Trail
Tucson, AZ 85730


520 733-5153

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