When Is The Best Time To Visit Saguaro National Park? 5 Desert Seasons
Saguaro National Park is open year-round. Located in the Sonoran Desert and Apache Highlands, this is one of the few National Parks that is best to visit during the cool season.
Winter is the most popular time of year for tourists when the climate is mild and wildflowers first start to bloom.
Summer can get extremely hot, with temperatures reaching over 115°F. But summer is also the only time you are guaranteed to see a Saguaro Cactus bloom. In the Sonoran Desert, summer is split into two weather seasons, the summer drought and summer monsoon season.
No matter which month you decide to visit Saguaro, there is always something interesting and special to see.
The Best Time To Visit Saguaro National Park
Spring In Saguaro National Park
Spring is the best time of year to visit Saguaro National Park if you want to visit during milder weather and see striking desert wildflowers.
Flower season begins at the end of February and peak in March and April. This is the time when you will see the greatest diversity of color.
The valleys turn a bright green, and beautiful red, purple, yellow, and orange hues start to take over the landscape.
Snowmelt from the Rincon Mountains can nourish Bridal Wreath Falls and Earnie Falls which are two fantastic waterfall hikes on the west side of the park.
The best part about visiting during spring is that the weather is still cool enough to enjoy the landscape. You can go hiking with your dog, or take a leisurely stroll at your own pace on one of the longer routes.
Summer In Saguaro National Park
Summer is broken up into two distinct seasons in the Sonoran desert. The first two months (May and June) are extremely hot and dry with low humidity. Towards the end of summer (July and August), the monsoon season begins.
Foresummer Dought Season
Early summer, in May and June brings high temperatures and low humidity. This is the time when most plants and wildlife go into survival-mode; searching for shade and hiding from the sun all day long.
During this time, most plants stop flowering and fruiting with the exception of the Saguaro Cactus. Saguaro Cacti start flowering in late April. By May and June, they are in full bloom.
Early summer is the best time to visit the park if you want to see the famous Saguaro Cactus bloom. It’s best to do this from the car, or go for a hike very early in the morning right after sunrise.
Summer Monsoon Season
July and September bring dramatic summer rains. This is the main growing season for large cacti and trees. Saguaro Cactus plants can grow up to 45 feet tall and weigh over a ton.
In the days following a monsoon visitors will get to enjoy colorful cactus blooms and seasonal waterfalls.
The park gets more humid during this time which can make hiking and outdoor activities brutal. It’s best to enjoy the park during the early morning hours before the sun gets a chance to really heat things up.
Going for a scenic drive or checking out the park’s visitor centers are good activities to do in the summer.
Fall in Saguaro National Park
October and November are typically hot with low humidity. Few plants are blooming during this time, but if it’s been an especially wet year, ocotillo will have a second bloom in the fall.
Crowds are minimal during autumn so it’s a good time to go if you want to travel in solitude.
Winter in Saguaro National Park
Winter is the best time to visit Saguaro National Park if you want to do some serious hiking and backcountry exploration. The cool season lasts from November 22 to February 28.
Late February is when the first plants and wildflowers start to bloom. December is the coldest month in the park when the low nighttime climate drops to about 41°F.
Although rare, Saguaro National Park does receive the occasional snowfall. As the snow melts it seeps into the groundwater and helps to nourish the plants.
Winter is the busy season and you’ll see the most tourists between late November-March when temperatures are mild.
Saguaro National Park Weather By Month
Weather in Saguaro National Park changes dramatically with the seasons. The average temperatures by month in Saguaro National Park are:
|Month||Average High||Average Low|
*Average temperatures are listed according to WeatherSpark.com
January: Expect mostly mild and sunny days in Saguaro National Park. You might get the occasional rain shower. Temperatures range from a low of 41°F to a high of 66°F.
February: Dry and sunny weather with low humidity. Poppies and lupines start to get their color in late February. Temperatures range from a low of 44°F to a high of 70°F.
March: Peak wildflower bloom. This is the best time to visit the nature areas or go hiking on the extensive trail system. Temperatures range from a low of 48°F to a high of 76°F.
April: The end of the wildflower bloom. The climate is warm and dry. Temperatures range from a low of 54°F to a high of 83°F.
May: The Saguaro Cacti begin to bloom for the first time. Most other plant species stop fruiting during this time. Temperatures range from a low of 62°F to a high of 92°F.
June: The hottest and driest time to visit Saguaro National Park. The climate can average over 100 degrees. Saguaro Cacti flower and fruit while the rest of the desert wildlife goes into hiding. Temperatures range from a low of 71°F to a high of 100°F.
July: Dramatic summer rains and monsoons occur in Saguaro National Park during July. Look out for seasonal waterfalls and blooming wildflowers right after the event. The weather averages nearly 100 degrees and can get humid. Temperatures range from a low of 76°F to a high of 99°F.
August: The middle of the summer monsoon season. Temperatures range from a low of 75°F to a high of 97°F.
September: The end of the summer monsoon season. The weather starts to cool off towards the end of the month and wildlife is just beginning to come out of hiding. Temperatures range from a low of 69°F to a high of 94°F.
October: The start of the growing season for winter annuals. Temperatures are warm with low humidity. Temperatures range from a low of 59°F to a high of 85°F.
November: Mostly warm and sunny days with low humidity. Wildlife is out and about and winter wildflowers are just beginning their season. Temperatures range from a low of 48°F to a high of 74°F.
December: The coolest time of year in Saguaro National Park. This is a great time for long backpacking trips and camping in the park. Temperatures range from a low of 41°F to a high of 66°F.
Is visiting Saguaro National Park in the summer worth it?
Summer is the only time you can see Saguaro Cactus bloom. This is the best time of year to see flowering Saguaro. The weather is brutal, but if you hike early in the morning it’s worth it.
When does Saguaro National Park bloom?
Wildflowers begin blooming at the end of February and peak in March and April. Saguaro cacti bloom in May and June.
When is the best time to visit Saguaro National Park?
Winter is the best for cooler temperatures and long hikes. Spring has the best wildflower blooms. Summer is the best time to see Saguaro Cactus bloom. Fall weather is cooler and has less visitors.
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