Winter Road Trips
I'm a college student from Madison and looking to take a roadtrip over our winter break in January, and another in March during spring break. I'm looking to go to the southwest on one of the trips (AZ, MN, NV).
Does anyone have any information on what kind of weather I can expect in January and March. I'm looking to go to alot of parks, and hopefully camp most of the time. I have gear for winter camping, will it be needed in the Grand Canyon/Bryce Canyon/Zion parks?
Chiricahuas and Big Bend
Road Greetings LauRa,
Two of our all-time favorite places for warm winter roadtrip locations are in the SW. The first is a loop around the SE corner of Arizona. The Cave Creek drainage of the Chiricahua Mtns and the Chiricahau National Monument near Wilcox, AZ, with stops in Tombstone, Benson (visit the world's largest public access cave system at Kartchner Caverns), Bisbee and Douglas, AZ
Anywhere in the Big Bend National Park in Texas is very cool. Then make your way along the Rio Grande to Laredo and on to South Padre Island.
In regards to weather in Bryce and Grand Canyon -- expect lots of snow and blizzard-like conditions in January and Feb. At the bottom of the canyon the weather will be milder, rain and temps in 40's.
Rain and thunderstorms are likely anywhere in the SW in January and Feb, turning to snow at higher elevations. Flash floods pose significant hazards to hikers, but it can still be a very cool time to be exploring.
Do you need winter clothing and winter camping gear? At the Grand Canyon south rim, probably; at the Grand Canyon north rim and Zion, almost certainly; at Bryce Canyon, FOR SURE! All of these areas are at higher elevations and will likely be quite cold and probably snowy in the winter. However, I've camped at all of them and loved it. Unless you get a white out, all of them will be beautiful, almost surreal, and the winter air is normally quite a lot clearer. If you do, however, make sure you are knowledgeable and equipped for extremely cold weather and possible high winds.