Best time for Utah?

Discussion in 'West – California, the desert southwest and whatev' started by BWalker, Nov 3, 2004.

  1. BWalker

    BWalker Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Dec 16, 2003
    Oddometer:
    192
    Location:
    Rio Rancho, NM
    Is there any "best" time to do N. Arizona, Utah, Montana & Wyoming? I know July/August would not be great and neither would winter time. How about May/June or Sept/Oct???? :dunno
    #1
  2. markjenn

    markjenn Long timer

    Joined:
    Nov 9, 2003
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    Location:
    Bellingham, WA
    I just got back from a 4-Corners area trip in late-Sept/early-Oct. The weather was generally good, perhaps a little on the cool side - we were never hot, but occasinally, I wished for some more warmth, particularly on early AM starts.

    For this area, I think May and Sept are the best months, April and Oct are sketchier, but Okay if you are willing to run more risk. (New Mexico this year got hammered by bad weather in mid-Oct - there was a major hailstorm in early-Oct and lots of snow in mid-Oct.) Elevation is key - we had one day where the passes were right around freezing, yet it got up to 70 during the day in the valleys. If that had been a precip day, it would have been snowing in the passes.

    Wyoming and Colorado can be a lot colder than Utah, Arizona, and NM, mostly due to higher average elevations and being a little further N. Yellowstone has some of the earliest snows in the US. You are taking a fair amount of risk doing high-mountain work in Colorado and Wyoming even in late-Sept. I've had snowed in by blizzards in Wyoming and Colorado barely after Labor day. OTOH, it could be gorgeous. Again, it depends on your aversion to risk.

    Personally, I'd try and center the trip around May 15 or Sept 15. In my mind, this strikes the right balance between weather, and missing the peak tourist season.

    - Mark
    #2
  3. motozilla

    motozilla Long timer

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    Deiter and I just froze our asses off coming through the Vermillain Cliffs area on the 25th. I hear it's even colder now.
    #3
  4. papavero

    papavero Just good enough.

    Joined:
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    Temecula, Ca
    My wife and I did the southern canyons of Utah, Kolab, Zion, Bryce, Cedar Breaks. We went the week of Sept 12-18 this year. Riding up from Southern Calif. the weather was very warm, if not hot untill we hit Mesquite Nv. After that, the weather was perfect. Mid to upper 70's during the day, and cooling off to the high 40's at night. The roads were great, and the kids in school. This is in-between seasons for the area. It worked out well for us. Oh, we were on a Kawasaki Voyager XII.

    Paul
    #4
  5. DakotaDon

    DakotaDon Vagabond Mechanic

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    Soda Springs, ID
    I have done Utah in both late May/early June, and September. Those would be my choices to do it again. Going in the spring the days are longer so you can ride more in the daylight, but, you will run into trails and passes that are still snowed in. September was great but the days were kind of short. We didnt run into any snow on the passes but at that altitude its possible to get caught in a storm. Avoid crowds of rugrats at all costs!!!:D
    #5
  6. billy bee

    billy bee AAdventurer

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    Location:
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    Mary and I ran Beartooth Pass in mid-June last year and missed a snow closure by a few hours. Nonetheless the mid-day temps were just above freezing at 11,000 feet, and we were threading thru 8-foot snowpack. Conversely, by the time we got to Bryce and Zion 3 days later it was way hot, right around 100 degrees. Hence, June is too late for the desert and can still be too early for the passes.

    Just got back from a trip to Flagstaff via Vegas and the Hoover Dam, returning thru Sedona, Prescott, Parker (AZ) and skirting the north edge of Joshua Tree back to my SoCal home. There was lots of snow on the ground in Flag and the highs were in the 50s. Spent one night in Prescott and woke to temps in the mid-30s. By the time I mounted up the temp was a comfortable 48 degrees. The lower desert was quite comfortable. The temp never got above 82. But, again, I just got lucky. So, early November is too late unless you can plan around the weather.

    When I do another long Montana, Wyoming, Utah, Arizona trip, it'll likely be in mid-to-late September.

    bb
    #6
  7. wesfnw

    wesfnw portland,or

    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2003
    Oddometer:
    356
    esp the big parks;Zion, Arches, Moab...go after labor day!
    when all the kids are back in school...
    when the leaves are falling...
    when the campgrounds are deserted...
    pack your zero degree, down bag...
    plan your trip to coincide with full moon...
    :thumb :thumb :thumb :thumb :thumb
    #7
  8. willbkari2

    willbkari2 No Adventure to big!

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Modesto, CA.
    Well now, I used to live in Utah and obviously winter would not be the best time due to elements.Springtime can bring the unexpected storms. Other than that, anytime works for me. For some I know the heat can be unbearable but speaking for myself, I love it. Ride at night and relax during the day. Went across 50 in Nevada in the middle of summer. Middle of the day. Yes it was hot, but what an experience. Crossing Kansas in the middle of the night mid summer is also a cool trip. Hydro pack in the tank bag and common sense will make that cold beer and steak at the end of the day taste like no other, I guarantee it!

    Keep in mind the Adventure factor! :thumb
    #8
  9. willbkari2

    willbkari2 No Adventure to big!

    Joined:
    May 18, 2004
    Oddometer:
    439
    Location:
    Modesto, CA.
    Well now, I used to live in Utah and obviously winter would not be the best time due to elements.Springtime can bring the unexpected storms. Other than that, anytime works for me. For some I know the heat can be unbearable but speaking for myself, I love it. Ride at night and relax during the day. Went across 50 in Nevada in the middle of summer. Middle of the day. Yes it was hot, but what an experience. Crossing Kansas in the middle of the night mid summer is also a cool trip. Hydro pack in the tank bag and common sense will make that cold beer and steak at the end of the day taste like no other, I guarantee it!

    Keep in mind the Adventure factor! :thumb
    #9