Sonoran Desert Weather

Phoenix climate is categorized as subtropical arid climate and is described by many locals as a “dry heat” or two seasonal.  This is because Phoenix typically has only two noticeable weather conditions, hot or warm.

While the extremely hot summers keep many visitors away, the very warm winters attract many out of town visitors otherwise commonly referred to as “snowbirds” that fly south for the winter.

Hiking Camelback can be enjoyed year-round however for obvious reasons; there is a larger influx during the winter months due to more tolerable temperatures.  This can make parking and even at times hiking a capacity challenge.

Hiking during the summer is the ultimate challenge and when temperatures top 100 degrees it is common to see less than 10 people on the mountain.

Given the two extremes and looking for a middle ground of less traffic and bearable conditions, the most optimal months to hike are March and April.  The temperatures are a little warmer, typically in the mid 80’s but provide great sunshine without the rock melting heat of the summer.

 

Summer

The summer weather makes Phoenix one of the hottest of any major US city.  Temperatures in excess of 100 degrees are common with roughly 30% of the year marked by 100 plus temperatures.  The hottest months of the year are May through September with roughly 18 days reaching over 110 degrees.  Overnight lows can get to 80 degrees but typically ranges between 80 and 90.

 

Monsoon Season

On average 85% of the time the sun will be shining in Phoenix.  Although rainfall is rare, Phoenix is characterized by an annual “monsoon season” which lasts from early July to mid-September.  Annually Phoenix only gets 8.3 inches of rain and despite the monsoon season being during summer, the wettest month is typically March receiving 1.07 inches of the annual precipitation.

 

Winter

On average only 5 days per year drop below freezing.  Winter months (October-February) are typically warm with temperatures ranging from the mid 60’s to low 70’s.  Snow is rare, occurring only a handful of times in recorded history.  Fog is also very rare, but if present, happens only during winter months.

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