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California desert late-July - too hot to visit?

London, United...
1 post
California desert late-July - too hot to visit?

Me and my boyfriend are travelling from San Francisco to Los Angeles from 22nd - 31st July. We would love to see some of the coast but would also LOVE to spend some time in the desert.

My concern is that it might be too hot at that time of year in the desert. I know we wouldn't be able to hike during the day -- but is it still worth a visit? It will be quite a drive east from the coast so we just want to be sure!

Some of our ideas so far for desert landscapes were:

- Joshua Tree

- Alabama Hills

- Red Rock Canyon State Park

Any advice much appreciated!

4 replies to this topic
Level Contributor
670 posts
55 reviews
1. Re: California desert late-July - too hot to visit?

If you are driving though Yosemite to the Eastern Sierra mountains anyway, then a stop at Alabama Hills would work. We just drove through the area last week on a camping trip up Big Pine Creek (the small town just north of Lone Pine, where Alabama Hills is. It was about 90 F, and we hiked around in several places for 20-30 min at 2 pm). The rock formations are as impressive as Joshua Tree imo, and there is tons of scenery on route 395 - lava fields, cindercones, and a few Joshua trees, too. If not interested in taking 395, then a southern CA drive through Joshua Tree/Palm Springs/Borrego Springs is doable, but very hot. 95-105 degrees F is common, with nights in the 70 F.

Level Contributor
11,479 posts
1 review
2. Re: California desert late-July - too hot to visit?

Red Rock Canyon State Park will be very very hot.

Expect temps above 90 at midnight

Pacifica, California
Destination Expert
for Pacifica
Level Contributor
11,441 posts
4 reviews
3. Re: California desert late-July - too hot to visit?

I'd say it's OK to hike around for an hour or two, but I wouldn't go much beyond that.

San Francisco
Destination Expert
for Death Valley Junction, Death Valley National Park
Level Contributor
16,976 posts
52 reviews
4. Re: California desert late-July - too hot to visit?

It's always worth seeing places like the Alabama Hills, Death Valley, etc. any time of year. In recent years, August has been one of the top months for visitation, and huge numbers of those are from northern climates like the British Isles, Scandinavia, Germany, The Netherlands, and Korea. You don't HAVE to do extensive hiking to enjoy some of the unique sights.

There are two parks called Red Rock Canyon. One is a California state park west of Death Valley, south of Lone Pine, on Hwy 14. The other is a national conservation area in Nevada on the west edge of Las Vegas. Since you're talking about the Alabama Hills, I presume you mean the RRC in California. Either of these would be worthwhile, and without lengthy hiking you could enjoy much of either of them in an hour or two.

On a trip from San Francisco to Los Angeles, any of the desert parks would be a detour, so plan for several days if you're intending to also see the coast and maybe Yosemite or Sequoia-Kings Canyon,

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