A Great Place
When should you visit very special and unique places in the world that touch you? Places with an atmosphere you can’t describe or where you even get overwhelmed with emotion.
Sweet spot months in Rocky Mountain National Park (RMNP) without the heavy summer crowds, open Trail Ridge Road and a good chance of nice weather are late May until early June or September after Labor Day (mid-week) until mid-October. However, snow is possible at both times. September is also great for wildlife because of the elk rutting season (peak mid-September to mid-October). In fall the air is clear and crisp and the skies are blue.
Please make sure to read our full Season Guide below (including monthly weather), tips for Avoiding Tourist Crowds, Hotel Suggestions as well as 7 useful tips at the end of this article (scroll down!)
Top Tip (Very Easy Hikes)
Tip: Venture off Trail Ridge Road to experience the real beauty of RMNP. If you can't do any strenuous hikes but still want to be awed, then take a look this guide on Amazon: Best Easy Hikes Rocky Mountain National Park. It covers amazing hikes for everyone, even suitable if you visit with small children (like 0.5 miles or 2 miles round-trips). But also hikes which are slightly more challenging. Like John Muir said 'Of all the paths you take in life, make sure a few of them are dirt.'
Highlight (Trail Ridge Road & Tours)
The stunning Trail Ridge Road is open from Memorial Day (last Monday in May) until mid-October. The official closing date is October 23, but they often close it a few days before that date. Even in June or September, it’s possible that it’s closed for hours or a day due to snow, often between 8 PM and 10 AM. Make sure to check more tips for the Trail Ridge Road in our section below the season guide (scroll down).
Special Tour Tip (from Denver or Boulder): If you're staying in Denver or Boulder and would like to experience the Trail Ridge Road as well as the most stunning viewpoints hassle-free, we suggest the Unique Rocky Mountain National Park Tour (from Denver and Boulder). It's an 8 hour day tour which includes driving the amazing Trail Ridge Road as well as other mesmerizing parts of RMNP. The views you'll get to see on this trip are just spectacular. Everything is taken care of, including pick-up service from Denver and Boulder (In case you need a hotel in Denver, check these deals: Denver Hotels)
Regardless of the season: The higher into the mountains you go, the colder it gets. In general, RMNP is known for its extreme weather patterns which can change very quickly, as well as wide variations between day and nighttime temperatures. Find detailed weather data here: Climate Estes Park - Colorado
Spring | April - May
Early Spring in Rocky Mountain National Park
The weather in spring is unpredictable: Up to 70°F (21°C) on one day and a temperature drop together with blizzards on the next day. It varies between warm and cold, wet and dry. Many trails are still snow-covered well into May, often even at the end of May. After a warm April, trails can be snow free in May, but are very muddy. This means you either have to deal with snow or with muddy trails. In general, snowfall is not uncommon in spring. Temperature ranges between 70°F (21°C) and 60°F (16°C).
Summer | June - July - August
Cub Lake in RMNP at Dawn
The most comfortable weather is in the summer months from July to August: The temperature climbs up to 75°F (24°C). However, afternoon thunderstorms can occur and wind is normal. Always prepare for temperature drops of 10-20 degrees Fahrenheit. Keep in mind that the highest elevation trails are snow covered well into June. Wildflowers are in bloom from late June to early August. What to wear in the summer? Always bring layers of clothes, even if you don't plan to hike at higher elevations. A morning can be mild and in the afternoon temps can drop remarkably. Always bring a rain jacket, as well as a warmer long sleeve shirt in your pack. Usually you can start with a short sleeve shirt for hikes or walks.
Fall | September - October - Early November
Autumn is usually a great time for a visit. September and October bring clear, crisp air, blue skies, and generally dry weather. Especially in September it's generally still mild and warm. However, mornings and evenings can be a lot chillier. Always bring a jacket! Early snow is already possible in October. Looking for fall foliage? Leaves start changing colors in late August at higher elevations, peak is around mid-September and the beautiful fall foliage lasts until October in most years at lower elevations. Early October is often still a good time for leaf peeping at lower elevations. At higher elevations the vibrant fall colores will be already gone in October. Elk rutting season begins in September as well and continues through mid-October at least. Like in spring you need to be flexible, check the forecast and bring gear and clothes for various conditions.
Winter | November - March
Winter in RMNP means snow and arctic conditions. However, lower elevations on the east slope of Rocky Mountain National Park are usually free of deep snow. The west side of the park experiences more snow, less wind, and clear cold days during these months. Most high country overnight trips require gear suitable for freezing temperatures. Skiing and snowshoeing conditions are best in January, February, and March. There are lots of other exciting activities in Winter: Sledding at Hidden Valley, Winter Wildlife Viewing, Ice Climbing and more. Visit NPS Rocky Mountain Winter Activities and 20 Things To Do in the Winter. Trail Ridge Road: While it's closed in the winter, keep in mind that you're allowed to drive the first 8 miles until Many Parks Curve overlook. Depending on weather conditions of course.
Avoiding Tourist Crowds
With over 4 million visitors each year, Rocky Mountain National Park is one of the most visited Parks in the U.S. Expect the most crowds in summer and fall. The busiest months are June until August, with heavy crowds in July/August. During the week it starts to thin out after Labor Day in September (first Monday in September), but not on weekends. Also, try to avoid National Public Lands Day at the end of September. Entrance to to all National Parks is free then and RMNP will be extremely busy on this day/weekend!! Visiting mid-week in September means less crowds as well as enjoying elk rutting and pleasant fall temperatures at the same time.
In general from July through September: Avoid weekends and/or go early in the morning to beat the crowds. In the peak months arrive between 7 and 8 AM to get a parking spot. Usually, it starts to get busier after 9 AM. Especially popular entrances like Estes Park or trailheads like Bear Lake Trail are extremely busy. In general, the west side (Grand Lake) is less crowded than the Eastern side (Estes Park Entrance). Regardless of the month, season or entrance: Go as early as possible, head out on a trail, hike a few of miles from the busy areas and you won’t see too many others.
Lake Bled in Slovenia is a popular travel destination with more than 1.2 million overnight guests annually. Communication is easy because the Slovenes speak English and often German as well. Lake Bled is located on 475 meters elevation. The weather is influenced by the mountain ranges and especially the Julianne Alps.
The best time to visit Bled regarding the weather and crowds is May, June, and September. Temperatures are pleasant and a bath in the lake is also possible. The summer is the busiest and hottest time of the year with half of the annual visitors. Day temps are often above 30°C. The winter months are the quietest and driest.
Avoiding Tourist Crowds
Season/Months: If you want to dodge the crowds, don't go in July/August and try to avoid weekends in general. The high season starts mid-June with many tourists visiting the place. It usually gets very crowded in the summer. While it's quieter in the winter, crowds are attracted during Christmas and New Years celebrations. April/May and September/October are great months with a pretty good chance of nice weather and fewer tourists than in summer. Very quiet months (besides Christmas and New Years Eve) are November until February. It can get cold with snow, especially in January. However, winter is a great time to enjoy this place since it's super quiet.
Time of Day: If you visit in the summer, you can avoid the crowds by starting your activities early in the day. For example, visit the iconic Bled Castle first thing in the morning: It opens at 8 AM. It starts to get really crowded around 10 AM. The next morning you could rent a boat and row to Bled Island. Again, if you do this early, you'll dodge the crowds and enjoy a peaceful lake and island. Special tip: When it gets insanely crowded later in the day, wander around Lake Bled, and you'll find at least some spots of solitude. Another idea is to hike a strenuous or longer trail. Most visitors do the short walks only.
The best time for the incredible Great Ocean Road is the summer, followed by spring and autumn. In contrast; crowds are the lowest during winter when most of the precipitation occurs. However, it is one of the most beautiful roads on our planet. Continue reading for our season guide.
Read our complete season guide below, the best tips, or jump directly to our itinerary: Best Things to Do | 11 Highlights in 3 Days
Weather and Crowds by Season | Monthly Tips
We’d been here several times already in different seasons. Summer is a fantastic time for the entire Great Ocean Road, but we prefer spring and autumn. There is less traffic, therefore, parking lots at the different main attractions are not overflowing and crowds are bearable. Temps vary depending on where you are along the Great Ocean Road. Exposed cliffs are colder than sheltered bays. Continue reading for our seasonal guide and figure out your best time for this magnificent Ocean Road Trip.
Spring (September - November)
That’s my favourite season in Victoria. Forests are vivid with the bird sound around. Waterfalls are still picturesque. Days are getting longer, and rain decreases. Day temps are on average between 12-15°C but can climb to almost 20°C. There is more traffic on the Great Ocean Road now but still bearable.
Summer (December - February)
Usually, the weather is fantastic however, showers can occur now and then. It’s not too hot, always a breeze from the sea. Nevertheless, crowds are the worst, especially in the Christmas summer holidays. Most of the Australian go on vacation. Hotels and campgrounds as well are fully booked months in advance. If your journey along the Great Ocean Road is planned in December or January, you can dodge the crowds early morning only. To enjoy some of the most beautiful places with few people only; check out our hidden gems along the Great Ocean Road. Scroll down to our 11 Highlights to find out some of the most beautiful hidden gems.
Autumn (March - May)
The crowds thin out a little. Day temps are on average around 18°C though in the rainforest, it’s a little cooler. Stronger winds occur at the sea, and a wind-jacket is necessary. Night temps can drop below 10°C. The weather is often pleasant in March and April although rain increases a little. May experiences already more precipitation. It doesn’t mean it rains all day, but it can happen.
Winter (June - August)
If you don’t mind the cold and rain from time to time, this is the best time to enjoy this exceptional drive and sights with viewer people. The climate in Victoria is mild with day temps around 10°C and higher. This time of the year is awesome for hikes through the rainforest. Waterfalls are on their highest level, and rainforests sparkle in lush green.
Whale Sightings During Winter
Southern Right Whales migrate along the coast and to Logans Beach at Warrnambool, the very end of the Great Ocean Road. They come here annually from June to September for calving.
Exceptional, beautiful, and fascinating: Taiwan! The mountainous island is utterly safe for traveling and a great place to meet some of the friendliest people on our planet. Read our season tips as well as a complete guide with tips for every spectacular place in Taiwan!
When is the best time? You can travel to Taiwan throughout the year but consider typhoons are likely to happen from July to October. The driest months are from November to April. These are the best months to travel around the entire island. During summer (July and August) Taiwan is overrun by the Taiwanese.
First of all, if traveling to Taiwan, you have to consider that rain is common throughout the year. There is much more precipitation on the east side due to the high mountain range. Most rainfall occurs from May to October. In these months Taiwan gets hit by typhoons regularly, especially in the east and in the central mountain range.
Breakwater on the East Coast
The northern part of Taiwan and the Taipei area are several degrees colder than the south like in Kaohsiung and Kenting. Being there for quite a while, we learned that the weather forecast gives you an indication, but often it's better than predicted especially in the drier season from November to April. Find more weather details here: Monthly Weather Taipei - Taiwan North — Monthly Weather Tainan - Taiwan South
Spectacular Sunrise and Sunset
In Taiwan, you can experience stunning sunsets and sunrises. We give you insider tips for the popular spots and show you the hidden gems as well. Just mesmerizing!
Alishan National Forest Recreation Area
View from Alishan
Alishan is famous but also an extremely crowded spot to view the sunrise. If you depend on public transport, it's one of the view sunrise spots where you can get to. However, it's utterly crowded which makes it hard to enjoy the sunrise. You can't watch the sunrise in Alishan only on the 2.489 m high Zushan mountain. Take the sunrise train which runs just once from the Alishan station early morning. If the train is not fully booked, you can get tickets from 1 pm to 4.30 pm the day before. The departure of the train depends on the time of the sunrise. Each afternoon at 4.30 pm the exact time will be mentioned. Ask at your hotel reception for the departure time. When booking the hotel ask them to make a reservation for the sunrise train for you the next morning. It's a short ride up almost to the summit of Zushan. To catch the train, you have to get up very early between 4 and 5 am. It's a bit of a hassle during the sunrise, but you can take an amazing picture.
The rest of the day shuttle buses are offered but only every 2 hours. 9/11/13/15. The Zushan area is also beautiful in the daytime, and the views are awesome. Take the sunrise train or the bus later in the day to the top and walk back through the forest to Alishan. Consider frequently the clouds already roll in before midday. Therefore, it may happen that you are covered in clouds from midday onward.
Tip: Stay in Alishan if you want to watch the sunrise otherwise you have to get up in the middle of the night. ll the hotels here are fully booked very far in advance, although most of them are not outstanding. The best one perfectly located in Alishan is the Alishan Hotel ****.
An excellent budget option is the Legendary Bed and Breakfast in Fenqihu. The owners; Mr. and Mrs. You walk an extra mile for you. We prefer Fenqihu which is much quieter and located close to the Dadongshan Trail.
More information and details about Alishan and Fenqihu can be found in our detailed description of the Central Mountain Range.
More Beautiful Sunrise and Sunset Places Without Crowds
Besides Alishan there are even more outstanding locations in Taiwan to experience a gorgeous sunrise above the horizon or a mesmerizing sunset in the evening. Let us show you the best ones:
- Linzhi Mountain
Linzhi Mountain is not far from Alishan already in the Yushan National Park is still one of the hidden gems. You can either come here for the sunrise or just early morning to watch the spectacular Alishan Mountain Range and the highest peak with 3.952 m Yushan or Jade Mountain. The Linzhi Mountain Loop Trail is roughly 7 km long and takes 3 1/2 hours. It's an easy and well-marked 1/2 day hike. Due to the high elevation, you may watch the sea of clouds before midday. Parking at Takaka Visitor Center. The visitor center is closed every second Tuesday each month. Bring water and a sandwich. There is just a restaurant but no shop. Takaka Visitor Center Google Maps
- Dadongshan or Dadong Mountain
Spectacular hike and views without any crowds can be experienced from Dadongshan or Dadong Mountain. It's already part of the Alishan National Scenic Area and close to Fenqihu. Here you can watch a stellar sunrise with fewer people on the 1.976 m high Dadongshan or Dadong summit. It’s an hour drive west of Alishan. The climb is roughly 2 km up one way, and it may take up to an hour. The trail can be slippery and muddy. Watch the roots and stairs along the path. During summer be aware of thunderstorms in the afternoon. Mosquitos occur here at this time of the year. Winter can be pretty chilly. When you reach the viewing platform, you can see the highest mountain of Taiwan Mount Yushan on a clear day; during winter covered in snow. Mount Yushan also called Jade Mountain is 3.952 m high above sea level. Also here frequently clouds roll in at midday and spoil the breathtaking view. hen we hiked the trail we ended up in fog. However, you walk through lush vegetation full of life and we enjoyed the mystic atmosphere. You can either hike the short circular trail or add another one. Have a look at the hiking map of Dadongshan. Dadongshan Trailhead and Parking Google Maps
Hehuanshan near Taroko Gorge with a height of 3000 m is an excellent spot for the sunrise. You can already watch the sunrise from your hotel room, or you climb to one of the summits of Hehuan Mountain. For detailed information read our article about Hehuanshan at Sunrise.
- Eryanping Trail
Popular by locals, not so much by foreign visitors, is the Eryanping Trail through tea plantations between Longmei and Shizhuo. The area has the perfect climate to grow tea due to dense fog and cool temperatures in the afternoon like at Alishan. The Oolong - high mountain tea grows mainly at an altitude of 900-1200 m. It's a short steep trail up mostly on steps leading to two outlooks. Parking is available at the trailhead, and there are restrooms as well. Nice farm stalls and six fresh waffles for a less than 1,50 € are offered. Eryanping Trail Google Maps
We also watched a beautiful sunset at Guanwu where you can get to by car. It's 5 minutes walk to the viewing platform only. Guanwu is also excellent for hiking and famous for two thousand years old giant Formosan Cypresses. Detailed information in our Guanwu National Forest article.
Cherry Blossom and Sakura Season
This is the most famous time of the year in Taiwan. Depending on the elevation level it usually takes place between the end of February until mid-April. The most popular places are Yangmingshan and the Wuji Tianyuan Temple, Wulai Waterfall, Sun Moon Lake and, Alishan. All these places get utterly crowded, especially during the weekend.
Before we dive into our adventure experiences and ideas for your next visit, let us give you a detailed season overview. What to expect in terms of climate, highlights, and crowds:
March - April - May (Spring)
In terms of weather March and April are often sunny while heavy rainfall starts in May. March has pleasant temps above 20°C but not too hot. Temps are Increasing in April and May, as it's already hot with high humidity. However, rain showers can always occur. March and April are perfect months if you'd like to see Taiwan in full bloom. In April and May, we highly recommend visiting Guanwu for the rhododendrons.
June - July - August (Summer)
Temps are above 30°C, and it's not a pleasant time. During the Computex in June, the biggest IT Show in Asia, it's heavily crowded in Taipei. July and August is the peak season because the residents go on vacation. Many Taiwanese travel either to the cooler mountains or to the sea. Often to Kenting in the south to escape the heat. Expect high humidity and lots of precipitation. These are the wettest months on the entire island and typhoons can occur.
September - October - November (Autumn)
There is still lots of rain until the end of October and typhoons are likely to occur until the end of September. October gets drier but not on the east side. November is one of the driest months with pleasant temperatures above 20°C, but it's often cloudy in the north. We can't recommend traveling in September, due to the rainfall. October and November are much better and not very crowded except Taipei.
December - January - February (Winter)
The temps in winter are still pleasant at day time roughly around 20°C and sometimes slightly below. The temperatures in the mountains are pretty chilly during the night from December to March. In January and February, the peaks are often covered with snow. Snow is something special for the Taiwanese and many of them travel to higher elevations like Hehuanshan or Alishan.
Avoiding the Crowds
So many regions of Taiwan are still overlooked by travelers from non-Asian countries. Of course, the famous attractions in Taipei like the World Trade Center or the Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall as well as Taroko Gorge, Alishan, and Kenting are popular and crowded. In general, Taipei is extremely busy during the summer between July and August and from the end of December until early January. Weekends are always super busy. The Taiwanese have very few holidays. That's the reason for the very crowded weekends almost everywhere on the entire island. It tends to get busy from Friday midday onwards. Even worse is Xitou, which is busy even on weekdays due to retired hiking people. However, the hinterland and not well-known places by tourists are just visited by residents. What did we do to dodge the crowds? We went on adventures and deep into nature. Particularly on weekends to get away from the masses. That's how we shared beautiful nature with very few people only. Tip for the famous spots: If you'd like to visit the popular places, get there early in the morning to dodge the most crowds.
Regarding the weather and the crowds April, September, October, and early November are the best months to visit the "Heaven's Gate". Be prepared for showers, but if you are lucky you can get sunshine as well.
Avoiding the Crowds
Expect a busy holy mountain throughout the year except for winter (mid-November/December - February). The main season is from May until October with most visitors and rates at its peak. Heaviest crowds in July/August. A sweet spot month with mild climate but without heavy crowds is early-November until mid-November. Otherwise, March/April are considered months without massive crowds.
Land Diving, where the New Zealander AJ Hackett got inspired for Bungee Jumping. It’s a custom which takes part from the first Saturday in April until the last Saturday in June, 13 times in 2020 and 2021. There is limited space only, and flights fill up quickly for this event each Saturday. Advanced booking is recommended. Only very few airlines offer this trip. Some cruises offer this spectacle as well, but just for their guests. We made our booking six months in advance. Regarding the weather, Pentecost experiences much precipitation until late April. May gets drier, and June is the best choice if you like to watch these breathtaking jumps.
Pentecost has a tropical climate. It’s warm throughout the year and gets hot and humid during the rainy season with temps above 30°C. The season lasts from November to March officially, but the wettest months are January to April. The dry season lasts until October. Occasional rain showers occur. The western side of Pentecost experiences more rain. Cyclones are more likely to happen between January and March. The category 5 monster, Cyclone Pam, hit Vanuatu in March 2015. It was the worst natural disaster ever.
Usually, Land Diving is held for 30-40 people, but the audiences increase if it’s presented for a cruise ship. There is much space for everybody to sit and stand around the diving tower. Due to a limited number of seats and flights available, you will always sit in the first row to attend this cultural spectacle from an ancient time.