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Most of the day visitors come for the Painted Cliffs. However, the hike can be a bit crowded during the peak season in summer. The summit is pretty small there is just space for a few hikers. For hiking, the very best months are from December to March/April. These are the driest months. From May to October less busy. The winter months from June to August can be pretty chilly especially during the night with temps around 7°C. It depends on you if you prefer warmer temperatures and less rain or fewer people on the island. If it's too rainy the last part of the climb might be slippery. November (end of spring) most of the plants and flowers are in bloom, but it's also one of the wettest months.
The ferry is going from Triabunna to Darlington, Maria Island. This island is very popular, and the ferry was often fully booked in summer. Now the service is offered more often. It’s a big advantage to visit the island by bike.
For renting it has to be booked together with the ferry ticket. It’s a bit pricey $ 33 for adults and $ 20 for children for each bike and day. Check the ferry timetable and return fares
September-April: The ferry is going up to five times daily depending on demands and bookings.
May-August (winter): The ferry is going up to three times daily on five days. It's not going on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
The ferry service is offered more often from April 2017 on. Even more day visitors are coming to the island. During summer, up to several hundred tourists visit the island each week. From now on the winter is the best time to visit Maria Island. When the ferry left the island in the afternoon, it becomes more tranquil and peaceful. If you arrive on Monday or Wednesday, you have to stay for two nights at the campground. The big advantage; the next day only a few people are on the island. Still no ferry transfer on Tuesday and Thursday. The hike itself might be not very crowded in spring, fall, and winter.
Maria Island has a mild climate without frost in winter. The average summer day temperature is around 21°C / 70°F. The driest month is January although rain showers often occur the whole year. One of the wettest months is November. May and October are a bit cooler but also worth a try. Night temps in winter and spring are below 10°C / 50°F. During our stay in November 2016, the night temperature was around 6°C / 43°F.
The park is a fantastic year-round destination. However, the best seasons for hiking and climbing are spring and fall; while spring weather might be unpredictable sometimes. The most stable weather outside of high season is usually from mid-September until mid-November. If you’d like to avoid the crowds at all costs and still experience pleasant temperatures go in OCTOBER: The heavy crowds are gone and the weather is still nice: Average high 62°F (17°C).
Weather and Crowds
Smith Rock State Park benefits from minimal rainfall and mostly sunny weather throughout the year. It has its own microclimate: The highs average some degrees warmer than recorded at the closest weather station. Monthly weather: Scroll down to the chart
March - May (Spring): Usually pleasant temperatures for hiking and climbing, especially in May. However, spring weather is sometimes unpredictable. Particularly April can still be tricky, because of the snow and rain. Quote from a local: 'April and May here in Central Oregon is some of the strangest weather months.'
June - August (Summer): Extremely hot, especially in July/August! With temperatures that often crack 100 degrees in midsummer, you have to start your hike early and bring plenty of water. It’s also ridiculously busy. Particularly narrow tracks like Misery Ridge get very crowded, even more on weekends.
September - mid-November (Autumn): Stable weather, pleasant temperatures. Perfect months for hiking and climbing. It's still crazy busy in September.
December - February (Winter): If you don’t mind the cold (dropping below 32°F / 0°C) and want to experience pure nature without any crowds go in the winter. Hiking or even climbing is a great experience. An excellent winter report: Smith Rock State Park in Winter
Avoiding Tourist Crowds
Most of the time it’s heavily crowded from May until September. Even in April, the weekends are already jam-packed. Only in OCTOBER, the crowds start to dissipate. If you visit in late spring, summer or early fall: Avoid weekends at all costs. Instead go early and on a weekday. Otherwise, the park gets ridiculously busy. The parking lots fill up extremely quick, and trails are crowded as well. However, especially in spring and fall, you should be able to get away from the crowds after hiking a few miles.
- Spring is pleasant (flower season August and especially September), but rain is possible until the end of August. October is not too hot and a good month for hiking and rock climbing.
- Summer from November to March is warm and dry but hot at midday with almost any shelter. Hiking in summer is best in the morning.
- Autumn from April to mid-May is still warm and pleasant for hiking, but rain showers can occur.
- Most precipitation in winter until August. Nights are really cold. Snow on the peaks is possible. Low water bridge across Olifants river can be flooded and closed.
Crowded at weekends, public holiday and school holiday. More popular for the South Africans. Stadsaal Cave best sunlight in the afternoon.
This is probably a year round hike but only as long as the weather is decent. The best time with least rainfall is from mid April till the end of May. Can be a bit crowded during summertime. I would recommend to go in the afternoon to experience fine sunset on the way back (of course when the sun is out:-))
The best seasons to hike Tiger Leaping Gorge are winter, spring, and autumn. Read our detailed tips regarding each season:
Winter, Low Season (December - January/February)
A good time to hike the gorge. Days are often sunny, dry and clear (up to 12°C / 54°F), but nights get cold (to 0°C / 32°F) and mornings very chilly. Keep in mind that in February it’s Chinese Spring Festival: Accommodations are heavily booked for two weeks. Check the starting dates: Spring Festival Eve in China
Spring, Soulder Season (March - May)
March and April are excellent months to hike. Especially in April, the weather is comfortable with possible temperatures up to 20°C (68°F). Still, bring a light jacket. May is still a less busy month with even warmer days than in April and blooming flora. Quote from our reviewer Rajdeep: 'A great month is April: Fewer locals to pester tourists to part with cash combined with pleasant weather'
Summer, High Season (June - September)
Wet season, not the best time to hike. The rain lasts until September / mid-October. The wettest months are July / August. Hiking is still possible as there are many sunny days. However, during or after heavy rainfall the road and trail through the gorge might be closed on certain days. Despite the unpleasant weather conditions, this is also the busiest season with the most ‘scams’.
Autumn, Shoulder Season (October - November)
Mid-October until November are also excellent. Usually dry and sunny, beautiful landscape, green trees, and blossoms. However, bring a long-sleeve shirt, light sweater, and a coat. Nice November hiking report: Hiking TLG in November. Monthly temperature and rainfall overview (the climate in Lijiang is almost identical): Lijiang Weather Regardless of the month: Check the weather forecast.
Besides the official gorge trail fee, there are many locals demanding cash from tourists. These unofficial posts collect money for parts of the path. Most of them are present during the busiest time from May/June until September/October. Less from March to April or mid-October to November and often none in winter (December - January/February)!
The best time to climb the hills on the Isle of Skye is usually from mid April till end of May but you can experience a day with decent weather throughout the whole year. My experience is to start after noon since the evenings are usually more calm on Skye.