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To escape the heat, spring and fall are the best times for hiking. In summer, it is oven-like and can get well above 100°F (38°C) and on the other side thunderstorms occur. If you go in midsummer avoid long hikes. Snow and ice can be an issue in winter unless that's what you’re looking for but mind, half of the annual rainfall comes during the winter.
This trail is not as popular as Angels Landing or The Narrows, the reason that it's less busy. However, start early to get shade along the exhausting switchbacks.
Avoiding Tourist Crowds:
Peak months are June to August. Fewer hikers in spring and fall. Very quiet in December, January, February but bear in mind road or trails can be closed. However, you can avoid crowds year-round by starting your hike or exploration right after sunrise. At that time, you’ll have the park almost for yourself. Most visitors don’t start before 10 a.m.
In the morning, there is also a better chance of spotting wildlife and the best light for photos.
From March to October you have to take the shuttle bus, cars are not permitted. From November to February you can park your car at a small parking lot at the trailhead. The scenic drive in Zion can be closed at weekends in February and shuttle bus transportation has to be taken. Check shuttle bus schedule for each season first, includes maps and hiking trail information.
In May, high chance for spectacular wildflowers along the trail, especially in Echo Canyon.
Sweet Spot Months:
The best months with usually good weather and less crowds than during peak months are: March/April and October/November.
Hiking in the Cradle Mountain National Park is very popular throughout the year. However, in the winter you have to deal with snow, and despite more pleasant temperatures in the summer, the weather is even more unpredictable. During the summer Cradle is pretty busy with the highest accommodation rates.
Weather by Seasons
Snow in winter usually from July to September with an average daily temp of 6°C / 43°F. It can get even colder and freezing during the night (below 0°C / 32°F). The coldest months are July and August. Hiking can be difficult depending on the amount of snow. May and September are a little warmer.
Wildflowers are abundant during spring and early summer. Day temps range between 10°C-15°C / 50°F-59°F on average. But we already experienced snow in November and 0°C / 32°F while hiking.
More stable weather from December to April with warmer daily temps on average around 15°C-18°C / 59°F-64°F. The "warmest" months are January and February. Less precipitation from January to March. However, the weather is unpredictable. Be prepared for 4 seasons in one day even during summer. If you like camping be prepared for one digit night temps throughout the year.
In autumn from late April to May autumn colors are ranging from gold to deep red. Daily temps are around 10°C-15°C / 50°F-59°F on average. Nights are already freezing cold between 3°C-5°C / 37°F-41°F.
It's one of the most popular National Parks in Tassie. You almost don't experience any crowds in the low season during winter. During summer it's busy with visitors from around the world, especially at Dove Lake. Longer and more strenuous hikes are less frequented. Enjoy a more peaceful hike and start in the early morning. It gets less busy again in the late afternoon. Peak season lasts from October/November until April.
Top Tip for the Peak Season: Start your hike before dawn with headlights and enjoy a breathtaking sunrise from Marians Lookout.
Shuttle Bus Service and Parking
There is one car park at Dove Lake and one at Ronny Creek. Arriving early is recommended. Otherwise, shuttle buses have to be taken from the Visitor Center or the Interpretation Center. For National Park Pass holders; the shuttle bus is for free. The last bus leaves Dove Lake in the afternoon. Due to the increasing numbers of visitors, new bus service also for people with disabilities was introduced in 2018. When these medium-sized buses operate from 8 am to 6 pm cars can't get to the parking. If you want to hike independently, you have to be at Dove Lake parking before 8 am.
Where to Stay
There are different accommodation types and price categories around Cradle Mountain. Book your accommodation, self-catering cottage well in advance; otherwise, expect a much higher rate on the day of arrival.
- Cabins and cottages close to Cradle
- Nice and functional low budget cabins from Discovery Parks – We stayed here twice. Wifi for free around the reception. Cabins are clean, and the kitchen is well equipped.
Camping is possible around Cradle Mountain. Powered and unpowered campsites are available at Discovery Parks for example. Nevertheless, bear in mind that rain and snow are common, nights are often pretty chilly and uncomfortable; one digit nights temps throughout the year.
Anytime is magical! Most comfortable temperatures in spring and fall. End of summer violent storm and heavy rainfall can occur which quickly causes flash floods.
More than 1.4 million visitors each year and the number is still growing. The most popular months are from March to October. Delicate Arch is the most famous one. Often there are more than hundred people and even more at sunset. Winter is great without crowds, but can be very cold. If you have snow trails can get slippery.
To avoid crowds and to get your car parked arrive early morning or even better late afternoon when temps are getting cooler. Morning and evening are best times to photograph.
TIP: If you want to avoid 100 degree temps but still enjoy comfortable weather go April, May or September, October. In September, it gets less crowded after Labor Day. Again, crowded in October at the Utah Education Association break
[updated by whentobewhere]
May through October
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.