Read. Plan. Get Out There!
|Snow in the desert???|
Perhaps one of the strangest phenomenons of the Mojave Desert is its potential for temperatures exceeding 120 degrees while also being a place that sometimes gets snow. The north side Joshua Tree National Park is "High Desert" and the elevations range from about 3,000ft to the highest point at 5,820ft. The cooler temperatures of the winter, combined with high elevation and the occasional precipitation can blanket the cactus and Joshua trees in a layer of snow. Although the snow rarely lasts more than a day or two, the sight of a desert covered in snow is reason enough to make it out to J-Tree in the winter.
How and when can I see snow in the desert?
|It only happens a couple times a year|
Though this phenomenon is not entirely unheard of, you will have to be lucky and strategic in your planning. The best months are December, January and sometimes February after a longer Southern California storm. Use the NOAA's weather website to find out if it is really snowing. On their website, there is a "Detailed Point Forecast" system where you can click on a map for specific weather.
|The Highest Mountains west of Hidden Valley campground in J-Tree|
Again, the northern side of Joshua Tree National Park has some higher desert points and is close enough to the ocean to catch some precipitation of dissipating storms. From the town of Joshua Tree (120 miles east of LA) drive through the "West Entrance". Drive in and park at the "Hidden Valley" campground. The mountains to the west of the campground can get snow and you will be able to see it from here. If you want a better view, you can climb these mountains, however there is no trail. Hiking cross country is permitted, but make sure you have you compass and map skills down. You will be rewarded by making this trek; it takes you to the highest points of the park which will surely be covered in snow after a large storm.
Also, if the "Keys View" road is open, this is a great spot to view the snow in the desert.