Recreation


General Information

Seasonal Information

Four gentle seasons best describe the climatic conditions in the Gila National Forest. The latitude of the forest as well as the elevation and terrain the forest to be enjoyed during any season...

Graph of temperatures, rainfall and snowfall over the Gila National forest

The southwestern area of New Mexico is currently experiencing a drought, and as such water is scarce. Many of the small to middle-sized streams that would have been intermittent are now dry. Snow accumulation has also lessened.

Summaries of historical climatic data for various weather stations are available from the Western Regional Climate Center website.

Best Time of Year

Meadow of flowers on the quemado ranger districtThe most beautiful times of the year in the Gila are spring and late summer. In spring, snowmelt provides enough moisture to initiate new vegetative growth. In late summer, it is warm and the vegetation is still green following the end of summer rainfall season. Aspens are colorful in fall at higher altitudes.

Conditions to Expect During Specific Seasons

Summer:
Temperatures during the day may reach between 90 and 100F (38 C) in lower elevations (below 6500 ft.) and may drop to 60F (16 C) at night. In higher elevations (above 6500 ft.), temperatures peak at 70 to 80 F (27 C) during the day and cool down to 45 F (7 C). Frost may occur during the night in canyons above 8000 ft. From July to September, thunderstorms are widespread and occur almost daily.

Autumn:
Temperatures are mild during the day and become cold at night.

Winter:
Daytime temperatures may be as low as 20 F (-6 C) in lower elevations (6500 ft. or less) and on south facing slopes. In higher elevations (above 6500 ft.) and on north facing slopes temperature can get as low as 0 F (-32 C). In direct sunlight, temperatures may rise to 70 F (21 C). Temperatures during the night drop significantly. Snow occurs most frequently between December and February.

Spring:
Mild temperatures occur during the day and the nights are usually cold. In general, this is the windiest time of the year.