Roadtrip in Dec-Jan (avoid snow)
Replies: 23 - Last Post: Jan 6, 2013 6:13 PM Last Post By: trekker502
Dec 21, 2012 12:44 PM
Dec 21, 2012 1:14 PM
16Main sites: Balboa Park, SD Zoo (arguably the best in the country and located inside the park), Gaslamp district, Del Mar, Pacific Beach area, La Jolla, Coronado, and many other neighborhoods. There are lots of them and many are in the hills with beautiful views. You can also drive up north past Del Mar through Laguna Beach which has some beautiful drives through the hills with cliffs along the beach.
Here's a description of a 59-mile scenic drive around San Diego: http://www.sandiego.org/articles/tours-sightseeing/san-diegos-59-mile-scenic-drive.aspx
Here's some info on hiking trails around SD: http://www.sandiegomagazine.com/San-Diego-Magazine/November-2010/10-Great-Hikes-in-San-Diego/
Dec 21, 2012 2:39 PM
Dec 21, 2012 5:09 PM
18The Superstition Wilderness Area east of Phoenix also has much excellent hiking. Peralta Canyon trailhead is easy to find, and you can either do the very interesting (and very popular) hike up Peralta Canyon to Fremont Saddle, or the nearly-as-interesting and much less busy hikes to Miner's Needle or Bluff Spring. Other good trailheads at First Water and Canyon Lake.
Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument, well west of Tucson (and well southwest of Phoenix) is superb, though a bit farther away than geo_nerd's other suggestions (but do-able as a day trip). Senita Basin has particularly varied vegetation, and hiking (half-day hike) the Bull Pasture - Estes Canyon Loop off the Ajo Mountain Drive is especially recommended.
As a city, Tucson is infinitely preferable to Phoenix - but if you fly into Phoenix (which is often easier and/or cheaper), and you have the 6 days, I would consider lingering a day for the Superstitions. And, driving (either coming or going) between the two cities via the rather out-of-the-way route by Organ Pipe.
No worries about "winter" problems in Saguaro N.P. west, Sabino Canyon, Catalina State Park, the Superstitions, or Organ Pipe.
I doubt that you would have trouble getting accommodation in Tucson (or Phoenix) over Christmas - many of the "winter visitors" come after New Years, and visitation peaks during baseball spring training in March.
Dec 21, 2012 6:37 PM
19Zeldasdad is correct. I'm in Houston and it still has gotten down to the 30s at night, and was in the low 50s with lots of wind earlier this week. I'm heading to Phoenix tomorrow, where it has been getting into the 40s at night. The southern states often have a pattern of getting a cold front, progressively warming back up (to as high as 90 degrees), only to get hit by another cold front.
If you leave your warm clothes behind and go anywhere besides Hawaii, Miami, Southern California, and S. Texas, you are going to be shivering. The exception is if you were raised in cold climates and 50F with wind is shorts weather to you.
Dec 21, 2012 6:42 PM
20If you are a birdwatcher, I would recommend Big Bend National Park. Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge, south of Socorro, New Mexico, is the overwintering area for thousands (8,000) sandhill cranes, (52,000) snow geese, and (50,000) ducks, plus other waterbirds such as great blue herons, sandpipers, egrets, and also hawks, owls, and songbirds. There are hiking and bicycling trails. Las Cruces, New Mexico, is also a favorite winter location for snowbirds of the human variety. It is on the border with Mexico, in the Chihuahua Desert. It is within one hour's drive of El Paso, Texas.
Dec 21, 2012 8:18 PM
21Tilos makes a good point. Barring Hawaii, the Gulf Coast, or southern Florida, there is no place where you will be guaranteed warm weather. Tucson has been pretty typical lately; highs right around 60~70 with mostly blue skies and scattered high clouds, and nights somewhere around 40. You pretty much need a light jacket by 7pm or so. (IMO, this is just about perfect hiking weather!) Every 7~10 days a trough pushes through, bringing cool/cold weather and the possibility of rain (snow above 5~7000 ft is typical). 40/65 becomes 30/50 for a day or two before steady warming kicks in and the cycles repeats.
Dec 22, 2012 7:57 AM
22You may also want to check whether Sedona, AZ, north of Phoenix, has an acceptable forecast. It looks like the next 10 days range 40 - high 50's, which may be too chilly for what you'd prefer. Amazing red rock formations and wonderful hiking.
Jan 6, 2013 6:13 PM
23I guess that by now you discovered that even Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona managed to get lots of snow this week along Interstate-10 through Las Cruces and El Pasa. I think that Carlsbad got 6 inches of snow and the road to Alamagordo was closed. It was -18F degrees with the windchill here in Santa Fe on Friday morning.
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