From living it up in Las Vegas to hiking in the epic Death Valley to cycling along iconic roads in the Valley of Fire, Nevada is jam-packed with bucket list-worthy adventures. But as a mostly desert state with an arid climate, the state experiences extreme weather conditions – summers are swelteringly hot and winters are cold – and you need to factor this in when planning your trip. We’ve put together this guide to help you understand what to expect in each season to get the most out of your trip.
What is the weather like in Nevada?
Most of Nevada is in desert and semi-arid climate zones, apart from Las Vegas which has a subtropical hot desert climate. This means summer is stinking hot – temperatures have been known to reach 125°F – and winters are very chilly. Sunshine is plentiful with an average of 250 sunny days per year while annual precipitation is a mere seven inches, making it the driest state in the US.
When is the best time of year to go to Nevada?
The best time to visit Nevada really boils down to three things: how well you cope with hot or cold weather, what you want to get out of your trip, and how willing you are to deal with bigger crowds. When considering the weather, the best time to visit is September-October, or March-May when daytime temperatures linger in the 60s and 70s and crowds are relatively thin. Summer can be a dangerous time to be out hiking or cycling due to the heat (even for the most experienced walkers), while you might find winter is too chilly to spend all day outdoors.
Average temperatures in Nevada
AVERAGE HIGH (°F)
AVERAGE LOW (°F)
Best for: seeing wildflowers, comfortable temperatures, smaller crowds, hiking, cycling
With pleasant temperatures hovering between 60-70°F, smallish crowds and life in full bloom around the valleys, spring is a great time to plan your trip. Places like Lake Tahoe come alive with wildflowers and the conditions are great for tackling the trails or going for cruisy cycle rides. There’s usually an influx of people around Spring Break, but apart from that, spring is generally quite quiet in Nevada making it a great time to explore in solitude, book accommodation and do book onto activities you want to do.
Best for: spending time in Las Vegas (in airconditioned buildings!)
Summer in Nevada is hot. The hot weather lasts for around three months and peaks in July, with average daytime highs lingering in the 90s, although it’s not uncommon for it to top 125°F. If you're planning on hiking through some of the state's national parks, then travelling during summer is not recommended due to the heat unless you're experienced and undertake extra planning. If you’re visiting in July and August then you probably won’t want to spend too much time away from airconditioned buildings, so you’d be fine in Vegas. As for hiking, cycling and doing outdoor activities in places like Death Valley and Valley of Fire, you’d be better off going the shoulder seasons when conditions are cooler and safer.
Best for: cooler temperatures, hiking, cycling
Temperatures drop to the 70s and 80s in September and October and the state’s forested basins and alpine lakes erupt in colorful autumn foliage. Come November, the winter chill sets in with daytime highs plummeting to the low 60s, while the mornings and evenings are even chillier so you’ll need warm layers to rug up. Early autumn is a great time for doing outdoor activities as it's no longer swelteringly hot.
Best for: winter sports at Lake Tahoe, Christmas in Vegas, hiking
Winter in Nevada is chilly with average daytime highs hovering around 57°F. December is the coldest month when lows average 35.6°F, but it’s not uncommon for it to drop even lower, especially at higher elevations. Winter days are crisp, but the days are still very sunny so if you rug up you can explore the valleys and parks comfortably. The weather is slightly warmer in Las Vegas during winter and it's a pretty great place to be around Christmas, New Year’s Eve and the Super Bowl when the city turns the razzle dazzle up a notch.
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