Fall is a fantastic season to visit the Southwest because the temperatures have cooled off, but the days are still long and sunny. The foliage will be changing colors – the North Rim of the Grand Canyon is spectacular. Plus, prices and tourist numbers will be decreasing from the peak summer season.
You’ll want layers for the mornings and evenings, and in late-October and November, you’ll need warmer layers for the whole day.
Route 66 is particularly lovely during Fall because you won’t risk inclement weather or encounter as many tourists as the rest of the year.
In Winter, you can choose between snow or no snow in the Southwest. For snow sports, you’ll want to stay at Taos Ski Valley, Angel Fire Resort. Arizona’s Sunrise Resort, or the Arizona Snowbowl.
But if you want to escape the snow, then many of the southern parks and cities will have relatively mild temperatures in the mid-40sºF (around 7ºC) during the day. You’ll want warm layers, especially in the mornings and evenings.
Winter is the low travel season for the Southwest. So prices and tourist numbers will be at some of their lowest. The exceptions to this are the ski resorts and around Christmas and New Year’s.
Some National Parks will have trail or road closures, so make sure you check in advance whether a trek or drive is open.
The warm pleasant days and refreshingly cool nights make Spring an excellent time to visit. Wildflowers will be blooming, especially Texas bluebonnets. And this is the start of the rodeo season!
All roads and trails will re-open, and as long as you avoid the peak Spring Break weeks from mid-March to early April, the crowds and prices will still be relatively low.
You’ll still want warm layers for the mornings and evenings and in the higher elevations.
Summer days are sunny and have the perfect daytime weather in the mid-70s to low-80s°F (24-28°C), and the nights are warm enough to camp out under the stars.
But be aware that, like most places in the U.S., summer is the peak travel season because of school breaks, so crowds and prices will be at their highest. Route 66 is particularly crowded this time of year.