does it snow in joshua tree

Does it snow in Joshua Tree? Joshua Tree has a special kind of weather because it is in the High Desert of California.

It is a subtropical desert climate, which means the winters are not too cold and the summers are really hot.

Winter in Joshua Tree starts in December and goes until February. In the winter, Joshua Tree has lots of sunshine, but how often does it snow in Joshua Tree?

Let’s find out more about it now!

Yes, it can snow in Joshua Tree, but it is not much and usually stays around 0.5″ a year. 

Location and Climate of Joshua Tree

joshua tree climate

Joshua Tree is a small area in the Californian desert, specifically in San Bernardino County.

This place is about 2,700 feet above sea level with thousands of people living in an area of about 95.9 square kilometers.

The biggest mountain in Joshua Tree National Park is called Quail Mountain. This summit is really high up, about 5,816 feet (1,773 meters) above the ocean. And it has a huge role to play in the climate of Joshua Tree. 

More about the Climate

joshua tree sunny and winter

Joshua Tree, CA has a really dry and hot climate in the summer, and it gets pretty chilly in the winter.

In the summer, the weather is usually around 80F, which is pretty warm. But in the winter, it gets colder and drops to about 40F.

This makes it a great place to do things outside, like sports or hiking. And it is also possible because the area does not get much rain either.

Here is a bit about the average temperatures in Joshua Tree:

Avg Temp47°F50°F57°F63°F71°F81°F86°F85°F78°F67°F54°F46°F

It is worth mentioning that there can be really strong winds at Joshua Tree all year round.

So, it is a good idea to think ahead and be ready for unexpected weather changes when you go there.

Moreover, before planning your trip, it makes sense to learn a bit about the high and low temperatures in Joshua Tree throughout the year:

Avg Low37°F41°F46°F51°F59°F67°F73°F72°F65°F54°F43°F36°F
Avg High59°F63°F70°F77°F85°F94°F99°F97°F91°F80°F67°F59°F

Fact: In July, Joshua Tree gets really hot with an average high temperature of 100.2°. It is one of the hottest places in California. 

Does It Snow in Joshua Tree?

snow in joshua tree

Yes, it is possible to get snow in Joshua Tree, but it is extremely rare.

Also, you won’t usually get an inch of rain in the year, which is why you should never consider it your traditional winter destination to have fun with snow. 

What is Winter Like in Joshua Tree?

joshua tree sunny weather

The winter weather is usually nice and sunny, making it great to be outside.

During the day, it is usually a nice and cozy 60°F or higher (around 15-20°C), which is perfect for going on hikes along sunny trails.

In the winter, Joshua Tree usually has nice and sunny weather. But you have to keep in mind that the desert weather is known for being really extreme.

Even though it is hot during the day, nights in the desert can get really cold, especially in winter.

At night, it can sometimes get even below freezing at 32°F (0°C). 

An Important Consideration

Sometimes, you might see hail or even snow in the park when it is winter. Even though it does not happen often, it is a good idea to check the weather before you plan your trip.

Fact: Every year, Joshua Tree has about 122.6 days when it gets really hot, with temperatures going above 90°.  

When Does It Snow in Joshua Tree?

winter on joshua tree months

It snows in Joshua Tree during the winter, usually from December to February.

Even though it is in the desert, the winter weather during this time is pretty interesting but not too extreme. 

Weather in December

In December, winter starts in Joshua Tree. The weather is usually around 55.6°F during the day and 41.9°F at night.

This month is really cold around here, and it is also pretty humid with a level of 45%.

It is also the month with the most snow, with snow falling about 0.3 days on average. Snow piles up to a thickness of around 1.06 inches (27 millimeters). 

Weather in January

weather in january

In January, it is still pretty cold outside.

The temperatures can go as high as 57.6°F and as low as 43°F. The amount of moisture in the air usually decreases a little to about 43%.

In Joshua Tree, it does not rain a lot, but when it does, it is usually about 3.9 days per month and we get around 0.43 inches of rain.

However, there is not much snow in December compared to other times. On average, it snows for about 0.1 days and the snow is only about 0.04 inches deep (which is equal to 1 millimeter). 

Weather in February

In February, as winter comes to a close, the weather starts to get a little warmer.

The average temperatures during the day range from around 59.7°F to 44.2°F. The amount of moisture in the air is about 41%.

During this time, it rains for about 3.3 days straight, resulting in about 0.39 inches (10 millimeters) of rain.

There may also be some snow occasionally, but not a lot. In February, it usually snows for about 0.3 days, and the snow on the ground is usually around 0.35 inches (9 millimeters) deep.

Fact: As in many other parts of California, Joshua Tree experiences the coldest December nights at an average temperature of 37.0 degrees. 

Comparing Weather in Joshua Tree with the Country

joshua tree weather usually

When you visit Joshua Tree in winter, you will see a really cool difference compared to other places in the US.

Winter is a really busy time in Joshua Tree National Park because the weather is nice and lots of people like to visit.

Unlike places that are really cold, Joshua Tree has a more moderate climate during the day.

That is why it is a popular winter destination for people who do not want to deal with freezing temperatures like in Bryce Canyon

Variations in Climate Average

Here are some important weather differences between Joshua Tree, California, and the rest of the United States:

  • Rainfall: Joshua Tree gets way less rain than the average in the U.S. They only get about 8 inches per year, while the average is 38 inches.
  • Snowfall: The park does not get much snow, only about 1 inch on average each year. On the other hand, the average amount of snow in the United States is 28 inches per year.
  • Sunny Days: Joshua Tree gets a lot of sunshine, about 282 days of it each year on average. This place has way more sunny days than the average in the U.S., which is 205 days per year.

Rain, snow, sleet, or hail falls in Joshua Tree about 29 days each year, on average.

In order for something to be considered precipitation, there needs to be at least 0.01 inches of moisture on the ground. Sometimes it rains, but not very often and not on a regular schedule.

Climate AverageUnited StatesJoshua Tree
  Rainfall38.1 in.7.8 in.
  Snowfall27.8 in.0.5 in.
  Precipitation106.2 days29.4 days
  Sunny205 days282 days
  Avg. July High85.8°100.2°
  Avg. Jan. Low21.7°38.6°
  Elevation2443 ft.2736 ft.
Fact: Consistent with the climate of the rest of California, Joshua Tree experiences about 14 nights each year when the mercury drops below freezing.

Best Time to Visit Joshua Tree

joshua tree visit best time

The ideal time to go to Joshua Tree depends on what you want to experience.

 Looking for nice weather that is great for hiking or rock climbing? Come visit:

  • At the beginning of spring (March, April) when the pretty desert flowers are in full bloom
  • Towards the end of fall (October, November) the park is lit up with gentle autumn sunlight.

Want to find a less crowded campsite at one of the really good campgrounds? Make a plan to visit during the winter season.

During the winter, you will find so many things to do in the area but do not forget to explore some of the best hiking trails.

For instance:

Hiking TrailLengthDifficultyElevation GainEstimated Time
Panorama Loop6.6 milesChallenging1,000 ft3.5 – 5 hours
Lost Horse Mine4 milesModerate400 ft2-3 hours
Discovery Trail<1 mileEasy<100 ft30 minutes – 1 hour
Hidden Valley Nature TrailNot specifiedNot specifiedNot specifiedNot specified


Does it snow in Joshua Tree? It is possible to get snow in Joshua Tree, but it is extremely rare and you usually do not get more than an inch of snow throughout the year.

It means you will never see the traditional winter wonderland in Joshua Tree, but the weather is rather nice during this time.

And you can engage in many other activities, including hiking, which is just amazing in this part of the world.