Oh, the weather outside is warmer!
January 3, 2011 8:58 AM   Subscribe

Location recommendations needed for a warm weather hiking trip in early March!

My girlfriend and I want to treat ourselves to a vacation in early March. We're in the Midwest and want to fly somewhere warm and do some hiking. Tell me your favorite hiking locations that are warm that time of year!

More details: It's going to last 4-7 days (still soring that out). We're not sure if we're going to do day hikes or maybe a 2-3 night backpacking trip. If we go for the longer trip, we may do both day hikes and an overnight or two, so a city that would let us do both would be excellent. We'll get accommodations for the days we're not in a tent.

We're trying to keep flight costs below $500 apiece, so faraway international destinations are out of the question. So we're looking at the southwestern USA, but we would definitely consider nearby international destinations if the flights are reasonable.

"Warm" would mean (and I'm guesstimating here, so feel free to weigh in with your own definition of "warm" as it pertains to hiking) that typically the temp doesn't drop below 55 Fahrenheit at night or below 65 during the day.
posted by Tehhund to Travel & Transportation (5 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Death valley, hands down. Absolutely perfect time to do it. Search my previous questions. You can also hang out in Joshua Tree on the way back to civilization.
posted by notsnot at 9:20 AM on January 3, 2011

I second Joshua Tree. Great time of year to visit. It's an hour from Palm Springs and about 3 hrs. from LA if you want to combine it with a city. Can visit Pioneertown also and hike around there or in San Bernardino National Forest near Palm Springs.
posted by vicambulist at 9:35 AM on January 3, 2011

I actually did a search of Phoenix, El Paso, Las Vegas, San Diego, Albuquerque, and Death Valley just out of curiosity, and the average temperature in all of them falls below 55 at night in March. If you lower your "accepted low" to 50, you'll have more choices.

Personally, I do like southern California around that time of year (Death Valley, Salton Sea, Joshua Tree, or San Diego area) as well as parts of southern Arizona (Superstitions, Coronado Cave, Echo Canyon). It's still a little chilly for most of the rest of the southwest.

If you have passports, though, there are usually cheap deals to Central America and Mexico, which would stand a greater chance of being *actually* warm. Right now, I could go to several other countries more cheaply than I can fly home to Phoenix, and definitely under $500.
posted by wending my way at 9:37 AM on January 3, 2011

Response by poster: Central America is certainly an option if we can get some recommendations about where to go - any suggestions?

Thanks for the ideas so far. Death Valley sounds awesome and intimidating - we'll do some research!
posted by Tehhund at 12:24 PM on January 3, 2011

Death Valley is intimidatingly large - I believe it's the largest National Park in the lower 48. If you can time your stay with the flowers, that's bonus, even if it's not the Great FLower Deluge of 2005. But you can get there with a three-hour drive from Vegas, or more from LA. If you can swing an entire week and the bookend weekends (nine days total) maybe swing up to Zion in Utah as well for a few days.

(In DV, it's not uncomfortable to sleep in the car at low elevations, so you may be able to cut down on costs, even if you don't have full backpacking gear/sleeping bags/etc.)
posted by notsnot at 5:16 AM on January 4, 2011

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