The Sierra Nevada region has diverse weather from season to season.
Summer: The peak season for outdoor activities in the Sierra is summertime between Memorial Day and Labor Day weekends. Daytime temperatures can very, but average from extremely hot (90-100F) at lower elevations and in the foothills, to mild temperatures at the higher elevations (70s). The weather is usually sunny, however the Sierra Nevada Mountain Range can produce monsoon weather patterns, resulting in weather ranging from mild afternoon thunderstorms to the rare but possible several days of rain. These storms can be locally concentrated as well as widespread, but are usually predicted several days in advance and on average last a few days to a week. Given the recent thaw of the winter snow, water is abundant resulting in blankets of wildflowers, flowing rivers and streams, and lots of mosquitos.
Fall: The approaching winter season is signified by the lowering of temperatures, shorter days, and unstable weather patterns. Meadows and aspens once green during the summer, begin to turn red, yellow, and orange, resulting in gorgeous fall foliage colors in certain areas. Given the unstable weather patterns, temperatures and precipitation can vary. Before the first snows, streams and rivers begin to run lower and mosquitos begin to disappear.
Winter: After the first major snowfall of the season, winter usually sets in strong. Winter travelers are advised to be prepared for winter conditions. This includes drivers being prepared for winter road closures and carrying chains. Many venture out to ski resorts for downhill and cross-country skiing. The more adventurous head out into the backcountry for winter camping excursions.
Spring: At the onset
of spring, the temperatures and longer days result in the
rapid melting of the snow pack. As a result, rivers and creeks
swell and can become a major hazard. Hikers and backpackers
must use extreme care when crossing or approaching swollen
rivers. Depending upon the snow pack level, many trails -
especially the high passes - remain inundated with snow. This
snow usually freezes overnight and thaws throughout the day,
making morning snow travel extremely hazardous due to ice.
In addition, snow bridges over rivers and creeks become week
and extra care must be taken.
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