This National Park is the heart of the Colorado Plateau’s high desert. Though low humidity allows greater penetration of solar radiation, winter air temperatures frequently drop below freezing. In turn, summertime air and especially ground temperatures can reach levels lethal for many organisms. After sunset, the ground rapidly loses heat to the night sky and ambient air temperatures may drop significantly before dawn. Temperature fluctuations of 20-22° C in a 24-hour period are not uncommon.
The White Rim with the White Rim Road (not part of Shafer Trail, extends further to the West and would eventually lead out of the Natl Park through Mineral Road (the Horsethief Trail).