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What is the Coldest City In California? 2024 Update

San Francisco California

California is a fascinating state when it comes to its weather. It has unique microclimates that differ a lot compared to the rest of North America. It has large variances in climate depending on the area that you are in.

For example, Southern California is primarily Mediterranean, with somewhat wet winters and dry summers. At the same time, North California has a relatively oceanic climate and receives significantly more yearly rainfall than the state’s southern regions. The more inland you travel, the harsher temperatures become. Further inland, the summers will become more scorching, while the winters are drastically colder compared to the rest of the country.

In the far inland areas of California, is a very unique town called Bodie, now known as Bodie State Park, and it is known to have the harshest and coldest winters in the entire state of California.

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Coldest Town in California

As we’ve mentioned previously, Bodie State Park is the coldest town in California. The town of Bodie is cold during winters and it’s been known to reach even -55°F at times. Bodie State Park is located in the far east area of the country, near the Nevada border on the Bodie Hills, and it is at an elevation of 8,379 feet. What makes this town so much colder than the surrounding areas is the height that it is located. The average temperature in Bodie State Park is -7°F, which makes it the coldest place in California.

Besides being the snowy center of the east, Bodie State Park is primarily known for its genuine atmosphere and unique setting. This town was originally a settlement in which gold was discovered, but now, after a fire damaged the city, all that is left is a ghost town. This town looks like it got frozen in time, which makes it a lovely touristic attraction.

During summer, tourists will flood the city. There can be as many as 200,000 tourists per year, which gives this abandoned town its spirit back.

Bodie State Park
Image Credit: Dimitri Jablokov, Unsplash

Contrasting Climates of California

What makes California so unique is the incredible contrast in the climate changes between specific regions. The ocean keeps the temperatures in most of California constant throughout the entire year, while areas inland have fairly drastic variations in temperatures during summer and winter. Winter inland is frigid, while summers are scorching and dry. At one point, you may be surfing on the coast of California, and the next day get stuck in deep snow in the inner parts of California.

The Coldest City in California

The city called Truckee has also been recognized as one of the coldest cities in California and one of the places with the most snowfall during the year. The average total snowfall of Truckee is 201 inches during the year. What is so unique about the climate of Truckee is that the days’ average temperatures are pretty regular and mild, while the nights are usually reaching 32 °F and lower.

These places in the inland regions of California may be excellent places to go skiing, but there have been times when there was too much snow and tourism was impossible.

The lowest temperature in California was measured in 1937 in Nevada County. The reading was measured in a settlement called Boca. Boca is settled at an elevation of 5,532 feet, and the lowest temperature recorded was -45° F.

Bodie State Park Snow
Image Credit: Daniel Gregoire, Unsplash

Does it Snow in California?

Snowfall is a common aspect in the northern regions of California throughout the winter, which lasts from November to February. On the other hand, snowfall is uncommon or insignificant in the south, while the western mountain ranges see a lot of snow during winter. There are a lot of skiing resorts available in California since the annual average snowfall is 450 inches. The rainy season in California lasts from November through April, but in places that are elevated or mountainous, that rain will mostly turn to heavy snow.

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Final Thoughts

If you were wondering about the coldest place in California, you would be surprised to hear how cold Bodie State Park actually gets during the year. This town is located in the far east of California, close to the border with Nevada and elevated mountain regions, which makes it very susceptible to colder climates and snowy weather.

Other than this incredible ghost town, many places in inland California get regular snowfall each year. These places are lovely touristic attractions, although there were times when snowfall was so heavy that tourism slowed down. This is very unexpected for the Golden State since everyone is used to the perfect weather there, but California actually has some vast climate variations that make it very unique.

See also: What Is the Coldest City in Florida?

Featured Image Credit: Maarten van den Heuvel, Unsplash


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