What's up with Stanley, Idaho? It's still summer and Stanley consistently records the nation's lowest temperature, often near or below freezing, yet the area is surrounded by temperatures in the 90s.
— Douglas Iverson
Stanley, about 130 miles northeast of Boise, is nestled in a high mountain valley at an elevation of more than 6,200 feet. Because it lies below the nearly 12,000-foot snow-capped peaks of the Sawtooth and White Cloud mountain ranges, cold dense air descends into the valley at night delivering the chilly readings.
The temperature reading is taken by an automated weather station about two miles east of town just below the 6,500-foot level. While most of Stanley's national lows occur in the summer, winters there are also cold, with the city's record low a frigid minus 54.