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FLAGSTAFF, AZ (Discover Flagstaff) – Snow is magical, especially around the holidays, and for Phoenicians, Arizona’s officially designated Winter Wonderland – Flagstaff – is a convenient two-hour drive with an abundance of winter recreation.
When preparing to make the winter drive to Flagstaff, please be reminded of key considerations.
1. Be prepared.
Whether it’s a day trip, a weekend getaway, or an extended adventure, every good trip starts with a plan.
DiscoverFlagstaff.com is a great resource, and its homepage has a convenient link for downloading the Flagstaff Winter Recreation Snowplay Map.
It’s a fantastic guide, providing locations for snowplay areas. For example, Arizona Snowbowl is the place for skiing and snowboarding, but sledding is prohibited.
Did you know Snowbowl isn’t the only place to ski? Arizona Nordic Village offers 25 miles of groomed cross-country and 10 miles of snowshoe trails. There is a small snowplay area that’s perfect for building a snowman, making snow angels, and giving the little ones a ride on pull sleds.
If tubing is the name of your game, Flagstaff Snow Park is where you want to go. It has groomed tubing runs and a kiddie hill. There are also places just to play or hang out and watch the action. Flagstaff Snow Park is at Fort Tuthill, right off Interstate 17, before you get into Flagstaff. Watch for the exit, so you don’t have to backtrack. Planning is key. You need to buy your tickets online in advance. The further ahead of your trip, the better because they do sell out.
Flagstaff city parks are great places to enjoy the snow, as well, and reservations are not required.
Wondering how much snow to expect in Flagstaff? Use the Snow-ometer at DiscoverFlagstaff.com. The Snow-ometer provides an at-a-glance view to check snow accumulation at area attractions.
Another great resource for up-to-date snowplay information is the Winter Snowplay hotline at 1-844-256-SNOW.
2. Safety first.
Plan your winter recreation destination(s) in advance and familiarize yourself with parking availability. Be aware there is no parking and no stopping in areas, which includes Interstate 17, Highway 180, and Lake Mary Road, and fines may be assessed for wrongful action.
You’ll want to fill your gas tank as you head out of town, and make sure to check road conditions by calling 511 or visiting AZ511.com. Will you need snow chains on your tires up north? Find out before you leave. Knowing the road conditions is just as important as knowing the weather conditions.
3. Please respect private property.
Private residences are sometimes nearby roadways, and consideration is necessary to not block access to driveways, sidewalks, garbage/recycling receptacles, mailboxes, etc.
4. Leave no trace.
If you pack it in, please pack it out. Be sure to pack trash bags and bring your trash home. There’s so much fun to be had in Arizona’s Winter Wonderland. Just imagine the multiple journeys riding a sled or tube, the family picnics, adding embellishments to snowmen. All of these things need to return home with the owner.
5. Be ready for the unexpected and have an alternate plan.
Mother Nature is nothing if not fickle, and we mere humans are subject to her whims.
Plan ahead in case the weather forces you to stay the night. There’s plenty to see and do, and you definitely want to avoid being unprepared and getting caught in a storm.
Along those lines, travel with some emergency supplies, including blankets, a flashlight or two (and spare batteries), a first-aid kit, bottled water, snacks, and a phone charger. If you take medication, bring enough for a couple of extra days.
Additionally, weather-appropriate clothing and shoes or boots are a necessity. Shorts, a long-sleeve shirt, and flip-flops might be OK in Phoenix, but not in the snow. Gloves and scarves are a good idea, too.
You’ll want to download the Arizona’s Family First Alert Weather App, which will put the latest forecast and weather warnings at your fingertips. And, did you know you can check the DiscoverFlagstaff.com webcam for real-time camera views of it snowing in downtown Flagstaff?
6. Make the official Flagstaff Visitor Center your first stop.
The knowledgeable team at the official Flagstaff Visitor Center, 1 E. Route 66, can help plan your visit. Located inside the historic Santa Fe passenger depot, you’ll find access to a wealth of resources.
The bottom line when visiting Flagstaff
- Be prepared.
- Safety first.
- Please respect private property.
- Leave no trace.
- Be ready for the unexpected and have an alternative plan.
- Your first stop is the official Flagstaff Visitor Center.