While Arizona isn’t exactly known for its winter blizzards, there are times when the Grand Canyon state is treated to a white dusting. Just this past week, the Southwest Valley got a dumping of hail. It wasn’t quite snow, but it was enough for the locals to make the most of it. At around four o’clock on Thursday, children began using the hail as snow and started sledding down a hill.
Despite being in a desert, there are still some spots where Arizona gets snow. Though in most cases Arizonans get frostbite when the temperature drops below 50, certain parts of Arizona do get snow. If you want to feel like your in the movie Fargo, then here are some of the best places in the state to see the snow.
The Arizona Snowbowl
For the Colorado imports among us who miss Beaver Creek or Telluride, all is not lost. The Arizona Snowbowl in Flagstaff. Located in the San Francisco peaks of northern Arizona, this alpine ski resort has been a go-to destination for skiers and snowboarders since 1938. The Snowbowl sits 9,200 feet above sea level and receives an average annual snowfall of 260 inches. Though it receives natural snow, artificial snow allows the resort to open earlier and close later.
Flagstaff Snow Park
Located just outside Flagstaff in Fort Tuthill County park, this outdoor park has everything you need to have the perfect winter day. From sledding and tubing, fire pits, and picnic benches, to food and beverages, Snow Park is a winter wonderland, perfect fun for the whole family. Whether you want to go sledding or build a snowman, Snow Park is the place to live it up during the holiday season.
Half day tickets (9 a.m. to 1 p.m. or 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.) are $15 for adults, and all day tickets are $20. The park is set to open this year on December 15th. See their website for details.
Oakhill Snow Play Area
About 10 miles east of Route 66 in Kaibab National Forest is a hidden gem for sledders and beginner skiers. Oakhill is located on the site of an old alpine ski resort that operated during the 1950s. Today it is a perfect place to play in the snow and slide down hills. Oakhill has two sled runs, one long and steep while the other is short, designed for beginners. On average Oakhill receives 74 inches of snow each year. The park’s hours vary depending on snow fall, and admissions is free to all. The US Forest Service recommends waiting until there is a foot of snow on the ground before heading out to sled.
Arizona Nordic Village
Originally called the Flagstaff Nordic Center, Babbitt Ranches purchased the land and renamed it Arizona Nordic Village in order to promote an Outdoor Recreation Ethic Attitude. Today offers a flurry of activities such as Nordic skiing, snowshoeing as well as camping. Nordic Village also now offers Nordic skiing lessons. Lessons are offered in groups for $60 per person, in families for $160 for a family of three plus an additional $20 for each additional members. Private lessons are also available for $90.
Benham Snow Play Area
Like Oakhill, Benham Snow Play Area is also located near Williams about 4 miles to the south. Benham is the perfect place to any and all winter related mayhem in Arizona. There are a few small hills for sledding and the rest is a giant open area perfect having snowball fights or building a snowman. Just east of Bill Williams mountain, Benham sits at over 7,000 feet, so dress accordingly and check the weather service before heading out.
Hannagan Meadow Recreation Area
Northeast of Phoenix in the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests are some of the best views of the best views of the South West in all of Arizona. Over 9,000 feet above sea level, this historic land area is home to great ski trials and winter hiking trails and provides great routes for scenic driving to enjoy the outdoors.
Mormon Lake Lodge
Snowmobiling isn’t just a thing that happens in Alaska. Even in Arizona people can enjoy bombing around in the snow. Mormon Lake Lodge has several snowmobiling trails and offers up to two hour guided snowmobile tours. Visitors can also enjoy cross country skiing and sledding as well. If you get too cold, head over to the main lodge to warm up and enjoy some of the amazing food.
Kendrick Watchable Wildlife Trail
You can do pretty much anything snow related here. From snowmobiling, cross country skiing, and snowball fights, to flopping in the snow and making snow angels, if it involves snow there’s a good chance you do it at Kendrick’s. The trail is located about 20-25 miles north of Flagstaff. If you get there earlier in the morning you have a better chance of spotting some animals.