Flagstaff is a city that has a lot to offer for people of all ages and all year long. I already talked about the Lowell Observatory and today I am writting about a fun outdoor activity over there.
Despite being less than 150 miles from Phoenix, the weather can be considerably different. While in the Central Valley temperatures already reach 100 degrees, Flagstaff ranges in the mid 60′s and 70′s. There are a couple of places to go skiing and snowboarding and those are actually the main attractions during the winter. But the summer months can also be a lot of fun. Arizona Snowbowl, located in Humphrey’s Peak, with its highest point at 11,500 ft, is the best place to go skiing. The resort is 7 miles away from Flagstaff. You can reach it through Hwy 180 and then taking the Snowbowl road all the way to the lodge. Once you get there you’ll find plenty of parking spots available. There is also a bus that takes you from Phoenix to the ski resort and back, in case you want to have some snow fun and avoid driving after an exhausting day. They have 6 lifts and a bunch of trails for the different skill levels.
As I mentioned, during the summer it is a lot of fun, too. Arizona Snowbowl keeps one of the chairlifts open and offers a nice scenic ride to the top of the mountain. The ride takes about 25 minutes each way and you can stay at the top as long as you want. It is open May thru September, Friday, Saturday and Sunday, from 10 am to 4 pm. It costs $15 for adults and they sell discounted tickets for seniors, juniors, kids, military and groups of 10 or more. It is also free on your birthday and if you hold a Winter Season Pass for the previous year, so if you bought a season pass to go skiing, make sure you keep it to get your free ride.
My mom, Jon and I went there the day after we visited Page and the Antelope Canyon. It was a very pleasant experience and a great way to end our weekend. The ride was very smooth and it can get very quiet and peaceful. I have a few recommendations, though. Make sure to check the weather forecast, if there is a storm in the area, they don’t operate the lift. We had to wait for a couple of hours until the rain stopped to be able to take the ride. Also, carry a sweater or a light jacket as it can feel cooler at the top. If possible, bring a pair of binoculars and a camera, the view is spectacular. A Forest Service Ranger is waiting at the end of the lift, he will be happy to point out the things you will be looking at and share some facts and history of the geology of the region. On a clear day, you might even be able to see the Grand Canyon. There is also a hiking trail at the top, so if you arrive early and want to spend some time outdoors, also bring some hiking shoes.
The scenic chairlift opening is on Memorial Day Weekend this year. If you are looking for something to do nearby, a reason to escape from the heat or you are already planning on going to Flagstaff, this is definitely a great option.
All photos are owned by Sandra unless otherwise noted.