The Bare Traveller

Does it snow in Arizona? – The complete guide

Arizona is well-known for its arid scenery, saguaro cactus, and scorching summers. Arizona’s northern and eastern regions are more hilly and have higher areas, despite the fact that the majority of the Grand Canyon State has a desert environment and is at a lower height.

Glen Canyon Dam Overlook Arizona

In general, a region’s elevation affects how probable it is to have snow in the winter. 

It begs the question, “Does it snow in Arizona?” even for longstanding inhabitants of this arid state who have never seen snow.

Does Arizona get snow?

Yes, snow does fall in Arizona. Some people might be shocked to find that some areas of Arizona have seasonal snowfall. 

The state’s snowiest city is Flagstaff, the biggest city in northern Arizona, where the mountains in May get up to 100 centimetres of snow annually. The city of Flagstaff saw a snowfall record of 210 inches in the winter of 1972 and 1973.

How frequently does it snow in Arizona?

Snowfall occurs around 34 days per year in Flagstaff; other smaller communities with comparably high elevations, such as Payson and Prescott, receive an average of 5 to 6 days of snowfall each year. 

Snow may occur anytime at the beginning of November and has even snowed as late as April.

Where does it snow in Arizona?

Flagstaff in northern Arizona and the White Mountains in eastern Arizona get a lot of snow every year. Southern Arizona is no exception. Near Tucson,  Mount Lemmon receives up to 6 cm of snow per year and has a ski slope at the summit. 

You can commute from the hot desert sun to the chilly ski resorts within an hour. Other mountains in southern Arizona get occasional snow, but that requires perfect conditions and strong storms. 

If you look at a map of Arizona and draw a diagonal line from the southeast corner to the northwest corner, the entire area above that line receives much more snow than the bottom half. 

The Mogollon Rim and other plateaus make up the mountains to the north and east of Phoenix, and their high elevations bring more rain than snow.

In Arizona, where does it snow the most?

The Snowbowl Ski Resort atop Humphrey’s Peak, close to Flagstaff, gets 180 inches of snow on average a year, with up to 310 inches in really excellent years.


Moran Point Grand Canyon National Park Arizona

75 to 95 inches of snow are common in the White Mountains near the New Mexico border, and the alpine setting gives them a feeling more like those in Colorado than Arizona.

Does the desert experience snow?

It is always a spectacular sight to witness the white snow on the red rocks of Arizona’s high deserts, including Page and the south rim of the Grand Canyon. 

Other places, such the Coronado Peaks in southern Arizona and the Superstition Mountains east of Phoenix can also get some snow, though it usually melts pretty fast. 

Every few years or so, Sedona also gets a little dusting of snow, which draws a lot of photographers and explorers to the region to capture images of the famous red rock cliffs draped in white. 

As most people prefer to avoid the cold, this is also a great time to visit Sedona, which is typically very busy. If you have endurance, and well equipped, a visit in winter is worth it.

Does it snow in Phoenix?

It is extraordinarily uncommon for it to snow inside the Phoenix metropolis limits, however it has happened. The heaviest snow fall in Phoenix became in 1937, while an inch of snow protected the vicinity for one day. In 1990 it additionally fell almost 1/2 of an inch, however that report is not likely to ever be broken.   

In hilly regions at the outskirts of Phoenix which can be barely better in elevation, consisting of Cave Creek, East Mesa, and Fountain Hills, a small quantity of snow fall can be visible every few years, and it’s miles usually a huge occasion for citizens while this happens. 

Can you ski in Arizona?

Absolutely. You can ski in Arizona. Flagstaff’s Snowbowl ski resort is one of my favorites and he is one of many Arizonans’ favorites. There are slopes for all levels of skiers and snowboarders, offering courses for all ages and levels. 

By far the most popular and easily accessible for long day trips from Phoenix. The Sunrise Ski Resort near Greer is also a great option, but its distance from Phoenix makes it a great weekend getaway.   

Mount Lemon Ski Valley is smaller than other resorts, but it’s a good option for those living in Tucson. 

For other snow sports such as snowshoeing and cross-country skiing, there are several excellent spots for these activities near Flagstaff and at the top of the Mogollon Rim.

How long is it cold in Arizona?

Temperatures in Arizona exceed 90°F for most of the year. It doesn’t get cold in this state. The lowest temperature recorded at Holly Lake in 1971 was a historic -40°F. 

Nilakihu Pueblo Arizona

The lowest temperature ever recorded in Phoenix was 17 °C in 1950, which is beyond cold for desert dwellers. Due to the mild and generally sunny climate, many people in Arizona get snow in winter. 

Compared to the rest of Arizona, the period between October and May is great, so it’s no wonder people travel across the country to spend this time of year.

Final Thoughts

Arizona’s regions experience the full range of seasons, especially winter, with up to several feet of snow each year. Flagstaff in particular is a winter paradise and many outdoor enthusiasts head north to take advantage of the snow conditions. 

Arizonans are accustomed to dry, sunny weather and many are not used to winter driving. I highly recommend to Drive slowly and safely.    

Winter in Arizona is the best time of the year and visiting the snowy highlands is an exceptional time for adventurers and many others in the Phoenix area.

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