Experience high country holidays and the wonders of winter


With an average of 100 plus inches of snowfall each year, Flagstaff is Arizona’s premier winter wonderland. This is the time to celebrate the holidays high country style or plan a weekend of snowplay on the slopes.

Winter in Flagstaff

Designated as Arizona’s winter wonderland, Flagstaff attracts visitors from all over to our snowy playground. Accumulating an average of 100 inches of snow annually in downtown, the surrounding ponderosa forests are blanketed with even more, welcoming winter enthusiasts to partake in a multitude of winter activities, such as skiing, snowshoeing, sledding and snowbiking.

Experience winter to its fullest:

  • Grab your skis or snowboard and head up to Snowbowl for a day on the slopes.
  • Visit the Flagstaff Nordic Center to experience cross country skiing and snowshoeing on the 25 miles of groomed trails. Or grab the sled and to have a fun day playing in the snow.
  • Head indoors for some ice skating fun at the Jay Lively Activity Center or catch an NAU hockey game for an exciting family night.
  • Take a trip to Mormon Lake lodge and hop on a snowmobile for a guided tour through the winter wonderland of the Coconino National Forest.
  • Take a visit to the many parks Flagstaff has to offer. Build a snowman at Buffalo Park or have a snowball fight at the Wing Mountain snow play area.
  • Experience the variety of shopping, dining, and nightlife during a winter evening in the Historic Downtown Flagstaff.


Winter Festivities

*Please visit event websites for date, time and location

The Polar Express

Based on the adventures of the classic children’s book The Polar Express by Chris Van Allsburg, the Grand Canyon Railway is taking you on a journey to the “North Pole!” Departing from Williams, this enchanting train will arrive at the “North Pole,” where Santa Claus and his reindeer will merrily be waiting to hand out presents. Hot chocolate and cookies will be provided by Santa’s chefs during the train ride. Those interested are encouraged to call early to make reservations. Departure times: 5:30 p.m., 7:30pm and select days feature a 3:30 p.m. matinee departure.

Hitchin’ Post Stables Sleigh Rides 

Treat your family to a scenic horse-drawn sleigh ride through the winter wonderland of the snow-covered Coconino National Forest! This sleigh ride is one hour in length, stopping at a campfire site for hot cocoa. The sleigh rides leave the main stable area on the hour and head off through the snow covered pines of the Coconino National Forest, with horses trotting and sleigh bells jingling.

North Pole Experience

The North Pole Experience is an incredible opportunity for families to visit Santa in the “North Pole” during the Christmas season. When visiting Santa’s Workshop, families will be able to participate in a multitude of activities, such as building toys with the elves, touring the toy factory and meeting Santa for photos. Trips to Santa’s Workshop will depart via trolley from the Little America Hotel situated in Flagstaff’s ponderosa pine forest. Lodging accommodations can also be made through Little America Hotel. Tickets are expected to sell out early, so early reservations are encouraged. Departures: Day trips 1:00-3:45 p.m. Evening trips 4-8:30. *Please visit website for specific dates of tours.

Holiday Tours at Riordan Mansion

The Mansion is festively decorated in turn-of-the-century style with wreaths, garlands, greenery and a towering fir tree trimmed with old-fashioned ornaments. Guided tours through Riordan Mansion State Historic Park include glimpses of folklore and traditions of Christmas, both past and present.

Star of Bethlehem Program at Lowell Observatory

Discuss the astronomical interpretation of the Star of Bethlehem. Telescope viewings and other indoor programs will be available.

Holiday Champagne Brunch

928-779 7900
The Little America Hotel hosts its traditional Holiday Champagne Brunch with an array of tantalizing options including hand-carved meats, seafood, omelets, waffles crepes and chocolate fondue. 9 a.m.-2 p.m.

The Great Pinecone Drop

The historic Weatherford Hotel settled in the heart of downtown Flagstaff will be presenting a New Year’s Eve Tradition, the dropping of a six-foot tall Pine Cone. The Pine Cone will be displayed at an elevated three stories as a giant holiday ornament for the entire city to admire until the New Year. On December 31, there will be two lowerings of the Pine Cone, the first one beginning at 10 p.m., followed by the second one at midnight. Help countdown into a New Year!

Dew Downtown Ski and Snowboard Festival

For those entertained by watching or participating in extreme winter sports, make sure to check out The Dew Downtown Ski and Snowboard Festival. This festival is held in the streets of downtown Flagstaff as winter sports enthusiasts of all ages jump and shred over urban obstacles, such as trash cans and guard rails. The event will also have activities for kids, live bands, a beer garden and more.