Something for everyone with four distinct seasons.  Those who call Flagstaff home enjoy a moderate, year-round climate! 

 Wildflower

As we’ve been experiencing some snow this week and freezing overnight temperatures, it’s a reminder that Flagstaff is a town for all seasons.

 

Local residents are forever explaining to distant friends and relatives that, “yes, we do get snow in Arizona,” as Flagstaff sits at an elevation of 7,000 feet, a full mile above the heat of Phoenix reported on national weather maps.  Elevation is everything regarding weather in the Mountain West.  However, Flagstaff experiences a moderate climate year-round.

 

On the southern edge of the expansive Colorado Plateau, with mountain peaks soaring another mile above downtown Flagstaff, early dustings of snow can come while October’s autumn colors still glow.  Then there can be snow anytime through April, with the most snow, by the statistics, in the month of March.

 

And yes, there’s a ski resort on Flagstaff’s nearby San Francisco Peaks.  Arizona Snowbowl attracts skiers to the flanks of Mount Agassiz in a “good winter,” and winter visitors can enjoy the cozy hospitality of our town -- it’s lodging, restaurants and other attractions.  Summer and autumn visitors can ride Snowbowl’s chair lift to the top of Mount Agassiz for spectacular views of the surrounding region.  Dinner in front of the fireplace in the dining room of the historic Weatherford Hotel while snow falls outside on a winter evening is a delight.

 

The Flagstaff Nordic Center offers cross-country skiing, northwest of town on Route 180, when snow conditions allow, with up to 25 miles of groomed trails.

 

Many winter visitors simply come to play, go sledding, build a snowman, and see the pine forest in its snowy splendor.  The addition of holiday lights and décor make downtown Flagstaff an idyllic spot to shop for gifts.

 

In general, Flagstaff winters are somewhat mild, with harsh temperatures and gusty winds at times that rarely last.  Major storms can hit from the west bringing big snows, but more often than not, mild temperatures follow, back into the mid-40s, and streets can be clear and dry in a couple of days.

 

Heavy snowpack on the San Francisco Peaks means a “good winter” in another respect, as melting snow recharges the drinking water aquifers, and even provides fresh water downhill for other towns as well as metro Phoenix.  Winter snows also recharge the life and health of our surrounding forests, and affect the forest all year long in terms of summer forest fire danger.

 

Spring in Flagstaff means warming temperatures and often-windy days.  “Soar Into Spring” is a popular, annual kite flying derby and family festival each Spring, sponsored by Flagstaff Parks & Recreation.

 

Snow can cap the San Francisco Peaks through June some years, well after temperatures have warmed in the city for spectacular outdoor recreation days and cool “sleeping weather” at night, with windows left wide open.

 

The national news reports sensationalize summer high temperatures in Phoenix, and people everywhere think all of Arizona is sweltering.  But, it’s a very rare day when a summer afternoon high reaches past the 80s in Flagstaff!

 

Summer in Flagstaff is outdoor paradise for hiking, mountain biking, camping, gardening, evening concerts, or dinner on a restaurant patio. On Saturday evenings, family films are shown on the big screen on the town square at dusk with a couple hundred of your closest friends.  The expansive Coconino National Forest, with the nation’s largest stand of ponderosa pine, offers plenty of opportunities to get away from it all.

 

Flagstaff’s rainy season – the coming of the Southwest Monsoon – begins in early July, with thundershowers building many afternoons, bringing refreshing and much needed rains that often clear by sunset.  The pattern can continue day after day, and into early September.

 

Autumn colors begin to pop in late September, and by early October entire hillsides of aspen trees glow yellow and gold.  Warm afternoons last through October, with cooler nighttime lows, reminding everyone that the cycle of seasons soon starts all over again.

 

Get the up-to-date seven-day weather forecast for Flagstaff.

 

Find all there is to see and do at the Flagstaff Visitor Bureau website.

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