What comes to mind when you think of great winter spots? You might think of the bustling city of New York, the frigid cold of Chicago, or the shimmering ski slopes of Colorado. But I’m here to make a bold proclamation: Phoenix doesn’t get enough credit.
Sure, you can enjoy a full winter season without ever needing to reach for a jacket. The real treat, however, is Phoenix’s close proximity to a number of winter getaways. With just a short drive, you can enjoy snowy winter fun. Here are some of the best getaways to check out this winter:
Flagstaff is like Phoenix’s cooler, hipster brother. It’s where Phoenicians go when they’re looking to unwind, enjoy some cool weather, and hit the slopes. A short drive away from downtown Flagstaff lies Arizona Snowbowl, located on the western slope of Mount Humphreys. Snowbowl encompasses over 777 acres, 55 trails, and 8 lifts. Arizona Snowbowl might not be up to par with Aspen’s intense ski hills, but it still gets a respectable 260 inches of snow per year.
Looking for a laid back trip? You can venture to Historic Hitchin’ Post Stables instead. This snowy paradise is right in the center of the Coconino National Forest. Hitchin’ Post Stables offers visitors an hour long sleigh ride complete with hot chocolate, hot cider and a steak and chicken dinner.
Sunrise or Snowbowl? This question has sparked endless debate among Arizonans as to what’s the best ski hill. While we may never know the answer, we do know that both ski hills are worthy opponents. Sunrise Ski Park is located among the White Mountains in Greer. It’s almost equidistant from Phoenix and Tucson, so it’s not uncommon to see both Sun Devils and Wildcats making the trek during winter break. Sunrise actually encompasses three mountains, the tallest of which is Apache Peak with a top elevation of 11,000 feet. There’s no shortage of skiing, snowboarding and sledding opportunities at this ski resort. Snowbowl is a place to go whether you’re looking to shred on black diamonds or wander down the bunny hill. Just don’t ask us to settle this debate because we’re just as torn as you are.
Sedona may not get the annual snowfall of Flagstaff or Greer, but it might just be the best winter getaway in the state. A short two hour drive from Phoenix, Sedona offers breathtaking views and endless opportunities to get outdoors. Famous hikes like Cathedral Rock and Devil’s Bridge offer some Instagram-worthy views of Sedona’s famous Red Rock. You can also go on a pink Jeep tour or grab an ATV to experience Sedona’s hidden treasures. Add in the quality shopping, fine dining, and unique vibe (it falls somewhere between “hippie” and “granola”), and Sedona is undoubtedly a great spot no matter the time of year.
The Grand Canyon
Okay, adding the Grand Canyon to any “best of” list in Arizona feels like cheating but accurate nonetheless. There’s no denying that the Grand Canyon is as great a visit during the winter as it is any other time of year. This natural wonder is a tourist trap all year, but the park does see a significant drop in traffic during the winter. Many steer clear of the snow and freezing conditions, but it really adds a winter charm to this epic canyon. Take a hike, snap some photos, or tour the Grand Canyon at winter time and you won’t be disappointed. Just don’t forget your jacket.
When you’re chillaxin’ at your new winter getaway destination, use #FrayLife and #PHXFray to show us what we’re missing.
Not only should you treat yo’ self and warm up with some cocktails after you get back from your adventures, you should do so without breaking the bank. Check out the best happy hour spots here in Phoenix!
View More Articles By John Kuells