Do you live in Central or Southern Arizona? Are you looking to experience some SNOW this winter season? If so, head up to Flagstaff in Northern Arizona and go snow tubing at Flagstaff Snow Park! This winter wonderland is the perfect destination for families seeking a fun-filled adventure. In this blog post, we’ll be sharing 11 tips to help you make the most out of your visit to Flagstaff Snow Park. From what to wear to what to pack and how to beat the crowds, we’ve got you covered. So, let’s dive in!
Buddy and I visited Flagstaff Snow Park over a long weekend in February. Having seen photos of Flagstaff’s impressive snowfall from fellow desert dwellers – our friends in Tucson and Phoenix, we did not want to miss out on a rare chance (for us) to experience winter snow! So, we packed up the car and road tripped four hours north from Tucson to spend a weekend in Flagstaff.
The highlight of the trip was our full day at Flagstaff Snow Park. We had an incredible winter adventure! Especially because we visited in between a couple of late winter storms and had to do some winter driving. It was quite an experience.
This is not a paid promotion for Flagstaff Snow Park. We are writing this blog because we really enjoyed Flagstaff Snow Park. All views and opinions expressed here are our own. All photos are our own and remain the copyright of MPA Project Travels.
Flagstaff Snow Park: The details
Flagstaff Snow Park is located at Fort Tuthill County Park just three miles south of Flagstaff. The park offers snow tubing hills, natural snow play areas, a kiddie hill, food trucks, picnic tables, and a fire pit. Snow tubes are included with your visit so there is no need to bring your own sled or own tube. In fact, personal sleds and tubes are not allowed on the runs. This is perfect for desert dwellers like us who do not own any sleds. Visitors can purchase a half day, full day, or night session tickets. It is fun for the whole family!
Tickets are available online only, so make sure to purchase them before hoping in the car for a winter adventure. For the most up-to-date information, including prices and availability, visit the website.
Pro Tip: Book your tickets in advance. With lots of visitors adventuring up from the desert, Flagstaff Snow Park does sell out.
When considering what to do for our winter weather getaway, I chose to take Buddy snow tubing at Flagstaff Snow Park simply because it was an easy option. And by that, I mean, I did recognize that Flagstaff Snow Park was a one stop shop. There, I did not need to research public sledding hills and tubing hills or find our own sleds.
Because we live in sunny Tucson where snow is scarce, we do not own sleds. I figured it would be easier (and less stressful) for me if we went to a place where everything was provided for us. That said, if you do live in or near Flagstaff and do have your own sleds and tubes, perhaps a different area, with less crowds, might work best for you.
About Flagstaff’s Snow
The amount of snowfall in Flagstaff and Northern Arizona can vary year to year. When we visited Flagstaff Snow Park it was a year when there was a near record snow of 84.6 inches! It was lovely to see the mountain town as a winter wonderland, especially in late February. However, it is not like that every year. One year, we visited the Grand Canyon on January 4th, it was sunny, warm, and we did not need jackets! Not a flake of snow in sight!
So, whether there is a lot of snow in Flagstaff or not just depends on the season. Either way, Flagstaff Snow Park does put artificial snow on the tubing runs. This means that you will be able to tube whether or not there is a lot of natural snow on the ground. However, in a dry season, there may not be any snow in the natural snow play areas.
Flagstaff Snow Park: A teenager’s perspective
Before I chime in with my tips, I want to hand it off to Buddy for his take.
I liked Flagstaff Snow Park. It was a really great place. And I think other teens would like it too. There were a lot of teens, a lot of kids, and lots of families. I would definitely invite my friends and go back without my mom. I would recommend it to my friends.
My favorite part was the snow, which we don’t get in Tucson. Building a snowman it was creative, but I liked both tubing and playing in the snow.
My tips for teenagers going to the park:
- Bring jackets and be prepared for the winter weather. Snow is cold. It is below freezing.
- Make sure you don’t step in a grill! Flagstaff Snow Park is also used as a campsite.
- Be careful of the road conditions if you are driving.
- And get there early because by the time 2pm comes around, it gets packed.
Thank you, Buddy!
11 Tips for Visiting Flagstaff Snow Park
1. Arrive early to beat the crowds
If you want beat the crowds at Flagstaff Snow Park, get there early. Arriving right at the time of your ticket will ensure that you don’t have to wait in long lines and that there will be plenty of tubes available. In our experience, the park does get busy and lines for tubing get really long, especially in the afternoon. So, get there early!
Pro Tip: In our experience, it was generally less crowded in the morning. If you are only planning a half-day visit, opt for the morning pass rather than the afternoons for shorter lines.
When we visited Flagstaff Snow Park, we arrived at 10am, an hour after the park opened. Nonetheless, we were the first ones on some of the tubing runs. It was so nice not to have to wait in line. Because we arrived early, we did all four open runs (minus the orange run for littles) before by 11am. After doing all the runs in one hour, we went to play in the snow.
2. Be prepared to hike
Hiking? Well, kind of. In order to get up the top of the hill to sled down, you have to climb up the side of a hill at 7,000 ft lugging a large tube behind you. If you drove up to Northern Arizona the day of, or the night before, from lower elevations like Phoenix or Tucson, the altitude change is quite noticeable. And it will feel like you are hiking up a hill in the mountains, well because you are. The one positive thing about lines at Flagstaff Snow Park is that you can stop and catch your break on your way up the slope!
Coming from Tucson with an altitude of 2,390 feet, Buddy and I definitely felt the altitude when climbing up the hills before sledding down. Especially when there were no lines. So, it is exhausting if you are not used to trekking up mountains at high elevations. But it was nice to take in the cold winter air though!
3. Pack a lunch
While there are food trucks in Flagstaff Snow Park, things can be pricey. One way to visit on a budget is to pack your own lunch and snacks to keep you fueled throughout the day, especially if you are there on a full day pass. There are picnic tables on site for families to use and you can bring your own lunch.
However, you will not be able to tube with cooler, so make sure to have someone in your party who is willing to sit with the items while others sled. Or keep the cooler in the car until you are ready for your lunch break.
As Buddy and I visited on a full day pass, we brought our lunch. As I wanted to go snow tubing hands free, and it was just the two of us, we opted to leave the packed lunches in the car. When we got hungry, we walked to the car.
To save time, we decided to eat lunch in the parking lot, in the car rather than making one additional trip to and from the picnic tables in the park. It is a bit of a walk from the car to the picnic area in Flagstaff Snow Park.
4. Pack some s’mores
What’s a trip to the snow without some s’mores? Bring some marshmallows to roast over the fire pits. And don’t forget the graham crackers and chocolate bars. Flagstaff Snow Park has two large fire pits that families can use to roast marshmallows and make s’mores. Pack a s’more kit and come prepared for sweet treat after hours in the snow.
If you happen to forget, some of the food trucks sell s’mores kits. But around $6 a kit, they can be pricey. So, plan ahead and bring your own!
Buddy and I did not bring a s’more kit, which was a bummer because roasting marshmallows in the snow would have been nice. Although Buddy did ask to buy a s’more kit, we decided on hot chocolates in the late afternoon. Maybe next time!
5. Choose between a full day vs. a half-day pass
Because Flagstaff Snow Park offers half day, full day, or night session tickets, visitors have a lot of options. In our experience, the morning session was less crowded, however on a full day pass, we did not stay for the night session. And the night session looked like fun. Who wouldn’t want to sled under Christmas lights?
If you are planning on a morning session, make sure to arrive early to beat the crowds. For visitors with a full day pass, we found that the best time to hit the runs is right at 1pm. This is because during this time the morning session people leave and the afternoon session people are arriving. The lines are very short at this time. Buddy and I got a few runs in at 1pm then we made the mistake of stepping out of the short lines to grab a bite to eat. When we got back around 2:30pm, the lines were extremely long! So full day pass holders, take advantage of the 1pm lull.
6. Watch out for grills
Grills? Yes grills! As in camping grills. The natural snow play area is on a campground area. Depending on how deep the snow is when you visit, you may accidentally step on, or in, a campground grill. Be on the lookout and careful not to trip when you are playing in the snow.
Buddy tripped over a few grills when we were building our various snowmen and creating several snow structures. The snow was very deep when we visited. But it might not be every season, depending on snowfall.
And if the snow isn’t deep, no need to worry about the grills because you will be able to see them. And make sure to take some time to play in the snow. Find some time to build a few snow sculptures and make some snow angels. It is a special treat for desert dwellers.
Build a Snowman
Speaking of snowmen and snow art, when we visited the natural play area were filled with random snowmen all over the park. It is a great place for building snowmen! It was a lot of fun! Some of the snow art was incredibly well done. Buddy and I opted for a more abstract and rudimentary design.
Also, do not get too attached to any snowmen or snow sculptures you create in the natural snow play area. Buddy and I spent a long time creating a Snowman we named “F Man” only to find him destroyed after lunch. Life is short for a snowman!
But make sure to save the snowball fights for the natural snow play areas. When we visited, a group of middle-aged women were having a snowball fight in line for one of the runs and they ended up hitting a little kid in the face with a snowball. The little kid cried, and words were exchanged. So, keep the snowball fights to the designated areas of the natural play area where only willing participants might get hit.
7. About the facilities
Unfortunately, the only restrooms that Flagstaff Snow Park has onsite are porta-potties. There are a lot of porta-potties, so you will not need to wait in long lines to use the restroom, even when the park is sold out. However, the facilities are still porta-potties and there are no hand washing stations, so be prepared.
When Buddy and I visited, unfortunately, the porta-potties were absolutely disgusting because they were completely full! We visited on the last weekend of the season, and it really looked like they did not service the porta-potties – clean them out – all season. So, if you go late in the season, just be prepared!
8. Dress for the snow – including your shoes!
Flagstaff Snow Park is a snow park, so make sure you dress appropriately. This includes wearing warm layers, waterproof pants, jackets, gloves, and a hat! But most importantly, make sure you wear shoes appropriate for the snow! If not, you might spend the day slipping and sliding with cold wet feet. Make sure you wear shoes that can keep your feet warm and dry all day long.
During our day at Flagstaff Snow Park, I was very amused watching all the dads wearing sneakers slipping and sliding all over the park! There were so many dads dancing around in their tennis shoes holding uplines. For all the dad’s out there, unless you want to be dancing around the park all day, consider wearing some boots designed for the snow.
What to wear
For all the fellow desert dwellers out there, Buddy and I are sharing what we wore to Flagstaff Snow Park in case it is helpful.
Pro Tip: Wear layers and moisture wicking clothing! You might get hot (and sweaty) from hiking up the hills in the snow. Plus, it can get warm if the sun comes out.
- Snow boots and don’t forget the kiddos boots (or the dads!)
- Snowsuit or snow pants
- A winter jacket and don’t forget the kiddos jackets
- Buddy wore a hoodie.
- Layers! If the sun is out and you are climbing up the mountain, you will start to get hot. Most of my layers came from Stitch Fix.
- A beanie or ear warmers
- Gloves and don’t forget the kiddos. We only used gloves in the natural snow play area but either way they are nice to have.
Pro Tip: Parents, when not on the kiddo, make sure your kiddo’s gloves are secured to their jackets or pants. We saw so many lost gloves throughout the park!
9. What to bring to Flagstaff Snow Park
Buddy and I are sharing a couple things that we brought with us that were really helpful and a couple of things that we wish we would have brought. Feel free to personalize this list to fit your family and experience with cold weather.
- Lip balm
- A small waterproof sunscreen stick to reapply sunscreen throughout the day
- Hand sanitizer to use after a stop at the porta-pottties
- Refillable water bottle. There are no water fountains in the park so you may want water bottles if you get thirsty. However, to be hands free, we left everything in the car and went out to the car to eat or drink if we needed something.
- Tissues in case your nose runs in the cold like ours did!
- A s’mores kit!
- Your lunch
- Hair ties for anyone with long hair
- And of course, your phone!
10. What not to bring to Flagstaff Snow Park
Parents, if you want to tube down the mountain with your kiddos, you may want to come hands free. This is a list of things that we did not bring that we thought was helpful to leave at home.
- A purse or large bag
Any type of purse or large bag will hinder your riding experience. So, if you plan on tubing with the kiddos, it is best to leave it at home. However, if you must bring a purse, bring something very small that can be worn crossbody as you slide down the hill. But with the number of pockets a lot of snow pants and jackets have, a purse is pretty unnecessary.
I brought small items with me and was able to fit everything into the pockets of my snow gear and leave the purse in the hotel room. And I left the cooler with our lunch in the car. Everything worked.
- A pet
Unfortunately, dogs are not allowed in the snow play areas, runs, or near food trucks, picnic tables, or fire pits.
We did not bring our pet. Also, we have a cat, and we are fairly certain that she would not like the snow.
11. Be prepared to drive in the snow
Depending on what type of winter Flagstaff is having when you visit will determine if you will be doing any winter weather driving to get there. Check the weather before you head out and if necessary, plan on driving in the snow.
We visited Flagstaff on two sunny days between two snowstorms that dropped a lot of snow on Flagstaff. So, we prepared for winter driving. Luckily, we timed our trip to avoid the most icy and snowy roads.
However, when we visited, the road into the park and the parking lot were atrocious! The ice (in the morning), mud (in the afternoon), and potholes were terrible to navigate in a car, not to mention walk around after getting out of the car. Hopefully it will be better at the beginning of the season.
In case you might be faced with wither weather driving, here are some of the things we packed in the car in case of an emergency.
- A flashlight. We took our headlamps.
- Blankets. We just grabbed a few sleeping bags from our camping stash.
- A portable charger like a Jackery or Bluetti
- Jumper cables
- A simple first aid kit
- A tool box
- Cat litter – in case we got stuck!
- A small shovel
- A sharpie and a pen, because you never know when you might need them!
- A notebook
What we didn’t take was a candle tower heater. Buddy researched this and was disappointed because he wanted to create a heater with manteca and a paper towel. But it was not necessary.
Overall, we loved Flagstaff Snow Park! We even filmed a Movement Postcard there!
Pro Tip: Parents, if you visit with your teenagers, enjoy every moment because these moments are fleeting!
Flagstaff Snow Park is a fantastic winter destination that offers a wide variety of winter recreation activities for the whole family. By following these tips, you can be sure to have a fun and memorable time. Remember to dress warmly, pack some snacks, and arrive early to beat the crowds. With a little planning and preparation, you’ll be ready to enjoy all the winter wonderland that is Flagstaff Snow Park.
Are you planning a trip to Flagstaff, AZ? If so, let us know in the comments below!
Do you have questions about family travel or traveling with teens? Feel free to reach out! We are happy to chat and share our experiences! We look forward to connecting with you.
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