Arizona has rightfully earned a reputation for being a very hot state, with expansive deserts and dry conditions. The last thing anyone would associate Arizona with is the cold. Despite this, if you ask does it snow in Arizona, you may be very surprised by the answer.
There are pockets of Arizona that do experience snowfall in the winter. Believe it or not, there are even some areas of Arizona that have very popular ski resorts frequented in the winter. When you go to the northern parts of Arizona, you may be surprised at just how much snow you can see there.
If you want to experience Arizona in the winter, or are curious about just how diverse the climate is in different regions of Arizona, below we’ll explore what the weather is like in Arizona at different times of the year.
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Does It Snow In Arizona?
As mentioned, northern parts of Arizona will experience snow in the winter. This is because the northern areas of Arizona sit at a higher altitude than the southern regions. Throughout the year, this also means that it’ll generally be cooler the further up you go in Arizona. Not all parts of Arizona experience snow, but the ones that do get quite a bit.
Arizona is quite a large state, and so many don’t realize just how far-reaching its northern and easter regions can go. Due to this, any area of Arizona can experience a plethora of weather conditions at any given time. As such, in winter, parts of Arizona will experience the cold and plenty of snow, while other areas will still be incredibly mild, and even hot.
Due to Arizona’s particular climate, the state itself doesn’t produce a lot of snow. Instead, snow and colder temperatures are pushed down from areas north of Arizona, which combined with the higher altitude of many northern Arizona areas, the appropriate climate to generate snow is forced onto Arizona.
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When you travel to southern Arizona, you’re very unlikely to see any snow. It has happened, but it’s quite the rare sight. When you go towards the central regions of Arizona, they may get a light dusting every now and then, but snow is generally not a concern. However, when you go to the northern-central areas, you’ll start to see the average snowfall go up per year.
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Where Does It Snow The Most In Arizona?
Flagstaff is the city that usually gets a substantial snowfall in the winter. This is due to its high elevation, especially compared to the rest of the state. As such, Flagstaff is a popular getaway for those looking to partake in some skiing or get away from the heat. The city has certainly played into becoming a winter destination, with ski rental stores and the like all around.
There is also the Arizona Snowbowl, which isn’t far from Flagstaff. The Arizona Snowbowl is a quaint resort sitting within Mount Humphreys, sitting over 12,000 feet high. On average, snowfalls have reached up to 22 feet high throughout the winter. The sun is often shining bright throughout the winter. In some of these snowier areas of Arizona, snow can start falling in October or November.
Of course, you can’t discuss winters in Arizona without mentioning the Grand Canyon. Snow sprinkles around the famous tourist destination in the winter, and the weather gets quite chilly. It’s the perfect place to wander around in a nice, puffy jacket and admire the animals wandering around and playing in the snow.
Popular Snow Destination In Arizona
Outside of the well-known Grand Canyon and Flagstaff, there are multiple areas in Arizona that make for serene winter destinations. The Sunrise Park Resort can be found in the White Mountains, offering a variety of winter sports such as snowboarding and skiing. Additionally, there’s Oak Hill Snow Play Area right near Williams, which is a wonderful place to go sledding or skiing.
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A little hidden gem in Arizona perfect for enjoying snow in the winter is Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest; specifically, the Hannagan Meadow Recreation Area. While you can enjoy camping and hiking in the summer, winter allows for winter sports and hikes. Walker Lake is also a beautiful spot to watch for wildlife roaming around, but you can also snowmobile and play in the snow.
Does It Snow Often In Arizona?
The amount of snow Arizona sees each winter can vary slightly from year to year, but it’s guaranteed that it’ll see some snow. The average snowfall per year tends to be just over 100 inches. The area of Williams tends to see the most snow per year on average, with the Grand Canyon and Payson falling just slightly behind.
The frequency of snowfall in Arizona depends on the part of the state you’re in, but generally speaking, Arizona follows similar snow patterns to other states that also experience snow. Areas in Arizona that tend to stay warmer can still get some snow, though they won’t get nearly as much or get snow at the same frequency.
What Is Spring Like In Arizona?
Spring is quite beautiful throughout Arizona. The weather starts to get pretty warm during this season, but the skies tend to be clear much of the time. It’s not uncommon to see the occasional thunderstorm and rainfall in the spring, and Arizona does occasionally experience tornadoes.
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In April, the snow tends to start melting around the colder areas of Arizona. May is the month where the daylight stretches the longest, and nights tend to get a little bit cooler. The temperatures can vary more often in the spring. Once May turns to June, the hot weather will start rolling in.
What Is Summer Like In Arizona?
As to be expected, Arizona summers are very hot and dry. If you travel down to the southern cities, such as Phoenix or Tucson, the temperatures can get scorching hot. Once you go a little bit farther up north towards Flagstaff, it’ll still be warm in the summer months, but a little bit more bearable.
When down in the southernmost parts of Arizona, you can expect temperatures to get as high as 125 degrees Fahrenheit, or 51 degrees Celsius. When you get to the northernmost regions, temperatures can climb up to 97 degrees Fahrenheit or 36 degrees Celsius.
June and July tend to be the hottest months of the year no matter where you are in Arizona. In July and August, it’s also not uncommon to see a little bit of rainfall.
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What Is Fall Like In Arizona?
Fall tends to be a popular time for tourists to come to Arizona, as those who aren’t used to an arid climate are able to tolerate the weather. Fall temperatures tend to remain somewhat steady in September, October, and November. You can expect the warmest times of the day to sit as high as 85 degrees Fahrenheit or 29 degrees Celsius, but it often sits below that.
October tends to be the nicest month in terms of tolerable weather. On any given day, temperatures can range from between 62 to 90 degrees Fahrenheit, or 16 to 32 degrees Celsius. Autumn foliage will also decorate the diverse landscapes with beautiful colors, and the nights tend to have a little chill in the air.
It doesn’t tend to storm very often in Arizona during the fall, and the sun still shines throughout many of the days. There can be a little bit of rain in September as the seasons change and air flows into Arizona from California. At night, skies remain clear, allowing for the opportunity to stargaze no matter where you are in the state.
What Is Winter Like In Arizona?
In Arizona, you’ll experience the most snow in the months of December, January, and February. However, winter doesn’t officially end until March, so you might still see some snow falling if you’re in northern or eastern Arizona. The temperature can range, usually getting below freezing. It rarely rains in Arizona in the winter, so you can avoid lots of slush when you’re in snowy areas.
The sun also tends to shine quite brightly in the winter, especially after a storm has occurred. As such, the bright white snow is lit up even brighter, making for a picturesque day to indulge in some skiing or other winter activities. The daytime can be a little more tolerable weather wise when the sun is shining, with temperatures getting colder as the sun sets.
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Arizona is one diverse state when it comes to not only the weather you can experience, but the vast array of landscapes to enjoy. From mountains to deserts to forests and everything in between, Arizona has a lot to offer. But does it snow in Arizona, or is the state’s reputation for being unbearably hot reign true?
Arizona does indeed experience snow, and throughout the state, all four seasons are experienced in different ways. Therefore, no matter what type of climate you prefer, you can find a pocket of Arizona that suits your preferences perfectly.