What to do for a Fall or Winter Getaway in Northern Arizona
Well, it’s that time of year again…summer is over, school has started, and already people are beginning to plan for their Fall and Winter getaways. Whether you are planning ahead, or just getting ideas, here are some of the great Fall and Wintertime things to do in Northern Arizona. So, here’s What to do for a fall or winter getaway in northern arizona!
Let’s start at the beginning of the season.
For so many people in the Southwest, the weather remains hot well into October. But in Northern Arizona, the weather rapidly turns to that crisp, cool, fall weather that’s so inviting. The area near Flagstaff and Williams where Classy Cabins AZ is, enjoys a 7000 foot elevation, so just as in summer, temperatures will be much cooler than they are in the lowland cities of the Southwest. By mid September, it will be getting down in the low 40’s at night, and be a beautiful 60-65 degrees during the day. Jeans and Sweater weather for sure. A weekend getaway in the Fall is the perfect time to visit some of the great outdoor attractions.
Of course, The Grand Canyon is one of the natural wonders of the world, and always a great choice in the Fall. The trip up from Williams, The Gateway to the Grand Canyon is either a 50 minute drive, or a short train ride on the historic Grand Canyon Railroad. The Train is a great way to see the canyon if you just want to get a good look and eat lunch. And now is the time to book that trip on the antique cars that don’t have air conditioning. You can have that old time experience without the heat. If you aren’t sure whether you want to drive, or take the train to the canyon, see my blog post on the different types of Grand Canyon visitors.
Also great for this time of year is a visit to the Meteor Crater east Flagstaff. Once again the Fall weather is the thing that turns a good visit into a great one.
The Grand Canyon Deer Farm is one of the largest petting zoos in the world, and kids young and old will love to get up close and personal with several kinds of deer, goats, reindeer, buffalo, camel, llama, and several other interesting and entertaining animals from all over the world. The gift shop there is really fun to browse around in, and does a brisk business in animal, western and cabin themed merchandise. Take home something special.
Bearizona, the drive through and walk-through zoo is best known for its Bears, but also has many other animals to see in both formats. In addition to the animal park and zoo, there is a great restaurant, and special events like the raptor show. Visitors sit in an outdoor amphitheater and are treated to an educational presentation on birds of prey. These birds will move from their trainers on the front stage, to their trainers behind you, skimming right over your heads!
The Grand Canyon Railroad has some special events for the Fall, including a Pumpkin Patch Train Ride. Why not pickup your pumpkins this year up North?
Lakes, Trails and Roads
Of course, just being outdoors in the Fall up here in Northern Arizona is a joy. Walking, hiking or biking the trails nearby, or the forest roads is a special pleasure when the weather is cool. We have miles and miles of trails and country roads to enjoy. Also nearby, scenic lakes where you enjoy hiking and sightseeing, fishing, and canoeing. There are 5 lakes within 20 minutes of Classy Cabins AZ’s properties: Dogtown, Santa Fe, Cataract, Gonzalez, & Kaibab.
Later in the season
As the Fall turns in to Winter, thoughts turn to some special things you can only experience in Northern Arizona, special Holiday experiences! Classy Cabins AZ is near two special family activities for the Holidays, The Polar Express, and The North Pole Experience.
The Polar Express is just 10 minutes away on the Grand Canyon Railroad. Kids get to have a real life experience like the book and movie, boarding the train in the evening in their pajamas! There is something pretty special seeing dozens of families, everybody in cozy pajamas boarding the train to go visit the North Pole and see Santa. There is story telling and treats on the train on the way, and Santa boards the train at the North Pole to ride back with the children.
The North Pole Experience is just 20 minutes away in Flagstaff. There, kids get to visit Santa’s factory, and help make toys for Christmas! It starts at Flagstaff’s Little America which decorates their entire property with lights for the Holiday Season.
Both Williams and Flagstaff are great places to stroll on Winter evenings, with lights and festive Christmas decorations. Williams lights a giant tree downtown every year on Thanksgiving. A large crowd of happy locals and tourists throng the downtown streets, sing songs, drink hot cider, and light the huge tree harvested from the surrounding forest. It’s a memorable small town experience.
Flagstaff decorates it’s scenic downtown area as well. With many shops and great restaurants, an afternoon and evening spent there is something you’ll remember forever. Even Bearizona gets in on the action in a special way, decorating the park for Winter Wonderland at Bearizona.
Once Winter sets in up north in Arizona, there are all kinds of Winter activities to partake in. The area has Tubing, Sledding, Downhill Skiing, Cross Country Skiing and snow-shoeing.
Just 20 minutes from Classy Cabins AZ’s properties is the Elk Ridge Skiing and Tubing hill. Situated on Bill Williams Mountain just South of Williams, this family centered recreation area hosts a fantastic tubing area and Tow-Rope bunny hill for skiing and snow-boarding. This charming and rustic attraction combines family and budget friendly winter sports with a cozy lodge and restaurant. It’s a fun and happy place to go with the family.
For those wanting a larger ski experience, Arizona Snow Bowl is a short drive away north of Flagstaff. This is a large ski area with varied terrain and snow-making equipment. They’ve been expanding in recent years with new lifts. Snow Bowl is a regional favorite place to enjoy skiing and snow-boarding, with good elevation, and great conditions all winter long.
Not far from Snow Bowl is the Arizona Nordic Village – cross country skiing and snowshoeing on groomed trails.
Of course, you can bring, or rent, skiing or snowshoeing gear and get out and enjoy the area near the Cabins on your own as well, knowing you can come back in for hot chocolate anytime.
Just a few minutes down the road from the cabins is the Oak Hill Snow Play area. This is run by the forest service now, but in 30’s it was the Williams Ski area. It has 3 groomed areas on the hill for sledding, and often on weekends the area at the bottom has a warm-up fire tended by the ranger. This is a huge sledding hill, with different levels of steepness for different tastes. On any weekend during the winter is full of people having their Winter fun. We keep sleds at Classy Cabins AZ properties so guests can head over anytime the want to.