Winter & Safety Tips


Winter Tips

Flagstaff is the Perfect Year-Round Destination
Flagstaff’s combination of high altitude, low humidity and diverse terrain provide mild weather conditions and clear air throughout the year. At 7,000 feet (2,135 meters) elevation, Flagstaff is located in the largest contiguous ponderosa pine forest in the world. However, ecosystems spanning piñon-juniper studded plateaus, high desert, green alpine forest and barren tundra can all be found within the Flagstaff area.

Tips for Comfort
Drink lots of water, apply sunscreen and lip balm frequently, and rest as often as necessary. At high altitude the sun is more intense and you may experience fatigue and shortness of breath. The altitudes vary in northern Arizona, from over 12,000 feet (3,658 m) atop Flagstaff’s Humphrey’s Peak and nearly 7,000 feet (2,135 m) in Flagstaff and at the Grand Canyon’s South Rim, to about 4,500 feet (1,372 m) at Sedona and the Painted Desert, and just over 2,500 feet (771 m) in the depths of the Grand Canyon river gorge. No matter what time of year you visit, layering and comfortable clothes are a must in northern Arizona. Bring comfortable shoes, long pants, short- and long-sleeved shirts, a sweater or fleece, a hat and sunglasses.

January – April. Refreshing days and crisp nights! Nights are cold, with temperatures warming up during the day. Layering is key and snow is possible. Bring warm pants, winter coat, gloves, boots and heavy socks.

May – August. Perfect summer weather! Days are comfortable with cooler temperatures in the evening. Bring shorts, light pants, rain gear and sandals. During the summer monsoon season of July through mid-September, afternoon thunderstorms and rain showers are possible.

September – October. It’s the perfect season to enjoy the fall colors! Days are comfortably cool and refreshing with slightly chilly evening temperatures.

November – December. Enjoy Flagstaff’s beautiful winter wonderland! Bring warm pants, a winter coat, gloves, boots and heavy socks. Nights are cold, with temperatures warming up during the day. Layering is key and snow is possible.

Safety Tips

  • Find a safe spot to sled: A good hill has a wide gentle slope. Steep hills cause high speed and you could lose control. The bottom should end in a long flat area so the sled has enough room to stop.
  • Look for hidden dangers. Check for buried holes, roots, tree stumps, fences, and barbed wire. Avoid trees by choosing an area free of trees.
  • Sled in the daytime. Dusk is the most dangerous time to sled.
  • Keep away from frozen water. The ice on ponds, streams and lakes may not be strong enough and you could fall through.
  • Wear bright, warm, easy-to-spot clothing. Dress comfortably and in layers, as loose clothing traps air and is warmer. Wet clothing can dangerous because it does not protect you, and your skin can freeze. Keep an extra blanket in the car if traveling.
  • Wear a helmet. There are fewer head injuries among people who wear helmets.
  • Move out of the way quickly once you reach the bottom of the hill. Walk up the side of the hill out of traffic. Do not start down the hill until the people in front are safely out of the way.
  • Plan for emergencies. Sledding by yourself can be dangerous. Friends can get help.

-- Source: Flagstaff Medical Center/Air Medical Journal