From time to time, we like to share about other fun outdoor activities to explore in the great state of Arizona, even if it doesn’t involve the textbook definition of hiking. If you’re looking for a fun winter recreation activity that the whole family can enjoy, then snow tubing and sledding at the Flagstaff Snow Park, might just be the answer.
With various hills, slopes, and chutes to choose from, it’s no wonder Flagstaff Snow Park is a popular destination for winter enthusiasts. But is it worth the money?
In this review, we’ll take a closer look at the cost, facilities, and overall experience of sledding and snow tubing at the Flagstaff Snow Park to help you decide whether it’s worth your time and money. We’ll also be sharing our personal experience as first-time visitors!
What Is The flagstaff snow park?
The Flagstaff Snow Park at Fort Tuthill County Park in the Coconino National Forest is the only developed seasonal snow play area in Flagstaff/ northern Arizona.
The park has seven (7) groomed snow tubing runs, including a Kiddie Hill (the orange run) and Rainbow Zig-Zag run.
They also have outdoor fire pits, multiple food trucks, picnic tables, watchable wildlife, and recreation areas where you can make snow angels, build a snowman, and play in the snow — a true winter wonderland experience!
We were first introduced to the Flagstaff Snow Park by our friends who live near Phoenix. They have been taking their five kids here for years and highly recommended we take the day trip from Surprise, AZ, to Flagstaff… so we did!
Since we live in the West Valley, we weren’t sure how much snow would be on the ground when we went, but we were not disappointed! If you’re wondering about snow and the best time to find it in Flagstaff, here’s what we discovered:
The Best Time To Find Snow In Flagstaff, Arizona
Flagstaff is actually one of America’s snowiest cities! The city sits at 7,000 feet above sea level and gets an insane amount of snowfall every year – we’re talking over 100 inches!
Snow begins to fall towards the end of October and typically lingers through the end of April. The snowiest month in Flagstaff is January. I would say the best time of year to visit is typically between the months of December through February!
When we went on President’s Day, there were 30 inches of new snow in the previous 30-day period – A Flagstaff winter wonderland if you ask me! On the sledding hills (called tubing runs or slopes), there were 12 to 35 inches of snow and 12 to 20 inches of snow in the general snow play areas.
What if there’s not enough snow When I Want To Go?
The Flagstaff Snow Park makes snow for their tubing runs (weather permitting), ensuring you and your whole family will have a great time.
The general snow play areas do rely on natural snow, though.
When we went to play in the snow off the beaten path to build a snowman and have a snowball fight, I stepped into some fresh snow, and my foot sank nearly to my knee! Even as the temps heated up to 48 degrees throughout the mid-afternoon, there was still lots of snow in the play areas.
If there’s truly not enough snow to operate, the snow park will not open to the public. To check if there is snow at the Flagstaff Snow Park, refer to their Conditions page.
Pricing & Fees: How Much Does It Cost?
You can purchase either a half-day experience, full-day experience, or night session.
Half Day Pricing
If you only want to play in the snow for half of a day, you can either book a morning session (from 9:00 AM to 1:00 PM) or an afternoon session (from 1:00 PM to 5:00 PM). When we went, the half-day ticket, pricing was:
If you want to play in the snow all day, you can book the full-day package, which gives you access to the Snowpark from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM. These were the prices when we went:
Night sessions are also available in the earlier parts of the season between the hours of 6:00 PM and 9:00 PM. Night sessions were actually closed for the season when we went in late February. I would imagine it’s because the snow melts too much during the afternoon for the runs and park to be an enjoyable experience in the evening. If you go earlier in the season when night sessions are available, these were the prices:
Taxes and Fees
The ticket prices I listed above do NOT include applicable taxes and fees. I was actually shocked at how much the taxes and fees were at checkout. 24% of our total bill went towards taxes and fees – YIKES! That’s pretty high, in my opinion. That’s more than another adult ticket price.
Are snow tubes included in the price? Can I Bring My Own Sled?
Leave your sled or snow tube at home because the Flagstaff Snow Park provides snow tubes in the price of admission! If you bring a sled or tube from home, they will not be allowed in the park. Only the FSP tubes are allowed on the runs.
In fact, they have color-coordinating tubes that you have to take up on each run. So if you want to ride the red slope, you must have a red tube. If you want to ride the rainbow run, you have to have a rainbow tube.
If I’m Not Tubing and Just Spectating, Why Do I Have To Pay?
If you’re not into tubing but still want to be part of the snowy action, the snowpark allows spectators to enjoy their general snow play areas and other amenities like their firepit, food trucks, and picnic tables!
How To Buy Tickets To The flagstaff snow park
All tickets much be purchased online; you can NOT walk up to the ticket booth and get a ticket.
There’s also a short booking window to buy your tickets. You can’t really plan a trip here weeks or even months in advance because tickets sales are only enabled 2-5 days in advance to ensure that they will have adequate snow.
So if you wanted to go snow tubing this weekend, tickets would become available on Tuesday afternoon on a “first-come/ first-serve” basis until sold out, assuming the weather conditions were right.
When we purchased our tickets on Saturday, February 18th, Sunday, the 19th was sold out, but Monday, February 20th (President’s Day) was available!
After you book, you’ll also need to electronically sign a waiver and release of liability for all people in your party. You will not be allowed into the park without a signed waiver.
If There’s Inclement Weather, Can I Transfer To Another Date?
Sometimes the weather can be a bit tricky, and it might impact the daily operations at Flagstaff Snow Park. So if you’re planning a visit, it’s always a good idea to keep an eye on the forecast and check for any potential delays or closures the day before your experience.
Safety always comes first, but don’t worry – even if the weather doesn’t cooperate, you can transfer your order to a future date… if requested via email, by 11:59 PM on the day BEFORE your scheduled session start. You can review their Calendar page for questions about potential transfer dates.
What If I Can’t Make It? What’s The Cancellation Policy?
Things can come up, so make sure you’re aware of the cancellation policy in case you need to make any changes to your plans.
When you purchase your tickets, you agree to the cancellation policy, which states that a $5.00 per ticket cancellation fee will apply if you need to cancel. If you want a partial refund, make sure you do it at least 12 hours before your session start time; otherwise, orders cannot be refunded.
See the park’s policies for specific details, as they may have changed since we posted this review.
Planning Your Trip To The Flagstaff Snow Park
Once you buy your ticket, you need to get prepared so that your day at the park is a smashing success!
What to wear
If you’re under-prepared with the wrong clothing, you can wind up soaking wet, freezing your buns off, and being miserable for the entire day. Dressing appropriately for the snowy conditions is key to staying warm and comfortable while you’re there. Here are some tips on what to wear:
Dress In Layers
It can get pretty chilly on the slopes, so wearing layers is the best way to regulate your body temperature.
Layers are also great because you can take them on and off as needed. After carrying the snow tubes uphill (which we estimate weighed around 20 pounds), we would get hot and sweaty and wanted to peel a few of the layers off. But once we were standing still again, we would get chilled.
If you can wear winter coats with big pockets, you can shove your gloves, hat, and other small layers into those big pockets. That’s what we did, and it worked perfectly!
Wear Waterproof Boots
Snow and slush can make your feet wet and cold, so wear waterproof and insulated boots to keep your feet dry and warm. I’d also recommend moisture-wicking socks to pull the sweat and any snow that sneaks into your boots away from your skin!
Protect Your Eyes
The snow can be bright and reflective, so wearing sunglasses or goggles is a good idea to protect your eyes and improve visibility.
Bobby forgot the sunscreen and wound up with a red and slightly painful sunburn on his face at the end of the day. He also didn’t wear a hat to shade his face from the sun. Don’t be like Bobby.
Be sure to lather with sunscreen on any parts of your body that will be exposed to protect your skin. I know it can be easy to forget sunscreen when putting all your layers on, but the sun can sneak up on you and burn your nose and cheeks if you’re not careful!
Waterproof Gloves and Hat
You lose a lot of body heat through your head and hands, so wear a warm hat and gloves to keep them covered.
Avoid cloth gloves if possible. The snow will soak right through gloves that aren’t water-resistant, making your fingers wet and cold!
We actually didn’t have any gloves and couldn’t find them at our local stores in the Phoenix area so we purchased some at the merchandise truck for $16 each. To our surprise, these were affordable and great quality, water-resistant gloves that we will most certainly use again in the future.
Speaking of the gloves we bought, they also sell other winter items in case you forgot something.
Merchandise Available For Sale In Case You Forget Something
The park sells the following items at their merchandise truck:
Getting Into The Snow park
Typically, there’s a 2-minute walk from the ticket booth to the slopes. At the time we visited, there was a construction project taking up a portion of their parking lot. We got an email ahead of time saying that we may have to park and walk a little bit further than usual.
We arrived at 9:15 AM, and were able to park pretty close, considering there was a bit of the parking lot barricaded off. When we left around 1:00 PM, the parking lot was triple the size as when we arrived! So if you want good parking, get there early.
Once you park, you’ll walk up to a trailer and give them your order number. They’ll look up your order and confirm your reservation. The attendant will give you some rules to follow and then provide you with a tag and ziptime to put on your jacket. This has to remain visible at all times.
Once that’s complete, you’ll be ready to walk right into the park and start having some fun!
What To Eat – Available Food Options
You definitely work up an appetite on the slopes! You may want to eat a full meal in the park or at least plan for a snack. Here are your food options:
Bringing Your Own Food
You are welcome to bring your own food into the park. Bringing your own food is a great way to enjoy the Flagstaff Snow Park on a budget!
They have picnic tables in a “food court” area near the food trucks and fire pits, or you can find picnic tables in general snow play areas.
If you bring your own food, you’ll have to decide whether you want to bring a cooler or a wagon with your belongings from the get-go or if you want to go back to your car to get your food when it’s time to eat.
Ordering From Food Trucks
When we went, there were three food trucks; we ordered from 3’s In The Trees; Allie got a Cheeseburger, which she said was delicious. The burger was very hot, and the cheese was melted perfectly; she didn’t want any toppings, so she got a plan burger. Allie rated it a 10/10!
Reed got nachos with jalapeños. His honest review is that the chips were a little stale, the nacho cheese was cold, and the jalapeños were not that spicy, but he was famished so he ate almost all of it! He rated it a 4/10!
I got the Southwest philly cheese steak, which was incredible, the cheese was melted, meat was super juicy, and the perfect kick without being to spicy! Overall I would rate this a 8/10!
Bobby ordered his food from Munch Box; he ordered the Bento, which is a Burrito with Spam, Eggs and other delicious ingredients! He rated this a 10/10! Super yummy and delightful!
He was starving and nearly scarfed the entire thing down before I could get a good picture!
As a side, we shared two orders of french fries; they did have a little kick to them, and although they were covered with salt, oil, and pepper, they were still very good and not too spicy for the littles! Overall these french fries were an 10/10!
We also ordered drinks; Bobby and Allie got iced teas, Reed got Gatorade, and I got water. Definitely recommend the food court!
What Else Should We Bring To The Park?
Extra Change Of Clothes
When we arrived, there was a decent amount of snow and ice on the ground, but when we left, most of it melted, leaving the grounds wet and muddy. By the time we got to the car, the bottoms of our pants were soaking wet, and our boots were even muddy.
We were so glad we brought a change of clothes so we could take our wet clothes off and put on fresh, dry clothes.
Keep in mind the parking lot is tight, and there’s lots of activity with people going to and from their cars, so having thermal underwear on makes changing much easier without worrying about changing in front of others or the lack of privacy.
A Bag For Wet Clothes
We did not bring a bag to put all our wet clothes and muddy boots. Next time, we’ll definitely bring some plastic sacks or duffle bags that can easily be cleaned off later.
Our Experience on the Snow Tubing Runs
The snow tubing is the main part of this park; there are seven different slides, along with Teal, Black, Rainbow, Red, Green, Blue, and orange! We went on all of the rides, so let’s tour you through these slides!
First, let’s talk about waiting in line.
When we went, we waited about 10 to 20 minutes, depending on the color of the ride. We also noticed that when you reached the top, some runs had two slopes to tube down but were not in operation due to the condition of the slope. In those cases, it did extend the wait time.
The black run is the first slope you see when you walk into the snow park, so naturally, it was the first run we went on. We assumed it would be the hardest or the most thrilling since “black” often means hard or challenging on ski slopes. I don’t think there’s any correlation between the two.
It was definitely fun, but we were ready to see if other slopes could beat the thrill of the first!
I can’t remember which run we went on next, so we’ll talk about our absolute favorite ride of the entire day, the Teal Run! It was the longest slope and was very fast!
I even got a little bit of air toward the bottom of the hill.
The Rainbow zig-Zag Run
I would say the rainbow run was the most adventurous of them all. It doesn’t zig and zag like a water slide; rather, it has lots of raised snow patches on the run, so you get lots of air when you hit one. At first, you hit one small bump, then a large bump, followed by three more small bumps. If you don’t hold on tight, it just may make you fall out of your tube.
After we all got off this ride, 3 out of the 4 of us complained of sore bums from slamming down onto the snow after getting air. To avoid the painful butt slam, keep your hips raised in the tube and your core engaged. You may want to wait to try the rainbow run toward the end of your trip.
Also, note that this ride is unsupervised, so make sure you play safe!
The green run was fun, but there wasn’t that much of a slope compared to others.
The red run was long and had many smooth bumps. The most fun part of this ride was probably waiting in line, and watching people go down the rainbow run. You could hear the whole crowd gasp and say “oooh” when someone would get a lot of air!
The blue run was similar to the green run; it did have a steeper slope that made you go a little farther and higher!
Orange (Kiddie) Run
The orange kiddie run is made for little kids; they have a 0-5 section and a section for all older ages! This slope is steep but short! In the morning, there weren’t a ton of kids on it, so it was really an enjoyable experience.
As it got later into the afternoon, the orange slope got much more crowded. Since this hill is unsupervised, some kids used their tubes like bumper cars.
Tubes weren’t even necessary. We saw lots of kids sliding down the slope on their stomachs.
Other questions you may be wondering
In case you were wondering…
Do I need a four-wheel drive vehicle or chains to get there?
When we went in February, we did not see a need for it. The park makes sure that all access roads are paved and plowed, but weather conditions may vary so check the roads before making the trek.
Four-wheel drive vehicles are always handy for driving in the snow. If you have one, I’d recommend driving it!
Are dogs allowed at flagstaff snow park?
I’m sure the park loves furry friends just as much as you do, but unfortunately, pets aren’t allowed in the snow play areas at Flagstaff Snow Park. However, you can still bring your pets with you to the adjacent campground areas. Just make sure to keep them away from the tubing runs, food trucks, fire pits, and picnic tables to ensure the safety and enjoyment of all our visitors.
We actually did see one pup in the facility, but it looked to be a service animal, not just your regular family pet.
So… is the Flagstaff Snow Park worth the money?
If you’ve never been and/or don’t live near the snow, I would say it’s worth it to try it and experience it at least once for yourself!
The experience is a lot like going to an amusement park but for the winter season. The tube runs are like rides with lines you’ll have to wait in. So if you’re looking for a day of fun with winter rides to adventure on, the Flagstaff Snow Park is worth the money!
If you just want to sled down a hill for a few hours at your own pace, you may be better off finding another local spot like the ones mentioned here at flagstaff.com/sledding.
As for our experience, overall, we had a great half day at the Flagstaff Snow Park and loved playing in the snow, which rarely ever happens in the West Valley of Phoenix, where we live.