I Spy SNOW in Arizona?

Winter in Arizona

We’re stepping it up around here at Over Yonderlust. Today we have a spectacular photo essay guest post by the amazing Amy Moore of Everything-Everywhere. Enjoy the eye candy!

While snowbirds flock to south Arizona each winter, winter in northern Arizona is considered to be the off-season. And for good reason! It can get very cold and snowy as you climb in elevation. Even the north rim of the Grand Canyon is closed because heavy snowfall makes the roads impassable. But we decided to pack warm coats and snow pants and hit the road anyway!

Beginning in the pleasantly cool Tucson and traveling up to the freezing cold Grand Canyon, what we found was beauty. The contrast of snow on red rock canyons is such a different vision than the desert I envisioned Arizona to be. The trip was not without challenge. We had to change plans on the fly, dodging a large snowstorm that threatened to drop over a foot of snow on very winding and narrow mountain roads. While I still long to see Arizona in the spring while the wildflowers are blooming, I wouldn’t hesitate to make another winter trip to this amazing state.

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Saguaro cactus in the Rincon Mountain district of Tucson.

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The barrel cactus bears edible fruit in the winter, inserting a burst of color in the desert.

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The inside of a dead Saguaro. The woody ribs support a lot of weight. Because the Saguaro soaks up so much water, an adult plant can weigh 6 tons!

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Sunset at Gates Pass in Saguaro National Park – West

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Wispy clouds above the Santa Catalina Mountains just west of Tucson.

Santa Catalina Mountains

Hikers at a vista in the Santa Catalina Mountains.


When we reached Sedona it was snowing, but we had to check out the iconic Chapel of the Holy Cross anyway.

Airport Mesa

The foggy view from Airport Mesa in Sedona.

Oak Creek Canyon

Snowy trees in the scenic Oak Creek Canyon.

lava rock in Arizona

Who knew we’d find dormant volcanoes and lava rock in Arizona – covered in snow? Sunset Crater was a surprise.

Wupatki National Monument

One of our favorite stops during the trip was the pueblos at Wupatki National Monument. Amazing that these are almost 1,000 years old.

Grand Canyon's East Rim

The winter view of the Grand Canyon’s East Rim.

South Rim

Sunset overlooking the South Rim.

Montezuma's Well

A large Arizona sycamore at Montezuma’s Well – a striking change from what I expected the landscape to look like.

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Montezuma’s Well is an amazing oasis with over a million gallons of water flowing through it daily. It has supported desert life for centuries.

Montezuma's Castle National Monument

Montezuma’s Castle National Monument is a well preserved cliff dwelling that is basically a 900 year old high rise apartment building.


Bio: Amy Moore is the general manager of the popular travel blog Everything-Everywhere and blogs about family travel.  Find her on Twitter.


8 Responses to “I Spy SNOW in Arizona?”

  1. Camels & Chocolate March 21, 2013 at 10:21 am #

    I love the shot of the cactus silhouettes!

    • Erica April 10, 2013 at 5:10 pm #

      I KNOW! How cliche Arizona right? LOVE IT.

  2. Alouise March 23, 2013 at 10:09 pm #

    Love these photos – the one of the Wupatki National Monument is fantastic. My friends and I stopped at the Grand Canyon on our way to Las Vegas a few years back, and it was snowing. Totally surprised us, never considered there could be snow there.

    • Erica April 10, 2013 at 5:11 pm #

      That is AWESOME! I’m so jealous. When I went we had a crazy storm blow through and it looked so beautiful.

  3. Natalie March 24, 2013 at 8:15 am #

    Amazing pics! I absolutely love the desert landscape and it was great to see Mt Lemon full of snow and having nice sunny, warmish weather down in Tucson!

    • Erica April 10, 2013 at 5:12 pm #

      I’m obsessed with desert landscapes. Growing up in El Paso really allowed me to appreciate everything about them. Enjoy your sun! <3

  4. Natalie March 24, 2013 at 8:20 am #

    PS: I got proposed to at the snowy Grand Canyon – so I have very nice memories;)

    • Erica April 10, 2013 at 5:12 pm #



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