A Winter Wonderland in Flagstaff, Arizona
Fort Tuthill County Park
Fort Tuthill is a wonderful 4 season park, located just 3 miles south of Flagstaff. For some reason, this beautiful, quiet park is not as popular as other parks in town, allowing you to enjoy some recreation by yourself in the quaint ponderosa forest setting. A winter visit typically feels pretty secluded, which makes for an ideal setting for snowshoers and cross country skiers looking for a quiet natural escape. The multi use FUTS (Flagstaff Urban Trail System) runs through the middle of the park and provides several miles of paved path for year round recreational use.
It really is a winter wonderland this time of the year, especially right after a storm when the pines are covered with snow and the trails are fresh and fluffy. If you continue far enough down the trail, you will even come across a nice view of the mountains capped with snow.
The snow tends to last longer here due to the heavy tree coverage. Fort Tuthill is the ideal place to get out the skis or snowshoes and enjoy nature in a remote, non touristy setting. As an added bonus, there are no fees associated with the park, unlike Nordic Center, so if you have your own equipment, you are all set!
Buffalo Park is another great option for winter recreation, a bit more crowded that Ft. Tuthill, however, nowhere near as busy as the Nordic Center or Snowbowl. Here you will get to enjoy beautiful snowy views of the San Francisco Peaks. A short 2 mile section of the FUTS loops around the park, providing the ideal distance and flat terrain for a snowshoe hike or cross country skiing adventure.
Although you will see a handful of skiers or snowshoers out enjoying the picturesque setting, it will never feel overly crowded. And, once you venture out a bit, the crowds really start to thin out. Overall, it’s a great park for winter recreation due to the beautiful mountain views, easy nature of the trail, and free access. Visit on a weekday for even fewer crowds!