The best months to visit Flagstaff are September and October, when the fall foliage is a collage of crimson sumac, scarlet maple, and yellow aspen. The historic downtown hosts a Friday night art walk year-round, and the balmy autumn evenings are perfect for a stroll through the galleries and shops. In September, the town celebrates Route 66 Days, with classic cars, book signings, and art exhibits. The Pickin’ in the Pines Bluegrass Festival is also in September.
Expect cold weather and snow from November through February in Flagstaff. That doesn’t mean that every day will be cloudy; on the contrary, storms blow through this mountain town quickly, leaving a few inches to a few feet of snow and blue skies. A favorite après-ski pastime is to drop down Oak Creek Canyon to Sedona, where temperatures are generally 15 to 20 degrees warmer. The Hotel Weatherford’s annual New Year’s Eve Pinecone Drop is the western version of Times Square—there’s a street party, a 70-pound silver pinecone lowered at midnight, and fireworks.
Spring in Flagstaff can be windy and cold, with late-season snowstorms. That said, March is a good ski month at both Flagstaff’s Nordic Center and Arizona Snowbowl Ski Area. Hiking trails are generally impassible through April, but by late May, the wildflowers that cover the big fields surrounding Flagstaff are beginning to bloom.
Summer is a good time to visit, when Flagstaff warms up without being too hot, thanks to the high elevation (nearly 7,000 feet). Temperatures hover in the 80s in July and August, but triple-digit daytime heat is rare. Expect afternoon showers during the July-August rainy season.