We all know how most people in our sport are dedicated to snowmobiling. When it comes to snowmobiling in Arizona, you have to be really dedicated—and patient.
While Arizona is not known as a hotbed for sledding, you can snowmobile in Arizona’s mountainous regions. In fact, you can snowmobile for several weeks each winter in the Grand Canyon state’s higher elevations.
The average snowfall each winter in most areas of Arizona where you can snowmobile is about 100 inches. Of course, snowfall depends on the elevation. For example, Pinetop-Lakeside, one of Arizona’s famous mountain retreats, sits at 6,800 feet and gets about 46 inches of snow a winter. Head a bit east and south to Hawley Lake (elevation 8,200 feet) and the snowfall more than triples to 168 inches a winter. Southeast a little more and you find Baldy Peak (11,590 feet) and the snowfall is more than 225 inches a year.
Granted, snowfall can be a bit more fickle in Arizona compared to other western states, but if you have a sled and are ready to go at the drop of a snowflake, well, you can find places to ride.
The snow falls on mountains that dissect Arizona from northwest to southeast.
Arizona’s snowmobile season isn’t as long as in other western locales, but when the snow does fall you can head to the high country and find lots of untracked snow.
There are no groomed trails in the state but there are plenty of old logging roads and forest service roads that crisscross the band of mountains that help form the Mogollon Rim and points northwest. This swath of mountains is about 250 miles or so from one end to the other.
Your best source of information on snowmobiling in Arizona is to go to www.fs.fed.us, navigate to Arizona’s national forests, and look under the recreation section. Each forest where there is usually sufficient snow to ride offers a few suggestions on where you can sled. The phone numbers listed in the chart under “Information” are also helpful.