does it snow in payson az

Does it snow in Payson AZ? Payson is a delightful town located in the picturesque landscapes of Arizona, attracting tourists from various locations with its hidden charm.

 Payson’s natural beauty, featuring the iconic Mogollon Rim and the breathtaking Tonto Natural Bridge, attracts both adventure seekers and nature enthusiasts.

Many prospective visitors are curious about one thing, “Does it snow in Payson, Arizona?” Come and embark on a journey with us as we delve into the hidden wonders of this captivating town during each season.

Yes, it snows in Payson, but it is intermittent, so you will have to go to nearby areas to enjoy skiing and other winter sports. 

Where Does It Snow in Payson AZ?

payson az snow location

Okay, so when does it snow in Payson, AZ? Well, snow is not a common event in Payson, Arizona, but it does occur occasionally.

According to the collected data, the optimal period for encountering snow in Payson is typically between December and March.  

Although Payson may not have consistent snowfall during the winter season, there are several nearby locations where individuals can participate in winter sports activities.

For instance, Flagstaff, AZ is recognized as a highly snowy city in the United States, boasting an average annual snowfall exceeding 100 inches.

On average, there are 11 days per year when the total amount of new snow reaches three inches or more. Additionally, snowstorms with a daily accumulation of over five inches typically happen around six times yearly.

In Flagstaff, you can also find Arizona Snowbowl, situated in the San Francisco Peaks. It is a highly regarded ski resort in Arizona, located a mere fifteen miles away from Flagstaff.

With a vast expanse of 777 skiable acres, this ski area holds the distinction of being among the largest and most demanding in the Western region.

Another option that can be considered is Apache Maid Mountain, which is situated close to Payson.

The facility provides more than 55 trails spread over 400 acres, catering to individuals of all skill levels. 

How Much Does It Snow in Payson AZ?

payson az amount of snow

Payson, Arizona provides a charming winter getaway characterized by its snowy months and distinct climate influenced by precipitation patterns.

The prime months for snowfall in Payson are typically December through March. This period offers the best opportunity to experience the enchantment of high-country snow in the Rim Country.  

MonthSnowfall (Inches)

Here is a bit more about the historic snowfall event (from 1940 to 2005) in Payson, AZ:

MonthAverage Snowfall

The Impact of Rainfall

The winter landscape of Payson is significantly influenced by rainfall.

The region undergoes distinct wet and dry seasons. The wetter season typically lasts for about 2.2 months, starting around July 5 and ending around September 12.

The month of August experiences the highest amount of rainfall. During this time period, the probability of a specific day being a wet day is greater than 19%, mainly because of rainfall.

On the other hand, the duration of the drier season is approximately 9.8 months, and the month of May experiences the least amount of rainfall.

The precipitation patterns in Payson are primarily influenced by rainfall, with the month of August having the highest number of rainy days.

The occurrence or non-occurrence of rainfall in the wetter months can substantially affect the amount of snowfall in the following snowy season.

MonthRainfall (Inches)
Fact: The timing of snowfall in Payson, AZ can vary from year to year and with changes in elevation. 

Is Payson a Good Place for Winter Vacation?

winter vacation in payson

Payson, located in northern Arizona, provides the perfect blend of alpine adventures and small-town charm, making it an ideal destination for winter activities. 

Despite experiencing minimal snowfall, it is considered an excellent winter destination due to its close proximity to snow-covered mountains.

You can experience the comfort of staying in town, where you can indulge in charming shops and restaurants. 

At the same time, you have the option to conveniently drive to the nearby Apache Ski Resort, where you can partake in exhilarating skiing and snowboarding on pristine powder.

In a mere 90 minutes, you can engage in the delightful activities of sledding and snowshoeing amidst the majestic tall pines of the Flagstaff region.

You can also arrange a ride on the picturesque Apache Railway, which is scheduled to depart from Payson. This delightful journey will take you through a serene wintry forest. 

Can You Ski in Payson, AZ?

ski activity in payson az

Arizona is often associated with desert and cacti, but it also offers great skiing and snowboarding in the winter at higher elevations.

Payson is not suitable for a ski resort due to its low elevation and warm climate. However, excellent skiing opportunities are available in the vicinity. 

Apache Ski Resort is located on Apache Maid Mountain, close to Payson. The base elevation of the resort is 9,200 feet, which ensures consistent snowfall.

Similarly, Flagstaff, located about an hour and a half from Payson, offers additional options.

It is a scenic destination and is home to the Arizona Snowbowl, which receives 260 inches of snowfall annually.   

Best Ski Resorts in Payson, AZ

payson az ski resorts

Staying in Payson and arranging day tours to nearby places to enjoy skiing is one perfect idea. This will definitely turn your winter vacation into something really special.

If that is what you want to do, you can find a number of good accommodation options in Payson.

For instance: 

#1. Kohl’s Ranch Lodge

payson ski resort kohl's ranch lodge

Staying at Kohl’s Ranch Lodge in Payson, AZ during winter offers an exceptional experience.  This location is surrounded by the Ponderosa Pine Forest and is also no more than half an hour from Tonto Natural Bridge State Park. The setting is serene and picturesque.

Moreover, Kohl’s Ranch Lodge is conveniently located near Arizona Snowbowl, and you can get there by a scenic 2-hour and 21-minute drive. Arizona Snowbowl is a versatile destination with various activities available throughout the year.

Winter transforms the area into a skier’s haven. It offers 55 runs across 777 skiable acres, suitable for skiers of all abilities. The resort has eight lifts, including quad chairs and more for easy access to the slopes.

The resort also has a Scenic Skyride in the summer. It takes you to an elevation of 11,500 feet for great views.

Overall, Kohl’s Ranch Lodge is a great place for a day trip when you are in Payson, AZ, as it is perfect for skiing or family-friendly activities.

#2. Quality Inn Payson

payson ski resort quality inn

Consider Quality Inn Payson for your winter visit to Payson, AZ, especially if you want to enjoy skiing in the area.

Quality Inn Payson offers a free transfer service to Mazatzal Casino. The hotel also has a seasonal outdoor pool, hot tub, and fitness center for guests to enjoy. 

It is conveniently located near attractions such as Tonto Natural Bridge State Park and Rim Country Museum. This makes it an ideal starting point for exploration.

The best part is that it makes it easier when you want to explore the nearby Elk Ridge Ski and Outdoor Recreation Area.

This recreational area is a popular destination for winter sports enthusiasts. It is conveniently located within a 2-hour and 32-minute drive. This ski resort is family-friendly and offers activities like skiing, snowboarding, and tubing.

Fact: Elk Ridge Ski and Outdoor Recreation Area operates year-round in collaboration with the National Forest Service.

#3. Comfort Inn Payson

payson ski resort comfort inn

Choosing Comfort Inn Payson for your winter trip in Payson, AZ is a great choice, as the hotel provides comfort and convenient access to many attractions.

Comfort Inn Payson is located near the Mogollon Rim. It is close to popular destinations such as Zane Grey Cabin, Green Mazatzal Casino, Valley Park, Rumsey Park, and Tonto Natural Bridge State Park.

  • The biggest highlight is that it keeps you close to the Sunrise Ski Area in Arizona’s White Mountains, which is a popular destination for winter sports.

It is conveniently located just 200 miles northeast of Phoenix and is easily accessible from Comfort Inn Payson. This winter resort offers 65 runs for all skill levels. Families can enjoy the “ski-wee” area.

Advanced skiers can tackle multiple runs on the Sunrise Express High-Speed Quadlift.

Snowboarders enjoy the TerrainPark with rails and a snow half pipe. Everyone can have fun tubing down the mountain.

How Cold Does It Get in Payson, AZ?

payson az coldest temperature

Payson, AZ has noticeable temperature changes throughout the seasons, making it an excellent choice for those who enjoy different climates.

Here is a bit about the average temperatures in this part of the world:

MonthAverage Temperature (F)

Average High and Low Temperatures in Payson

payson az high and low temperature

Autumn brings a transition, with September temperatures in the mid-80s gradually cooling to the 70s in October and 60s in November.

This period is the driest season of the year, making it a good time to visit Payson and see the beautiful colors of fall.

Winters in Payson can be cold, with average high temperatures ranging from the 40s to 50s. Nights can be very cold, sometimes dropping below freezing.

Snowfall is frequent, especially in the higher elevations of the Rim, offering many chances for snow play and winter adventures in the Payson area.

Here is more about the high and low temperatures in Payson throughout the year:

MonthAverage Low Temp (F)Average High Temp (F)
Fact: Spring brings a thaw, with March highs averaging in the low 60s, occasionally dropping to freezing overnight. 

Things to Explore in Payson During Winter

Skiing is definitely something you do not want to miss when in Payson during winter, but there are many other things to try on your visit. 

Go Skating

payson skating activity

The Colt Arena is an indoor ice-skating rink in Payson, known for being a popular winter attraction.

The NHL regulation rink offers ample space for smooth gliding and skillful skating. The cool indoor temperature makes it a great activity to enjoy the season. Skate rentals are available for easy ice access.

On Fridays and Saturdays, there are laser lights and music at the skating rink. Moreover, the Colt Arena offers daily public skating sessions, providing indoor fun for visitors to Payson during the winter. 

Take a Ride on the Apache Railway

payson apache railway

A ride on the Apache Railway is a magical winter experience, as it offers a unique opportunity to explore the beautiful scenery of Payson.

This historic train departs from Payson, and it takes you on a breathtaking journey through Arizona’s snowy forest. As the steam engine chugs through the winter landscape, you will be surrounded by stunning mountain views, and these views will be dotted with pine trees covered in fresh powder.

Once onboard, you can cozy up in the heated vintage passenger cars illuminated with twinkling lights.

Make sure to keep your eyes peeled, as there may be wildlife sightings along the way.   

Try Snow Tubing

payson snow tubing

For a fun-filled snow play just outside Payson, you should head to Sunrise Park Resort. Their snow tubing area offers lift-serviced lanes, allowing you to keep cruising down the groomed runs all day long.

Zoom down side-by-side with friends or family, and simultaneously take in stunning mountain views.

The turns and dips add excitement and occur as you race downhill. Kids will love the special lanes that are exclusively designed for them.

When you need a break from zooming down the lanes, you can warm up by the fire pits and refuel at the on-site café.   

Go Hiking

payson hiking activity

The Rim Lakes Trail is a beautiful route to go in the wintertime in Payson. This gentle 3-mile circle offers stunning winter scenery as it travels through a series of beautiful mountain ponds and cascades.

What you will see is an enchanted winter wonderland, complete with frozen lakes and forests sprinkled with snow. Keep an eye out for bird and animal tracks in the snow as you explore the lakeshores on your hike.

On the cliff faces, icicles take on ethereal shapes. Get back to civilization and cozy yourself by the fire after your peaceful winter getaway.  

Fact: The loop is manageable for hikers of varying abilities while still providing ample time in the great outdoors. 

What is the Best Time to Plan Your Visit to Payson, AZ?

visiting payson az perfect time

With average daily high temperatures above 84°F, which is usually in July, late May to late July and early August to late September are the best periods to visit Payson for warm-weather activities.

However, the greatest time to visit Rim Country to see snow and, hopefully, enjoy some nearby skiing is from December through March. 


Does it snow in Payson AZ? Payson occasionally receives snowfall, mainly between December and March, making it an ideal location for winter sports fans.

It does not snow very often, but it is close to snowy mountains where people may go skiing and enjoy the winter.

And to enjoy that experience, you can stay at Kohl’s Ranch Lodge, which is located near the expansive Arizona Snowbowl ski resort and surrounded by the largest Ponderosa Pine Forest in the state.