The Arizona Nordic Village near Flagstaff is the state's premier destination for cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, and snow biking on groomed trails as well as overnight yurt stays and family-friendly special events.
More than 25 miles (40 kilometers) of groomed trails wind among a peaceful forest of mixed conifer and aspen in the shadow of Arizona's highest mountains, the San Francisco Peaks. Perched high above the state's southern deserts at more than 8,000 feet elevation on the Coconino Plateau, these woods enjoy multiple feet of snow every winter, and they stay pleasantly cool throughout summer.
A mix of trail types accommodate skiers, snowshoers, and bikers of all abilities. Trails designated for skiing are machine-groomed for skate and classic, though a few are left for classic only. Trail directions are well-signed and marked on the map, whether they are two-way or one-way. Multi-use trails are open to snowshoes and bikes as well as skis, and are all bi-directional. Dogs are allowed on leashes, but they should remain on the designated Dog Trail if not traveling to one of the yurts for an overnight stay.
All trails are signed as beginner (green), intermediate (blue) or advanced (black). The range of terrain provides something for everyone, and interconnected loops give endless options for variety and mileage. First-time cross-country skiers will get a good introduction by using the stretch of Babbitt Loop nearest the lodge to access Black Bear or Prairie Dog Trails. To step it up from there, take Babbitt further east, past the large yurts, and loop back on Golden Eagle. Those already comfortable on skis and looking for more mileage can make a wide loop by climbing Babbitt and descending Wild Turkey or exploring the winding ups and downs of El Niño, Thunder, and Blizzard Trails. Anyone looking for a challenge should loop the whole perimeter of trails or cut straight uphill and take on Goshawk, the steep expert trail that earns huge views of the San Francisco Peaks at its apex, shared with Porcupine Loop.
The Nordic Village rents classic and skate skis, boots, poles, snowshoes, and pull-along sleds for towing toddlers. Snow bikes are not for rent, but you can bring your own. Rentals can be easily purchased with a day pass and do not need to be reserved in advance. Check the Nordic Village website for pricing.
If you are new to cross-country skiing or want to switch from classic to skate, you may find it less intuitive than you imagined. A lesson will help you make the most of your day. Instruction for both skate and classic skiing are offered on weekends as group lessons. You must reserve and purchase in advance by calling 928.220.0550. Private lessons are also available for experienced skiers looking to improve technique or adopt a new style.
During the winter season, Friday nights are the time to come for sunset skiing or snowshoeing and family fun. Trail passes and rentals are each only $5 from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m., followed by a bonfire near the lodge and a family movie showing inside the large yurt.
The snowy season is fairly long, lasting from December through March and sometimes longer. Even once the snow melts, however, the Nordic Village does not shut down. This idyllic forest retreat is a popular venue during the rest of the year for weddings and other events, with one-day and overnight accommodations. Set up your reservation online or by calling the lodge at 928.220.0550.
Public events continue throughout the summer and fall as well, including trail races, science discovery expos, and community gatherings. Hiking and biking remains popular even when there is no snow, while yurts and cabins are available for warm-weather or fall foliage glamping among the aspens.
The Nordic Village offers several options for camping year round. Cabins and yurts (both front country and back country) are available for overnight stays in the winter and summer, as is tent camping in summer. All sites are trailside, with 24/7 access to the full trail network. Reservations must be made online at the Nordic Village website.
Winter backcountry adventures can be dangerous outdoor activities that pose significant risks as conditions affecting safety (i.e. weather, snowpack stability, avalanche hazard) are constantly changing. Prior to engaging in these activities each individual should get the proper training to make safe decisions and be equipped to use avalanche safety resources and tools. Please visit our Backcountry Skiing and Avalanche Safety post to learn more.