Saguaro National Park in southern Arizona offers a variety of hiking trails. (Photo: saguaro image by John Keith from Fotolia.com )
February is one of the best times of year to visit Arizona. The weather is so diverse throughout the state that you can ski the San Francisco Peaks one day and stroll through the sagebrush and cactus desert the next. Not only that, but crowds are smaller, for the most part, so you’ll have ample opportunities to enjoy everything from hiking to golf to snowboarding.
Both the Flagstaff area and the south rim of the Grand Canyon are at about 7,000 feet in elevation, and in February that means average high temperatures in the mid-40s F, falling to lows in the 20s. The snow-lined canyon rim will take your breath away, and skiing at the Arizona Snowbowl and Sunrise Park resorts will still be going strong. The ski resorts might be full, but if you head 30 miles south, February is the perfect time to visit the snow-dusted red rock country of Sedona and Oak Creek Canyon.
In central Arizona, it is the nights that are in the mid-40s – the daytime temperatures are near 70 and the skies are clear and sunny. The Arizona Renaissance Festival, located in Apache Junction, east of Phoenix and north of Tucson, opens its gates on weekends beginning in mid-February. The weather also is perfect for taking advantage of the many desert hiking trails and golf courses throughout the Phoenix area. West of the Valley of the Sun, Wickenburg’s annual Gold Rush Days and Rodeo celebrates its heyday as one of the West’s ranching and gold-mining centers.
If playing in February’s snow and cold is not your thing, then the farther south you go in Arizona, the better. In Tucson, you will find temperatures just a bit cooler than in Phoenix. Hundreds of miles of hiking trails await you in the five mountain ranges that surround Tucson. Visit the Biosphere in Oracle, or – if you decide you want snow after all – ski at Mount Lemmon, just north of Tucson. Farther south toward Bisbee and Tombstone you will find days in the mid-60s and nights near freezing, which is just right for touring the Old West during the day and snuggling up at night.
National and State Parks
February can be prime time for visiting parks, with spring break crowds still a month away. Arizona has more than 30 state parks, including Kartchner Caverns, the Boyce Thompson Arboretum, Tonto Natural Bridge and Lake Havasu. The state is rich in national parks too, from Grand Canyon National Park in the north to Saguaro National Park in the south, with all manner of national monuments and recreation areas in between.
Arizona and golf go together like chips and salsa, and February in central and southern Arizona – not too hot and not too cold – is just right for a few rounds. According to Golf Arizona, some golf maps estimate 175 courses in the Phoenix metro area, while others put the number as high as 250. In and around Tucson, there are 31 golf courses, according to the Metropolitan Tucson Convention and Visitor Bureau. One thing is sure: Arizona in February is a golfer’s paradise.
Leaf Group is a USA TODAY content partner providing general travel information. Its content is produced independently of USA TODAY.
About the Author
Based in Arizona, Kira Jaines writes health/fitness and travel articles, volunteers with Learning Ally and travels throughout the Southwest. She has more than 16 years of experience in transcribing and editing medical reports. Jaines holds a Bachelor of Arts in telecommunications and journalism from Northern Arizona University.
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