In case you missed it, we just received a TON of snow! We always receive a lot of phone calls, emails, and DMs asking about weather conditions, where to sled, what to pack, etc. To make things easy for you, we’re condensing all of the information in one central spot.
Q: Where can we sled?
A: While it might be tempting to pull off to the side of the road when you see a great spot and a bunch of cars, we just can’t recommend that in good conscience. It’s not particularly safe (especially in icy conditions), and can actually earn you a ticket (not a great way to top off a vacation, IMO). The best spot for sledding in Rim Country is Green Valley Park in Payson. There is a fantastic hill, easy parking, public bathrooms, and it’s a really beautiful spot to spend the day! Bonus: there are multiple restaurants nearby to grab a hot meal and drink after a few hours of playing in the snow.
Q: We forgot sleds! Where can I get some?
A: Uncle Toms Chevron in Pine usually has some in stock. If you can’t find some there, Walmart in Payson or Ace Hardware in Payson are reliable options too!
Q: How can I check road conditions?
A: AZ 511 is the absolute best place to look for real time road conditions. On the website or app, you can see traffic, accidents, and road conditions on the route you plan to take. Most people coming up from the Valley take Hwy 87, but Strawberry is accessible from I-17 too. If you happen to have a reservation on a day of extreme weather that results in closures, we will absolutely contact you. The safety of our guests is a top priority! If you’re not as comfortable driving through snow, I recommend booking The Guest House OR at the main Inn rooms, as it’s located right on Hwy 87. While Fossil Creek Rd is usually cleared pretty quickly (that is where the cottages, Airstreams, and other cabins are), Hwy 87 is one of the first roads to be cleared after the snow.
Q: What is the weather like right now?
A: Most weather apps are pretty darn accurate, but my personal preference is AccuWeather. In addition to the current and future weather conditions, the app will indicate amount of snow expected, air quality, fishing report, and more.
Q: If a big storm comes while we’re at the Inn, what equipment do you have on site?
A: We supply small shovels, emergency heaters, and extra water for emergencies.
Q: What supplies do you recommend I bring?
A: Of course, make sure you pack warm enough clothing. I recommend bringing layers. A warm base layer goes a LONG way. If I’m going to be actively hiking or playing in the snow, I do my base layer, snow bib, snow jacket, hat, scarf, wool socks, boots, and gloves. Make sure you bring extra clothing items in case your clothes get wet! In addition to clothing, I suggest bringing some extra snacks just in case (protein bars, trail mix, crackers, fruit, and other things that don’t need to be refrigerated.). And don’t forget water! Just because it’s cold out doesn’t mean you can’t get dehydrated. Lastly, it’s never a bad idea to bring something like cat litter just in case you get your car stuck in the snow and need something to give your car traction to get out!
Q: Do I need 4WD?
A: No, but also yes. If the roads are fully cleared and it’s not actively snowing, most vehicles will be completely fine to take the trip. However, there are times when Payson will require 4WD or chains. In those instances, the information will be posted on AZ 511, and on visible signage on your way into town. I recommend you feel comfortable and confident driving in snow! Being a southern California girl myself, and living in Arizona as long as I have, I definitely defer to my Nebraska-raised husband for all things SNOW.
Q: What else do I need to know?
A: Windmill Coffee is open nearly every day of the year (Dan even walks there in the snow!!) to supply your warm beverages. The Chalet and Bandits are great local food options that are walkable from the Inn. The Chalet is open 365 days a year, and Bandits nearly always has someone working, even in the snow! So you have options even if you’re waiting for roads to be cleared and need a bite to eat or something to drink.
That’s all! If you have any questions that we didn’t address here, please feel free to shoot us a message! Be safe, and see you ‘berry soon!