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Old 09-21-2017, 10:06 AM   #1
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Arizona and Southern Utah in January a Pipe Dream?

I am in the process of planning a trip for January and looking at Southern Utah (Bryce Canyon and Zion), the Petrified Forest, Flagstaff, Sedona, Camp Verde, Williams, Page, Lake Havasu, Ajo, Tucson, and Tombstone. This is certainly not written in stone as I have only been working on it a few days. I know due to the hurricanes that Snowbirders may be heading that way but we really dont want to make reservations so far out in advance. Is that a risky way to go? Any recommendations, advice, etc. would be so appreciated as this is a part of the country I am totally unfamiliar with. Also suggestions as to what to see would be so helpful although I already have a long list, too long in fact. I know January is probably not the optimal time to visit but its the time Ive got! Thank you in advance.
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Old 09-21-2017, 10:11 AM   #2
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Bryce is over 8000 feet. In January that means full on winter conditions.
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Old 09-21-2017, 10:27 AM   #3
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Zion, Petrified Forest and Bryce Canyon have lots to see so no spacial place to go there. Bryce Canyon could have snow & be cold at that time of the year. Williams is the gateway to the South Rim of the Grand Canyon. Quite a few RV parks there. Might think about taking the train ride to the Canyon from there. Page is at the south end of Lake Powell. Flagstaff is nice Sunset Crater is close. Lake Havasu has the London Bridge. Tucson has lots of RV parks. Old Tucson is worth going to. Many a TV & movie has been filmed there.
Tombstone is well Tombstone old western town. Camp Verde & Sedona are close to each other. Jerome which is a old mining town is about 1/2 way between them. Ajo doesn't ring a bell with me so can't help you there. Need to see Quartzsite in January. It's something you have to do at least once.
You have a lot on your plate to see. Just how much time do you have out West here?
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Old 09-21-2017, 10:40 AM   #4
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Arizona and Utah in January - A Pipe Dream?

Thanks so much for the ideas. We'll probably have about 5 weeks, more or less excluding getting there from eastern NC and then back home.
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Old 09-21-2017, 10:41 AM   #5
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Despite what the AZ, Chamber of Commerce will tell you , there is winter in AZ in Jan.
Flagstaff, Williams , Utah, and all high ground areas will get snow.
Lake Havasu City, Phoenix , Quartzsite and Yuma will get overnight frost. On many occasions for four or five days in a row.
The locals , whine and snivel like it's never happened before , but it has for the 10 years I've been snowbirding in AZ and Southern CA.

Most parks in the area will be close to or completely full in Jan/Feb. They start to thin out in Mar. till spring break.
Best chance for good weather /driving conditions , would be after Feb. 15th.
EDIT: Coming through from NC. You'll need to be aware of driving conditions in NM. too . In Jan. there will be snow there.
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Old 09-21-2017, 11:28 AM   #6
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We were in the Grand Canyon CG last year in late January and got 16 of snow. It was cleared out in a couple of days...
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Old 09-21-2017, 11:33 AM   #7
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Don't overlook Painted Desert & Petrified Forest.

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Old 09-21-2017, 11:58 AM   #8
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Stay 50 miles south of Flagstaff or stay home for winter as others have said you will be in winter weather from there north. Staying around I10 and south there is plenty to keep you busy for you time. You will be in the warmest part of AZ during that time. Just read a bit about these areas and have fun.

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Old 09-21-2017, 03:46 PM   #9
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I am in the process of planning a trip for January and looking at Southern Utah (Bryce Canyon and Zion), the Petrified Forest, Flagstaff, Sedona, Camp Verde, Williams, Page, Lake Havasu, Ajo, Tucson, and Tombstone.

This is certainly not written in stone as I have only been working on it a few days.

I know due to the hurricanes that Snowbirders may be heading that way but we really don’t want to make reservations so far out in advance. Is that a risky way to go?

Any recommendations, advice, etc. would be so appreciated as this is a part of the country I am totally unfamiliar with.

Also suggestions as to what to see would be so helpful although I already have a long list, too long in fact.

I know January is probably not the optimal time to visit but it’s the time I’ve got!

Thank you in advance.
IMHO this is the BEST TIME of the Year - Been a while but when the kids were in college we flew them out to Vegas and then did Zion and Bryce before all of us flew back (Maryland) for Christmas.

Zion and Angles Landings in shorts and T's in the 70's then on to Bryce - 8-10 " of Snow - the most amazing view of the Hoo Doo's with snow and the sun coming out for a Magnificent Sunset.

Have been back to both but have never topped that trip, so it is Winter, Sure but it's Utah and the Desert, so it can be amazing, if you are up for it.

Keep working on it - If I were you I'd do a trip with a couple of options (Honestly think you have loaded your plate like it's ThanksGiving and your eyes might just be a little big. So pare it down a little - Guessing you will be coming through Texas - so Carlsbad and White Sands on the way then Window Rock - Canyon de Chelly - befor Monument Valley and then to Page - could sneak in Mesa Verde - now you need to keep an eye on the weather as it is ever changing to get over to Zion and Bryce - (we've even still been able to get to North Rim once as the roads were not snow covered) think you will need to check on going over the mountain to Boulder and Capitol Reef and Goblins Generally it is Pretty cold so keep the Propane tank full and if needed just hunker down for a day or two. It's Cold - Yes, but the sun comes out and it gets warm - so layers are critical - along with really GOOD BOOTs - I cannot begin to tell you how Blue the Sky is in the Winter out there - It Blows MY Mind - If things start to just get too Cold just head SOUTH - Yuma always has space.

A lot of your sights seem to be out of an old book - what are you looking for - photo's or Hiking? - just drive throughs? lot's of ways to do it.

Elevation is key to temperature and Snow Sticking - a watchful Eye is Critical - what you like would be helpful - but IMHO you are on the right Path, one I would Love.

Hope this is of some help,

Best of Luck,
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Old 09-21-2017, 05:41 PM   #10
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In January 2017 the low got down to 39 for one day in Lake Havasu. Most of the month it was high 40s to low 50s for the low.

https://weather.com/weather/monthly/...+USAZ0116:1:US

For January, we have:

The Balloon Festival Jan 19-21
Buses by the bridge Jan 12-14
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Old 09-22-2017, 05:07 AM   #11
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Again, thanks so much for the tips and for the encouragement. We like to hike and visit historical places but not into big cities very much. Cold weather doesn't bother us and we get a little crazy over snow being from the North Carolina coast where snow is very rare. We were in Texas and New Mexico last January so got some of the cold weather and the winds. Although I will have a tentative itinerary when we leave we can be flexible due to weather. We ended up staying an extra day in Fort Davis last year with the slides pulled in due to high winds. I have looked at blogs, chamber of commerce, etc on places to visit and know that I will have to pare this list down a lot. One of our grands has a birthday on February 23 so we will have to be in Clemmons, NC by then. Otherwise we are free to travel from January 1 on, perhaps leaving earlier if no one asks us to babysit for New Years!
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Old 09-22-2017, 06:06 AM   #12
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Again, thanks so much for the tips and for the encouragement.

We like to hike and visit historical places but not into big cities very much.

Cold weather doesn't bother us and we get a little crazy over snow being from the North Carolina coast where snow is very rare.

Winds are the biggest issue, IMHO, so keep an eye on the weather and state DOT weather/wind warnings - Snow just means slow - as in the Western Desert it will not last long, and it really adds to the beauty of those Red Rocks. If you have been before you already know, if you don't like the weather just wait it's changing, soon.

We were in Texas and New Mexico last January so got some of the cold weather and the winds.

Although I will have a tentative itinerary when we leave we can be flexible due to weather.

Just set areas as the destinations, once you get there, the problem is not if there is anything to see but what will you choose. Just so much in your chosen destinations, and you will have the added benefit of having many places all to yourself. I always recommend good Boots - and Good small Camera - lot's of memory and extra battery - you can never take too many pictures, just so so much to see.


We ended up staying an extra day in Fort Davis last year with the slides pulled in due to high winds. I have looked at blogs, chamber of commerce, etc on places to visit and know that I will have to pare this list down a lot.

Your list will depend a lot on how quickly you get to the Southwest, so the drive out will be to push it hard so as to have a relaxing time while there - 2,500 + miles just to get to the outer edge of your trip so you will have your share of Windshield Time - as you say you did Texas and New Mexico last year so just get as far west as possible then work slowly home.

One of our grands has a birthday on February 23 so we will have to be in Clemmons, NC by then.

So say 50 days total and 5,000+ miles - you will still need to do a little planning - as that is a big bite - List the main areas you are looking to see then do a post on them to get Forum Feed Back - if you don't ask, hard to find all the little places others have been - Try to keep the questions on specific areas, so as to get good answers on the areas you are searching - Must be something with birthdays that they can't all just be at the same time?

Otherwise we are free to travel from January 1 on, perhaps leaving earlier if no one asks us to babysit for New Years!
Sounds like you have a really good handle, on your plans - will be interesting to follow your decisions, and see your Pictures of this Adventure.

Best of Luck,
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Old 09-22-2017, 07:44 AM   #13
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We live in Sedona and MH from here. Many of your places will be full on winter, as others have said. Winter in Sedona averages highs in the 50s and 60s and lows of around 30, but lows in the teens aren't uncommon. Days virtually always go above freezing. We camped here (before moving here) in January-February. Had three nights in a row with lows of 18-20-18 with some snow. Every day went back up into the 40s or higher. It was no problem to camp in that. If you would like some Sedona area specific information I would be happy to try to answer your questions.
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Old 09-22-2017, 09:00 AM   #14
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We live in Sedona and MH from here. Many of your places will be full on winter, as others have said. Winter in Sedona averages highs in the 50s and 60s and lows of around 30, but lows in the teens aren't uncommon. Days virtually always go above freezing. We camped here (before moving here) in January-February. Had three nights in a row with lows of 18-20-18 with some snow. Every day went back up into the 40s or higher. It was no problem to camp in that. If you would like some Sedona area specific information I would be happy to try to answer your questions.


Any campground recommendations in the Sedona area? We have a 39' MH. Thanks.
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