Snowflake and Taylor are a good jumping-off point for exploring Eastern Arizona, especially if you want to get away from the crowds during summer trips into the nearby White Mountains. Most Phoenix weekenders head for the higher towns of Pinetop and Lakeside, so Snowflake and Taylor don’t get the crush of summer visitors that results in higher prices at hotels and restaurants. Yet, because they’re sandwiched between the White Mountains and the Colorado Plateau, the communities enjoy year-round pleasant weather, with summer highs in the 90s. Yes, as the name suggests, it snows in Snowflake, but it seldom lasts more than a day. It’s also an easy day trip to the Petrified Forest.
Snowflake and Taylor were settled by Mormons in the 1870s and named for Mormon church leaders. Snowflake’s unusual name is a combination of Erastus Snow, an apostle in the early Mormon church of Salt Lake City, and William Flake, one of the town founders. One of Arizona’s two Mormon temples sits on Temple Hill (to the west of Snowflake), and the towns still have a large Mormon contingent in their combined population of 9,000. You can take a walking tour of Snowflake’s historical district, which has pioneer homes and antiques stores.