When to Go
Autumn—when the wet season ends, the stifling desert temperatures are moderate (it's 20°F cooler than Phoenix), and the mountain aspens reach their full golden splendor—is a great time to visit this part of Arizona. During the summer months many Phoenix residents travel north to escape the 100°F temperatures, meaning excessive traffic along Interstate 17 just north of Phoenix on Friday and Sunday evenings. Hotels are less expensive in winter, but mountain temperatures dip below zero, and snowstorms can occur weekly, especially near Flagstaff.
Sedona has springlike temperatures even in January, when it's snowing in Flagstaff, but summer temperatures above 90°F are common.
Festivals and Events
Northern Arizona Barbeque Festival. Forty teams compete for prize money at this cook-off in downtown Williams in mid-June, where you'll find barbecue tasting, a beer garden, and live music. 200 Railroad Ave., Williams, Arizona, 86046. 928/635–4061; www.experiencewilliams.com.
Festival of Science. This 10-day series of exhibits, activities, guided hikes, and talks in Flagstaff is a fun and interactive way to learn about current research in astronomy, geology, and biology. 800/842–7293; www.scifest.org.