It’s summer in the Valley, and it’s hot. If you have time for a day trip, or even an extended stay, up in a place with cooler weather, why wouldn’t you? Luckily, there are forests and high elevations in almost all directions, where the weather is significantly cooler and wetter and the views are second to none. The best part: you can drive to all these places in a few hours.
Located near the town of Greer and the Sunrise Ski Resort, Big Lake is just one of the dozens of natural lakes on the Mogollon Rim. The elevation in the Big Lake area sits around 9,000 feet, and the average high temperature in the nearest towns is a beautiful 75.6 degrees in July.
The fishing is great here, and the views of meadows, forests, and often perennially snowcapped mountains are stunning. There are lots of places to park an RV or go camping, and there are cabins available for rent in Greer all year round.
Flagstaff is the biggest city in northern Arizona, known for being the gateway to the Grand Canyon, home of Northern Arizona University, and the Sno Bowl Ski Resort. Arguably the best features of Flagstaff are its beautiful ecosystem and cool temperatures, all while being only a 2.5-hour drive from the Phoenix area. The average high temperature in July is 82 degrees.
There are countless resorts, hotels, and B&B’s in and around Flagstaff waiting to take in flatlanders trying to escape the heat. In the downtown area, there are several great food options and bars.
The nature in Flagstaff and the surrounding area is absolutely amazing, with stands of ponderosa pines mixed with aspen trees, occasionally separated by meadows.
Mount Lemmon is one of the most prominent “Sky Islands” in southern Arizona, and the weather does not disappoint. Situated just north of the city of Tucson, a drive from Fountain Hills to the resort on top takes about 3.5 hours.
While Mount Lemmon is best known for its ski resort that runs throughout the winter and spring, the surrounding village is full of cabins to rent, trails to hike, an observatory to tour, and a few cute restaurants to enjoy.
The drive up the mountain and what you’ll see from the top are some of the best views you can find in the state. With an average July temperature of 76.5 degrees and an elevation of 9,171 feet, Mount Lemmon is a place you’ll want to see – and feel.