Heading south from Holbrook, you'll notice the gradual transition from sparsely vegetated desert plains to grasslands and juniper woodlands near the twin towns of Snowflake and Taylor, then the pinyon and ponderosa pines at Show Low, Lakeside, and Pinetop. Mormon settlers established Snowflake in 1878 and built a solid community that thrives to this day. The town's name refers not to the weather, but to a traveling Mormon official, Erastus Snow, and the leader of the settlement, William Flake. The Snowflake Monument south across the street from the chamber office depicts the meeting of these two men. Citizens take great interest in their pioneer heritage. A Historic District Brochure lists and maps more than 50 structures built in the late 1800s and early 1900s. You can see these on a self-guided or guided tour (the latter takes you inside some buildings not otherwise open). Arizona's second Mormon temple opened west of town in 2002; although not open to the public, you can view the exterior. The wide streets and numbering system around the central church follow the Mormons' City of Zion plan. It's easy to get around town once you've become accustomed to the street naming system, which counts out in the four directions from the junction of Main Street (AZ 77) and Center.
Mormons also founded Taylor, just to the south, in 1881, and named it after a church president.
Stinson Pioneer Museum
The two adobe buildings, later joined, that form the museum date from about 1873 and are the oldest in Snowflake. William Flake purchased them along with the valley from cattleman James Stinson to establish the Mormon community. The first settlers held church meetings, school, and court here. Exhibits show many aspects of pioneer life. Silver Creek Forge in back has a working blacksmith shop that may be in operation when you visit. The museum (928/536-4881, 10 a.m.–4 p.m. Tues.–Sat., donations welcome) is open year-round on your left, one block east of Main Street on First Street North.
The guided Historic Home Tour begins here and visits the interiors of the 1895 James M. Flake Home, 1860s William J. Flake cabin, 1893 John Freeman Home, and the 1906 Jesse N. Smith Home; other structures are also described on the tour, but you don't go inside. A self-guided tour leaflet is available too, if you'd like to explore on your own.
Taylor's Fourth of July Celebration and Rodeo rides on the Fri.-Sat. closest to the 4th. Snowflake Pioneer Days Celebration honors the founding anniversaries of both Salt Lake City and Snowflake on the Thurs.-Sat. closest to July 24; highlights include a rodeo, parade, arts and crafts, a barbecue, fireworks, and a dance. Taylor Sweet Corn Festival on Labor Day weekend celebrates with a parade, arts and crafts, classic car show, and, of course, plenty of corn. The 12 Days of Christmas begin on December 1st with a town and Christmas tree lighting.
Snowflake has a large city park and a swimming pool on N. Main. Snowflake Golf Course (90 N. Country Club Dr., 3 miles west of downtown on AZ 277, 928/536-7233) offers 27 holes year-round.
Accommodations and Food
You can stay in an 1890 pioneer house at the Osmer D. Heritage Inn B&B (161 N. Main St., 928/536-3322 or 866/486-5947, www.heritage-inn.net, $65-120 d); each room has a different antique decor and private bath. Cedar Motel (39 S. Main St., 928/536-3249, $40-60 d) is also downtown and has some kitchenettes. Comfort Inn (2055 S. Main St., 928/536-3888 or 877/505-3888, $79 d regular, $99 d family, $109 d w/hot tub) features an indoor pool, hot tub, and an exercise room at the south edge of town. Silver Creek Inn (825 N. Main St. in Taylor, 928/536-2600 or 888/246-5440, $70 d) is just south of Snowflake and has a hot tub.
Amelia's Garden (305 S. Main St., 928/536-2046, Mon.-Sat. for lunch, $4.50-6) offers tasty Mexican food, a variety of sandwiches, salads, and soups in an attractive house on the south side of downtown; you can pick up organic and natural foods in the grocery section. La Cocina de Eva (201 N. Main St., 928/536-7683, Mon.-Sat. for late breakfast, lunch, and dinner, $3-11) serves fajitas, carnitas (roast pork), fish tacos, and many other popular Mexican items.
The Snowflake-Taylor Chamber of Commerce (113 N. Main St., Ste A, Snowflake, AZ 85937, 928/536-4331, www.snowflaketaylorchamber.org, 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Mon.-Fri.) in the 1893 John Freeman House has maps of the historic district and information about the places open to the public. It's on the corner of Main Street and First Street North, beside a supermarket and across from the church.
On to Show Low