January 2019 – Most people come to the Arizona desert in January to get out of the snow and ice and enjoy some balmy weather. But when snow and ice blew into central Arizona on New Year’s Eve this week, we jumped at the chance to get out on New Year’s Day to enjoy the fluffy white stuff while it lasted.
We headed north on I-17 which takes travelers from the Sonoran Desert in Phoenix at about 1,200′ elevation to the ponderosa pine forests of Flagstaff at about 7,500′ elevation in just two hours of highway driving. Not far from the northern boundaries of Phoenix we began seeing patches of snow along the highway.
Snow had collected on the rock formations and in the forests by the side of the highway as we climbed higher and higher in elevation.
Our goal had just been to go see some snow, but we soon realized our afternoon New Year’s snow drive needed a destination.
We wanted to see a quaint town full of holiday cheer along with ice and snow, so we cut off from I-70 onto Route 260 and 89A to go to the historic copper mining town of Jerome.
Jerome is perched halfway up towering Mingus Mountain, and it clings to the hillside with tenacity as it looks out over the valley below. The views are vast, and when we arrived storm clouds and golden sunlight were taking turns shading and lighting the valley.
The town was built along several steep switchbacks in the road that crosses Mingus Mountain, and houses and shops stand at several different levels on the mountain road. A few staircases take shortcuts between each level, leading from one road up to the next.
Jerome is something of a rediscovered ghost town, and there are ghostly themes all over the place. We noticed a skeleton was about to join a family eating outside on a restaurant deck.
Another skeleton was climbing the sign at the Haunted Hamburger.
Jerome is a really popular destination in the summertime because it is an easy drive from baking hot Phoenix, and the temps are cool and refreshing because it lies halfway up a tall mountain. But it makes a delightful wintertime destination too, especially around the holidays. Christmas decorations were everywhere.
Walking the streets of Jerome, we saw beautiful views across the valley. The red rocks of Sedona were nearby, and they lit up in the distance as the sun began to sink lower in the sky.
All the buildings were covered with a layer of snow, which made for a fun change of scenery after weeks in the dusty dry deserts of New Mexico and Arizona.
We followed the switchbacks to the top of town.
The Jerome Grand Hotel stood proudly overlooking the valley.
Inside the lobby of the Jerome Grand Hotel we read some of the guests’ hand written ghost stories that have been collected in a notebook. All kinds of things go bump in the night at this hotel, and visitors have some hair raising tales to tell. Just ask the person at the front desk if you can see the guestbook of stories about this haunted hotel!
The sun set in pastel shades of peach and pink and blue as we walked back down into town.
As we made our way back to the parking area at the bottom of town we saw lots of Christmas lights on the houses.
All the trees in the small town park were decorated with lights, but it was the lights on the ground blinking under the snow that caught our attention.
Jerome is a cute town and a lovely spot to for a change of pace from the desert, especially during the holidays when it snows!
Never miss a post — it’s free!
More info about Jerome, Arizona:
Other blog posts from nearby:
- Fossil Creek Waterfall – A Pretty Hike to a Scenic Cascade
- Dead Horse Ranch State Park + Tuzigoot and Clarkdale
- Broken Arrow Trail in Sedona, AZ – What a Hike!
- Hiking the “Pig Trails” in Sedona, AZ – Breathtaking! (oink oink!)
- Top Sedona AZ Hikes: Little Horse to Chicken Point + Templeton Trail (Cathedral Rock)!
- Brins Mesa Trail & Unexpected Delights in Sedona Arizona!
- Sedona Arizona – Brooding Skies at Sunset in the Red Rocks
- The Crack at Wet Beaver Creek (Bell Trail Hike), Sedona, AZ
- Sedona, Arizona – Great Beer, Coffee, Red Rocks & Psychics!
- Bell Rock Pathway, Sedona AZ – Hiking & Biking the Red Rocks
- Cathedral Rock at Red Rock Crossing – Sedona AZ
- Montezuma’s Castle & Schnebly Hill – Sedona Heights!
- Sedona Reflections on the West Fork Trail
- Oh, Sedona – Scenic drives in the red rocks!!
Our most recent posts:
- Willow Lake (& more) around the Granite Dells in Prescott AZ 06/07/23
- Granite Dells at Watson Lake near Prescott AZ – SPECTACULAR! 05/25/23
- Lynx Lake, Arizona – Great RV Camping Near Prescott! 05/17/23
- How to Fix a Car or Truck Key Fob in Minutes! 05/04/23
- RV Keyless Entry Door Lock Problems? Try this quick fix! 04/28/23
More of our Latest Posts are in the MENU.
New to this site? Visit RVers Start Here to find where we keep all the good stuff and check out our GEAR STORE!!
<-Previous || Next->
Jerome is a nice town to explore. Just don’t want to take a large RV up that road. We stayed at the fairgrounds in Cottonwood. Love the photos. And if Buddy ever needs a new home contact me.
Very funny, Bob. Buddy’s a sweetheart! We took our popup up and over Mingus Mountain years ago and that was okay, but anything much bigger would be a white knuckle ride. There’s a campground at the top of the mountain and lots of folks take trailers there, but it’s worth it to drive the road in something smaller first to mull it over before taking a big RV.
We love Jerome and seeing live bands on the weekends from 2-6 pm at the Spirit Room. Love hearing good rock and roll and having a beer and not having to stay up late. Now that we moved to Prescott, Jerome is about a 45 minute drive via the Mingus Mountain drive, so I expect we will be regular visitors.
How fun! I didn’t know that the Spirit Room had live bands on weekend afternoons. Sounds like a blast! That whole area of Arizona where you live now is beautiful, and we both love Prescott. Long ago, we tent camped at a little USFS campground in Prescott that was built by the CCC in the 30s and enjoyed a memorable stay. Our camp hosts were named Tree and Sky and they were living in a teepee. Classic!
Lovely pictures of this quaint little town. Thanks for sharing. Of course, this post would have been even better if it included a series of Puppy Chow pictures. 😉
Thanks, Bob. Puppy Chow didn’t make the trip that day, so he’ll have to explore Jerome another time. It was a day with the grandkids, and he stayed home and played with the other pups!
Ursula and I visited Jerome back around 1977 when I was in college In Flagstaff. We recall the ghost town history very clearly. It was nearly as nice then as it seems now! I do recall going by a building that had been a brothel in the times when Jerome was an active mining town.
Jerome was a pretty wild town in its day, and it was known as the “wickedest town in the west” because of all the sinful things that went on there. The row of brothels was easily reached by going down “Husband’s Alley,” and there was a ladies jail that still stands! You’ve gotta coma back for a visit sometime, Pete, and see all the amazing changes at NAU!
…lovely pastel scenes….pink and blue sunsets, the red rocks under snow in the distance ! Winter – with the promise of peppermint hot chocolate !
It was a lovely day. There’s a magical coziness in wintry scenes like this, especially with the warmth of a peppermint hot chocolate waiting inside!!
Wonderful pictures! Thanks so much for posting. We first visited Jerome in 1960 and it was pretty quiet in those days. Most houses were boarded up and in many places the mountain rocks had barreled right through the living room. The town is prospering now and that is good to see.
Jerome is definitely thriving nowadays compared to thirty — or sixty! — years ago. It must have been so very different in those days. It has a nice feeling as you walk around town now, and the artsy aspect is very fun!