Road Trip: Kids, a Schnauzer, Snow and the Grand Canyon

Dew Downtown Flagstaff 2014

Alex and Ava at the open play area at Dew Downtown Flagstaff 2014.

A few weekends ago we decided to take an impromptu trip to Flagstaff, Arizona. The sleepy little college town in Northern Arizona was hosting the annual Dew Downtown festival and so we figured we’d head up for a little snow play. Since it was going to be a long day, we decided to bring along Winston, our one year-old miniature schnauzer.

Flagstaff is definitely a dog-friendly town and Winston loves to travel, so we knew we were in for an exciting day. We just didn’t know how exciting it would end up being. After arriving in Flagstaff and finding parking, we hung out on San Francisco Street, which had been closed and converted into a little winter paradise. We watched snowboarders and skiers show their talent on the manmade snow hill, watched Winston interact with the bevy of dogs also attending the event and then let the kids have some fun in the snowy open play area.

After a few hours it was time for food and so we headed over to NiMarco’s Pizza. I did a little research the night before we left so I knew that the eatery had a dog-friendly patio for Winston. Ava was delighted that they offered up her new favorite pizza – grilled chicken and pesto. While chowing down I decided to ask the kids if they were in the mood to head up to the Grand Canyon. It is only about 1.5 hours from Flagstaff and although we’ve been there before, none of us had ever seen snow at the Grand Canyon.

Schnauzer in the Snow

Winston checking out the snow in Tusayan, Arizona.

Always up for an adventure, the kids jumped on the idea and we loaded up the 4Runner and headed for Grand Canyon National Park. We took a quick pit stop in Tusayan so Winston could take a break and the kids could play in the snow. This was Winston’s first real exposure to the snow and he loved it. After the potty and stretching break we went through the gates and into the park.

Much to our surprise, dogs were allowed on the paved Rim Trail. As we were taking Winston out of his crate in the back of the truck, some foreign tourists giggled in delight at seeing the schnauzer and started taking pictures of us…yes, taking photos of us taking our pet out of the back of the truck. Alex got a kick out of the attention.

Looking at Phantom Ranch

Alex and Ava looking at Phantom Ranch at the bottom of the Grand Canyon.

Yavapai Geology Museum

Alex and Ava outside the Yavapai Geological Museum at the Grand Canyon.

After traipsing across the muddy parking lot, we found that there was still a lot of snow along the Rim Trail. Of course, everyone got in on the snow action – snowball fights, digging in the snow, snow sculptures and more. Several times during our walk along the rim, tourists would stop to take pictures of Winston and he would pose for the camera. One family wanted a picture with the kids so the matriarch hopped in between my two smiling kids for a photo that would be making its way back to the Far East. The same thing happened during our Yellowstone vacations and both the kids said that it makes them “feel famous” to pose for pictures with international visitors.

Winston Peering Into Grand Canyon

Winston peering into the deep and colorful Grand Canyon.

Schnauzer Posing for Pictures

Winston the Mini Schnauzer posing for the camera-wielding foreign tourists.

After we had our fill of the snow it was time to pack it up and head home. As we made our way out of Flagstaff on I-17, we were greeted with a beautiful sunset – the perfect ending to the perfect day.

Sunset in Arizona

A beautiful Arizona sunset.

About Melissa

Melissa is an Arizona native that loves traveling with her family. Follow Melissa on Twitter and don't forget to Subscribe to Mutterings of a Mindless Mommy. You can also find Melissa at The Autism Education Site.


  1. Sounds like an amazing day! Having been to the Grand Canyon only once for a couple of hours I can totally appreciate this spur of the moment adventure! Thanks for sharing and the sunset is absolutely beautiful! Best Regards, Wendy

  2. What a fun trip! I’ve never thought about going there in the winter, but it looks gorgeous with the snow. Thanks for sharing! :)

  3. Sounds like a wonderful trip and the photos are beautiful! Taking the kids to the Grand Canyon is on our family to-do list sometime.