Getting here - Airport options
If you are flying into the region, there are 3 typical options:
1. Fly into the Phoenix Sky Harbor International airport (code=PHX). This is the closest major airport hub. Once you are out of the Phoenix metropolitan area, the drive the Mountain Star is beautiful, varied and unusual. You will climb 7,000 feet of elevation, pass through the cactus-studded desert of southern/central Arizona, then through beautiful open, high desert landscapes and finally into the Coconino National Forest of the high-elevation plateau where Flagstaff is located. The entire non-stop drive time from airport to the Mountain Star is typically about 3 hours.
2. Fly directly into the Flagstaff Pulliam Airport (code=FLG). If you book with American Airlines or USAirways and fly into Phoenix Sky Harbor (code=PHX), you can usually get the Flagstaff leg added at a substantial discount. The typical, non-stop drive time from the Flagstaff Pulliam Airport to the Mountain Star is 30-35 minutes.
3. Fly into the Las Vegas McCarran International Airport (code=LAS) The advantage of flying into Las Vegas is both the opportunity to spend time in Las Vegas as part of your vacation before coming to the Mountain Star and/or to stop and see the historic Hoover Dam while you are in route to the Mountain Star. The typical, non-stop drive time from the Las Vegas McCarran Airport to the Mountain Star is 4.5 hours (that is without a stop at Hoover Dam). Please be aware that during the “daylight savings” portion of the year, Las Vegas clock time is one hour earlier than Arizona. Arizona does not observe daylight savings time.
The Mountain Star sits atop the highest plateau in Arizona residing at an elevation of 8,000 feet (2,438 meters). It is not unusual for people to have misconceptions about the weather here since Arizona in general is known for its deserts. The Mountain Star and the town of Flagstaff are in an alpine environment far different from the deserts of the south and experience markedly different weather and seasons. Temperatures can commonly and regularly span 30-50 degrees Farenheit within every 24 hour period!
Refer to the following link for annual weather statistics by month:
The Mountain Star is 1,000 feet higher than the town of Flagstaff and this difference can be significant. In general, the temperatures at the Mountain Star are 4-8 degrees Fahrenheit cooler than town. For a daily forecast tuned to the Mountain Star’s elevation click here.
Summer (June – August)
Summer temperatures are warm by day and refreshingly cool by night. June is distinct as it bridges the spring season into the “monsoon season” of later summer. June is the driest time of year. In June, it can be windy, breezy or calm on any given day, and is almost always sunny. Our so-called "monsoon" season typically starts mid-July (give or take a week or so) and slowly evolves and ends during early September. Don’t let the name “monsoon” scare you. It is a lovely and dynamic time of year here. Spring winds are over. The mornings and evenings are typically lovely and slightly cool. The wee hours of night are very cool providing for the refreshing mornings. It usually does not rain in the morning. A typical day in an active monsoon season begins clear or with puffy, white cumulus clouds that build throughout the morning. The weather typically transitions around mid-day/afternoon into scattered and sometimes locally concentrated rain falls. Rain usually ends before sunset, providing the best sunsets of the year as disbursed and spent storm clouds paint the sky. There are often late evening thunder and lightning storms that can be seen all along the 360 degree horizon from the panoramic perch of The Mountain Star. I love watching these. Sometimes the thunder storm will be very local. It is also possible that you will see little or no rain or see days that do not follow the typical pattern - the season varies every year and can vary from week to week, day to day. Another benefit of this season is the appearance of small herds of bull elk in the meadow. They commonly appear during monsoon dusk and can be seen in the open forest service land right behind the Mountain Star. They also like to appear in front of the Mountain Star during the very early morning (during “gray light”).
Early September marks the slow end to summer and the end of monsoon season. By mid-September autumn has usually begun in earnest. The heart of autumn is mid-September through mid-October and is personally my favorite time of year on the mountain! In short, it is heaven on earth! The daytime temperatures are supremely comfortable and the evenings and mornings crisp and cool – perfect for outdooring activities. The days are almost always calm and sunny to partly sunny. The aspen leaves begin turning gold in this period and if you are lucky enough to stay here during their peak change (timing and intensity varies year to year), you will see lots of gold on the mountain side and in the forest.
Winter (November – March)
Winters vary considerably from year to year, especially in terms of snowfall. Any given day in the winter period can be magnificently beautiful or wickedly stormy. In some years, the Mountain Star is surrounded by snow from November into March, but more commonly in recent years the snow coverage comes and goes with complete melts in between. Typically, cold night time temperatures will begin towards the end of October. Late October through November days can be beautiful and sunny though early winter storms can happen during this period. December through February are the classic winter months bringing with them the coldest average temperatures and the greatest probabilities for snow storms. The canyon will proportionately cold as well (the south rim is at 7,000 feet/ 2100 meters elevation). March is probably the most unpredictable weather month of the year. It can be a glimpse of the spring to come or some final heavy-handedness from winter…and anywhere in between. There may be lots of snow on the ground or none at all. The nights will still be quite cold and it is likely to be breezy, if not windy, much of the time, although occasional calm-day exceptions occur.
In the event of a heavy snow, the highway and interior roads leading to the Mountain Star are plowed in a timely manner (usually within hours) and Rob personally plows the property itself. Although rare, access to the Grand Canyon’s south entrance via Hwy180 can be closed due to heavy snows. This has happened only a few times in the last decade.
Your vehicle does not need to be 4-wheel drive, nor are chains a requirement (unless you plan on ascending Snowbowl road for skiing – this sometimes requires 4-wheel drive or chains). Front-wheel drive is preferable to rear-wheel. If you are renting your automobile, I nonetheless recommend 4-wheel drive as the best option.
In summary, winter days here can be stormy or not at all and are often extraordinarily beautiful to witness (and at the canyon), winter sunrises can be the most incredible of the year and the night skies phenomenal!
To help fend off the cold and provide a cozy respite, The Mountain Star has 4 radiant heaters, a pellet stove and lots of passive solar heat through its majestic south-facing windows. Personally, I enjoy winter, even the extreme weather days, but it is not for everyone.
Spring time skies are typically sunny and clear. The days are marked by lovely, slightly coolish mountain temperatures, the evenings quite cool and the late night time can be cold. This is also the windy season. It is typically at least breezy on a daily basis and many days are very windy. If you don’t mind windiness, this is a beautiful and clear sky time to visit both the Mountain Star and the Grand Canyon. The canyon is much less crowded than the summer season.
I only consider hosting relatively small weddings and/or wedding receptions (40 people or less total). If your event fits this criteria, the one-day venue fee is $750. This fee for using the property only - you are responsible for all other arrangements as well as ensuring the home and property are left clean of all event-related items and left-overs. This fee is in addition to any standard rental fees for persons staying overnight at the property.
If your event is larger, I have a great alternative for you to consider - The Flagstaff Nordic Center. This venue is situated in a beautiful ponderosa pine and aspen forest, commonly hosts weddings and receptions of all sizes and is only 4 miles from the Mountain Star.
The Nordic Center has a wedding point person named Yvonne. You may contact her directly, whether or not you choose to work with the Nordic Center. Her phone number is (928)853-8843 and her email is TouchofTradition@msn.com. I know her personally, and she is a very friendly (and very wedding-knowledgeable) lady. Please tell her that Rob at the Mountain Star referred you.
If you have your event elsewhere, I would suggest that you consider a stay at The Mountain Star for the wedding party and/or wedding couple, especially if you make arrangements with the Nordic Center, as the Mountain Star's proximity would be ideal for pre, during and post wedding day preparations...not to mention being a lovely and romantic place for the wedding couple to escape to following the reception.
There is a $300 fully refundable damage deposit. I would be happy to provide a property viewing provided we can manage to schedule one between guests stays and after I have prepared the property following the previous stay.
Young adults and children are welcome at the Mountain Star though careful parental guidance is needed and expected. The Mountain Star has successfully hosted ages between infant and adult. The home is equipped with 2 child gates for placement at the top of the main stair case and at the top of the loft ladder. The home is also equipped with a portable day bed/play pen for infants/toddlers.
Up to 3 dogs are permitted. There is a pet fee of $15/day/dog. The 5-acre property includes 1.5 acres of fenced “backyard” that may be accessed by both human and dog doors! Kindly ensure that your pets’ claws are newly clipped before bringing them to the wood floors of the Mountain Star. ;)
The Mountain Star is proudly home to the wall art of 3 local artists. Owner Rob Dutton has decorated the home with framed and matted prints of his popular local landscape photography. Also on display are the fine framed prints of renowned wildlife painter and naturalist, David Lash and the beautiful and colorful limited edition giclee framed prints of renowned local artist, musician and river runner, Erica Fareio. All work on display is available for sale as a keepsake of your time at the Mountain Star. View The Mountain Star online gallery.
How long does it take to get to The Grand Canyon?
It is a one hour drive long scenic undivided highway. More info on the Grand Canyon.
Does it really only take only an hour to get to the Grand Canyon?
Yes. It is 53 miles away along scenic, undivided highway.
How far is it to the nearest grocery store?
About 25 minutes’ drive.
How many people can stay at The Mountain Star?
The home is ideal for 6 people but can reasonably accommodate up to 8. There is a nightly fee for each the 7th and 8th person.
How far is it to the nearest restaurant?
There is a ski lodge restaurant that is about 15 minutes’ drive. All other restaurants are in the town of Flagstaff (25-30 minutes’ drive)
How many beds are there and what sizes?
There are 4 beds – a queen in the Sunset master, a king in the Mountain Master and two double beds in the Peak Room (the loft). There is also a queen size inflatable. More info on the rooms.
Can you recommend places to eat?
Yes. A complete restaurant guide is provided upon booking.
Do you have air conditioning?
No, but this has never been an issue. The Mountain Star does not need conventional air conditioning, even in summer. Mountain air and the daily wide span of temperatures are key to a natural air conditioning system. The Mountain Star has operable windows on all sides and ceiling fans in every bedroom, two in the living room and a remotely operable sunroof, as well as a few conventional fans. It is a natural air conditioning system that is easy to regulate with the mountain air and breeze. Late nights are always cool and the mornings refreshing. The large front windows include both light filtering and full light blocking blinds that can also be used to regulate the sun’s direct heat. I include full instructions at the property for using all these mechanisms properly in order to ensure a comfortable stay.
Do you have internet access/Wifi at the property?
Is there anything we should know about coming to high elevation/altitude?
Yes. Drink lots of water and bring sun protection. This is explained further in my check in letter.
Can you help us with or provide recommendations for activity planning in your area?
Absolutely. See our Personal/Extra Services page.
Do you have a crib for babies?
The house comes with a portable day bed/play pen. More about children at The Mountain Star.
Are dogs allowed?
Yes. Up to 3. Daily fee of $15/dog. More about pets at The Mountain Star.
Is smoking permitted?
On the outside deck only.
What is your cancellation policy?
Full refund if cancelled on or before 30 days prior to the start of your stay. If cancelled within 30 days of your stay, I will refund to the extent your originally booked days are re-rented.
Can weddings and/or wedding receptions be booked at your property?
See the "Weddings and Honeymoons" section above.
Does the house have regular TV?
No but it has an extensive DVD collection for viewing on the large flat screen monitor.
Do we need 4-wheel drive?
No, but is nice to have.
To book a stay at the Mountain Star, please visit our Booking page.