Arizona covers a large land area much of which is wilderness or agricultural land. Population is concentrated in a number of urban areas although the state also contains numerous rural communities. As the content of this site grows we will add more detail around those communities that are of interest to the visitor. For now we will concentrate upon the major centres.
Situated in central Arizona Phoenix is the state capital and is situated in the Sonoran desert at around 1oo0 feet above sea level. It is the sixth largest city in the US and is also one of the fastest growing metropolitan areas. There are a number of things that are of interest to the visitor and these are described in more depth on the Phoenix page. One thing to appreciate is that the Phoenix metropolitan area (also referred to as the valley of the sun) is a collection of individual municipalities. The best known of these in addition to Phoenix itself are Scottsdale, Mesa and Tempe. Perhaps the best thing about Phoenix is that it combines all the best aspects of a modern American metropolis with easy access to some true wilderness and of course year round outdoor recreation opportunities.
Tucson is also known as the Old Pueblo as its heritage stretches back to the days of the Spanish missions. Although much smaller than the Phoenix area it is a major centre for the aviation and hi tech industries. For the visitor it has lots to offer not least of which is a fabulous setting beneath the Santa Catalina mountains. The two sections of Saguaro National Park lie on the outskirts and there are a number of other attractions within easy reach. Other interesting locations such as Tombstone and Bisbee are possible to visit on a driving day trip from Tucson.
Situated in North Central Arizona Flagstaff (known to locals simply as flag) lies at an elevation of around 6900 feet. The climate is much cooler than Phoenix and Tucson hence it is a popular escape from the summer heat of the low desert. In summer temperatures range in the 70’s and 80’s but it can also be much cooler. In the winter months this area receives some serious snowfall meaning that travel needs careful planning. Flagstaff is surrounded by Pine forests and the skyline is dominated by the San Francisco peaks (sacred to a number of Native American cultures), the highest of which Mount Humphreys reaches 12000 feet. There are a number of national parks within driving distance and Flagstaff is also a popular stop off on the way North to the Grand Canyon and the Native American reservations.
Sedona is situated below the Mogollon rim, the geological feature that marks the boundary between the North and South of the state. The landscape is composed of red sandstone that has eroded into a number of interesting landforms. Many believe that the landscape also has spiritual properties as home to a number of energy vortices’s. Sedona is now on the map and has grown enormously in recent years and is a popular weekend destination for the inhabitants of Phoenix as well as an international tourist market. The facilities have also expanded significantly to cope with the increase in visitor numbers. Outside the city there are a range of activities to pursue including visiting ancient rock art sites, jeep trips and hiking.