Let’s get one thing straight: Arizona isn’t all cowboys and gunslingers — it’s a state filled to the brim with culture and things to do and boasts natural wonders like nowhere else. Undoubtedly, it’s one of the most worthwhile states to visit, and that’s saying something.
Arizona isn’t one of the USA’s most tropical destinations (not by a long shot), but it has a unique charm you won’t find anywhere else. Arizona has everything from infamous landmarks like the Grand Canyon and incredible national parks to mouthwatering food and fun-filled cities.
That said, I’m sure you’re interested in learning more about the 48th state. So, what are you waiting for? It’s time to dive into 16 Arizona facts you probably don’t know.
When you think of Arizona, the Grand Canyon National Park takes center stage in your mind, right? The Grand Canyon is one of those magnificent natural wonders of the world, alongside places like Mount Everest and the Great Barrier Reef. Its recognition as a natural wonder is certainly no surprise.
People worldwide flock to the Canyon in droves every year, making it one of Arizona’s most popular tourist attractions. What’s more is that the Canyon has one of the most impressive skywalks in the world, sitting at a whopping 4,000 feet above the Colorado River at its highest point.
You heard that right. There are 22 national parks and monuments that adorn Arizona, so there is a real treasure trove of interesting spots to visit. Each monument and park is unique and shows the true beauty of the state.
Petrified Forest National Park and Saguaro National Park are amazing, but the jury’s out — Arizona’s Grand Canyon remains the most visited national park. Here’s a quick list of some other notable parks and monuments:
- Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park
- Walnut Canyon National Monument
- Montezuma Castle National Monument
- Chiricahua National Monument
- Hoover Dam
One of the most fun facts about Arizona is the nicknames that the state has earned over the years. Two notable ones are the “Copper State” and the “Grand Canyon State”.
The “Copper State” name comes from Arizona’s abundance of copper ore. It became known for its booming copper mining industry during its early statehood. By 1907, Arizona was the most prominent producer of copper in the country.
The “Grand Canyon State” is a much more obvious name, coming from the most iconic landmark Arizona has to offer — the Grand Canyon.
One of the most interesting facts about Arizona has to be that it’s part of the Four Corners Monument. This monument is the only part of the US where you can stand in four different states at once. It’s the point where four states meet: Colorado, New Mexico, Utah, and Arizona.
Based on the prominence of desert areas scattered across Arizona, it’s a bit of a no-brainer that the state is home to the hottest city in the US — Phoenix.
Phoenix is a warm and sunny city all year round, with the one exception being the occasional cool night and early morning. Even then, the temperature rarely drops below 50°F (10°C). The highest temperatures are in July, reaching average highs of 108°F (42°C).
Arizona was way ahead of the game when it came to realizing daylight savings time (DST) isn’t for them. The state decided to make the change to standard time in 1968.
Why, you may ask? Well, the whole point of DST is to set clocks an hour ahead to make full use of the sunshine. Arizona, however, is already the sunniest state, so they don’t need that extra hour.
Despite this, there is still one region of the state that uses DST: the Navajo Nation, which sits in northeastern Arizona.
Like many other states in the west of the US, Arizona was a part of Mexico until the Mexican-American war, which ended in 1848. After the Mexican-American war, the ownership of the land was ceded to the US, but Arizona didn’t become a state until February 14th, 1912, making it the 48th official US state.
The Arizona capital, Phoenix, is the most populous state capital, with a population of around 1.65 million people as of this year, according to the World Population Review. This is followed up by Austin (Texas) and Columbus (Ohio) as the second and third most populated capitals in the country.
With the rolling hills and mountainous terrains of Arizona, it’s no wonder hikers will have an absolute blast here. It’s one of the most popular hiking locations due to the weather and scenery. There are plenty of hiking trails to choose from, but here are just a few locations for hikers to give a try:
- Cathedral Rock (Sedona)
- Bear Canyon (near Tucson)
- Humphrey’s Peak (near Flagstaff)
- Grand Falls (Flagstaff)
- Petrified Forest (near Holbrook)
You can’t talk about Arizona facts without mentioning something about the music industry. Music is special to many people worldwide, and Arizonian musicians are no strangers to sharing that joy. You might not expect it, but some of the world’s greatest musicians and singers come from Arizona.
Artists worth talking about include Stevie Nicks from Fleetwood Mac, the phenomenal jazz composer Charles Mingus, Chester Bennington from Linkin Park, and even Jordan Sparks. Those are just a few mentions, but the point stands: the music world in Arizona is unbeatable.
Animal lovers will enjoy this one. One of the cool facts is that Arizona is home to some unique wildlife that you’ll find spread across the land and designated wildlife preserves. The state environment caters to everything from big cats, bears, and small mammals to diverse bird species and reptiles.
Since a complete list will be way too long, here are just a few examples:
- Black bears
- Apache trout
- Gila monster (the only venomous lizard native to the US)
- Coatimundi (a raccoon relative)
- Arizona ridge-nosed rattlesnake
It’s clear by now that Arizona offers some of the best backpacking trips in the US, but what about those longer journeys that only a car can make happen?
Given the state’s bevvy of national parks, monuments, forests, mountains, and lakes, sometimes it’s best to experience it all on a road trip. There are a plethora of scenic routes that road-trippers use each year that you’ll love.
Read Next: If you’re a road-tripper in Arizona, you’ll appreciate a few tips for planning an adventurous road trip.
Did you know that many states in the US share the same state bird? For example, the Mockingbird is shared by Arkansas, Florida, Texas, Tennessee, and Mississippi. Well, Arizona wanted its own, and what better option than the Cactus Wren?
At around the same time as the state flower, this species was named the state’s official bird in 1931. But what makes it so remarkable? Well, for starters, this bird is native to Arizona and thrives in the state’s climate. Plus, its birdsong is special in its own right, with a certain raspy and harsh sound that’s unlike any other species.
The Saguaro Cactus is native to the Sonoran desert. It’s the largest cactus in the US and has long been a symbol of the southwest and Arizona.
Since the Saguaro Cactus can only grow in the Sonoran desert, the only places you can find them is in Arizona and Sonora, Mexico. The Saguaro Cactus Blossom is a gorgeous white flower that was officially named the state flower in 1931.
A lot has already been said about Arizona and the landscapes it offers, but there’s a reason for that. There are many experiences that don’t involve hiking up the mountains and through national forests.
Adventurers can explore the depths of some incredible caves, like those in Colossal Cave Mountain Park or Lava River Cave. No other state can really offer what Arizona can in the way of stunning and impressive caves. That said, here are some more of the best caves in Arizona worth a look.
This last fact is short and sweet but worth knowing nonetheless. The Arizona state motto, Ditat Deus, translates to “God Enriches.” Whether referring to the religious beliefs of the people here or the beauty of the natural landscape that was given, this motto pretty much sums up Arizona.
There you have it: 16 captivating and fun facts about Arizona.
Arizona boasts diverse wildlife, natural environments, and an exciting history, so this state is as great as it comes. At the end of the day, though, this is only a fraction of what Arizona offers, and now that you know, you can start planning your next trip.
Read Next: If these Arizona facts piqued your interest, why not take a look at the Sunshine State and enjoy some of these fun facts about Florida next?
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