The Grand Canyon State



If I live here in the desert, what else can I learn about?


Arizona is our nations 6th largest state, covering almost 114,000 square miles of the southwestern United States.  With slightly over 6.6 million people, it has the 15th largest population in the country.  Arizona became the 48th state admitted to the Union in 1912, the last state before Alaska and Hawaii.  Being the newest state on the continent adds to the sentiment and the belief that Arizona is still part of the "old west" and our "last new frontier".


Arizona shares its southern border with Mexico, its eastern border with the state of New Mexico, and its western border with the state of California.  It shares most of its northern border with Utah, but on its NW corner it borders Nevada, and on its NE corner it borders Colorado.  At the point where Arizona touches Colorado, it also touches New Mexico and Utah.  This point known as "Four Corners" is a major tourist attraction as people like to come to the only place in the United States where you can stand in four states at the same time.


Arizona is known as the Grand Canyon State, and over 5 million people per year visit Grand Canyon National Park. The canyon is over a mile deep, approximately 277 miles long, and up to 18 miles wide in some parts.  At the bottom of the canyon is the mighty Colorado River, which enters the northern part of the state where the Glen Canyon Dam forms the water reservoir and the recreation area of Lake Powell. After the river runs through the Grand Canyon, the Hoover Dam forms the reservoir and recreation area of Lake Mead. From here the river flows south, where a series of smaller dams control the flow all the way down the Arizona/California border and into Mexico.  The river provides some great recreation areas and serves as the major source of water for the western part of the state.


Besides the Grand Canyon, there are many other national parks, monuments, and forests, and a thriving State Park system that offers attractive recreation areas for residents and visitors.  The southern half of Arizona is noted for its desert climate, with very hot summers and mild winters.  The northern half of the state features forests of pine, fir, and spruce trees, with mountain ranges and other large deep canyons, and has more moderate summer temperatures and significant winter snowfalls.  There are ski resorts in the San Francisco Mountains near Flagstaff in the northern part of the state, the White Mountains near Alpine in the eastern part of the state.


The two largest cities in Arizona are Phoenix, with a population over 1.5 million people, and Tucson, with a little bit over half a million people. Surrounding the city of Phoenix, and making up the metropolitan area of over 3 million people, are the cities of Mesa, Chandler, Glendale, Gilbert, Scottsdale, Tempe, Peoria, and Surprise. This makes Phoenix the 14th largest metropolitan area in the United States, and a destination for retirees, as well as working families, couples and individuals.


With more people and more area, a great housing market, and more job opportunities than any city in the southwest, the Phoenix metro area is a great destination for people to move to. Nearly 300,000 people move to Arizona every year, and over 200,000 end up in the Phoenix metropolitan area.