Arizona is a landlocked state situated in the southwestern region of the United States of America. It has a vast and diverse geography famous for its deep canyons, high- and low-elevation deserts, numerous natural rock formations, and volcanic mountain ranges. Arizona shares land borders with Utah to the north, the Mexican state of Sonora to the south, New Mexico to the east, and Nevada to the northwest, as well as water borders with California and the Mexican state of Baja California to the southwest along the Colorado River. Arizona is also one of the Four Corners states and is diagonally adjacent to Colorado.
Arizona is a state in the southwestern region of the United States. It is also part of the Western and the Mountain states. It is the sixth largest and the 14th most populous of the 50 states. Its capital and largest city is Phoenix. Arizona shares the Four Corners region with Utah, Colorado, and New Mexico; its other neighboring states are Nevada and California to the west and the Mexican states of Sonora and Baja California to the south and southwest.
The Southwestern United States, also known as the American Southwest, is the informal name for a region of the western United States. Definitions of the region's boundaries vary a great deal and have never been standardized, though many boundaries have been proposed. For example, one definition includes the stretch from the Mojave Desert in California to Carlsbad, New Mexico, and from the Mexico–United States border to the southern areas of Colorado, Utah, and Nevada. The largest metropolitan areas are centered around Phoenix, Las Vegas, Tucson, Albuquerque, and El Paso. Those five metropolitan areas have an estimated total population of more than 9.6 million as of 2017, with nearly 60 percent of them living in the two Arizona cities—Phoenix and Tucson.
The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the United States or America, is a country composed of 50 states, a federal district, five major self-governing territories, and various possessions. At 3.8 million square miles, the United States is the world's third or fourth largest country by total area and is slightly smaller than the entire continent of Europe's 3.9 million square miles. With a population of over 327 million people, the U.S. is the third most populous country. The capital is Washington, D.C., and the largest city by population is New York City. Forty-eight states and the capital's federal district are contiguous in North America between Canada and Mexico. The State of Alaska is in the northwest corner of North America, bordered by Canada to the east and across the Bering Strait from Russia to the west. The State of Hawaii is an archipelago in the mid-Pacific Ocean. The U.S. territories are scattered about the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea, stretching across nine official time zones. The extremely diverse geography, climate, and wildlife of the United States make it one of the world's 17 megadiverse countries.
Arizona has a total area of 113,998 square miles (295,253 km2), making it the sixth largest U.S. state. Of this area, just 0.32% consists of water, which makes Arizona the state with the second lowest percentage of water area (New Mexico is the lowest at 0.19%). Arizona spans about 335 miles (539 km) at its widest and 390 miles (628 km) at its longest, and has an average elevation of about 4,000 feet (1,200 m). The geographic center of Arizona is located in Yavapai County, approximately 55 miles (89 km) east-southeast of the city of Prescott.
Yavapai County is near the center of the U.S. state of Arizona. As of the 2010 census, its population was 211,073. The county seat is Prescott.
Prescott is a city in Yavapai County, Arizona, United States. According to the 2010 Census, the population of the city is 39,843. The city is the county seat of Yavapai County. In 1864 Prescott was designated as the capital of the Arizona Territory, replacing the temporary capital at Fort Whipple. The Territorial Capital was moved to Tucson in 1867. Prescott again became the Territorial Capital in 1877, until Phoenix became the capital in 1889.
Arizona is divided into 15 counties, and has 90 incorporated cities and towns. Approximately 65 percent of Arizona residents live in Maricopa County, which had a population of 3,880,181 as of the 2000 Census. Maricopa County ranks fourth among the nation's counties in terms of population, and is more populated than 24 of the U.S. states. The county seat of Maricopa County is Phoenix, which is Arizona's largest city and capital.
Maricopa County is a county in the south-central part of the U.S. state of Arizona. The U.S. Census Bureau estimated its population was 4,307,033 as of 2017, making it the state's most populous county, and the fourth-most populous in the United States, containing more than half the population of Arizona. It is more populous than 23 states. The county seat is Phoenix, the state capital and fifth-most populous city in the United States.
Phoenix is the capital and most populous city of Arizona, with 1,626,000 people. It is also the fifth most populous city in the United States, and the most populous American state capital, and the only state capital with a population of more than one million residents.
The next most populous county is Pima County, which had a 2000 population of 843,746. The county seat of Pima County is Tucson, where nearly all of the population is concentrated. Combined, nearly 80% of Arizona residents live in either Maricopa County or Pima County, even though the two counties make up 16% of Arizona's total area. Because of the high population of Maricopa County and Pima County, both counties are dominant in state politics.
Pima County is a county in the south central region of the U.S. state of Arizona. As of the 2010 census, the population was 980,263, making it Arizona's second-most populous county. The county seat is Tucson, where nearly all of the population is centered. The county is named after the Pima Native Americans who are indigenous to this area.
Tucson is a city and the county seat of Pima County, Arizona, United States, and home to the University of Arizona. The 2010 United States Census put the population at 520,116, while the 2015 estimated population of the entire Tucson metropolitan statistical area (MSA) was 980,263. The Tucson MSA forms part of the larger Tucson-Nogales combined statistical area (CSA), with a total population of 1,010,025 as of the 2010 Census. Tucson is the second-largest populated city in Arizona behind Phoenix, both of which anchor the Arizona Sun Corridor. The city is 108 miles (174 km) southeast of Phoenix and 60 mi (97 km) north of the U.S.–Mexico border. Tucson is the 33rd largest city and the 58th largest metropolitan area in the United States (2014).
About 15% of Arizona is privately owned, the remaining land consisting primarily of public forest and park land, Native American reservations, military institutions, and swaths of wilderness held by the Bureau of Land Management. Arizona is home to 21 federally recognized tribes, which are each semi-autonomous. The large majority are part of the Navajo Nation, which is the largest Native American reservation in terms of population and size. The Navajo Reservation covers all of northeastern Arizona along with portions of New Mexico and Utah, and had a population of 180,462 as of the 2000 census.
The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is an agency within the United States Department of the Interior that administers more than 247.3 million acres (1,001,000 km2) of public lands in the United States which constitutes one eighth of the landmass of the country. President Harry S. Truman created the BLM in 1946 by combining two existing agencies: the General Land Office and the Grazing Service. The agency manages the federal government's nearly 700 million acres (2,800,000 km2) of subsurface mineral estate located beneath federal, state and private lands severed from their surface rights by the Homestead Act of 1862. Most BLM public lands are located in these 12 western states: Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, Washington and Wyoming.
The Navajo Nation is a Native American territory covering about 17,544,500 acres, occupying portions of northeastern Arizona, southeastern Utah, and northwestern New Mexico in the United States. This is the largest land area retained by a Native American tribe, with a population of roughly 350,000 as of 2016.
Due to the state's large area and range of elevation, there is a variety of localized climate conditions. Overall, most of Arizona receives little precipitation, and is classified as having either an arid or semi-arid climate. The northern parts of the state and the mountainous areas tend to have cooler climates, while the southern parts of the state tend to be warm year round.
A region is arid when it is characterized by a severe lack of available water, to the extent of hindering or preventing the growth and development of plant and animal life. Environments subject to arid climates tend to lack vegetation and are called xeric or desertic. Most "arid" climates straddle the Equator; these places include most of Africa and parts of South America, Central America, and Australia.
Precipitation in Arizona is governed by elevation and the season of year. The peak periods of rainfall are during the early winter, when storm systems from the Pacific Ocean cross the state, and during the summer, then moisture-bearing winds sweep into Arizona from the southeast, which obtain moisture from the Gulf of Mexico. Summer rains tend to occur in the form of thunderstorms, which result from excessive heating of the ground and the lifting of moisture-laden air along mountain ranges. These thunderstorms can cause strong winds, brief periods of blowing dust, and infrequently cause hail. The heaviest precipitation is found in the mountain ranges of central and southeastern Arizona, while the driest conditions are found in the arid regions of southwestern Arizona.
The number of days with measurable precipitation can vary from around 70 in the Flagstaff area to 15 in the Yuma area. 30 inches (760 mm) of precipitation annually, and the lower elevations receive between up to 20 inches (510 mm). The driest part of the state is the southwestern region, which receives under 3 inches (76 mm) of rain a year. Annual average humidity values vary from 55% in Flagstaff to 23% in Yuma. Due to the high temperatures, low humidity, and occurrence of sunshine, Arizona has high rates of evaporation. Average annual lake evaporation varies from about 80 inches (2,000 mm) in the southwestern part of the state to about 50 inches (1,300 mm) in the northeast.The highest elevations of Arizona receive up to
While the desert parts of Arizona are renowned for their warm climates, snow is not uncommon to portions of Arizona. From November through March, when storm systems from the Pacific Ocean cross the state, heavy snow can accumulate in the mountains of central and northern Arizona. Moderate snow can occur as far south as Nogales, Arizona, which is located on the southern border with Mexico, since it experiences below-freezing nighttime temperatures during the winter.
The rims of the Grand Canyon experience snow during the winter due to their high altitudes. The South Rim of the Grand Canyon, located at an altitude averaging 7000 feet (2134 m), receives 60 inches (132 cm) of snow annually, and the North Rim of the Grand Canyon, located at an altitude over 8000 feet (2438 m) receives 144 inches (317 cm) of snow.
Because of the dry climate and sparse cloud cover throughout the state, temperatures can vary dramatically, from day to night, and from season to season. Parts of Arizona located in the Sonoran Desert have warm daytime temperatures year round, while other parts of the state experience seasonal coldness regularly. The average daily temperatures of Yuma, which is located near Arizona's southwestern corner, range from 43° to 67 °F (6° to 19 °C) in January, and from 81° to 107 °F (27° to 42 °C) in July. In Flagstaff, located in the state's central interior, the average daily temperatures range from 14° to 41 °F (–10° to 5 °C) during January, and from 50° to 81 °F (10° to 27 °C) in July.The record high temperature for Arizona was 128 °F (53 °C), measured in Lake Havasu City on June 29, 1994 and July 5, 2007. The record low temperature for Arizona was -40 °F (-40 °C), measured at Hawley Lake on January 7, 1971.
|Climate data for Flagstaff Pulliam Airport, Arizona (1981–2010 normals, extremes 1898–present)|
|Record high °F (°C)||66|
|Average high °F (°C)||42.5|
|Average low °F (°C)||17.3|
|Record low °F (°C)||−30|
|Average precipitation inches (mm)||2.05|
|Average snowfall inches (cm)||23.2|
|Average precipitation days (≥ 0.01 in)||7.6||8.1||8.2||5.8||4.5||2.6||11.6||14.0||7.9||5.5||4.9||7.0||87.7|
|Average snowy days (≥ 0.1 in)||7.5||6.9||6.6||3.0||0.8||0||0||0||0||0.6||3.0||6.5||34.9|
|Average relative humidity (%)||61.9||59.5||54.9||46.5||39.4||33.6||51.1||58.1||54.7||52.6||56.9||60.6||52.5|
|Mean monthly sunshine hours||231.7||228.6||286.3||321.0||369.5||371.8||324.2||311.9||298.5||282.8||229.3||219.8||3,475.4|
|Percent possible sunshine||74||75||77||82||85||86||73||75||80||81||74||72||78|
|Source: NOAA (relative humidity 1961–1990, sun 1973–1990)|
|Climate data for Phoenix Int'l, Arizona (1981–2010 normals, extremes 1895–present)|
|Record high °F (°C)||88|
|Mean maximum °F (°C)||78.7|
|Average high °F (°C)||67.2|
|Daily mean °F (°C)||56.4|
|Average low °F (°C)||45.6|
|Mean minimum °F (°C)||36.2|
|Record low °F (°C)||16|
|Average precipitation inches (mm)||0.91|
|Average snowfall inches (cm)||trace||trace||0.0|
|Average precipitation days (≥ 0.01 in)||4.1||4.4||3.9||1.7||1.0||0.5||4.2||5.0||2.8||2.5||2.6||3.9||36.6|
|Average relative humidity (%)||50.9||44.4||39.3||27.8||21.9||19.4||31.6||36.2||35.6||36.9||43.8||51.8||36.6|
|Mean monthly sunshine hours||256.0||257.2||318.4||353.6||401.0||407.8||378.5||360.8||328.6||308.9||256.0||244.8||3,871.6|
|Percent possible sunshine||81||84||86||90||93||95||86||87||89||88||82||79||87|
|Source: NOAA (relative humidity and sun 1961–1990) , Weather.com|
|Climate data for Tucson, Arizona (Tucson Int'l), 1981–2010 normals, extremes 1894−present|
|Record high °F (°C)||88|
|Average high °F (°C)||65.5|
|Average low °F (°C)||39.8|
|Record low °F (°C)||6|
|Average precipitation inches (mm)||0.94|
|Average snowfall inches (cm)||0.3|
|Average precipitation days (≥ 0.01 in)||4.9||4.1||3.9||2.0||1.8||1.7||9.8||9.7||4.4||3.2||2.7||4.7||52.9|
|Average snowy days (≥ 0.1 in)||0.2||0.2||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0.1||0.5|
|Average relative humidity (%)||48.4||42.7||37.0||27.0||22.0||21.1||41.6||46.6||41.7||38.4||42.7||50.0||38.3|
|Mean monthly sunshine hours||259.9||258.2||320.7||357.2||400.8||396.9||342.7||335.6||316.4||307.4||264.4||245.8||3,806|
|Percent possible sunshine||81||84||86||92||94||93||79||81||85||87||84||79||86|
|Source: NOAA (relative humidity and sun 1961–1990) The Weather Channel|
|Climate data for Yuma, Arizona (Yuma Int'l), 1981–2010 normals, extremes 1878–present|
|Record high °F (°C)||88|
|Mean maximum °F (°C)||79.4|
|Average high °F (°C)||69.6|
|Average low °F (°C)||47.6|
|Mean minimum °F (°C)||37.3|
|Record low °F (°C)||22|
|Average precipitation inches (mm)||0.36|
|Average precipitation days (≥ 0.01 in)||2.3||2.0||1.8||.8||.4||.2||.9||2.3||1.2||1.1||1.0||2.1||16.2|
|Mean monthly sunshine hours||268.4||270.8||335.5||365.5||407.4||415.4||392.6||375.6||341.7||319.6||270.1||252.7||4,015.3|
|Percent possible sunshine||84||88||90||94||95||97||90||91||92||91||86||81||90|
Arizona can be divided into two major physiographic regions: the Colorado Plateau and the Basin and Range Province, and a transitioning zone between the two called the Transition Zone.
The Colorado Plateau is a semi-arid, mostly flat-lying region ranging from 5,000 to 8,000 feet (1524 m to 2438 m) in elevation, centered on the Four Corners region. The Colorado Plateau encompasses an area of approximately 140,000 square miles (360,000 km2). It consists of northern Arizona, except for a small portion of northwestern Arizona. The Plateau ends with the steep rock wall of the Mogollon Rim, which defines the southern edge of the plateau.
The Colorado Plateau has the nickname "Red Rock Country" because of its brightly colored sedimentary rock left visible by dryness and erosion, and protected from deformation. The geology of the Colorado Plateau is exhibited by the canyons of the Colorado River, and the Grand Canyon exposes one of the most unusual rock sequences in the world. The area hosts many distinctive natural features unique to Arizona, including the Grand Canyon, Antelope Canyon, Meteor Crater, Painted Desert, and the Petrified Forest.
The Transition Zone is a northwest-trending escarpment of mountainous terrain in central Arizona shaped by the intersection of the higher-level Colorado Plateau with the lower-level Basin and Range Province. The area is termed the Transition Zone because it is transitional between the two regions, with characteristics from both. The area consists of a series of rugged mountain ranges and valleys. Many of the mountains of the Transition Zone are part of the Mogollon Rim, a cliff, or a dramatic escarpment in places, which extends 115 miles (190 km) from northern Yavapai County eastward to near the border with New Mexico.
The mountain ranges of the Transition Zone include the Mazatzal, Santa Maria, Sierra Ancha, and White mountain ranges. Because of the range of elevation within the Transition Zone, climatic conditions can vary widely over small areas. The Transition Zone tends to be one of the areas of Arizona to receive heavier rainfall due to its mountainous terrain, and experiences a variation in temperature by altitude.
The Basin and Range Province is a region occupying the southern part of Arizona, along with a strip of land consisting of the western part of the state. It is also part of a much larger region encompassing southwestern New Mexico, western Utah, and virtually all of Nevada, and extending into northwestern Mexico. The Basin and Range is characterized by steep, linear mountain ranges alternating with lengthy deserts. The mountain ranges, which poke through the lengthy desert plains surrounding them, can rise above 9,000 feet (2,700 m), and create biological islands inhabited by cool-climate plants and animals. The geology of the Basin and Range is the result of crustal extension of the North American plate. Due to the crustal extension, the area of the crust underneath the region is some of the thinnest in the world. The Basin and Range supplies nearly all of the copper mined in Arizona, and contains other minerals such as gold, silver, and barite.
The major rivers of Arizona are the Colorado River, and one of its main tributaries, the Gila River. Nearly all of Arizona is drained by either the Colorado River or one of its tributaries.
The Colorado River is vital to Arizona because of the perennial dryness of the region. The river is famous because of its role in the creation of the Grand Canyon, which was created over a period of six million years. Several irrigation systems divert water from the Colorado River, of which the one most vital to Arizona is the Central Arizona Project. The Central Arizona Project, which is 336 miles (541 km) long, diverts 1,500,000 acre feet (1.9 km3) of water from Lake Havasu City into central and southern Arizona. The river is also utilized for hydroelectric power through various dams along the river. The dams on the Colorado River, going downstream, are the Glen Canyon Dam, Hoover Dam, Davis Dam, Parker Dam, Imperial Dam, Laguna Dam, and the Morelos Dam.
The Gila River is 650 miles (1,050 km) long, and extends from southwestern New Mexico to its confluence with the Colorado River near Yuma. While the upper Gila River is free-flowing, the portion of the river below the Phoenix area is usually either a trickle of completely dry because of the diversion of water for irrigation. The only major dam on the Gila River is Coolidge Dam, located 31 miles (50 km) southeast of Globe, Arizona.
The Sonoran Desert covers the southwestern area of Arizona, including the cities of Phoenix, Tucson, and Yuma. The Sonoran Desert is one of the hottest deserts of the United States, and maintains warm temperatures year round. Despite the sparse amounts of precipitation during the year, the desert is home to a diverse population of flora and fauna because it has two rainy seasons a year. Several plant populations thrive because of their specialized adaptions to the climate, and various species of cactus can be found in the wild. The Sonoran Desert is the only place in the world where the saguaro cactus grows in the wild, and the fishhook, prickly pear, and organ pipe are among other types of cactus found in the Sonoran Desert.
Northwestern Arizona contains part of the Mojave Desert, which is at a higher altitude than the Sonoran Desert. The boundaries of the Mojave Desert can be determined by the presence of Yucca brevifolia (Yucca palm), which is endemic to the desert. Unlike the Sonoran Desert, the Mojave Desert has few trees, both in number and diversity.
The Painted Desert is a broad area of badlands located on the Colorado Plateau in Northern Arizona. It covers at least 146 square miles (380 km2), and stretches from 30 miles (48 km) north of Cameron, near the Grand Canyon, ending just beyond the Petrified Forest. The Painted Desert derives its name from the multitude of colored sediments and bentonite clay seen from its Chinle rock formation, left exposed by erosion. In the southern portion of the desert, the remains of a Triassic period coniferous forest have fossilized over millions of years. Most of the Painted Desert is located within the Navajo Nation, and is only accessible by foot.
A small portion of southeastern Arizona is part of the Chihuahuan Desert. Because of its higher elevation in comparison to the Sonoran Desert, it tends to have milder temperatures during the summer.
Arizona is the third largest state to not have an ocean coastline—after Montana and New Mexico. Despite being landlocked, Arizona does contain islands, even though the state has the third lowest amount of water at only 363.73 mi² (942 km²) after West Virginia and New Mexico. Arizona's 0.32% of water is the second lowest percentage after New Mexico's 0.2% of water. The majority of Arizona's islands are in the Colorado River (mainly Lake Mead). Lake Roosevelt also contains a number of islands.
Arizona is a fairly mountainous and rugged state, and is home to the world's largest contiguous ponderosa pine forest. Many mountain ranges exceed 9,000 feet (2,700 m) in elevation, and some can hold snow all summer.
Arizona has 194 named mountain ranges. The highest are along the southwest margin of the Colorado Plateau, including the volcanic San Francisco Peaks just north of Flagstaff and the White Mountains of the Mogollon Rim. The Basin and Range region of southern and western Arizona has many rugged ranges existing as sky islands in the Sonoran and Chihuahuan deserts.
Humphreys Peak in the Coconino National Forest is the highest summit in Arizona. It is part of the San Francisco Peaks, a volcanic mountain range 9 miles (14 km) north of Flagstaff. It tops out at 12,633 feet (3,851 m) above sea level, and is one of the most prominent summits in the United States outside of the Rocky Mountains. The mountain is high enough to maintain snow cover in summer, when temperatures may not exceed 40 °F. The only maintained trail to the summit is the Humphreys Trail, a strenuous hike that starts at Arizona Snowbowl. Towards the top of the trail Humphreys Peak contains the only area of subarctic tundra south of the Rocky Mountains[ citation needed ].
Simply referred to as "Agassiz", Agassiz Peak is Mount Humphreys' sister peak and one of the San Francisco Mountains' "Big 4", or the top five highest peaks in Arizona. Its summit is 12,356 feet (3,766 m) above sea level. The mountain is closed to climbers in the summer to protect its fragile tundra environment. This peak loses its snow usually in late May but has been known to keep snow until June.
At 11,946 feet (3,641 m) above sea level, Fremont Peak is also located in the San Francisco Mountains. This summit is relatively unknown to visitors and locals, and it is located along the Doyle Saddle, where it is not very prominent. It really isn't a summit, just a high point on the Doyle Saddle. The Humphreys Trail runs on this ridge and atop Fremont Peak.
Aubineau Peak, the fourth highest summit in Arizona, tops out at 11,818 feet (3,602 m) above sea level. This is a fairly steep peak, and the home of the 2005 avalanche. This mountain is on the north side of the San Francisco Mountains and is adjacent to Abineau Canyon.
Ree's Peak is a much smaller peak than most of the summits in the San Francisco mountains, and at 11,444 feet (3,488 m), it makes the northeastern tip of the range. This peak lacks alpine tundra but is home to the famed bristlecone pine. The peak is distinguishable only by looking directly at it, otherwise the other summits completely flush it out.
Doyle Peak is listed at 11,440 feet (3,487 m), and can be seen as the summit most on the right, if you are looking at the San Francisco Mountains from the Flagstaff area. The peak can be best viewed from Shultz Pass road, and is known for its continuous aspen belt. This peak is the starting point of the Doyle Saddle, connecting Doyle Peak with Agassiz Peak.
Mount Baldy, located in Arizona's White Mountains on the Fort Apache Indian Reservation, is an eroded mountain peak whose summit is 11,391 feet (3,472 m) above sea level. Its name was given to it by locals because it lacks trees on the upper ridge, giving it a baldlike appearance. Mount Baldy is home to the Sunrise Ski Area. The mountain is not part of a range, just a single prominent peak whose flanks are gentle and peak is rounded, not rugged. This is the same for most of the White Mountains, a geologically old range once as high as the Alaska Range, but that has been eroded away over the eons. Mount Baldy is home to a bristlecone pine forest, and some consider the White Mountains as a Rocky Mountains extension due to similar averages in elevation, tree species, animals, and weather.
At 11,348 feet (3,459 m), Mount Ord is part of the White Mountains, and is located in Apache County on the Fort Apache Indian Reservation. Snow often stays on this mountain the longest during summer due to its high elevation and gentle north slope, snow can stick at 3 to 6 inches (76 to 152 mm), sometimes more, until June, only then melting into patches.
At 11,148 feet (3,398 m), Paradise Butte is found in the White Mountains near Mount Baldy and Mount Ord, near Sunrise Ski Park.
In Apache County, Mount Thomas tops out at 11,121 feet (3,390 m).
The Grand Canyon is a steep-sided canyon carved by the Colorado River in Arizona, United States. The Grand Canyon is 277 miles (446 km) long, up to 18 miles (29 km) wide and attains a depth of over a mile.
California is a U.S. state on the western coast of North America. Covering an area of 163,696 sq mi (423,970 km2), California is geographically diverse. The Sierra Nevada, the fertile farmlands of the Central Valley, and the arid Mojave Desert of the south are some of the major geographic features of this U.S. state. It is home to some of the world's most exceptional trees: the tallest, most massive, and oldest. It is also home to both the highest and lowest points in the 48 contiguous states. The state is generally divided into Northern and Southern California, although the boundary between the two is not well defined. San Francisco is decidedly a Northern California city and Los Angeles likewise a Southern California one, but areas in between do not often share their confidence in geographic identity. The US Geological Survey defines the geographic center of the state at a point near North Fork, California.
The Mojave Desert is an arid rain-shadow desert and the driest desert in North America. It is in the southwestern United States, primarily within southeastern California and southern Nevada, and it occupies 47,877 sq mi (124,000 km2). Very small areas also extend into Utah and Arizona. Its boundaries are generally noted by the presence of Joshua trees, which are native only to the Mojave Desert and are considered an indicator species, and it is believed to support an additional 1,750 to 2,000 species of plants. The central part of the desert is sparsely populated, while its peripheries support large communities such as Las Vegas, Barstow, Lancaster, Palmdale, Victorville, and St. George.
The Sonoran Desert is a North American desert which covers large parts of the Southwestern United States in Arizona and California and of Northwestern Mexico in Sonora, Baja California, and Baja California Sur. It is the hottest desert in Mexico. It has an area of 260,000 square kilometers (100,000 sq mi). The western portion of the United States–Mexico border passes through the Sonoran Desert.
The San Francisco Peaks are a volcanic mountain range in north central Arizona, just north of Flagstaff and a remnant of the former San Francisco Mountain. The highest summit in the range, Humphreys Peak, is the highest point in the state of Arizona at 12,633 feet (3,851 m) in elevation. The San Francisco Peaks are the remains of an eroded stratovolcano. An aquifer within the caldera supplies much of Flagstaff's water while the mountain itself is in the Coconino National Forest, a popular recreation site. The Arizona Snowbowl ski area is on the western slopes of Humphreys Peak, and has been the subject of major controversy involving several tribes and environmental groups.
The Coconino National Forest is a 1.856-million acre United States National Forest located in northern Arizona in the vicinity of Flagstaff. Originally established in 1898 as the "San Francisco Mountains National Forest Reserve", the area was designated a U.S. National Forest in 1908 when the San Francisco Mountains National Forest Reserve was merged with lands from other surrounding forest reserves to create the Coconino National Forest. Today, the Coconino National Forest contains diverse landscapes, including deserts, ponderosa pine forests, flatlands, mesas, alpine tundra, and ancient volcanic peaks. The forest surrounds the towns of Sedona and Flagstaff and borders four other national forests; the Kaibab National Forest to the west and northwest, the Prescott National Forest to the southwest, the Tonto National Forest to the south, and the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest to the southeast. The forest contains all or parts of ten designated wilderness areas, including the Kachina Peaks Wilderness, which includes the summit of the San Francisco Peaks. The headquarters are in Flagstaff. There are local ranger district offices in Flagstaff, Happy Jack, and Sedona.
The Chocolate Mountains of California are located in Imperial and Riverside counties in the Colorado Desert of Southern California. The mountains stretch more than 60 miles (100 km) in a northwest to southeast direction, and are located east of the Salton Sea and south and west of the Chuckwalla Mountains and the Colorado River. To the northwest lie the Orocopia Mountains.
The Sierra Ancha is a mountain range in Gila County, in central Arizona. It lies between Roosevelt Lake to the south, the Tonto Basin to the west, Cherry Creek to the east, and Pleasant Valley to the north. The range is one of several, including the Bradshaw Mountains, Mingus Mountain of the Black Hills, and the Mazatzal Mountains, which form a transitional zone between the lowland deserts of southern Arizona and the Colorado Plateau of northeastern Arizona. The highest point in the range is Aztec Peak, at an elevation of 2345 m (7694 ft).
The geography of the U.S. State of Colorado is diverse, encompassing both rugged mountainous terrain, vast plains, desert lands, desert canyons, and mesas. In 1861, the United States Congress defined the boundaries of the new Territory of Colorado exclusively by lines of latitude and longitude, stretching from 37°N to 41°N latitude, and from 102°02'48"W to 109°02'48"W longitude. Starting in 1868, official surveys demarcated the boundaries, deviating from the parallels and meridians in several places. Later surveys attempted to correct some of these mistakes but in 1925 the U.S. Supreme Court affirmed that the earlier demarcation was the official boundary. The borders of Colorado are now officially defined by 697 boundary markers connected by straight boundary lines. Colorado, Wyoming, and Utah are the only states that have their borders defined solely by straight boundary lines with no natural features. The southwest corner of Colorado is the Four Corners Monument at 36°59'56"N, 109°2'43"W. This is the only place in the United States where four states meet: Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona, and Utah.
The climate of California varies widely, from hot desert to polar, depending on latitude, elevation, and proximity to the coast. California's coastal regions, the Sierra Nevada foothills, and much of the Central Valley have a Mediterranean climate, with warmer, drier weather in summer and cooler, wetter weather in winter. The influence of the ocean generally moderates temperature extremes, creating warmer winters and substantially cooler summers in coastal areas.
Mount Baldy is a mountain in eastern Arizona in the United States. It is the highest point in the White Mountains and Apache County. It is the fifth-highest point in the state, and the highest outside the San Francisco Peaks in the Flagstaff area. With a summit elevation of 11,409 feet (3,477 m), the peak of Mount Baldy rises above the tree line and is left largely bare of vegetation, lending the mountain its current name.
The Lower Colorado River Valley ("LCRV") is the river region of the lower Colorado River of the southwestern United States in North America that rises in the Rocky Mountains and has its outlet at the Colorado River Delta in the northern Gulf of California in northwestern Mexico, between the states of Baja California and Sonora. This north–south stretch of the Colorado River forms the border between the U.S. states of California/Arizona and Nevada/Arizona, and between the Mexican states of Baja California/Sonora.
The Deserts of California have unique ecosystems and habitats, a sociocultural and historical "Old West" collection of legends, districts, and communities, and they also form a popular tourism region of dramatic natural features and recreational development. All of the deserts are located in eastern Southern California, in the Western United States.
According to the Köppen climate classification, most of Western Oregon has a temperate oceanic climate, which features cool summers, and wet winters with frequent overcast and cloudy skies. Eastern Oregon falls into the cool arid, which features drier weather.
The Arizona transition zone is a diagonal northwest-by-southeast region across central Arizona. The region is a transition from the higher elevation Colorado Plateau to the northeast in Northeast Arizona and the Basin and Range region of southwest and south regions of lower elevation deserts.
The Aquarius Mountains are a 45-mi (72 km) long mountain range in southeast Mohave County, Arizona. The range lies in the northwest of the Arizona transition zone, and at the southwest of the Coconino Plateau, a subsection of the Colorado Plateau.
The Mountain States form one of the nine geographic divisions of the United States that are officially recognized by the United States Census Bureau. It is a subregion of the Western United States.
The Colorado River is a major river of the western United States and northwest Mexico in North America. Its headwaters are in the Rocky Mountains where La Poudre Pass Lake is its source. Located in north central Colorado it flows southwest through the Colorado Plateau country of western Colorado, southeastern Utah and northwestern Arizona where it flows through the Grand Canyon. It turns south near Las Vegas, Nevada, forming the Arizona–Nevada border in Lake Mead and the Arizona–California border a few miles below Davis Dam between Laughlin, Nevada and Needles, California California before entering Mexico in the Colorado Desert. Most of its waters are diverted into the Imperial Valley of Southern California. In Mexico its course forms the boundary between Sonora and Baja California before entering the Gulf of California. This article describes most of the major features along the river.
The Peacock Mountains are a small, 26-mi (42 km) long mountain range in northwest Arizona, USA. The range is a narrow sub-range, and an extension north, at the northeast of the Hualapai Mountains massif, which lies to the southwest. The range is defined by the Hualapai Valley to the northwest, and north and south-flowing washes on its east border, associated with faults and cliffs; the Cottonwood Cliffs are due east, and are connected to the Aquarius Cliffs southward at the west perimeter of the Aquarius Mountains; the cliffs are a result of the Aquarius Fault, which is an extension southward from the Grand Wash Cliffs and Grand Wash Fault which crosses the Colorado River at Lake Mead, and the west perimeter of the Grand Canyon/Colorado Plateau.
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