Arizona. For most people, this state is associated with few things. Deserts, mountains, cacti, Grand Canyon. Some well-read people will also remember the nickname: The Copper State, which stems from the fact that Arizona supplies 60% of the US copper output, with more than $5.5 billion in value and over 10 thousand people involved in the industry.
However, it is safe to say that Arizona is much more than this. While it is a pretty dry state, certain parts of Arizona experience snow regularly and while people living near the Sonoran and Mojave deserts usually have warm weather all year long, it’s not uncommon for the people in the center and in the north of the state to experience temperatures below freezing.
Same thing about the attractions. While, admittedly, most people visit Arizona to see Grand Canyon, if you dig just a little bit deeper, you will find that the state is rife with spots and places with each and every of them carrying a bit history and a boatload of charm. From nature lovers to history nuts, everyone will find something to their liking in Arizona. As it was the case with previous articles, this is not a comprehensive guide but merely an introduction, a few tips for you to plan a visit that you will remember for life.
If you’ve already visited The Grand Canyon but can’t get enough, we strongly suggest visiting Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, which covers the area of Arizona and Utah. Located near the city of Page, the Arizonian section is accessible through the U.S. Route 89 and Arizona State Route 95. Spanning half a million hectares, it includes unique geological formations, such as Rainbow Bridge, one of the highest natural bridges in the world and Antelope Canyon, one of the narrowest slot canyons in the US. It is also a home to Lake Powell – one of the largest manmade lakes in the United States, created after Glen Canyon was erected on the Colorado River. Covering the territory of Arizona and Utah, it is a popular tourist spot, considering that during the creation of the dam, water flooded other canyons, creating another way to reach certain attractions in the area, including the aforementioned Rainbow Bridge.The Glen Canyon National Recreation Area also features a theme park dedicated to the life of Old West pioneers, as well as the comfortable visitor’s area. Needless to say that all this, as well as flora and fauna endemic (with some species even being on the Endangered list) to the area, placed Glen Canyon NRA as the second most visited Arizonian park, with over two million tourists seeing the sights annually.
Remember how we mentioned Lake Powell, one of the biggest man-made lakes in the US made due to Glen Canyon Dam being built on the Colorado River, which runs through the state, has been extensively dammed but there’s one particular structure that became the grand monument to humankind conquering the nature -The Hoover Dam. Constructed in record time and creating the biggest US lake,it is an incredibly mechanism, that supplies tens of millions of people with energy. As well as being important to the wellbeing of several states, it is also an architectural wonder, since the Bureau of Reclamation ( the agency that operates the dam) has commissioned the architect Gordon B. Kaufman to work on the exterior. Kaufman’s preference of Art Deco design made sure that his contributions to the Hoover Dam overall look made it look even more majestic and grand. 80 years later, it remains a sight to see. Located near the Boulder City, Nevada, on the border of Arizona and Nevada, it receives over a million visitors every year with a variety of tours available at the location.
In the beginning, we’ve promised that Arizona has a lot of sights to visit, for people of different tastes and preferences. We would like to finish our selection with a somewhat obscure historic landmark. In terms of spectacular sights and interesting nature, it’s nothing special, every grain of sand in that place is soaked in history. Located in Tubac, Arizona, at 1 Burruel St., Tubac Presidio State Historic Park exists to preserve the remains of the first permanent human settlement in Arizona. Back in the times when Arizona was a part of the royal Spanish possessions known as The Californias, this was the first fortress built to house a Spanish garrison to prevent any future uprisings from the Native Americans in the area. This fortress later became a core for the town with the same name and after the territory of Arizona has been transferred to the United States the town played a role in the Apache Wars, protecting the citizenry after most of the male able population has been called off to fight in the Civil War. After the war, the first ever representative of Arizona to the U.S. House of Representatives Charles D. Poston has established headquarters for his mining company and the town experience the era of prosperity. But it was not to last. The old Tubac faded away and had to be resettled. The museum includes a lovely park, remnants of what the Spanish have called “Presidio” (it’s in the name!), buildings from the various times and an archeological site. If that’s too specific for you, at the very least visit this park, because since 2010 it is maintained by volunteers, after Arizona park authority was planning to close it for good. Dedication to the preservation of history (even such a small part of it) deserves commendation.
You may have noticed that with this article there are even fewer suggestions than the previous two. Consider this a mere encouragement to research this wonderful gem that is brushed off by many as a mere “flyover country”. For more suggestions on what to do in the state, visit Visit Arizona website at http://www.visitarizona.com/. Run by the Arizona Office of Tourism, it’s an excellent source on Arizonian culture and all possible venues and what to do there. We hope that this article will help you understand what you want to do and what you want to see.