Arizona - Natural Beauty With a Rich Past
Arizona – this state is for many exclusively connected with endless dry deserts, where the eye does not meet any distraction for hundreds of
miles other than an occasional gas station or resting place. Apart from the dusty prairies and deserts, Arizona is of course also world-famous for
the Grand Canyon. What fewer people know is that there are also extensive green highlands, especially in the Northern part of the state. Arizona
is worth a trip for many more reasons other than the impressive cliffs of the Grand Canyon.
Arizona’s topography is generally more desert-like in the South and more mountainous and vegetative in the North. Arizona hosts the largest stand
of Ponderosa pine trees of all US states. Arizona winters are mild, while the summers can get very hot and dry, especially in the Southern region.
One has to differentiate, though, between the low-altitude dry South and the significantly higher-altitude North, which gets colder winters and milder
summers. The North even gets occasional influences of icy Canadian air, which can further lower the winter temperatures. The South-Arizonan cities
Phoenix and Tucson, for example, get average highs of 100 degrees and above from June through August.
Arizona, today the home of more than five million people, was the third last state to be admitted to the Union, followed only by Alaska and Hawaii.
It entered full-state status only in 1912. Shortly afterwards, the Great Depression, which also heavily affected Arizona, was in fact a great chance
and a new beginning for the Grand Canyon State. Organized tourism began to spread. In the beginning, it was the still-existent charm of the Wild West
that attracted people, mostly to ranch settings throughout Arizona. The large cities, most notably Phoenix, also profited from the tourism boom.
A great many middle- and upper-scale hotels were built and some last until today, e.g. the Arizona Biltmore Hotel or the Wigwam Resort.
The capital and most populous city of the state of Arizona is with an estimated 1.5 million inhabitants the fifth largest city in the US. There are
an estimated 4 million people living in the Phoenix metropolitan area altogether. In 1881, when Phoenix was first incorporated, the town had a mere
population of 2,500. Phoenix is not only one of the biggest, it is also, in the summers, one of the hottest American cities. On the other hand, the
winter is very mild with next to no frost, which makes Phoenix an ideal target for tourists year-round.
Phoenix’ Historical Heritage Square give visitors an interesting insight into the city’s Victorian past. The square hosts the oldest remaining
buildings in the capital. Heritage Square is part of the Heritage and Science Park, which also includes the Arizona Science Center and the Phoenix
Museum of History. For visitors, who are interested in Phoenix’ past, this museum is the place to go, just like one of the other “Phoenix Points of
Pride”. These remarkable buildings, museums, parks, and natural sights, have been specially designated by the “Phoenix Pride Commission” since 1991.
Among them is one of America’s finest wellness and spa resorts, the Arizona Biltmore Resort & Spa. For window-shoppers and those interested in a
great view over Phoenix’ roofs, the Arizona Center is a good spot. Camelback Mountain, located in the Echo Canyon Recreation Area, is one of the most
popular designations of climbers and hikers. Nature’s lovers can also visit the rich Desert Botanical Garden, hosting more than 50,000 plants.
The Heard Museum displays Native American art, culture, and history, most notably of course of the Navajos.
Throughout the Phoenix region, a great variety of accommodation is available for every kind of vacation season. The great wellness resorts like the
Royal Palms or the JW Marriott offer an absolutely relaxing time in a luxurious and natural surrounding. Villas, apartments and other accommodation is
also available from many big companies, like the Marriott group, which offers more than 500 rooms and suites in its Canyon Villas complex.
East of Phoenix, the Apache Trail Historical Road (short: AZ 88) leads you through an historically and culturally extremely interesting and relevant
region. Especially between Apache Junction and the Tonto National Monument, the Apache Trail is running through one of the finest landscapes in North
America. President Theodore Roosevelt during the inauguration of the Trail referred to the beauty of the Alps, the Rocky Mountains, and the Grand Canyon,
which was for him all combined in this section of Arizona. Goldfield Ghost Town, a gold-digger settlement which had its prime in the 1890s, is an ideal
place for a lunch break – or maybe a visit to the local rattlesnake zoo… Until the 1910s, during the gold rush era, Goldfield had some 5,000 inhabitants.
One of the oldest national parks of the US, the Grand Canyon National Park covers almost 2,000 square miles. Visitors coming from Southern Arizona,
enter the park through the South Rim. The impressive red stone cliffs of the canyon have been formed over several million years by the course of the
Colorado River. The distance between the top and the bottom of the canyon amounts to around 6,000 feet. Not only geographically, but also in regard to
its impressive flora and fauna, the Grand Canyon is truly remarkable. Patient tourists will be able to see some California Condors, the most famous
birds in the region, or Canyon Wrens, Stellar's Jays, swallows, and hummingbirds. Another big attraction are the many coyotes that live throughout
the park and engage in their typical singing.
401 miles across Arizona, the Route 66 is the stuff of dreams for all road trip enthusiasts. Running from Chicago to Los Angeles, America’s most
famous highway extends a total of 2,448 miles. Its course passes Meteor City, which derives its name from the famous Barringer Crater, or Great Meteor
Crater, just a few miles away. Along the way, one finds all kinds of accommodation, most popularly one of the thousands of motels. The bridges at Canyon
Padre, the oldest of them built as early as 1914, display beautiful ornaments and mural art. Route 66 – taking you across the state of Arizona on a travel