50 Interesting & Fun Facts About Arizona State You Should Know

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Rocky cliffs with colorful layers and a river flowing at the bottom
The Grand Canyon is one of the seven natural wonders and a famous landmark in Arizona

When you think of Arizona, you probably think about sunny weather, deserts, and cacti, right? Maybe you even think about the Grand Canyon!

However, there are many other interesting and fun facts about Arizona state worth knowing about. From its natural history to its culture, it's one of the most interesting states in the country!

For example, did you know that the weather around the state isn't all the same? What about the fact that it's got some of the most dangerous animals in the country?

Whether you've been to Arizona before, you're planning a trip to the state for the first time, or you're just simply interested in learning more about it, here's some Arizona trivia that will intrigue you. Keep reading to learn more!

  • 50 Arizona facts

50 Arizona State Facts

  1. Arizona Fun Facts
    1. Arizona was the 48th state
    2. It's also called the "Copper State"
    3. Arizona has the most populous state capital
    4. The Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument is here
    5. The state has a population of 7 million people
    6. Lake Havasu City offers fishing in the desert
    7. The state motto is "God enriches"
    8. It's home to Petrified Forest National Park
    9. It has an official state fossil
    10. It's also known as the "Grand Canyon State"
    11. The saguaro is the state flower
    12. The Navajo Nation is within its borders
    13. It's home to one of the "seven natural wonders"
    14. The state doesn't observe daylight savings
    15. Arizona's official state bird is the cactus wren
  2. Interesting Facts About Arizona
    1. There are 22 Native American tribes in the state
    2. The Sonoran Desert is the hottest in the USA
    3. The saguaro cactus is native to the area
    4. Kitt Peak National Observatory has the largest solar telescope
    5. Four Corners Monument lets you be in four places at once
    6. The state tree is the blue palo verde
    7. The state gets water from the Colorado River
    8. There are 22 national parks and monuments
    9. It used to be part of Mexico
    10. Astronauts train here
    11. The highest point in the state is Humphrey's Peak
    12. Phoenix is the hottest US city
    13. Mules deliver mail
    14. It has the largest man-made lake in the country
    15. You can't cut down the cacti
  3. Funny Facts About Arizona
    1. It has an official state neckwear
    2. You might see Gila monsters
    3. Arizona has a London Bridge in Lake Havasu City
    4. It snows in Arizona
    5. There are no dinosaur bones in the Grand Canyon
  4. Weird Facts About Arizona
    1. The right to remain silent began here in 1966
    2. The lowest point is 70 feet
    3. There are almost 4000 mountain peaks
    4. You can't refuse to give someone water
    5. The state animal is the ringtail cat
  5. Cool Facts About Arizona
    1. Navajo is the 3rd most spoken language
    2. Dust storms and monsoons both happen
    3. Arizona has the world's largest Kokopelli
    4. The country's oldest rodeos are here
    5. The unofficial state food is the chimichanga
  6. Scary Facts About Arizona
    1. There are 13 rattlesnake species
    2. Scorpions are common
    3. Skinwalkers are an urban legend
    4. Luana's Canyon has spooky echoes
    5. Flagstaff is supposedly haunted

Show all

Arizona Fun Facts

Colorful buildings and skyscrapers surrounded by greenery in front of mountains
Phoenix being the most populous capital is one of the fun facts about Arizona state

Arizona was the 48th state

To start this list of interesting facts of Arizona is the fact that it was one of the last territories to become a state. Arizona was the 48th out of the 50 states to join the USA.

Arizona had been part of the country's territory since 1848. However, it didn't get its star on the American flag until 1912.

It's also called the "Copper State"

If you're wondering what nickname you might find on Arizona's license plate, you might be surprised to know that one of its monikers is the "Copper State." The state's ground is rich in this metal.

Due to the large deposits of copper, mining was a large part of the state's economy in the 19th century. Today the metal is used by local artists in their work.

Arizona has the most populous state capital

Arizona's state capital is the city of Phoenix. Since it is the state's most famous city, most people already know that fact.

However, most people don't know that Phoenix is the US state capital with the largest population. As of the last census, there were nearly 2 million people who called Phoenix home, and that number has likely risen in the time since.

The Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument is here

Arizona is full of some of the most one-of-a-kind landscapes in the country, one of which is the world-renowned Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument.

This landmark is a UNESCO international biosphere reserve due to the diverse plant and animal life that can be found there. Due to this designation, the area is used for scientific research on habitat preservation.

The state has a population of 7 million people

Arizona may have the capital with the largest population, but that doesn't translate to every part of the state. With a territory-wide population of just over 7 million, it's only the 14th most populated state in the country.

However, the state has seen a growth rate of roughly 1% each year. Fifty years ago, in fact, the population was only 2 million.

Lake Havasu City offers fishing in the desert

Arizona is largely made up of desert terrain, and much of the state has an arid climate. So, it might surprise you to learn that on the edge of the Mohave desert, you can find Lake Havasu City.

The name isn't tongue-in-cheek. The city takes its name from an actual lake that offers some of the most abundant fishing in the state.

The state motto is "God enriches"

If you ever get any official Arizona information papers, you may notice that the state has an official motto. "Ditat Deus" can be seen on the state's seal.

The motto is written in Latin and means "God Enriches." The saying has been the state's motto since 1863. Though it's not stated exactly where the phrase comes from, most US history buffs agree it's likely a biblical reference.

Aerial shot of geologic formations with layers in hues of purple, gray, and brown
Blue Mesa in the protected Petrified Forest National Park, also called Rainbow Forest

It's home to Petrified Forest National Park

In Arizona's northeast, you'll find Petrified Forest National Park. It's also called the rainbow forest, and there you'll find colorful petrified wood that dates back 200 million years.

Though the territory today is grassy and dry, it was once a rich forest that has been remarkably preserved. It's a protected area that aims to educate visitors about the history of the state.

It has an official state fossil

Due to its contributions to paleontology, Arizona has a state fossil. Petrified wood may not be what you consider a typical fossil when you're used to hearing about animal bones.

For fossils to form, very specific environmental factors have to balance out perfectly. Temperature, sediment type, and pressure will all affect the chances of a fossil forming. The fact that Arizona has so much petrified wood that's been preserved for millions of years is a scientific marvel.

One of the well-known facts about Arizona state is that it has the Grand Canyon
Horseshoe Bend in the Grand Canyon, the reason Arizona is called "Grand Canyon State"

It's also known as the "Grand Canyon State"

When you don't see the moniker "Copper State" around, you'll likely notice Arizona's other nickname, the "Grand Canyon State." That's due to it being the home of Grand Canyon National Park.

Due to its size, you're able to see parts of the canyon from Utah and Nevada. However, Arizona offers the best and widest views of this national landmark.

The saguaro is the state flower

While many different flowers are able to grow and thrive in Arizona, the official state flower is specific to the state. The saguaro flower grows on the saguaro cactus, one of the most important plants in Arizona.

Since 1931, the flower has been recognized as a symbol for the area. The flowers are white and waxy in texture, making them easily recognizable.

The Navajo Nation is within its borders

The Navajo Native Americans have a long and rich history and culture. They were key to US victories during WWII and have contributed to much of the state culture in Arizona.

So, it's no surprise that the Navajo Nation reservation, the largest reservation in the country, is within Arizona territory. Due to the size of the reservation, it also spans parts of Utah and New Mexico.

It's home to one of the "seven natural wonders"

If you're looking for Arizona cool facts, you'll be happy to find out that it's the home of one of the seven natural wonders of the world. The Grand Canyon is a natural marvel that is one of a kind on earth.

The canyon is one of the most important monuments in the US. As such, it draws visitors from all over the US and from around the globe.

The state doesn't observe daylight savings

If you're tired of having to change your clock twice a year for daylight savings, you should consider moving to Arizona. The state doesn't adjust the clock during the spring and keeps the same time all year.

The only other state in the country that doesn't observe DST is Hawaii. The only exception to this rule is the Navajo Nation, which is a sovereign territory within Arizona's borders.

A brown bird with black spots sitting atop a cactus under a clear sky
A Cactus Wren, Arizona's state bird, resting on top of a Saguaro cactus

Arizona's official state bird is the cactus wren

If you're looking for a list of Arizona state symbols, don't forget about its state bird. The cactus wren is native to the area and became a symbol for the state in 1931.

Since the bird is only native to Arizona, no other state can claim it. Cactus wrens are vivacious little birds with a unique song you can hear in the spring when they're nesting.

Interesting Facts About Arizona

White and gray domes atop a tree-covered mountain overlooking a valley
Kitt Peak National Observatory houses the world's largest solar telescope

There are 22 Native American tribes in the state

Though the Navajo are one of the most well-known Native American tribes in Arizona, they're far from the only one. Currently, there are 22 officially recognized tribes in the state.

These tribes are spread all over the state. The Navajo Nation reservation spans multiple state territories, but so do the Colorado River Indian Tribes and the Fort Mojave Indian Tribe.

Rippled sand dunes in a desert with a clear blue sky in the background
The hottest desert in the US is the 86,000-mile Sonoran Desert, reaching up to 92°F

The Sonoran Desert is the hottest in the USA

Between the Mojave and the Chihuahuan deserts, you'll find the Sonoran Desert. This stretch of over 86 thousand square miles of land is often claimed to be the hottest desert in the US.

During the year, the average temperatures vary between 46 and 92 degrees Fahrenheit. However, due to the lack of shade, it can often feel much warmer.

A desert with different varieties and sizes of cacti on a sunny day
Saguaro Cacti, exclusive to Southern Arizona, can grow as tall as trees

The saguaro cactus is native to the area

The saguaro cactus is a point of pride for Arizona. These cacti can grow to be as large as trees, and since they take so long to grow, the taller the cactus, the older it is.

If you visit Saguaro National Park, you'll see some of the oldest in the state. These cacti are also only native to southern Arizona.

Kitt Peak National Observatory has the largest solar telescope

The McMath-Pierce Solar Telescope contributes to some of the most interesting facts on Arizona state. This telescope is the largest aperture solar telescope collection in the world and is found at the Kitt Peak National Observatory.

This telescope has helped with countless astronomy studies. In fact, the observatory has been indispensable for tracking asteroids that could impact the earth.

A bronze disk embedded in a granite floor
Arizona shares the four-corner state monument with New Mexico, Colorado, and Utah

Four Corners Monument lets you be in four places at once

Arizona is known as the "four-corner state." The borders of New Mexico, Colorado, Utah, and Arizona all come together to share a corner border.

A popular attraction for locals and tourists is the Four Corners Monument. This is a marked spot on the ground where these state borders meet. If you crouch with a hand or foot in each of the sections of the monument, you can technically be in 4 places at once.

The state tree is the blue palo verde

Though the Saguaro cactus may reach tree-like heights, it's not a tree. Thus, the actual state tree of Arizona is the palo verde.

The blue palo verde specifically is listed as one of the state's symbols. The tree is native to the state's deserts and foothill regions.

Initially, there was no difference listed between the foothill and the blue palo verde varieties. However, the latter was later selected to be the main symbol.

The state gets water from the Colorado River

The Colorado River runs through Arizona on its path toward California's gulf. The river doesn't just cut through the state but also supplies water.

The river isn't the only water source for the state. Most of Arizona's supply comes from snow melting in the mountains in the northern part of the state. However, the river is still responsible for about 10% of the state's water.

There are 22 national parks and monuments

Arizona's unique climate and landscape have both caused it to have some of the most interesting habitats in the country. So, it's no surprise that the state has 22 national parks and monuments.

Many of these monuments are natural and offer visitors dramatic looks at Arizona's territory far away from its cities. If you're a history or nature lover, Arizona is a must-visit state.

It used to be part of Mexico

Due to its proximity to the Mexican border, American history buffs will likely remember that the state used to be part of Spanish and Mexican territory. Before 1848, the area was part of Sonora, a state in Mexico.

Though it's been a US territory since the mid-1800s, the state's Mexican history still plays an important role in its culture. In fact, many of the state's city and county names still show their old roots.

Astronauts train here

Some interesting information about Arizona you probably didn't know is that it's regularly been used as an astronaut training site. Astronauts go through rigorous training at the official NASA center in Texas, which is more often used to train candidates for rocket conditions.

However, in order to get used to the terrain and do survival training, they're often sent to Arizona. The state's landscape was thought to be a close match for the moon before the Apollo 11 mission, for example, so astronauts were sent there to prepare for the moon landing.

The highest point in the state is Humphrey's Peak

Arizona is far from being a flat state. It has thousands of mountains and hills, and most of the state is well above sea level. However, even considering all that, you might be surprised to learn that its highest point is 12,633 feet.

Humphrey's Peak is the 12th highest state point in the country. The hike to the top is over 4 miles long and is considered very challenging.

Phoenix is the hottest US city

In a country as large as the United States, climates can vary widely. However, you might still be surprised how vastly different the hottest parts of the country can be.

When considering how many days temperatures top 100 degrees Fahrenheit, Phoenix comes out on top with 111 average days of the year. That makes it the hottest city in the USA.

Mules deliver mail

When the postal service said snow, rain, and heat wouldn't be able to keep their workers from carrying mail, they meant it. That determination also covers difficult terrain.

The Havasupai are a group of Native Americans who call the bottom of the Grand Canyon home. Unfortunately, reaching them by car is impossible. In order to deliver their mail, the USPS employs the use of special mail-delivery mules.

Mountains behind a large lake with a white power boat on the water
Lake Mead, the country's largest man-made lake measured by water capacity

It has the largest man-made lake in the country

Being in the desert, Arizona doesn't have many natural lakes. While there's certainly water in the territory, construction was done to create more consistent water supplies.

Lake Mead is an example of this construction. It's found behind the Hoover Dam, which straddles the Nevada and Arizona state lines. It's also the largest man-made lake in the USA.

You can't cut down the cacti

Arizona may be full of cacti, but that doesn't mean you can do anything to change or move them. If you want to cut down a cactus in the state, you need to get a permit first.

If you cut down any cactus, but particularly the rare and prized Saguaro cactus, you'll risk up to 25 years in prison. Even if you own the land the cactus is growing on, you need permission before you pull out the saw.

Funny Facts About Arizona

A red English phone booth beside a lake with a granite bridge behind it
Lake Havasu's London Bridge was shipped from London and has been in use since 1971

It has an official state neckwear

If you go to Arizona, you'll likely run into a lot of western-inspired clothing. One of the most popular items in this clothing style has even become the official Arizona state neckwear.

The bola tie (also called the bolo tie) is traditionally a leather cord with metal attached to the ends. The bola tie is then fastened around the neck with a metal clip of some sort. You'll find them in most stores that sell clothing and souvenir items.

A black and orange reptile with half of its body on a rock in a desert
Some of the deserts in Arizona are home to the poisonous Gila monster

You might see Gila monsters

Gila monsters might seem like they belong in a storybook, but they're real lizards you might find in the AZ desert. They like to hang out in rocky dugouts on the desert slopes.

While the Gila monster is venomous, you don't have to worry much. Sightings are pretty rare, especially if you're careful. They're also mostly found in the western and southern parts of the state.

Arizona has a London Bridge in Lake Havasu City

Did you know you can find a piece of London in Lake Havasu City? The bridge you'll find there was originally built in the 1830s to span the River Thames in London.

It was decommissioned due to sinking too much into the ground around the river. However, it was purchased in the 1960s and refurbished to be used in Lake Havasu City. It's been in use there since 1971.

It snows in Arizona

While there are plenty of deserts in the state, you'll also find plenty of places in northern Arizona where you'll encounter snow. Much of the state is elevated, and its mountains are tall enough to allow for all four seasons to occur each year.

Some places can even get an average of over 21 feet of annual snowfall. That's definitely enough snow to go skiing!

There are no dinosaur bones in the Grand Canyon

You might think that the Grand Canyon would be a great place for paleontologists to do digs for dinosaur bones. However, that's actually not true!

The Grand Canyon does offer geologists and casual visitors alike a peek into the area's distant past, but you won't find any dinos here. That's due to two things.

The Grand Canyon's soil is much older than the dinosaurs, so they wouldn't be preserved there. Also, the canyon itself didn't form until after the dinosaurs went extinct, so none could have wandered down into it.

Weird Facts About Arizona

A road with pine trees on either side leading to the foot of a snow-capped mountain
Mount Humphreys is the highest of the almost 4000 mountain peaks in Arizona

The right to remain silent began here in 1966

If you've ever watched a police show, you've likely heard the Miranda rights. The right to remain silent is arguably the most important part of those rights.

Did you know that Miranda rights came into law in 1966 after a case that took place in Arizona? After the Supreme Court ruling, it became law that anyone being arrested or questioned needed to be told they weren't obligated to answer any questions without a lawyer.

The lowest point is 70 feet

In a list of Arizona interesting facts, you can't just mention the state's highest point. You also need to see the difference with the state's lowest point.

The lowest point in Arizona is in San Luis, Arizona, where the state borders Sonora. Here the Colorado river reaches just 70 feet above sea level.

There are almost 4000 mountain peaks

When you think about mountain states in the US, you probably think about Colorado or Utah. However, neither of those states holds the record for the most mountain peaks.

With nearly 4000 mountain peaks, Arizona is the most mountainous state in the continental US. Of these 4000, 27 even reach an altitude of over 10,000 feet.

You can't refuse to give someone water

When you live somewhere where temperatures can regularly be expected to top 100 degrees, staying hydrated is important. In order to keep people safe, the state passed a special law to protect people from dehydration.

In Arizona, it's illegal to deny someone water if they ask you for it. Of course, this only applies to people who have access to water.

The state animal is the ringtail cat

While Arizona already has a state bird, they also have another state animal. The ringtail cat is the official state mammal.

This animal is around the size of a raccoon and is actually closer to a raccoon than a cat. They're native to southern Arizona and can be found in Saguaro National Park. However, they like to keep to themselves and don't come out if they sense people.

Cool Facts About Arizona

A cloud of dust moving over a desert plain with small green vegetation
Arizona is famous for its dust storms and monsoons

Since Arizona is a state in the USA, obviously, English is the most spoken language there. It's also not surprising that Spanish is another common language since the area is so close to Mexico.

However, did you know that Arizona's third most spoken language is Navajo? That's primarily due to the large Navajo population that lives in and around the Navajo reservation.

Dark clouds pass over a forest with rain falling
A monsoon passing over Tonto National Forest, Arizona

Dust storms and monsoons both happen

The weather in much of Arizona is dry for most of the year. Dry, warm climates are perfect conditions for dust storms to form.

Yet, Arizona is also prone to an opposite climate phenomenon. Monsoons have been known to hit the region. Between July and September, the arid climate becomes more humid, making monsoons much more likely.

Arizona has the world's largest Kokopelli

One of the most interesting facts in Arizona is that it has the largest Kokopelli in the world. Kokopelli is a Native American god who was revered by multiple tribes in the North American southwest.

In Camp Verde, you can find a 32-foot tall statue depicting Kokopelli. The statue used to be in front of a Native American trading post. While the trading post has been closed for years, the sculpture remains.

The country's oldest rodeos are here

Rodeos are a long-standing symbol of the west. They originated in Spain and Mexico as a way to show the prowess of cow herders. Over time, the practice came to the US as well.

You can find rodeos all over the US, but the oldest are in AZ. In fact, the oldest continually run rodeo can be found in Prescott. It began on July 4th, 1888, and continues today.

The unofficial state food is the chimichanga

Arizona has plenty of official state symbols, but it has some unofficial ones as well. For example, what's commonly thought of as the "state food" has yet to become officially recognized.

The chimichanga is a popular southwestern food that mixes Mexican and American cultures and cooking styles. It consists of a deep-fried burrito and is served all over the state.

Scary Facts About Arizona

Two old brick buildings on a street corner under a clear sky
Monte Vista Hotel is said to be one of the haunted places in Flagstaff, Arizona
A gray and brown rattlesnake on top of rocks
A Western Diamond-back Rattlesnake, a common variety in the Mojave desert

There are 13 rattlesnake species

Rattlesnakes are a scary species that can be found virtually everywhere in the US. Not all rattlesnakes are the same, though.

There are 36 rattlesnake species currently known to scientists. Of those 36, 13 of them can be found somewhere in Arizona. You'll most often find the Mojave, black-tailed, and Western diamond-back varieties in the Arizona desert.

Scorpions are common

When you're in Arizona, you'll have to be careful of running into scorpions. To many people, these creatures are only common occurrences in stories or movies, but they're a real part of the Arizona fauna.

There are many types of scorpions in the world that differ in size, color, and danger. The most common ones you'll find in Arizona are the bark scorpion, the stripetail, the giant hairy scorpion, and the yellow ground scorpion.

Skinwalkers are an urban legend

In recent years, shows covering paranormal and supernatural phenomena have focused on skinwalkers. These creatures come from Navajo legends, so they're commonly "seen" in Arizona.

Skinwalkers are supposed to be witches who can change their appearance. You won't be able to go far in Arizona without hearing someone talk about a sighting or without seeing something promoting the myth.

Luana's Canyon has spooky echoes

Arizona facts and history can be pretty spooky. Luana's Canyon is an example of that.

The canyon also goes by the name "Slaughterhouse Canyon." According to legend, a miner and his family once lived at the bottom of the canyon. When the miner didn't return with food one day, his family began to starve and now supposedly haunts the area.

Flagstaff is supposedly haunted

Flagstaff is one of the most picturesque cities in the state. Its elevation allows it to have milder summer temperatures, and it regularly gets snow.

It's also supposedly one of the most haunted cities in Arizona. The downtown area has haunted walking tours. In fact, there are over 15 Flagstaff locations that supposedly host ghosts.

In Conclusion

Did any of these facts surprise you? How many were completely new, and how many had you heard already?

Hopefully, this list has helped open your eyes to what a fascinating place Arizona is! Maybe you're even on the cusp of planning a visit. We're sure you're excited to see some of these facts in action for yourself!

This list had 50 mind-blowing facts about the state, but there are hundreds more out there! One thing's for sure, if you find yourself in the Copper State anytime soon, you'll be able to impress your friends, family, and the locals with your knowledge!

This article was edited by Henry Grahame.

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Written by Gabrielle T

ggtraveler1213 WRITER Hi! I'm a lover of all things travel and culture. I'm originally from the USA, but I've lived in Italy for over a decade! I'm always ready to pack my bags, get my passport, and head out on an adventure!


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