Counties of Arizona

There's something beautiful and fascinating in each of Arizona's 15 counties. Read on to learn more about all the wonderful parts of our state.

  • Apache

    County Seat: St. Johns
    Founded: 1879
    Area: 11,198 square miles
    Population: 71,518 (2010)
    Other Major Cities: Alpine, Chinle, Ganado, Springerville, Tsaile, Window Rock
    Geographic Highlights: Apache County is home to the headwaters of the two forks of the Little Colorado River. It also includes White Mountains destinations such as Big Lake, Hawley Lake and Baldy Peak, along with the Navajo Nation’s Canyon de Chelly National Monument and most of Petrified Forest National Park.

  • Slaughter Ranch

    Near Douglas

    John Slaughter spoke softly and carried a big stick long before Teddy Roosevelt made it cool. Elected Cochise County sheriff in 1886 — five years after the Gunfight at the O.K. Corral — Slaughter patrolled the streets of Tombstone wearing a pearl-handled .44 and packing a 10-gauge shotgun. He politely asked troublemakers to leave town. And he didn’t ask twice: Legend has it the lawman killed at least a dozen men “who had it comin’.” Slaughter is credited with helping to tame the Arizona Territory, and after four years as sheriff, he retired to his ranch east of Douglas. During its peak, the ranch employed 150 people, controlled 100,000 acres in the U.S. and Mexico, and supplied beef and produce to area towns and military posts. And, except for when Pancho Villa’s men showed up, no shotgun was necessary. Ranching continued for nearly six decades after the Slaughter family left the property. Today, it’s officially known as San Bernardino Ranch and is adjacent to San Bernardino National Wildlife Refuge. Its centerpieces are a large pond, built by Slaughter and fed by natural springs, and the restored ranch house, now a museum that gives visitors a glimpse of ranching the way it used to be.

    DIRECTIONS: From Douglas, go east on 15th Street, which turns into Geronimo Trail, for 16 miles to San Bernardino Road. Take a slight right onto San Bernardino Road, a well-maintained dirt road, and continue 0.6 miles to Slaughter Ranch Museum, on the left. The ranch is open from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Wednesdays through Sundays; a $5 donation is requested for adult visitors, and children are free.
    CONSTRUCTED: 1893 (ranch house; approximate)
    BUILDER: John Slaughter
    INFORMATION: Slaughter Ranch, 520-678-7935 or www.slaughterranch.com

    Photo: John Slaughter completed the adobe ranch house that stands today around 1893. Its hipped rooflines and wide verandas recall Slaughter’s Southern roots. | Mark Lipczynski

  • Cochise

    County Seat: Bisbee
    Founded: 1881
    Area: 6,166 square miles
    Population: 131,346 (2010)
    Other Major Cities: Benson, Douglas, Sierra Vista, Willcox
    Geographic Highlights: The Chiricahua Mountains are Cochise County’s best-known range, but others include the Dragoons and the Whetstones. Between Sierra Vista and Bisbee, the San Pedro Riparian National Conservation Area protects part of the San Pedro River, the last major undammed, free-flowing river in the American Southwest.

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  • Coconino

    County Seat: Flagstaff
    Founded: 1891
    Area: 18,619 square miles
    Population: 134,421 (2010)
    Other Major Cities: Page, Sedona
    (partial), Tusayan, Williams
    Geographic Highlights: The Grand Canyon is a pretty big one, we suppose. But Coconino County also includes wonders such as Lake Powell, Marble Canyon, Sunset Crater, the Vermilion Cliffs and the San Francisco Peaks. The latter feature 12,633-foot Humphreys Peak, Arizona’s highest point.

  • Gila

    County Seat: Globe
    Founded: 1881
    Area: 4,758 square miles
    Population: 53,597 (2010)
    Other Major Cities: Miami, Payson, Pine
    Geographic Highlights: Gila County’s terrain ranges from the cool pines of the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests to the saguaros of the Sonoran Desert. Attractions include Tonto National Monument, Fossil Creek, Salt River Canyon and Theodore Roosevelt Lake, the largest reservoir located entirely in Arizona.

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  • Graham

    County Seat: Safford
    Founded: 1881
    Area: 4,623 square miles
    Population: 37,220 (2010)
    Other Major Cities: Pima, Thatcher
    Geographic Highlights: Graham County’s Pinaleño and Galiuro mountain ranges offer myriad recreation opportunities. The county also contains most of the Gila Box Riparian National Conservation Area, which protects portions of the Gila River and Bonita Creek.

  • Greenlee

    County Seat: Clifton
    Founded: 1909
    Area: 1,843 square miles
    Population: 8,437 (2010)
    Other Major Cities: Duncan, Morenci
    Geographic Highlights: Arizona’s second-smallest and least-populated county is known for Hannagan Meadow and the Blue Range Primitive Area, the last such area in the U.S. The Coronado Trail (U.S. Route 191) traverses most of the county from north to south.

  • La Paz

    County Seat: Parker
    Founded: 1983
    Area: 4,500 square miles
    Population: 20,489 (2010)
    Other Major City: Quartzsite
    Geographic Highlights: La Paz is Arizona’s youngest county and the only one formed since Arizona gained statehood in 1912. The Parker Strip section of the Colorado River is a major tourist attraction, while Quartzsite is a popular destination for winter visitors to the state.

  • 1932-1941

    Caption goes here: Isabella Greenway, first woman elected to serve in congress in 1933 seated on First Lady Elanor Roosevelt's left. Courtesy the Library of Congress

    1932: Robber’s Roost becomes one of the first major films to be made in Arizona, and the Santa Cruz River floods after a massive rainstorm, causing more than $3 million in damages.

    1933: Isabella Greenway of Arizona becomes the first woman to serve in the U.S. Congress.

    1934: Actress Barbara Eden is born in Tucson.

    1935: The last grizzly bear in Arizona is killed, and Prescott’s Smoki Museum opens.

    1936: The first tequila ever produced in the United States is made in Nogales.

    1937: Phoenix records its heaviest snowfall to date when 1-4 inches of snow falls on January 21-22, while a record low of
    minus 30 is recorded in Flagstaff on January 22.

    1938: John Ford’s production of Stagecoach arrives in Arizona, and the first organized ski area opens in the San Francisco Peaks (it would later be called Arizona Snowbowl).

    1939: The ruins at Tuzigoot are named a national monument; the Old Tucson movie set is built; Gunga Din, starring Cary Grant, is filmed in Yuma; Clark Gable and Carole Lombard are married in Kingman; and Ida Mae Fredericks becomes the first Hopi to receive a college degree at what is now Northern Arizona University.

    1940: Prescott’s KYCA begins broadcasting; actor Tom Mix dies in a car crash near Florence; and Big Nose Kate, Doc Holliday’s common-law wife, dies at the Arizona Pioneers’ Home in Prescott.

    1941: Luke Air Force Base is named for WWI flying ace Frank Luke Jr. of Phoenix.

  • Maricopa

    County Seat: Phoenix
    Founded: 1871
    Area: 9,200 square miles
    Population: 3,817,117 (2010)
    Other Major Cities: Gila Bend, Mesa, Scottsdale, Wickenburg
    Geographic Highlights: Nearly 60 percent of Arizona’s population calls Maricopa County home. In Phoenix, 2,680-foot Camelback Mountain is a popular and strenuous hike. Other attractions include the Four Peaks Wilderness, Bartlett Lake and South Mountain Park.

  • 1942-1951

    Caption goes here: Native Americans working on Roosevelt Dam. 1948 was the first year Native American's could vote. Courtesy the Library of Congress

    1942: Approximately 18,000 Japanese-Americans are interned in Poston Relocation Camp south of Parker.

    1943: Sharlot Hall, Arizona’s first state historian, dies.

    1944: A B-17 Flying Fortress crashes into the Gila Mountains 20 miles east of Yuma during a night flight; Franklin D. Roosevelt gets 80,926 votes in Arizona during the presidential campaign, compared to Thomas Dewey’s 56,287, thus claiming the state’s four electoral votes.

    1945: Professional softball player Charlotte “Skipper” Armstrong of Phoenix pitches shutouts in both games of a double-header, which gets her listed in Ripley’s Believe It or Not!.

    1946: The University of Arizona beats Arizona State College 67-0 in college football.

    1947: Baseball Hall-of-Famer Bob Lemon pitches the first Cactus League baseball game.

    1948: Native Americans are given the right to vote in Arizona, and the last electric streetcar makes its final run in Phoenix.

    1949: Jacque Mercer of Litchfield Park is crowned Miss America; KPHO, the state’s first TV station, begins broadcasting; and Emory Sekaquaptewa, a Hopi from Oraibi, becomes the first full-blooded Native American to receive an appointment to West Point.

    1950: Arizona gains 50 percent in population, according to new census numbers. The new population is 742,382.

    1951: The world champion New York Yankees, owned by Phoenix resident Del Webb, hold spring training at Phoenix Municipal Stadium on Central Avenue and Mohave Street.

  • Mohave

    County Seat: Kingman
    Founded: 1864
    Area: 13,311 square miles
    Population: 200,186 (2010)
    Other Major Cities: Bullhead City, Lake Havasu City
    Geographic Highlights: Much of the longest remaining unbroken stretch of Historic Route 66 runs through Mohave County. There’s also a section of Grand Canyon National Park, the striking landscape of Lake Mead and part of the Arizona Strip, the remote northwest corner of the state.

  • 1952-1961

    Caption goes here: Maybe Frank Lloyd Wright. Courtesy the Library of Congress

    1952: A U.S. Air Force transport plane crashes in the Sierra Ancha, killing all 28 people aboard, making it the deadliest crash to date in Arizona history.

    1953: Phelps Dodge closes its “Billion Dollar Copper Camp” in Jerome.

    1954: The Reverend Bert Charles Roberson dies in a car crash at 14th and Washington streets in Phoenix, ending the city’s record of 254 days without a fatal traffic accident.

    1955: A thunderstorm with 70-mph winds destroys 30 planes and causes $150,000 in damages at Phoenix’s Sky Harbor Airport.

    1956: TWA Flight 2 and United Airlines Flight 718 collide over the Grand Canyon, killing 128 people; renowned architect Mary Jane Colter, who designed Desert View Watchtower, et al., dies; Prescott is named an “All-American City” by Money magazine; and Sundrella begins producing its iconic aluminum patio umbrellas. 

    1957: Page is founded to accommodate construction workers building Glen Canyon Dam.

    1958: Arizona’s Jimmy Bryan wins the Indy 500, and Wayne Newton, sophomore class president at North Phoenix High School, drops out to sing in Las Vegas.

    1959: Glendale’s Marty Robbins records El Paso, which later becomes the first country song to win a Grammy Award; the Beeline Highway between Mesa and Payson replaces the old dirt road that used to connect the cities; and Frank Lloyd Wright dies in Phoenix.

    1960: Arizona’s population exceeds 1 million.

    1961: Arizona’s Al Casey performs Cookin’ on American Bandstand.

  • Navajo

    County Seat: Holbrook
    Founded: 1895
    Area: 9,950 square miles
    Population: 107,449 (2010)
    Other Major Cities: Heber, Kayenta, Pinetop-Lakeside, Show Low, Winslow
    Geographic Highlights: About two-thirds of Navajo County is Navajo, Hopi and White Mountain Apache tribal land. Attractions include Monument Valley, the Painted Desert and a section of the Mogollon Rim, which cuts across much of Arizona from east to west.

  • 1962-1971

    Caption goes here: Bolo tie here. Courtesy the Library of Congress

    1962: Sonny Nunez, a 22-year-old featherweight boxer from Glendale, dies of injuries suffered in a fight at Madison Square Garden in Phoenix; and the Arizona Corporation Commission approves a nickel-a-ride increase in bus fares.

    1963: Glen Canyon Dam is completed, allowing for the creation of Lake Powell.

    1964: Waylon Jennings’ band, the Waylors, becomes the house band at JD’s in Phoenix.

    1965: Vonda Kay Van Dyke of Phoenix is named Miss America; Sun City becomes one of the first retirement communities in the U.S.; George Phippen of Skull Valley founds the Cowboy Artists of America; and Interstate 10 between Tucson and Phoenix is completed.

    1966: Arizona State College becomes Northern Arizona University, and The Doors play their first gig outside of Los Angeles at Phoenix’s Fifth Estate.

    1967: Arizona State University professor Rita Dove wins the Pulitzer Prize for poetry; the University of Arizona band plays the national anthem at the first Super Bowl in Los Angeles; the state records its latest sunset (8:41 p.m.), causing loud protests from restaurants — the following year, the state Legislature votes to opt out of daylight saving time.

    1968: The Phoenix Suns join the NBA; The Doors play the Arizona State Fair, where Jim Morrison incites a near-riot; and Edward Abbey’s enduring book Desert Solitaire is published.

    1969: Navajo Community College in Tsaile becomes the first U.S. college located on an Indian reservation.

    1970: Remnants of Tropical Storm Norma kill 23 people during The Labor Day Storm of 1970.

    1971: Johnny Cash and June Carter Cash broadcast their TV show from Carefree; the Legislature names the bola tie the official neckwear of Arizona; and Interstate 8 between Casa Grande and Yuma is completed.

  • Pima

    County Seat: Tucson
    Founded: 1864
    Area: 9,187 square miles
    Population: 980,263 (2010)
    Other Major Cities: Ajo, Green Valley, Marana, Oro Valley, Sahuarita
    Geographic Highlights: Pima County’s Santa Catalina Mountains, topped by 9,130-foot Mount Lemmon, overlook Tucson, and the two sections of Saguaro National Park bracket the city on the east and west. There’s also the Tohono O’odham Nation, Buenos Aires National Wildlife Refuge and Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument.

  • 1972-1981

    Caption goes here: A view of the Big Room in Kartchner Caverns. Photograph courtesy Mike Lewis

    1972: Bob Dylan takes refuge in Scottsdale, where he writes Forever Young.

    1973: Interstate 17 between Phoenix and Flagstaff is completed.

    1974: Kartchner Caverns is discovered.

    1975: ASU’s Frank Kush is named college football’s Coach of the Year, and Edward Abbey’s classic book The Monkey Wrench Gang is published.

    1976: President Gerald Ford releases a statement on the death of Arizona Republic reporter Don Bolles, saying he was “distressed and outraged that a reporter in search of truth became an apparent victim of the underworld.”

    1977: Canyon Records releases its first rock record.

    1978: The Reverend James Rausch, bishop of the Diocese of Phoenix, endorses newly elected Pope John Paul II.

    1979: The Arizona Republic announces on its front page that it’s changing its headline font to Helvetica, “one of the most readable and contemporary typefaces in the printing business.”

    1980: Stewart Mountain Dam near Phoenix is threatened by storms that lead to a record flow in the normally dry Salt River.

    1981: $3.3 million is stolen from the First National Bank of Arizona in Tucson, and Sandra Day O’Connor becomes the first woman appointed to the U.S. Supreme Court

  • Pinal

    County Seat: Florence
    Founded: 1875
    Area: 5,366 square miles
    Population: 375,770 (2010)
    Other Major Cities: Apache Junction, Casa Grande, Coolidge, Maricopa, Oracle, Superior
    Geographic Highlights: The Superstition Mountains rise in northern Pinal County east of Phoenix, and the county is also home to Boyce Thompson Arboretum, Casa Grande Ruins National Monument and Picacho Peak State Park. You can explore much of the county on the Pinal Pioneer Parkway (State Route 79).

  • 1982-1991

    Caption goes here: Bolo tie here. Courtesy the Library of Congress

    1982: Future pop star Michelle Branch is born in Phoenix, because the hospitals in Flagstaff, where her parents live, are full. 

    1983: La Paz County is added as the state’s newest county, and Dr. Ted Diethrich of Phoenix performs the first live telecast of open-heart surgery on prime-time television.

    Photo: The ringtail is designated the state mammal (pick-up from nature??)

    1984: Historic Route 66 is declared officially dead when the last stretch of Interstate 40 bypasses Williams.

    1985: The State Parks Board acquires the Pendley homestead for $3,757,324.65, laying the ground-work for what would become Slide Rock State Park.

    1986: The ringtail is designated the state mammal, and the Arizona ridgenose rattlesnake is designated the state reptile; and the Laughlin Bridge opens, providing easy access between Bullhead City, Arizona, and Laughlin, Nevada.

    1987: The Painted Desert Inn is named a National Historic Landmark; Larry McMurtry gives the keynote address during Northern Arizona University’s honors week; Arizona State University defeats Michigan 22-17 in the Rose Bowl; and the U2 rockumentary Rattle and Hum is filmed at ASU’s Sun Devil Stadium. 

    1988: The St. Louis Cardinals move to Arizona and become the Phoenix Cardinals (the name is later changed to the Arizona Cardinals), and Sky Harbor Airport is selected the nation’s best airport for passenger amenities by Money magazine.

    1989: Iconic Arizona author Edward Abbey dies, and Governor Rose Mofford signs into law a paid holiday honoring the Reverend Martin Luther King Jr., ending a two-year economic boycott of the state.

    1990: The temperature in Phoenix hits 122 degrees on June 26, making it the hottest day on record, and former Phoenician and Tubes member Vince Welnick joins the Grateful Dead as keyboardist.

    1991: Margaret Sanger Slee is inducted into the Arizona Women’s Hall of Fame for her work in building hospitals in Tucson

  • Santa Cruz

    County Seat: Nogales
    Founded: 1899
    Area: 1,237 square miles
    Population: 47,420 (2010)
    Other Major Cities: Patagonia, Sonoita, Tubac, Tumacacori
    Geographic Highlights: The Nogales area — including the sister city of Nogales, Sonora, across the border — is the hub of Santa Cruz County, but other attractions include the Pajarita and Mount Wrightson wilderness areas, Tumacácori National Historical Park, the Patagonia Mountains and the ghost town of Ruby.

  • 1992-2001

    Caption goes here: Lake Havasu City 128 degrees caption here.

    1992: Cody Custer of Wickenburg wins the PRCA bull-riding championship.

    1993: Charles Barkley of the Phoenix Suns wins the NBA’s MVP award, and labor leader César Chávez dies.

    1994: On June 28, the temperature reaches 128 degrees in Lake Havasu City.

    1995: Grand Canyon National Park shuts down for the first time in history because of a budget deadlock between Congress and the White House.

    1996: Kerri Strug of Tucson overcomes a serious ankle injury to help the U.S. women’s team win an Olympic gold medal in gymnastics.

    1997: The Muhammed Ali Parkinson Center opens in Phoenix, and the University of Arizona Wildcats beat the University of Kentucky Wildcats 84-79 to win the NCAA basketball championship.

    1998: Iconic Arizona politicians Barry Goldwater and Morris Udall die, and the Arizona Diamondbacks play their first regular-season baseball game.

    1999: Robbie Knievel, son of Evel Knievel, jumps his motorcycle 228 feet across a portion of the Grand Canyon on the Hualapai Indian Reservation.

    2000: The Arizona Diamondbacks turn their first triple play (Mark McGwire was at the plate); Luis Gonzales becomes the first Diamondbacks player to hit for the cycle; and Randy Johnson pitches the 3,000th strikeout of his career.

    2001: The Arizona Diamondbacks defeat the New York Yankees 4 games to 3 in the World Series

  • Yavapai

    County Seat: Prescott
    Founded: 1864
    Area: 8,124 square miles
    Population: 211,033 (2010)
    Other Major Cities: Camp Verde, Chino Valley, Cottonwood, Jerome, Sedona (partial)
    Geographic Highlights: Throw a rock in Yavapai County and you’re bound to hit something spectacular: the red rocks of Sedona, the lakes of the Prescott area, Montezuma Castle
    National Monument and Castle Hot Springs, to name a few. Of course, we don’t endorse rock-throwing as a general practice.

  • 2002-2012

    Caption goes here: Rodeo-Chediski fire photo caption here.

    2002: The Rodeo-Chediski Fire becomes the worst wildfire in state history to date, burning 468,638 acres.

    2003: The Arizona Rattlers become the first team in Arena Football League history to score 80-plus points in consecutive games; the all-time record high minimum temperature in Phoenix (93 degrees) is eclipsed as a new mark of 96 degrees is established; and Lori Piestewa, a Hopi, becomes the first woman to die in the Iraq invasion.

    2004: Former Arizona State University and Arizona Cardinals football player Pat Tillman is killed in Afghanistan, and 40-year-old Randy Johnson tosses the 17th perfect game in major-league history, pitching the Arizona Diamondbacks past the Atlanta Braves, 2-0.

    2005: Bank One Ballpark, home of the Arizona Diamondbacks, is renamed Chase Field.

    2006: The Arizona Cardinals play their first game — a preseason game against the Pittsburgh Steelers — in what would later be known as University of Phoenix Stadium.

    2007: The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals rules Arizona Snowbowl operators cannot use reclaimed wastewater to make snow.

    2008: Stephenie Meyer of Scottsdale, author of the Twilight series of books, is the best-selling author of the year, selling more than 29 million books.

    2009: President Barack Obama speaks at the Arizona State University commencement.

    2010: The Mike O’Callaghan-Pat Tillman Memorial Bridge opens, allowing motorists to bypass Hoover Dam to cross the Colorado River north of Kingman — the new bridge covers a 1,900-foot span approximately 900 feet above the river.

    2011: U.S. Representative Gabrielle Giffords and 18 others are shot outside a Safeway in Tucson, and Arizona State University’s women’s softball team wins the College World Series.

    2012: Arizona Highways celebrates the state’s Centennial with its first-ever 100-page issue.  

  • Yuma

    County Seat: Yuma
    Founded: 1864
    Area: 5,514 square miles
    Population: 195,751 (2010)
    Other Major City: San Luis
    Geographic Highlights: Yuma County includes the Kofa National Wildlife Refuge and part of Cabeza Prieta National Wildlife Refuge. The city of Yuma rose to prominence as an early Colorado River crossing, and the Ocean-to-Ocean Bridge, the first vehicle bridge across the river, is located there.