Arizona – The Grand Canyon State

Arizona – The Grand Canyon State

The state of Arizona is bordered to the north by the state of Utah, to the east by the state of New Mexico, to the south by Mexico and to the west by California and Nevada. The Colorado River forms the western It is home to about 3 million people. The capital of Arizona is Phoenix with 800,000 inhabitants. It is also the largest city in Arizona.

According to EJIAXING, Arizona is a state with high plateaus, desert areas and very deep canyons. Arizona means nothing less than “dry land”. The highest point in this state is at Flagstaff, a mountain called Humphreys Peak. The highest peak is 3,857 meters above sea level. Arizona’s lowest point is near Yuma on the Colorado River, 21 meters above sea level. The state is divided into two regions. The first is Northern Arizona, which belongs to the Colorado Plateau, and the second, Southwestern Arizona, which is part of the Basin and Range Region. The Colorado Plateau occupies two-fifths of the state and consists of fairly flat plateaus. This area is formed by the eroded canyons. Wind, sun and water have done their job here.

Colorado Plateau

You can also see exceptionally steep slopes and small table mountains (Buttes) here. The beautiful Painted Desert, Monument Valley and the Grand Canyon of the Colorado River all belong to the Colorado Plateau. South of the Grand Canyon rise the San Francisco Peaks, of which Humphreys Peak is a part. By the way, this is an exhausted volcano. The south of the Colorado Plateau is a steep rock face called the Mongollon Rim with an elevation of 600 meters. From central Arizona, this wall extends into the southwestern part of the state of New Mexico.

The southern portion of Arizona consists of vast flat desert valleys or basins. These are separated from each other by rocky low mountains. This area is called the Basin and Range Region. The Colorado River, named after the state where it originates, along with tributaries such as the Gila River, the Verde River and the Little Colorado River, drains most of Arizona. There are some natural lakes to be found, but also quite a few huge reservoirs have their place in Arizona for the generation of electricity. These reservoirs are also there for regulating rivers and irrigating agricultural land. Lake Mead (partly in Nevada), Lake Powell (mostly in Utah), and Lake Havasu (partly in California) are all in the Colorado River basin.


The main dams are Hoover Dam, Davis Dam, Glen Canyon Dam, Parker Dam and Imperial Dam. There are also two major National Recreation Areas: the Glen Canyon National Recreation Area and the Lake Mead National Recreation Area.


In Arizona the climate is very varied, due to huge differences in altitude. The Colorado Plateau has warm summers and cool, cold winters. The Basin and Range Region in southern Arizona has very warm summers and mild winters.


Arizona’s fauna includes mountain lions, bighorn sheep, donkeys, deer, and antelope. Smaller animals such as beavers and chipmunks, rattlesnakes and gila monsters (lizards) also make their home in Arizona. Copper is mined in Arizona for half of the total production in the US.

Grand Canyon National Park

The Grand Canyon, created by the Colorado River, is a beautiful area with the world’s largest system of deep and wide canyons and gorges. Brilliant colors, whimsical and fantastic shapes are the hallmarks of the Grand Canyon. The Grand Canyon is part of the Colorado Plateau. The Grand Canyon has a length of 466 km and an average width of 16 km. The depth of the Canyon is 160 to 2000 meters. Grand Canyon National Park has been a fact since 1919.

The park spans the entire course of the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon and adjacent hill country, from the southern border of the Glen Canyon National Recreation Area to the eastern border of Lake Mead National Recreation Area. The total length of the Colorado River is 2,334 km. The Colorado River rises in the Rocky Mountains (in the north of the state of Colorado) and runs through several American states and a part of Mexico. Ultimately, the Colorado River flows into the California Gulf. The water of the river is used for irrigation and power generation. The section that runs through the Grand Canyon is approximately 90 meters wide and 4 to 13 meters deep. The Colorado River divides the Grand Canyon into a North Rim and South Rim.

These two parts of the park are only 16 km apart as the crow flies, but they are two completely different worlds. The height of the North Rim is about 2400 meters, that of the South Rim is about 300 meters lower. If one thinks that the 16 km between the two parts is also so short by car, then one is wrong. If you want to travel from the North Rim to the South Rim by car, you have to travel 345 km to reach your goal. The South Rim is the most accessible and is therefore preferred by most visitors. The South Rim has the best facilities for visitors and it is possible to book tours. For example, descending with a donkey in the Canyon or a sightseeing flight over the Canyon with a helicopter or plane.

Almost all activities start in Grand Canyon Village. The North Rim is not accessible off season, this season runs from mid-May to approximately mid-October. Despite the fact that the North Rim does not have many visitors, including the almost non-existent commerce, the natural beauty is certainly as beautiful as the South Rim. The Grand Canyon is one of the most visited parks in the United States with three million visitors annually. This already indicates that, if you want to spend the night in the park, reservation is necessary several months in advance.

About 2 billion years ago, it was tectonic forces that caused gigantic mountains to rise where the Grand Canyon is now. The high temperatures and enormous pressure associated with the formation of this mountain range changed the rock into dark rock formations that can be found in the Inner Gorge (the bottom of the deepest part of the Grand Canyon). Erosion broke these mountains down to their base. These gigantic mountains gave way to huge basins in which enormous amounts of volcanic rocks and sediments accumulated.

About 800 million years ago this entire process repeated itself. Between 575 and 225 million years ago, the Grand Canyon was a gigantic inland sea. The horizontal layers of sandstone, shale, and limestone that make up the current walls of the Grand Canyon arose from the material that accumulated at the bottom of this basin. The building blocks for the current appearance were therefore already present. About 65 million years ago, the crust in this area began to rise above sea level, and the Rocky Mountains were born. The snow and rain that fell over the Rocky Mountains had to make their way out to sea, and so the Colorado River was born.

About 6 million years ago, the river began to grind out of the Grand Canyon. The relatively soft walls offered no resistance to the Colorado River, causing the Canyon to become deeper and wider due to the erosive forces of water, wind, sun and frost. Currently, the water has reached the harder and more resistant layers of granite and shale at the bottom of the Canyon. Due to the abrasive effect of the silt and the rocks that were taken along, the river eats deeper and deeper into the rock. This process will continue until the river bed is as high as the sea level.

Petrified Forest National Park

This park is located in the east of the state of Arizona and its main attraction is the petrified trees that lie there. In 1906 the park was declared a National Monument and in 1932 the park was expanded to include the area known as Painted Desert. In 1962, National Monument status was converted to National Park. The park covers an area of ​​378 square kilometers. There are six separate forests in the park where large, tree trunk-shaped blocks of jasper and agate lie on the ground. These are surrounded by smaller debris and fragments. The petrification of the wood is a process described in geological jargon as petrification.

Everything that has to do with rock formation is called petrogenesis. The area has dry plateaus, sandy deserts, rock formations and truncated rock massifs. This area used to be a lowland plain with swamps with rivers running through them. Pine-like trees grew in the southern part of the park, among a variety of giant ferns, cycads and other primordial vegetation and fauna whose existence has been proven by fossils. The tall trees have fallen and been washed down by the rivers to the lowlands. Here they were buried under silt, mud and sand with volcanic ash. This ash was rich in silica. These layers prevented oxygen from reaching the tree trunks, so that normal decomposition was no longer possible.

In the least, the dissolution process was severely delayed. Slowly but surely, the wood was soaked with siliceous groundwater so that the original wood fibers were very gradually replaced by pebble deposits. The pebble deposits hardened and the petrification of the tree trunks became a fact. This process should have taken place two hundred million years ago. After this, the area slowly started to sink below sea level. As a result, the sea took over the area and through the sedimentation process the area was covered with a new layer.

A little later, the bottom was worked up, the tensions occurring in the bottom are responsible for the breaks in the tree trunks. In more recent times, the sedimentary layers were removed by wind and water. As a result, the petrified tree trunks and fossils were left behind on the land. Currently, the above forces are still at work making changes to the now exposed logs, however this process also causes new logs to emerge over and over again.

Saguaro National Park

This two-part park has large cacti in its territory. The two parts, Rincon Mountain Unit and Tucson Mountain Unit, are also part of the beautiful Sonoran Desert that covers southwestern Arizona, the southeastern corner of California and almost all of the Mexican town of Sonora. The famous Saguaro cactus is found only in the Sonoran Desert. In 1994 a part was declared a National Park, just for the protection of the gigantic cacti. The cactus lives among the bushes and desert vegetation and can reach a maximum length of 15 meters in height.

They can live to be about 200 years old. A beautiful view of a forest of Saguaros can be seen in the Rincon Mountain Unit, with the backdrop of Rincon Mountain. The 8-mile Cactus Forest Drive, a paved highway, runs through this part of the park. In the Tucson Mountain Unit you can visit a museum: the Arizona-Sonoran Desert Museum. It is an interesting open-air museum with live animals and special plants. In this part of the park is a dirt road, the 10 km long Bajada Loop Drive, which also offers views of giant cacti.

Apache Trail

The Apache Trail is a route through rugged landscape. It is an approximately 85 mile road that takes you through canyons, mountains and lakes. It shows you the real west of the States. The route that one takes was formerly the supply route of the Indians, hence the name Apache Trail.

The flag of Arizona

The flag of Arizona dates from February 27, 1917. Unlike most states, Arizona did not use the wars for its flag but its own state. The colored stripes above the dark blue should represent a beautiful sunset over a shadow-covered desert. The star in the center of the flag is supposed to represent the rich copper production the state has. The red and yellow refer to the earlier years when Spaniards discovered the area.

Arizona – The Grand Canyon State

Extra information

  • State Flower Saguaro Cactus Blossom
  • State Tree Palo Verde
  • State bird Cactus wren
  • Staatsinsect Two-tailed Swallowtail
  • Staatsleus Arizona: The Grand Canyon State
  • Member of the union since: February 14, 1912
  • Tourism is one of the largest sources of income in Arizona.