Pima is in Eastern Arizona . It is in Graham County. The town covers two square miles. The town is located on Interstate 70. Pima is approximately 134 miles from Tucson and 160 miles from Phoenix. If you are coming from Tucson, take Interstate 10 east out of town to U.S. 191 and head north toward Safford. Once you are in Safford, take U.S. 70 west into Pima. If you are coming from Phoenix, take U.S. 60 east out of town to Globe and then take U.S. 70 into Pima.
Pima is a becoming a retirement and tourist spot. There are so many recreational facilities located nearby that there is something fun to do for everyone. Pima began as an agricultural community. Today Pima’s population is 1,725. The town sits at an elevation of 2,885 feet. The mild climate is found all year round with a summer high Temperature of 99 degrees and a winter low Temperature of 30 degrees. Pima is known as “The Little Town with it All”.
One great attraction in town is the Eastern Arizona Museum and Historical Society. This museum has wonderful displays that preserve the heritage of the area. Visitors can even arrange for tours when you call in advance. Another popular hang out is the Graham County Fairgrounds and Recreational Area located in the town of Safford. The 220-area complex has facilities for fairs, an equestrian arena, an oval racetrack and many public recreation spots.
These recreation areas range from tennis courts to baseball fields and 56 picnic tables. The Graham County Fairgrounds and Recreational Area is the place to be if you are interested in small town fun. Discovery Park is a fun place to go explore the past, present and future of the desert southwest. There are 200 acres of scientific, historical and cultural exhibits including the Gov Aker Observatory and the space stimeulator ride called the Polaris Shuttlecraft. The Discovery Park Express narrow-gauge train takes you on a tour of Nature’s Hideaway with wildlife, flora and fauna.
Most of the activities available around Pima are outdoor activities. There are so many to choose from its hard to decide where to start. The Swift Trail (State Highway 366) is one of Arizona ‘s most popular scenic drives. The drive begins just eight miles south of Safford. The trail takes you up to the top of Mount Graham in the Pinaleno Mountains. There are many spectacular sights along this drive. Columbine is a great camping area. Riggs Flat Lake has fishing and camping. However, the last section of the trail leading to the lake is closed during the winter season. Visitors will want to head to the lake in the spring and summer to enjoy the water fun.
Another lake that has lots to offer is the Lake Roper State Park. This lake is only four miles south of Safford. The park has 240 acres and 30 acres of water. Visitors will find two developed areas, which surround a small man made lake. The park has picnicking, camping, boating and a natural hot spring. The Cluff Ranch Wildlife Area has been a popular recreational spot since the turn of the century. It lies at the base of Mount Graham and is only five miles south of Pima. Visitors can choose from fishing, camping and photography. Wildlife can be spotted at several ponds and riparian areas located in the area. It is a wonderful spot to enjoy nature.
The Aravaipa Canyon Wilderness Area is a vast wilderness. It is an area that has no trails, no facilities and no signs. The area is for those interested in really getting in touch with the outdoors. Hikers, campers and those wanting to see wildlife will enjoy heading to the Aravaipa Canyon. The Gila Box Riparian National Conservation Area is a wonderful piece of land including a 15-mile segment of Bonita Creek and 23 miles of the Gila River. This area is the prefect place to take a kayak, canoe or raft. Visitors can float down the Gila Rive taking in the variety of birds that make this place their new home.
Fur trappers and mountain men first used the area around Pima as they searched for pelts during the 1820′s and 1830′s. These men were traveling along the nearby Gila River. This river eventually served as a trail called the Gila Trail. In 1846, General Stephen W. Kearny used the trail as he headed west with his army.
It wasn’t until 1879, when a group of Mormon settlers arrived in the area that a community was created. They were looking for a site to build a canal and grow crops. They discovered that the Gila Valley was ideal. It was close to Mount Graham and to other mountains in the north. The settlers laid out a town site and quickly built a canal system for their crops. They named the town Smithville in honor of the Mormon leader Jesse Smith.
Then in 1880, the town established a post office. It was at this time that the town changed its name to Pima, after the local Indian tribe. The town was incorporated four years later in 1884.
Throughout the town’s history, agriculture has been its most important economic source. The Gila River, along with the canals that were built helped the crops grow and prosper. The main crops harvested were and still are today alfalfa, cotton and grain. Farms also raise cattle.
Recently, the town has become a popular retirement community and tourist spot. The town continues to grown today.