Chino Valley is in Northern Arizona. It is in Yavapai County. The town is located in the mountains of Central Arizona. You can get to Chino Valley from Phoenix and Tucson by taking Interstate 17 north out of town past Black Canyon City to Cordes Junction. Here you will take State Highway 69 northwest through Prescott Valley and into Prescott. Then take State Highway 89 north out of Prescott to Chino Valley. If you are coming from Flagstaff, travel on State Highway 89A south out of town. Continue on the Highway through Sedona, Cottonwood and just before you enter Prescott take State Highway 89 north up to Chino Valley.

Chino Valley is great spot to enjoy the outdoors. It is a small town with ranching. Today Chino Valley’s population is 6,750. The town sits at an elevation of 4,750 feet. The climate is mild with four gentle seasons. The winter low temperature is 21 degrees and the summer high is 92 degrees. The town does receive an average rainfall of 10 inches a year.

There are many attractions near Chino Valley that you won’t want to miss during your visit. The Sharlot Hall Museum retells Arizona’s past through artifacts and buildings. This is a great stop to learn about the area. The Smoki Museum has many ancient artifacts of the Native Americans. The museum’s goal is to preserve the cultures of the people from long ago. Bucky’s Casino is a favorite gaming spot. There are many games to choose from and its surroundings are relaxed and comfortable.

The outdoor activities are plentiful close to Chino Valley. The Granite Mountain Wilderness is filled with hiking trails. One of the best trails near town is the Thumb Butte Trail. This trail offers tremendous views of the area. The Granite Dells are unique rock formations just outside of town. These formations are great for rock climbers and scenic place to admire nature’s beauty.
Chino Valley History
Lieutenant Amiel W. Whipple traveled through the area during 1853-54 as a surveyor. He named the grassy land Chino Valley. “De china” or “the chino” in Spanish means abundant grass. In 1863, Arizona’s first Territorial Capital was established at Del Rio Springs in Chino Valley. Later, it was moved to Prescott just 15 miles away.

Then in 1895, a railroad was built to connect Jerome and Chino Valley and then linked up to the Santa Fe Railroad. The town’s name Jerome Junction was given for the point the railroads connected. During the early 1920’s, the railroad closed and the town moved two miles to the west. It was at this time that the town was renamed Chino Valley.

Chino Valley is also the site of the first Territorial Capital of Arizona. U.S. Army Cavalry Lt. Amiel W. Whipple gave the community its name while traveling through the area. “Chino” is the Mexican name for the abundant, curly, grandma grass growing in the area. For many years Chino Valley, farmers have grown corn and alfalfa and raised cattle. The capital moved to the town of Prescott, 15 miles south in 1864.A narrow-gauge branch of the United Verde and Pacific Railroad was completed to Jerome in 1895. This joined the Prescott and Arizona Central and established the Jerome Junction. Between1900 and 1925, the activities of Jerome Junction were absorbed by Chino Valley. Chino Valley’s elevation is 4,750 feet. It is located in north central Arizona on Highway 89 and lies 15 miles north of Prescott and 35miles south of Ash Fork, which is on Interstate 40. The town of Chino Valley was incorporated in 1970.

The outdoor activities are plentiful close to Chino Valley. The Granite Mountain Wilderness is filled with hiking trails. One of the best trails near town is the Thumb Butte Trail. This trail offers tremendous views of the area. The Granite Dells are unique rock formations just outside of town. These formations are great for rock climbers and scenic place to admire nature’s beauty.

Music ‘n More Festival May
Independence Day Fireworks July
First Territorial Capital Days September

Filed Under: Arizona History
Tagged: Chino Valley History
Nearby Places To Visit

Just a few miles the road from Chino Valley in the community of Ash Fork Arizona. The town is located at the junction of State Highway 89 and Interstate 40, along Historic Route 66. The high northern plateau is where Ash Fork sits. On the eastern horizon, Bill Williams Mountain and Humphrey’s Peak can be seen. The Kaibab National Forest is also to the east of town. Ash Fork is 150 miles north of Phoenix, 50 miles east of Flagstaff and 50 miles north of Prescott.

Ash Fork has a moderate climate and an excellent location. These two elements make it an ideal stopping point to see the surrounding area. Today Ash Fork’s population is 530. The town sits at an elevation of 5,140 feet. The climate is mild all year round with a winter low temperature of 25 degrees and summer high temperature of 90 degrees. Today Ash Fork is known as the “Flagstone Capital of the United States.”

Community Features

One great attraction that you can’t miss when traveling through is the “Mother Road.” Old Route 66 runs the length of Ash Fork. There are historic markers honoring this once great road that crossed the country from Chicago to California. Visitors will still see some businesses that have been in operation since the 1920’s.
Outdoor fun is only minutes away. The town of Williams is only a short 17-mile drive to the east. Here, visitors will be able to enjoy four beautiful lakes located nearby. The Cataract Lake, Kaibab Lake, Dogtown Lake and White Horse Lake all offer fishing and camping.

Rolling Along Route 66 Days June
Octoberfest October

Ash Fork History

In 1882, the Atlantic and Pacific Railroad, later known as the Santa Fe, rolled into the area now known as Ash Fork. Ash Fork was chosen as a "siding" stop. Many of the freighters from Jerome wanted a location along the line, that would be easier for them to get to and Ash Fork became that place. The name Ash Fork came from some ash trees at the fork in Ash Creek.
The railroad caused the town to grow. The cattle business started to bloom. The Ash Fork Livestock Company ran their cattle out on the ranges and then brought them in to be shipped off on the rail. The post office was established a year later in 1883. Wells Fargo built a station in town in 1885.
Then 1893, the original town of Ash Fork burned down. The town was relocated to the other side of the railroad tracks, where it still stands today.
A rail line called the Peavine went between Ash Fork and Prescott and was completed in 1893. It wasn’t long after that when the line connected Ash Fork to Phoenix. This connection occurred in 1895.
The railroad was becoming more and more popular. In 1907, the Escalante Hotel was built. It was a Harvey House named after a Franciscan friar and explorer. Harvey Houses were the idea of Fred Harvey, who saw the need for good food along the Santa Fe Railroad line. Harvey created a Harvey House approximately every 100 miles along the tracks. A Harvey House had outstanding chefs, who created delicious meals. Harvey Girls served the meals in a quick and orderly manner. Fred Harvey was able to lure young Eastern girls out west with good wages and freeboard. Many of the girls came with the thought that their lives would be filled the excitement. Harvey Houses became an instant success.
When the train was on its way to a Harvey House, the brakeman would come by and take the orders. The orders would then be wired ahead. As the train neared the stop, it would send off a blast from its whistle. This would indicate to the Harvey Girls that they should be ready to serve the first course. The entire business was based on efficiency and good food.
During the late 1920’s, the automobile became a popular means of transportation. Route 66 was constructed which connected Chicago to California. The road made Ash Fork a place where drivers stopped over for the night. Throughout the years, Route 66 was a boost to the town’s economy.
Then the tides changed. In the 1950’s, the railroad moved its main line north of town and the Escalante Hotel closed down. A fire destroyed many buildings in the 1970’s and finally in 1979 Interstate 40, replaced Route 66 and bypassed Ash Fork.

All of these were hard on the town, but Ash Fork is still an exciting place to stop in and visit. Today, Ash Fork’s economic activities are tourism, mining, and cattle ranching. Since Ash Fork is located near Interstate 40, the town still sees many people who need to make a stop to rest or rejuvenate. The town is a hub of services for those passing by and for local residents.
Ash Fork is also known for it beautiful flagstone. The town is sometimes referred to as the “Flagstone Capital of the United States.” There are five stone yards located in and around town. These yards ship and quarry the stone. This is a growing business.
Ash Fork still reaps the benefits of its location at a major crossroads point in the state. It remains an unincorporated community.