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Clifton, Arizona


Clifton is a small town in Greenlee County, Arizona, located along the San Francisco River. Founded in the late 19th century during Arizona’s copper boom, Clifton is now a charming small town with a rich historical heritage and a close-knit, welcoming community.

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 Town of Clifton

Environment and Sustainability

Clifton is located in a scenic river valley surrounded by mountains. The town is committed to protecting its natural environment and preserving its unique southwestern landscape. It’s situated near the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests, offering abundant opportunities for outdoor recreation and wildlife viewing.

Town Awards and Recognition

While Clifton is a small town, it has been recognized for its historical significance. The town’s Chase Creek Historic District is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.


Clifton has a semi-arid climate, with hot summers and mild winters. The town receives a moderate amount of rainfall, most of which falls during the summer monsoon season.

Quality of Life

Despite its small size, Clifton offers a high quality of life with a low cost of living. The town’s remote location and beautiful natural surroundings provide a peaceful, relaxed lifestyle.


Accommodations in Clifton include several small hotels and guesthouses, providing a cozy, home-like atmosphere.


While there are no large resorts in Clifton, the nearby Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests offer numerous camping and recreational facilities.

Camping and RV Resorts

Camping opportunities abound in the surrounding national forests and along the San Francisco River. However, it’s worth noting that there are no formal RV resorts within Clifton itself.

Attractions and Things to Do

Visitors to Clifton can explore the town’s historic district, visit the local mining museum, or enjoy outdoor activities like hiking, fishing, and birdwatching in the nearby national forests.

Cultural Centers

The Greenlee County Historical Society Museum provides insight into the area’s mining history and the early days of Clifton.

Dining and Nightlife

Clifton offers a selection of restaurants and bars, ranging from family-friendly diners to historic saloons.

Off-road trips, Horseback Riding, Hiking, and Scenic Drives

The surrounding area offers abundant opportunities for off-road trips, horseback riding, hiking, and scenic drives. The Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests are particularly popular for these activities.

Art and Culture, Events and Festivals

Clifton hosts a number of community events throughout the year, including holiday celebrations and town festivals.

Clubs and Organizations

Clifton has several local clubs and organizations, including a Rotary Club, a Lions Club, and various sports and recreation clubs.

Dog Parks and Golf Courses

While Clifton does not have a dedicated dog park or golf course, the town’s parks and open spaces provide plenty of room for dogs to play. For golf enthusiasts, the nearest course is located in the neighboring town of Morenci.

Outdoor Activities and Sports

The nearby national forests offer a wealth of outdoor activities, including hiking, camping, fishing, and wildlife watching. Additionally, the San Francisco River provides opportunities for water-based recreation.

Parks and Playgrounds

Clifton has several parks and playgrounds, providing outdoor recreation opportunities for residents and visitors alike.

Adult and Continuing Education

Clifton is served by the Greenlee County Library, which offers a range of adult and continuing education programs.

Educational Opportunities

Clifton is part of the Clifton Unified School District, which operates several schools in the town. The University of Arizona also operates a cooperative extension office in Clifton, offering educational programs and resources for residents.

High Schools, Elementary Schools, and Preschools

Clifton has one high school, one elementary school, and one preschool. These schools are part of the Clifton Unified School District.

Private Schools and School Districts

Clifton does not have any private schools. The town’s public schools are governed by the Clifton Unified School District.


The Greenlee County Library in Clifton offers a range of resources and programs for residents of all ages.

Large Employers

The largest employer in Clifton is Freeport-McMoRan, the company that operates the Morenci Mine.

History before 1850

The area where Clifton is now located was originally inhabited by Native American tribes. However, the town of Clifton was not established until the late 19th century.

History after 1850

Clifton was founded in the 1870s during Arizona’s copper boom. The town grew rapidly as miners flocked to the area, and Clifton soon became one ofthe largest copper mining towns in Arizona. Today, Clifton continues to thrive as a small town with a rich mining heritage.

Key Historic Events and Milestones

– 1870s: Clifton is founded during Arizona’s copper boom.
– 1913: The Arizona Copper Company Strike of 1913 occurs in Clifton, which was a significant event in the labor movement.
– 1983: The Phelps Dodge Corporation, a major employer in the town, ceases copper smelting operations.

Historic Districts

The Chase Creek Historic District is Clifton’s main historic area. This district features a number of well-preserved buildings from the town’s mining heyday.

Historical Sites

Historical sites in Clifton include the Greenlee County Courthouse, the Clifton Cliff Jail, and the buildings of the Chase Creek Historic District.


The Greenlee County Historical Society Museum offers exhibits on the history of Clifton and the surrounding area.

Profiles of Notable Figures

Notable figures from Clifton include Rose Mofford, the first woman to serve as Arizona’s governor, and Henry Fountain Ashurst, one of Arizona’s first two U.S. Senators.

Planned Communities

There are no major planned communities in Clifton. The town’s housing stock primarily consists of single-family homes.


Clifton’s peaceful environment, low cost of living, and scenic natural surroundings make it an appealing place for retirement.


Clifton is served by U.S. Route 191, which connects the town to other parts of Arizona. The nearest major airport is Tucson International Airport, located about 200 miles away.

Location from Phoenix, Arizona

Clifton is about 200 miles east of Phoenix, Arizona. The drive typically takes approximately 3.5 hours.

Location from Tucson, Arizona

Clifton is about 200 miles northeast of Tucson, Arizona. The drive typically takes approximately 3.5 hours.

Shopping and Retail

Clifton offers a variety of local shops and boutiques, particularly in the town’s historic district.

Sports and Recreation

Clifton’s location near the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests provides numerous opportunities for outdoor sports and recreation, including hiking, fishing, and wildlife watching.

Police Department

The Clifton Police Department provides law enforcement services for the town. Clifton Police Department

Government Structure and Services

Clifton operates under a Mayor-Council form of government, with a town manager overseeing the day-to-day operations. The town provides a range of services, including public works, parks and recreation, and law enforcement. Town of Clifton Government

Fire Department

The Clifton Fire Department provides fire protection and emergency medical services for the town. Clifton Fire Department

County Government

Clifton is the county seat of Greenlee County. The Greenlee County government provides a variety of services, including public health, planning and zoning, and law enforcement. Greenlee County Government


Clifton, Arizona, is a small town with a rich history tied to the state’s copper boom. Nestled in a scenic river valley, Clifton offers a high quality of life with a peaceful, relaxed lifestyle. The town is committed to preserving its unique southwestern landscape and maintaining a low cost of living. Despite its small size, Clifton has a variety of amenities, including outdoor recreational opportunities, cultural attractions, and a diverse dining scene. The town’s economy is primarily centered around mining and tourism, with Freeport-McMoRan being the largest employer. Clifton is served by the Clifton Unified School District, offering a range of educational opportunities for residents. The town operates under a Mayor-Council form of government and provides various services like fire and police departments. Clifton’s location, steeped in history and surrounded by natural beauty, makes it a unique place to live and visit.