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Safford, Arizona


Safford, Arizona, often referred to as the “Gateway to the Copper Corridor,” is a charming city that serves as the county seat of Graham County. With a population of just over 9,500 people, it’s a small-town community with a friendly atmosphere, rich history, and a stunning natural environment. The city is surrounded by mountains, making it a popular destination for outdoor enthusiasts.

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Environment and Sustainability

Safford is located in the high desert of southeastern Arizona, surrounded by mountains and desert landscapes. The city is dedicated to preserving its natural beauty and has a number of sustainability initiatives in place. The city’s clean air and water, along with its recycling programs, demonstrate its commitment to environmental stewardship.

Town Awards and Recognition

As of my knowledge cutoff in September 2021, specific awards or recognitions for Safford were not readily available.


Safford has a desert climate, characterized by hot summers and mild winters. The city gets about 10 inches of rain per year on average, and snow is rare.

Quality of Life

Safford offers a high quality of life with a cost of living lower than the national average. The city is safe, with a low crime rate, and offers a range of amenities including parks, restaurants, and shopping.


Safford has a number of accommodations available for visitors, including motels, hotels, and bed and breakfasts. Many of these accommodations offer beautiful views of the surrounding mountains.


As of my knowledge cutoff in September 2021, there are no large resorts in Safford. However, the nearby Mount Graham offers a variety of outdoor recreational opportunities.


Safford is a paradise for campers, with numerous campgrounds and RV parks in and around the city. The nearby Coronado National Forest and Mount Graham provide abundant opportunities for camping, hiking, and wildlife viewing.

RV Resorts

One popular RV resort in the Safford area is the Roper Lake State Park. This park offers electric hookups, a dump station, and a variety of amenities including a hot tub, fishing, and hiking trails.


Safford’s main attractions include the Roper Lake State Park, the Gila Box Riparian National Conservation Area, and the Discovery Park Campus of the Eastern Arizona College, which houses the Gov Aker Observatory. The city is also a gateway to the Coronado National Forest and Mount Graham.

Points of Interest

In Safford, visitors can explore the Graham County Historical Society Museum, the Eastern Arizona Museum, and the Gila Valley Arizona LDS Temple. The city also has several beautiful parks, including Firth Park and the Town and Country Park.

Things to do

Safford offers a host of activities, from hiking and bird watching in the nearby Coronado National Forest to exploring local museums and enjoying the city’s culinary scene.

Cultural Centers

Safford is home to the Apache Gold Casino, which offers a glimpse into the culture of the San Carlos Apache Tribe. The city also hosts various cultural events throughout the year.

Dining and Nightlife

Safford boasts a variety of dining options, from traditional American cuisine to Mexican and Italian fare. The city’s nightlife includes local bars, the casino, and various community events.

Off-road trips

The area around Safford is popular for off-roading, with numerous trails and dirt roads that offer stunning views of the desert landscape.

Horseback riding

Horseback riding is a popular activity in the Safford area, with several stables offering trail rides.


Safford is surrounded by opportunities for hiking. The nearby Mount Graham and Coronado National Forest offer a variety of trails for all skill levels.

Scenic Drives

The Swift Trail Parkway (Highway 366) is a scenic route that winds its way up Mount Graham, offering stunning views of the surrounding desert, mountains, and forests.

Art and Culture

Safford has a vibrant arts scene, with several galleries showcasing the work of local artists. The city also hosts various cultural events throughout the year, including the annual SalsaFest.

Events and Festivals

Safford hosts a number of events and festivals throughout the year, including the Graham County Fair, the SalsaFest, and the annual Christmas Light Parade.

Clubs and Organizations

Safford has several clubs and organizations, including the Safford Lions Club, the Gila Valley Rotary Club, and various sports and youth organizations.

Dog Parks

Safford has a dog park located at Firth Park, where dogs can run and play off-leash.

Golf Courses

The Mt. Graham Golf Course is a popular spot in Safford, offering a challenging course with beautiful views of the surrounding mountains.

Outdoor Activities and Sports

From hiking and camping in the nearby Coronado National Forest and Mount Graham to fishing in Roper LakeState Park, Safford is a haven for outdoor enthusiasts. The city also has several parks and sports facilities, including a golf course, tennis courts, and sports fields.

Parks and Playgrounds

Safford has several parks and playgrounds, offering a range of amenities for children and families. Firth Park, Town and Country Park, and the Safford Downtown Park are among the most popular.

Adult and Continuing Education

Eastern Arizona College, located in Thatcher just outside of Safford, offers a range of adult and continuing education programs. These programs cover a variety of subjects, from business and technology to arts and humanities.

High schools

Safford has one high school, Safford High School, which is part of the Safford Unified School District.

Elementary schools

Safford Unified School District operates several elementary schools in the city, including Dorothy Stinson School, Lafe Nelson School, and Ruth Powell School.

Preschools and Childcare

Safford has several options for preschool and childcare, including the Discovery Plus Academy, the Safford Lion’s Den Preschool, and the Gila Valley Learning Center.

Private schools

As of my knowledge cutoff in September 2021, there are no private schools in Safford.

School districts

Safford is served by the Safford Unified School District, which operates several schools in the city.


Safford is home to the Safford City-Graham County Library, which offers a wide range of resources and services, including books, DVDs, public computers, and educational programs.

Large employers

Some of the largest employers in the Safford area include Freeport-McMoRan (a large mining company), the Safford Unified School District, and the Graham County government.

History before 1850

The area that is now Safford was originally inhabited by the Apache people. Spanish explorers arrived in the 16th century, followed by American settlers in the 19th century.

History after 1850

Safford was established in 1874 and named after Anson P.K. Safford, the Territorial Governor of Arizona at the time. The city grew with the arrival of the railroad in the late 19th century and the discovery of copper in the early 20th century.

Key historic Events and Milestones

One key event in Safford’s history was the arrival of the railroad in 1895, which boosted the city’s economy and population. The opening of the Morenci mine in the early 20th century also had a significant impact on the city’s development.

Historic Districts

Safford’s Main Street District is a historic area that features a number of buildings dating back to the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

Historical Sites

The Safford Downtown Historic District and the Solomon Commercial Historic District are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.


Safford is home to the Graham County Historical Society Museum, which showcases the history of the area.

Profiles of Notable Figures

Notable figures from Safford include former Arizona Governor Jack Williams, astronaut Charles D. Gemar, and NFL player Max Hall.

Planned communities

As of my knowledge cutoff in September 2021, there are no large-scale planned communities in Safford.


Safford’s low cost of living, mild climate, and abundant recreational opportunities make it an appealing place for retirement. The city has several senior centers and healthcare facilities.


Safford is served by a network of highways, including U.S. Route 70 and State Routes 266 and 191. The city is approximately three hours east of Tucson by car.

Location from Tucson, AZ

Safford is about 127 miles northeast of Tucson, Arizona. The drive typically takes approximately 2 hours.

Shopping and Retail

Safford offers a variety of shopping and retail options. The city has several shopping centers, including the Safford Downtown Retail District and the Safford Coronado Shopping Center.

Sports and Recreation

Safford offers a variety of sports and recreational activities. The city has several parks and sports facilities and is surrounded by natural areas that are perfect for hiking, camping, and other outdoor activities.

Police Department

The Safford Police Department provides law enforcement services for the city. The department is committed to maintaining public safety and enhancing the quality of life for all city residents. Safford Police Department

Government Structure and Services

Safford operates under a Council-Manager form of government. The city council consists of a mayor and six council members who are elected at large. The city manager is appointed by the city council and oversees the day-to-day operations of the city. City of Safford Government

Fire Department

The Safford Fire Department provides fire protection and emergency medical services for the city. The department is committed to protecting the lives and property of Safford residents through prevention, education, and response efforts. Safford Fire Department

County government

Safford is the county seat of Graham County. The Graham County government provides a variety of services, including law enforcement, public health, and social services. Graham County Government


Safford, Arizona, is a small city with a rich history and a vibrant community. Known as the “Gateway to the Copper Corridor,” Safford offers a range of amenities, from outdoor recreational opportunities to cultural attractions and a diverse culinary scene. The city is dedicated to preserving its natural environment and has numerous sustainability initiatives in place. It offers a high quality of life with a lower cost of living than the national average. Safford’s economy is primarily based on agriculture, mining, and retail, and it is home to several large employers. The city is served by the Safford Unified School District and Eastern Arizona College, offering a range of educational opportunities for residents. The city operates under a Council-Manager form of government and provides various services like fire and police departments. Safford’s location, surrounded by natural beauty, makes it an appealing place to both live and visit.