12 Phoenix, Arizona Facts and Trivia

Sunset at the Superstition Mountains, Phoenix, Arizona
Diana Robinson Photography / Getty Images

Here are some interesting facts about the Phoenix area, along with some trivia about the State of Arizona. Impress your Phoenician friends with these local facts!

  1. Phoenix is not only a city in Arizona, it is also a city in New York, Maryland, Oregon, and many other states.
  2. At one time, it was illegal to hunt camels in the State of Arizona. Camels were introduced into the desert in the mid-1850s. They were more suited to the climate and could handle carrying more weight than other beasts of burden.
  3. Arizona once had a navy consisting of two boats on the Colorado River. They were used to prevent California from encroaching on Arizona territory.
  4. The name Arizona comes from the Native American word "Arizonac" which means "little spring."
  1. Phoenix averages 211 days of sunshine per year. An additional 85 days per year are only partly cloudy, leaving an average of 69 days of cloudy or rainy days.
  2. The Phoenix airport, called Sky Harbor International Airport, is the ninth busiest airport in the country (2014). The statistic is based on passenger boardings.
  3. South Mountain Park covers more than 16,000 acres, making it one of the largest city-operated parks in the country. The highest point is at Mount Suppoa at 2,690 feet. The highest point accessible to the public (trail or drive) is at Dobbins Point, 2,330 feet. The elevation of Phoenix is 1,124 feet.
  1. A saguaro cactus may take 100 years before it grows an arm. It grows only in the Sonoran Desert—that's where both Phoenix and Tucson are. Saguaros will grow in elevations up to about 4,000 feet. The drive from Phoenix to Payson is a great way to see the changes in desert plants as the elevation climbs. The saguaro cactus flower is the official state flower of Arizona.
  2. There are 11.2 million acres of National Forest in Arizona in six national forests. One-fourth of the state is forested. The largest forest is comprised of Ponderosa Pine.
  1. Tonto National Forest is the largest national forest in Arizona and is the fifth most-visited forest in the United States. Nearly 6 million people visit each year.
  2. A man from Surprise, Arizona caught a catfish at Bartlett Lake that weighed more than 76 pounds.
  3. Someone who lives in Arizona is referred to as an "Arizonan," not an Arizonian.