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American Express Travel Services Representatives Arizona Wonders Tour
Astronomy, Archaeology & Geology
(2005 September 21– October 2)
Reservations More Information
Arizona State Flag Travel Tips

(1) Arizona Elevations (2) Arizona Climate (3) Arizona Dress (4) Arizona Facts

Arizona Elevations

Arizona is a land of apparently limitless space, enormous vistas and great diversity. During or tour we will visit sun-swept mountains and valleys, lofty plateaus, narrow canyons, and awesome stretches of desert. The activity level of this tour is easy to moderate.

Nevertheless, Arizona's mean elevation is about 4,100 ft (1,250 m) with the San Francisco Peaks at the highest elevations. (Highest point is Mt. Humphrey at 12,633 ft or 3,851 m). So, our tour will cover a wide range of elevations although we do not go to the top of Mt. Humphrey! Still, one can ride the Arizona Snowbowl ski lift to 11,000 ft. (Ski lift is included in tour for those who wish to do this.) The table below gives approximate altitudes for places on our tour.

Approximate Example Elevations For Locations on Our Tour
Arizona Snow Bowl
Ski Lift Bottom
9,500 ft 2,900 m
Arizona Snow Bowl
Ski Lift Top
11,500 ft 3,500 m
Casa Grande 1,400 ft 430 m
Flagstaff 6,900 ft 2,100 m
Grand Canyon,
S. Rim Highest Pt.
7,400 ft 2,300 m
Grand Canyon
River Gorge
2,000 ft 600 m
Kitt Peak Nat'l Observ. 6,900 ft 2,100 m
Lowell Observ.
7,300 ft 2,200 m
Meteor Crater
5,600 ft 1,700 m
Painted Desert 5,600 ft 1,700 m
Phoenix 1,100 ft 350 m
4,400 ft 1,300 m
2,500 ft 760 m
Winslow 4,900 ft 1,500 m

Arizona Climate

Much of Arizona has a desert-like climate. However, its topography varies widely. Consequently, temperatures and precipitation can vary extensively from location to location. In addition, dry air promotes large temperature extremes between day and night. Our tour dates occur in early fall and should minimize stress due to temperature extremes. However, be prepared for both warm days and chilly nights.

Arizona has a summer monsoon season — June is often very dry but is then followed by a dramatic increase in rainfall during July and August. Precipitation tapers off slowly in the following months.

September – October

Leaves are changing. Yes, many Arizona plants show colorful fall foliage! Days are comfortably cool and refreshing with slightly chilly evenings. Low desert areas (e.g., Phoenix and Tucson) can still have rather warm days (80's to 90's° F) but pleasant evening temperatures (high 50's to high 60's°F). However, at the higher elevations of the North Arizona High Desert Plateau (Flagstaff, Grand Canyon, etc.) and the southern mountains (e.g., Kitt Peak), pleasant day temperatures rule (low 60's to low 70'°F). But be prepared for chilly weather at night (low 30's to mid 40's°F). The table below gives some example September and October temperatures for some locations on our tour.

Nighttime Observing Clothes Our tour includes night observing sessions at both Lowell Observatory and Kitt Peak National Observatory, including some night star gazing at the Grand Canyon and in the Red Rock Country near Sedona. So, guests should be sure to bring a warm coat, hat, gloves, sweater or sweat shirt, long sleeve shirt and long pants. (Have layers to put on.)

Experienced star gazers know that it can feel much colder at night than what temperatures indicate because one is not active, no Sun shines to give warmth, and winds can blow.

Therefore, dress warmly! Lowell, Kitt Peak and the Grand Canyon are at 7,000 feet, and temperatures can be 15-20 degrees cooler than in cities as Tucson.

Approximate Average Minimum/Maximum Temperatures
Cameron 56°F/98°F 12°C/32°C 43°F/77°F 6°C/25°C
Casa Grande Nat'l Monument 65°F/100°F 18°C/38°C 53°F/90°F 12°C/32°C
Flagstaff 42°F/74°F 6°C/23°C 31°F/63°F -1°C/17°C
Grand Canyon 43°F/75°F 6°C/ 24°C 33°F/64°F 1°C/ 18°C
Montezuma Castle Nat'l Monument 59°F/88°F 15°C/31°C 47°F/78°F 8°C/26°C
Petrified Forest 52°F/84°F 11°C/29°C 40°F/72°F 4°C/22°C
Phoenix 75°F/97°F 24°C/36°C 63°F/86°F 17°C/30°C
Saguaro National Park 68°F/95°F 20°C/35°C 58°F/85°F 14°C/ 29°C
Sedona 58°F/88°F 14°C/31°C 48°F/77°F 9°C/25°C
Sunset Crater Nat'l Monument 39°F/75°F 4°C/24°C 27°F/64°F -3°C/18°C
Tucson 62°F/94°F 17°C/34°C 50°F/85°F 10°C/ 29°C
Winslow 53°F/84°F 12°C/29°C 40°F/72°F 4°C/ 22°C

Arizona Dress

Dress is casual with emphasis on comfort. Few restaurants require jackets and ties for dining. Jeans and Western wear are always in style. See also nighttime observing above.

Protection from the Sun's strong rays is important especially because of high altitudes. Hats and sunscreen are a must along with good sunglasses for eye protection.

Be sure to bring:

  • Sweater or Light Jacket (for desert areas in evenings)
  • Winter Jacket (for mountain regions & night observing)
  • Additional items for night observing: long sleeve shirt, sweat shirt, long pants, gloves
  • Comfortable Closed Walking Shoes & Socks
  • Wide Brim Hat
  • Sunglasses & Sunscreen
  • Binoculars & Camera
Arizona Facts
  • Population 5,600,000 (2003 estimate); has approximately doubled over last 20 years.
  • Area Sixth largest state; area almost same as New England states + New York
  • Capital Phoenix
  • Largest Cities Phoenix (1,321,045), Tucson (486,699) and Flagstaff (52,894).
    Populations are year 2000 and do not include surrounding suburbs.
  • Highest Point Mt. Humphrey (12,643 ft or 3,851 m)
  • Lowest Point Colorado River (70 ft or 21 m)
  • Time Zone Mountain Standard Time all year; DST only on Navajo Nation (NE corner)
  • State Sales Tax 5%; local options for additional increments
  • Official State Amphibian Arizona tree frog, between 3/4 to 2 in. long.
  • Official State Bird Cactus Wren. Grows 7-8 in. long; builds nests in protection of thorny desert plants like giant saguaro cactus arms.
  • Official State Colors Blue and gold.
  • Official State Flower Saguaro cactus blossom.
  • Official State Fossil Petrified wood; most petrified wood comes from the Petrified Forest in NE Arizona.
  • Official State Gemstone Turquoise; the blue-green stone has a somewhat waxy surface; can be found throughout state.
  • Official State Mammal The ringtail; a small fox-like animal about 2-1/2 ft long; a shy, nocturnal creature.
  • Official State Neckwear Bolo tie.
  • Official State Tree. Palo verde; name means green stick; blooms a brilliant yellow-gold in April or May.
  • Copper Production Leader Leads nation; its most abundant mineral.
  • Jerome Once a rowdy copper mining town; population dwindled to about 50 after mines closed in 1953.
  • Variable Precipitation Very variable; Flagstaff: annual average is 18.31 in.; Phoenix: 7.64 in.; Yuma: 3.27 in.
  • Crops Includes 2%; pastureland 57%; forests 24%; other uses 17% in land-use designation.
  • Four Corners NE corner only place where four states meet (Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado, Utah)
  • Largest Percentage of Indian Lands Among all states, has largest percentage of its land set aside and designated as Indian lands.
  • Oldest USA Indian Settlement Oraibi; founded by Hopis Indians.
  • World's Largest Solar Telescope McMath-Pierce Solar Telescope; located at Kitt Peak National Observatory.
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A World of Wonders—See Them With Us
Page last updated August 24, 2005
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