Time to head to the sunshine of Arizona on our virtual tour of the country. Arizona has some of the most impressive geology and topography around, with the world’s greatest natural wonder – the Grand Canyon.
Our virtual tour also time travels back to 1952 for the oldest map in the collection. Ironically for a state that is mostly desert it features Canyon Lake. Located 50 miles east of Phoenix it is a result of the damming of the Salt River.
The state was sparsely populated place in 1952 with less than 800,000 people in a state with almost 114,000 square miles. Phoenix, the capital, had barely 100,000 people.
Today the metro Phoenix area alone has almost 5 million people, with over 7 million living in the entire state.
Our trip moves on to 1956, with the fairly boring subject of a rural intersection featured on the cover.
The backside of the map features the state flag bird, flower, seal and tree. The calendar of events is interesting, again showing the changes in the last 65 years.
The February golf tournament in Phoenix had a purse of $15,000 (est $200,000 in 2020 dollars). Today that tournament has a purse of over $7 million.
Other events like the rodeo in Yuma are also still in existence.
Throughout the 1960s and 1970s the Arizona State Map was shaped like more like a book than a map. This map features the state flower, the bloom from the Saguaro Cactus. These massive cacti grow to heights of 40′ or more.
1968 again features water in the desert. This time we are at Glen Canyon National Recreation Area. While most of Glen Canyon is in Utah, it is dammed at Lake Powell, Arizona. The output from this dam heads down the Colorado River into the Grand Canyon.
For 1970 we have the full view of the Saguaro. The backside of the map has a great collection of saguaros throughout the state.
As we move a few years ahead we again have cacti on the cover.
The backside of the 1977 map however has some great photographs of the highlights of Arizona.
For my collection 1980 is the last year of the ‘book sized’ maps. With a fantastic canyon view (amazingly not named on the map – guessing a view of the Grand Canyon I have not seen), the backside features many of the National Monuments located in the state.
We have been fortunate enough to visit a number of these locations including Wupataki Ruins. These ruins are nearly 1000 years old – home to a town of 2,000.
By the 2000s Arizona had ceased producing traditional road maps, rather they produce a ‘Visitor Map’ on glossy paper, much like any other tourist map. It is filled with advertising. The 2002 edition has an unidentified road, while the 2004 map on the right is the area around Sedona.
In 2012 I passed through Sedona. An artist colony, it has amazing scenery as you make your way down Oak Creek Canyon.
The 2005 edition has Bright Angel Trail in the Grand Canyon on the cover. This 8 mile trail descends over 4000 feet. The 2010 map on the right features Brittlebush with their spring wildflowers in bloom near Bartlett Lake.
It is hard to believe but it has been 15 years since we were last at the Grand Canyon. These photos are from the early days of digital – we need to go back.
We did spend 1 hour going down Bright Angel Trail, which equates to over 2 hours coming back up. Needless to say we did not reach the bottom. It was well worth the time, as soon as you get away from the crowds at the rim the views are so much better.
The 2011 map on the left features ‘The Wave’ in Vermillion Cliffs Wilderness Area. This is one place that is high on my list to visit. The 2012 map on the right revisits Sedona.
In 2012 they published two editions, the one below has Saguaro National Park featured. The 2014 map features Mogollon Rim near Payson.
For 2015 the cover takes us to the countryside outside of Flagstaff. At over 7000 feet in elevation, the terrain around Flagstaff is very ‘un-Arizona’ like. It is near here that there are ski resorts.
Again in 2016 they visited Sedona.
The final map in my collection has to be in of course…Sedona!
But there is much more to Arizona than the natural scenery, as fantastic as it is.
In Arizona you can see the London Bridge in Lake Havasu City
Take a trip on Route 66 and see the wild burros in Oatman …
Continue on Route 66 to the very kitschy little town of Seligman for some lunch at the Roadkill Cafe ...
and ice cream at the famous Snow Cap…
Catch the Grand Canyon Train in Williams….
And watch Spring Training in Phoenix! Arizona is easily one of my favorite states.