Community Overview

Flagstaff, Arizona is located at the intersection of I-17 and I-40, and is the largest city in Northern Arizona. The City is also the regional center and county seat for Coconino County, the second largest county in the 48 contiguous states (by area).

The City of Flagstaff is comprised of just over 64 square miles nestled at the base of the San Francisco Peaks. It is surrounded by one of the largest pine forests on Earth. At nearly 7,000 feet, Flagstaff is also one of the highest elevation cities in the United States.

Flagstaff drew its name from a very tall flagpole made from a pine tree to celebrate our nation's centennial in 1876. The City is a year-round mecca for visitors.


In 1855, Navy Lieutenant Beale was surveying a road from Fort Defiance in New Mexico to Fort Tejon in California, and passed over the spot where Flagstaff now stands. Beale continued on, but noted the area's resources. Years later, Boston emigrates who originally intended to settle near Winslow, but found the area already settled in, moved on towards California. On July 4, 1876, the emigrates stripped a pine tree and raised an American flag celebrating the nation's centennial. Their "flag staff" became a landmark for other travelers.

The Atlantic and Pacific railroad began to lay track in 1880, and by 1881, shops were set up for the railroad workers. After the railroad passed through Flagstaff, citizens stayed behind as the town began to thrive.

In 1894, Dr. Percival Lowell chose Flagstaff as the site for the now famous Lowell Observatory, due to the town's great visibility. Northern Arizona Normal School began in 1899, undergoing several name changes until Northern Arizona University was adopted in 1966. During the 1920's, Route 66 was built and passed through town, making Flagstaff a popular tourist stop. Flagstaff was incorporated as a city in 1928.

Today, Flagstaff is a community rich with cultural diversity, beauty, and history; as well as, amazing educational, recreational, and scientific opportunities.


Flagstaff has a daily newspaper, The Arizona Daily Sunday, and several weekly / biweekly publications. There are also several radio stations.

Economic Information

Flagstaff is a governmental, educational, transportational, cultural, and commercial center. Government is one of the largest employment sectors. Tourism is also a large employer as the City sees over 5,000,000 visitors per year. In addition, the City is home to Northern Arizona University and other scientific and high tech research and development industries.

Northern Arizona University

NAU, the largest employer in the City, has a major economic impact annually. The campus is used year-round, and Olympic athletes choose Flagstaff as a training site because of the climate, altitude and available facilities.

Major Private Employers

Major Public Employers


Area Educational Institutions

Environmental Focus

The City has dedicated considerable resources to a variety of environmental issues and local conservation efforts. The Environmental Services Division works to ensure that all residents of Flagstaff are provided with a clean, safe, and ecologically sound environment.

The programs are focused on waste management strategies that emphasize waste reduction and recycling, composting, and environmentally sound landfill management to meet the City's long-term disposal needs.

Several new programs are embracing the concepts of sustainability, restoration, conservation, and participation, such as:

  • Brownfield Land Recycling
  • Reclaim water treatment plant
  • Renewable energy and fuels
  • Sustainable building
  • Toilet rebate program
  • Use of rain barrels
  • Water conservation

Additionally, the City provides funding support to not-for-profit organizations such as the Museum of Northern Arizona.


Flagstaff has an extensive array of medical facilities and resources in the areas of traditional, integrative, and alternative health care. Flagstaff Medical Center has an active staff of more than 148 physicians, representing 36 medical specialties. The Medical Center is the Northern Arizona Regional referral center for:

  • Cancer
  • Cardiac care
  • High-risk maternal/fetal
  • MRI/CT scan
  • Rehabilitation
  • Trauma and more


The City is surrounded by coniferous forests, which allow for an array of outdoor sports, camping, and backpacking opportunities. Downhill skiers enjoy 32 runs down the San Francisco Peaks, just 14 miles from downtown Flagstaff.

Fitness & Exercise

The individual committed to an exercise routine, which includes running, or walking will find a two-mile track complete with a 20-station Vita Course at Buffalo Park, a woodland area atop a mesa with spectacular views of the San Francisco Peaks.

Outdoor Sports

Hikers, joggers, and mountain bikers will find miles of trails, which range from gentle grades to extremely difficult terrain. The outdoor sportsman will find opportunities for hunting and fishing.

Team Sports

For those who enjoy organized team sports, the City has adult and youth leagues for softball, baseball, basketball, soccer, ice hockey, and volleyball throughout the year. Additional recreation amenities include the skateboard park and disc golf course, which provide year-round recreational opportunities.

Winter Sports

Groomed trails at the nordic center provide over 24 miles (40 kilometers) of cross-country skiing. Endless miles can be skied on the hundreds of miles of forest service roads.


Air & Ground Transportation


  • Flagstaff enjoys four distinct seasons. Moderate summer temperatures average 20 degrees less than Phoenix and are punctuated with afternoon rain showers in July and August.
  • The winter brings an average annual snowfall of 108.8 inches, much to the enjoyment of skiers, snowboarders and ice skaters. As the snow thaws into spring, blooming wildflowers are abundant and fragrant along Flagstaff's many hiking trails.
  • Autumn is highlighted with the changing of the aspen leaves that transform the surrounding mountains into a golden tapestry of color.
  • Flagstaff averages 288 days without precipitation each year, so it is not surprising that our residents love the great outdoors, and the mild climate encourages year-round outdoor activities.