city in and county seat of Graham County, Arizona, United States

Safford is a mining town in Eastern Arizona. Freeport-McMoRan is the largest area employer. For visitors the primary interest is in the numerous recreational opportunities nearby, as well as the annual Salsa Fest.

Understand edit

Get in edit

Map of Safford (Arizona)

The only access is by car. Highway 70 provides access from the northwest from Globe, and from the southeast from Lordsburg, New Mexico. Highway 191 connects Safford with I-10 in the south, a short distance east of Willcox.

Get around edit

Safford is bisected by Highway 70, also known as Thatcher Boulevard. There is no public transportation, so a car is essential.

By rental car edit

See edit

Remains of the Sanchez CCC Camp
Mt Graham International Observatory
  • 1 Sanchez CCC Camp (just north of the Safford airport), +1 928-348-4400. Daylight hours. Well-preserved remains of a Depression-era Civilian Conservation Corps camp, with several buildings remaining. Managed by the Bureau of Land Management. A high-clearance vehicle is recommended; detailed driving instructions are given on the BLM web page. Free.
  • 2 Mount Graham International Observatory, 1651 W Discovery Park Blvd (Discovery Park Campus), +1 928-428-6260, . May-Oct, depending on weather. Operated by the University of Arizona in the Pinaleño Mountains west of Safford, this observatory offers periodic tours for the public. Reservations required, preferably two or more weeks in advance. Tours depart from the Discovery Park Campus. $40/person, includes lunch.    

Do edit

View of the Pinaleño Mountains from Safford
Gila Box Riparian National Conservation Area

Festivals and events edit

  • Salsafest, +1 928-428-2511, toll-free: +1 888-837-1841. Last weekend of September. An annual celebration of local Mexican food. Festivities include hot air balloon rides, salsa competitions, a jalapeño-eating competition, and other entertainment.

Outdoor activities edit

  • 1 Pinaleño Mountains (west of Safford). Part of the Coronado National Forest, this range is crowned by Mount Graham, considered sacred by all the area's Native American tribes. The mountains offer excellent opportunities for hiking, mountain biking, and camping, and provide a cool respite from the heat of the summer. Information and maps are available at the Safford Ranger District Office.    
    • 2 Safford Ranger District Office, 711 14th Ave #D, +1 928-428-4150.
  • 3 Gila Box Riparian National Conservation Area (Gila Box RNCA) (20 miles NE of Safford). A 23,000-acre preserve managed by the Bureau of Land Management, which contains pre-Columbian cliff dwellings, historic homesteads, Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep and over 200 species of birds. This is a popular area for birdwatching, hiking, fishing, kayaking, and camping. A color brochure and map can be obtained from the Safford Field Office.    
  • 5 Black Hills Rockhound Area (north side of Hwy 191, 18 miles east of Safford). This area is managed by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM). The most common and valuable gemstone to be found here is fire agate. The area can be tricky to find, a helpful map can be downloaded. BLM advises against the use of passenger cars or travel trailers to access the site. Watch out for rattlesnakes in the warmer months.
  • 6 Roper Lake State Park, 101 E Roper Lake Rd, +1 928-428-6760. Facilities include a boat ramp and a natural stone hot tub. The park offers opportunities for swimming, fishing (bass and trout), hiking, and birdwatching. $7/vehicle (1-4 adults).    
  • 7 Dankworth Ponds State Park, Dankworth Lake Rd (3 miles south of Roper Lake), +1 928-428-6760. A subunit of Roper Lake State Park, Dankworth Pond is good for fishing and birdwatching. Dankworth Village is an outdoor exhibit of recreated paleo-Indian structures and artifacts, accessible via an interpretive trail. There are also picnicking facilities. $6/vehicle.    

Hot springs edit

The area is home to several hot springs, with water temperatures reaching 106°F/41°C. Visitors can experience hot springs at Roper Lake State Park (see listing above), or at a couple of private spas.

Buy edit

Eat edit

  • 1 Casa Mañana, 502 S 1st Ave, +1 928-428-3170, . M-Th 11AM-8:30PM, F- a 11AM-9:30PM. Operating since 1951, this is one of the most well-known restaurants in the area.
  • 2 La Paloma Restaurant, 5183 E Clifton St, Solomon, +1 928-428-2094. Good Mexican food, popular with locals.
  • 3 Los Jilbertos Restaurant, 215 E Hwy 70, +1 928-428-4887. Very popular Mexican restaurant.

Grocery stores edit

  • 4 Safeway, 2125 W Hwy 70, Thatcher, +1 928-428-2771. Daily 5AM-midnight. Has a full-service hot and cold deli, as well as onsite pharmacy.

Drink edit

Sleep edit

Lodging edit

Most hotels are distributed along Highway 70 within Safford and neighboring Thatcher, including branches of several national chains.

Camping edit

Roper Lake State Park
  • Pinaleño Mountains, +1 928-428-4150. Dispersed camping is possible in most areas in the Pinaleños (free), and the Forest Service also maintains seven organized campgrounds, all of which have picnic tables and grills, and toilets. Further information can be obtained online or from the Safford Ranger District Office (listed above).
  • 5 River View Campground, Gila Box RNCA (20 miles northeast of Safford), +1 928-348-4400. Located within the Gila Box Riparian National Conservation Area, much of this campground is situated on an abandoned fraudulent gold mining area which has since been rehabilitated and returned to a more natural state. Restrooms and potable water available but no showers; no hookups. $5/night (self-service pay station).
  • 6 Roper Lake State Park, 101 E Roper Lake Rd, +1 520-586-2283 (reservations). Has individual sites for RVs, trailers, and tents, as well as cabins for rent. Reservations must be made two weeks in advance. For the park description see listing above in 'Do'. $15 (non-electric site), $25 (electric site), $55-65 (cabin rental).

Connect edit

Go next edit

Routes through Safford
Ends at  Globe  W   E  → Duncan → Lordsburg
Eagar-SpringervilleMorenci  N   S  WillcoxDouglas

This city travel guide to Safford is a usable article. It has information on how to get there and on restaurants and hotels. An adventurous person could use this article, but please feel free to improve it by editing the page.