Area Information


  • County: Graham
  • Year of Incorporation: 1901
  • Elevation: 2,906
  • Population: 9,566


The Safford, Thatcher and Pima Unified School Districts serve most of Graham County and some minor outlying areas. The nearby Eastern Arizona College (EAC) provides higher education services, and a University of Arizona agricultural extension is located to the east of the city. EAC partners with the local high schools and allows significant access to coursework at the college. The local schools participate in a number of shared programs including Vocational Agriculture, Culinary Arts, Pre-school, and technology strands that support mining.

EAC recently completed a new building that houses their new nursing program. EAC also engages in significant partnerships with the University of Arizona, Arizona State University and Northern Arizona University to offer a variety of Bachelor level curriculae.

Safford is also home to Discovery Park, a unique public educational destination facility with features such as a Hall of Science, a small railway, and a restored Sonoran riparian water feature.

The Safford City-Graham County Library provides citizens of Safford with books, computers, free classes, childhood literacy programs and entertainment. It serves 13,625 total citizens between Graham, Greenlee and Gila counties.

Pinaleno Mountains



Safford, Arizona is located in the northern central part of Arizona, hugging the south bank of the Gila River on the Old West Highway. The foothills of the Pinaleno mountains sit prominently to the southwest of town. The Pinalenos have the greatest vertical relief of any mountain range in Arizona. Mount Graham is the highest peak in this mountain range, and is home to Mount Graham International Observatory.




Safford has a warm high desert climate, much hotter than most places in eastern Arizona due to its relatively low elevation of 2,953 feet (900 m) at the Agricultural Center where records are kept, and often reaching temperatures almost as hot as found in Phoenix. In January, the average high temperature is 60 °F (16 °C) with a low of 29 °F (?2 °C). In July, the average high temperature is 98 °F (37 °C) with a low of 68 °F (20 °C). Annual precipitation averages around 9.8 inches (250 mm), and snowfall is exceptionally rare: the mean is around 0.8 inches (0.020 m) but the median is zero.

Mount Graham International Observatory



Due to Safford's relatively isolated position, the area has been chosen as a prime spot for hosting observatories. Safford and Thatcher's street lights are even low-output to improve the quality of the images taken by the observatories atop Mt Graham to the southwest of the city. The mountain for which the county is named, Mount Graham, is just a few miles southwest of the city. The mountain is home to the Mount Graham International Observatory (MGIO) and Large Binocular Telescope, or LBT which is the largest binocular telescope in the world. The mountain also is home to the Vatican Advanced Technology Telescope, or VATT. It is also home to the Heinrich Hertz Submillimeter Telescope, or SMT. The three telescopes have differing missions with regard to gathering data about our universe and work in concert with other telescope complexes throughout the world. The Mount Graham International Observatory complex is operated by the University of Arizona.