5 Ways to Experience the 5 C's of Arizona

The Five C's of Arizona — Cotton, Cattle, Citrus, Copper and Climate — were once the main economic drivers of the state. Learn how you can experience them for yourself with a modern twist.

Early in Arizona's history, there were five main areas that drove the state's economy — Cotton, Cattle, Citrus, Copper and Climate. As the state's economy has changed and grown drastically since Arizona first became a state in 1912, the Five C's have become less prevalent. However, these elements still hold a special significance to the state's history and culture, and can be seen on the Arizona state seal.

From picking your own citrus or cotton, to visiting a cattle ranch or a copper mine — today you can experience Arizona history firsthand and gain a newfound appreciation for a different side of the Grand Canyon State. Follow along as we share our favorite places to explore the Five C's across the state.


From Jerome to Bisbee, copper mining is an important piece of Arizona's legacy. As a major industry since the 19th century, dozens of mining towns popped up throughout the state. These towns can still be visited today, with many offering tours of the mines that once generated billions of dollars in copper. Today, copper ore is still mined in Arizona for a variety of uses, including wire and coins.

5 Ways to Experience the 5 C's of Arizona
Lavender Pit, Bisbee. Credit: @renecizio.
  • Copper Queen Mine Tour, Bisbee Since 1976, visitors have been able to step back in time at the Copper Queen Mine Tour. Enjoy a ride into the mine on the underground train and learn more about Bisbee's rich mining past. If you're visiting Bisbee, be sure to make a quick stop at the Lavender Pit.
  • Gold King Mine & Ghost Town, Jerome Where miners once struck gold, tourists can now explore and pan for gold themselves! Stroll through this funky old western town and stop by the museum to take in the history.
  • Morenci Mine, Morenci As the largest copper mine in Arizona, Morenci Mine is a must-see for mining enthusiasts. The mine has been in continuous operation since 1939. View the mine from the overlook off of U.S. Route 191, or take a guided tour by calling 877-646-8687.


For Arizonans, the smell of orange blossoms in the spring is a signature scent of the state. To this day, Arizona is among the top citrus growing states in the United States. Across the state, there are dozens of active citrus groves, and it isn't uncommon to see roadside citrus stands. According to the Arizona Almanac, early irrigation efforts in the 1860s including the reconstruction of the Hohokam Canals made citrus growth possible in Arizona’s desert climate.

  • Hagen Farms, Queen Creek Since 2011, the Hagen Family has allowed visitors to pick their own citrus from their extensive grove. With over 200 citrus trees of seven different varieties, you can take home an abundance of fresh, locally-grown citrus from January through May. Check the Hagen Farms website for more details on U-Pick hours and pricing.
  • Cotton Lane Citrus, Surprise Visit the Bradbury Family Farm for another pick your own citrus experience. Load up your bag with all the citrus you can imagine including navel oranges, lemons, tangelos, pink grapefruit and more. Don't forget to try some of their tasty honey too!
  • Justice Brothers Ranch, Waddell Active since 1928, the Justice Brothers Ranch holds the title as the longest continually operated citrus orchard in the state of Arizona. Stop by to pick some juicy pesticide-free Valencia and mandarin oranges, tangerines and tangelos, pomelos and more.
5 Ways to Experience the 5 C's of Arizona
Hagen Farms, Queen Creek. Credit: Hagen Farms.


According to the Arizona Almanac, in 1918 Arizona had as many as 1.75 million head of cattle providing beef to the nation. Over the years, this number has decreased significantly due to an increase in beef exports from other nations and other environmental factors. However, many cattle ranches remain in Arizona, with over 7,000 farms and ranches with cattle in every county and federally recognized tribal reservation according to the University of Arizona. Today, you can visit and stay at many of these historic and iconic ranches, while enjoying nature and animals.

5 Ways to Experience the 5 C's of Arizona
Courtesy: Tombstone Monument Ranch & Cattle Co. Credit: Christine Charron.
  • Tombstone Monument Ranch, Tombstone This working cattle and guest ranch was founded in 1880, and is located near the iconic town of Tombstone. They offer everything from horseback riding, lodging, guided tours and other hands-on ranch activities.
  • X Diamond Ranch, Springerville Nestled in the picturesque White Mountains you'll find X Diamond Ranch, a historic cattle ranch that offers luxury lodging and private fly-fishing. Stop by the Ranch Market to pick up some range-raised beef, fresh eggs, locally-grown vegetables, coffee and other specialty food items.
  • Sprucedale Guest Ranch, Alpine Take your wild bunch on a unique adventure at the Sprucedale Guest Ranch, where there's fun for the whole family. From horseback riding and milking cows, to line dancing and hayrides, there's no short supply of things to do and experience at this working ranch.


Even before Arizona became a state in 1912, cotton was a cash crop for farmers. Due to the ideal climate and weather conditions, Arizona makes for a prime place for growing high-quality Upland and Pima cotton. Although it isn't as popular to grow as it once was, Arizona still produces a high volume of cotton — in 2021, farms across the state produced 334,000 480-pound bales of cotton.

  • Caywood Farms, Casa Grande At this multi-generational farm located between Phoenix and Tucson, visitors can hop on a hay wagon pulled by a tractor for an insightful three hour tour. During the tour, learn more about cotton, alfalfa, water and drought in Arizona through hands-on activities. You may even have the opportunity to pick your very own Arizona-grown cotton to take home with you! Tours run from October through March, depending on the weather.
5 Ways to Experience the 5 C's of Arizona


Although many are drawn to Arizona for blue skies and sunshine, first-time visitors may not know about the great diversity in weather that can be experienced across the state. Arizona is one of the most biologically diverse states in the country, with six different biomes including desert, grassland, chaparral, woodland, forest and tundra. Check out some of the average temps you can expect to find around different parts of the state, and see below for some recommendations on where to visit to experience the best of Arizona's climate.

5 Ways to Experience the 5 C's of Arizona
Credit: @natyexplora.
  • Yuma Known as the "Sunniest City on Earth," this southwestern Arizona destination promises sunshine and warm weather most of the year. Situated between Phoenix and San Diego, Yuma offers big city vibes with a small town feel. Soak up the natural beauty at the Imperial National Wildlife Refuge.
  • Flagstaff Enjoy all four seasons in the high country mountain city of Flagstaff. If you're under the impression that Arizona is just an arid desert — you'll be amazed to know that Flagstaff sees an average of 108 inches of snowfall annually. Additionally, here you can find a portion of the world's largest Ponderosa pine forest, which stretches from Flagstaff to the White Mountains.
  • Biosphere 2, Oracle While you're exploring the climate, why not visit the world's largest controlled environment dedicated to understanding the impacts of climate change? Biosphere 2, located in southern Arizona, is an incredible scientific achievement that is still active today. Take a tour of the 3.14-acre laboratory and make your way through different biomes including the tropical rain forest, ocean, wetland, grassland and more.

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About the Author

Emily Balli

Emily is a writer and marketer who serves as the senior marketing manager at the Arizona Office of Tourism. Her work has been published in the Arizona Republic, Arizona Highways Magazine, ASU News, the Frank Lloyd Wright Quarterly Magazine and more. She is a proud Arizonan who enjoys spending time outdoors, reading and writing and trying new local restaurants.

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