Mount Graham

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Mount Graham
Mount graham in 2020.jpg
Mount Graham, Safford
Highest point
Elevation10,724 ft (3,269 m) NAVD 88[1]
Prominence6,320 ft (1,926 m) (#1 in Arizona)[2]
Coordinates32°42′06″N 109°52′17″W / 32.701657806°N 109.871391036°W / 32.701657806; -109.871391036Coordinates: 32°42′06″N 109°52′17″W / 32.701657806°N 109.871391036°W / 32.701657806; -109.871391036[1]
Mount Graham is located in Arizona
Mount Graham
Mount Graham
LocationGraham County, Arizona, U.S.
Parent rangePinaleño Mountains
Topo mapUSGS Mount Graham

Mount Graham (called in Nnee biyati' (Western Apache) Dził Nchaa Sí'an - ′Big Seated Mountain′) is a mountain in Graham County, Arizona, United States, approximately 70 miles (110 km) northeast of Tucson. The mountain reaches 10,724 feet (3,269 m) in height. It is the highest elevation in Graham County, Coronado National Forest and the Pinaleño Mountains.[2] It is also the southernmost peak and land area in the continental United States above 10,000 feet (3,048 m). As the name "Mount Graham" is often used by locals to refer to the entire mountain range, the peak itself is frequently referred to as "High Peak".[4] It is twentieth of the 57 ultra prominent peaks of the lower 48 states,[5] and the first of the five in Arizona.[6]


Mount Graham summits are headwaters for numerous perennial streams that tumble through five major botanical zones. Located between the southern Rocky Mountains and Mexico's Sierra Madre Occidental, and biologically isolated for millennia, the higher elevations have provided refuge for relict populations of plants and animals with adaptive strategies rooted in Pleistocene ice age environmental conditions. Of particular note are stands of the oldest conifer trees in the U.S. Southwest and associated habitats for threatened and endangered species, especially the Mount Graham Red Squirrel.[7]

Located near the northern limit of the Chiricahua Apache homeland and the southern margins of Western Apache territory, the range is one of the Western Apache's four holiest mountains and is considered sacred by all of the region's Native peoples. Since a determination by the Keeper of the Register in 2002, Dził Nchaa Sí'an, as it is known in the Western Apache language, ranks as the largest and most extensive (~330,000 acres) property listed on or formally determined eligible for the National Register of Historic Places.[8]

In 1993, the St. Paisius Orthodox Monastery was founded at the base of the mountain.

Mount Graham hosts both species of Arizona native trout – Gila and Apache trout and three species of introduced trout.[9]

Mount Graham Observatory[edit]

Mount Graham is home to the Mount Graham International Observatory area, where multiple organizations have set up large telescopes in a few separate observatories authorized by a rare peace-time Congressional waiver of U.S. environmental laws.[10]

The United States Congress authorized construction of the observatories on the mountain in 1988, but there has been outcry from the four federally recognized tribes of the Western Apache Nation and Native American groups, who consider the site to be sacred. Environmental groups, including the Sierra Club also oppose the Mount Graham International Observatory because the higher elevations are the last remaining habitat for the Mount Graham Red Squirrel.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Graham". NGS data sheet. U.S. National Geodetic Survey. Retrieved 2014-02-07.
  2. ^ a b "Mount Graham, Arizona". Retrieved 2014-02-07.
  3. ^ "Arizona County High Points". Retrieved 2016-08-14.
  4. ^ "Pinaleños Mountains". College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, University of Arizona. Retrieved 2014-02-06.
  5. ^ "USA Lower 48 Peaks with 5000 feet of Prominence". Retrieved 2014-02-06.
  6. ^ "Arizona Peaks with 2000 feet of Prominence". Retrieved 2014-02-06.
  7. ^ T. W. Swetnam and P.M. Brown "Oldest known conifers in the Southwestern United States: Temporal and Spatial patterns of Maximum Age," In M.R. Kaufmann, W.H. Moir, and R.L. Bassett, eds., "Old-Growth Forests in the Southwest and Rocky Mountain Regions", Proceedings of a Workshop. USDA Forest Service General Technical Report RM 213: 24–38 (1992); Henry D. Grissino-Mayer and Harold C. Fritts, "Dendroclimatology and Dendroecology in the Pinaleño Mountains, In Conrad A. Istock and Robert S. Hoffmann, eds., Storm over a Mountain Island: Conservation Biology and the Mt. Graham Affair, pp. 100–20 (Tucson: University of Arizona Press, 1995).
  8. ^ Elizabeth A. Brandt, "The Fight for Dził Nchaa Sí'an, Mt. Graham: Apaches and Astrophysical Development in Arizona," Cultural Survival Quarterly (Winter) 1996: 50–57; John R. Welch, "White Eyes' Lies and the Battle for Dził Nchaa Sí'an," American Indian Quarterly 21 1997: 75–109; Patricia M. Spoerl, Determination of Eligibility for the National Register of Historic Places, Mt. Graham (Dził Nchaa Sí'an) Safford Ranger District, Coronado National Forest, Arizona. Prepared under an agreement with the University of Arizona and submitted to the Keeper of the National Register by Coronado National Forest (2001); Mary M. Farrell, "Proposed MGIO Permit Renewal Determination of Effect," Heritage Resources Report 2008-05-076 (Tucson: Coronado National Forest, April 7, 2008).
  9. ^ Jon Johnson (November 11, 2011). "Mount Graham may become anglers' choice destination". Eastern Arizona Courier. Retrieved 2014-07-09.
  10. ^ "100th Congress": "Public law 100-696"[permanent dead link] Retrieved on 2009-04-16

External links[edit]