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Flagstaff is a city located in northern Arizona, in the southwestern United States. It is the principal city of the Flagstaff, Arizona Metropolitan Statistical Area. As of the 2000 census, the city had a total population of 52,894. It is the county seat of Coconino County, an important railroad town, and home to Lowell Observatory and Northern Arizona University.
The city's name commemorates a Ponderosa Pine tree that was made into a tall flagpole by members of a scouting party from Boston, Massachusetts (Known as the Flagstaff Tea Party) on July 4, 1876 to celebrate the United States Centennial.
Flagstaff lies near the southwestern edge of the Colorado Plateau and along the western side of the largest contiguous ponderosa pine forest on earth at an elevation of around 7,000 ft. Flagstaff is located just south of the San Francisco Peaks, the highest mountain range in the state of Arizona. The San Francisco Peaks (known locally as simply "The Peaks") consist of several summits including Humphreys, Agassiz, Fremont, and Doyle Peaks. Humphreys Peak, also known as Mount Humphreys, is one corner of this ancient volcano and the highest point in Arizona at 12,633 ft. It is located about 10 mi north of Flagstaff.
Historic Route 66 passes through Flagstaff between Barstow, California and Albuquerque, New Mexico and the town's name is mentioned in the lyrics to the song, "Route 66" by Bobby Troup. Flagstaff is the northern terminus of Interstate 17 which runs 145 mi south to Phoenix, Arizona and is also the largest city on Interstate 40 west of Albuquerque.
Besides winter snow skiing at the Arizona Snowbowl west of Humphreys Peak, nearby tourist attractions include Walnut Canyon National Monument, Sunset Crater Volcano National Monument, Wupatki National Monument, Oak Creek Canyon, Barringer Crater (meteor crater), The Arboretum at Flagstaff, and the Museum of Northern Arizona. Grand Canyon National Park is 75 mi north of Flagstaff along U.S. Route 180 while Glen Canyon National Recreation Area and Lake Powell are both about 135 mi north along U.S. Route 89.
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