White Mountains Online

Apache County Profile


Alpine areaApache County was carved from Yavapai County — one Arizona's original four counties — on February 24, 1879, by the 10th Territorial Legislative Assembly. Leaders of St. Johns and Globe had petitioned for their towns to be the county seat, but the honor went temporarily to Snowflake, with the provision that an election would determine the permanent county seat. In November 1879, on the strength of votes from the mining town of Clifton (now in Greenlee County), St. Johns was designated the county seat.

Originally, Apache County encompassed all of present day Navajo County, part of Gila County and part of Graham County, but by 1895 its size had been reduced to the 11,216 square miles it occupies today. The Apache and Navajo Indian reservations cover more than 65.4 percent of the county, and 25 percent of the state's Native Americans live here. Approximately 21 percent is public land, and 13.2 percent is privately owned. All of Apache County is an Enterprise Zone.

The forested White Mountains and green pastures in the south of the county contrast sharply with the high, dry, colorful plateau region of the north. Excellent fishing, hunting and skiing make the White Mountains a year-round recreation area. Numerous archaeological sites are open to the public.

Fort Defiance, Arizona's first military post, the Town of Ganado, and Hubbell's famous trading post (now a National Historic Site) are located in northern Apache County on the Navajo Reservation. Chinle, another Indian trade center, is the gateway to the spectacular Canyon de Chelly National Monument. Also in Apache County are the spectacular Petrified Forest National Park and the Painted Desert, Window Rock, the Navajo tribal capital, and Casa Malpais Archaeological site. The Apache Indian Reservation, located in the White Mountains around the settlement of Fort Apache, includes 25 excellent fishing lakes and the Sunrise park Ski Resort for outdoor recreation, as well as a highly successful lumber mill and a casino.


  • County Seat: St. Johns
  • Population: 73,775 as of 2006
  • Labor Force: 19,995
  • Unemployment Rate: 10.0%
  • Major Industries: Services, Retail Trade, Transportation/Public Utilities
  • Best Paying Industries: Transportation/Public Utilities, Services, Wholesale Trade.


  1980 1990 2000 2005
Arizona 2,716,546 3,665,228 5,130,632 6,044,985
Apache County 52,108 61,591 69,423 73,775
Major Cities/Communities:        
Chinle, Navajo Nation 4,893 7,000 5,366 12,743
Eagar 2,791 4,025 4,033 4,435
St. Johns 3,368 3,294 3,269 3,865
Springerville 1,452 1,802 1,972 2,065
Window Rock/Fort Defiance, Navajo Nation N/A 7,795 7,120 2,859
New Lands (local estimate) 1,125 1,500 1,452 N/A
Source U.S. Census Bureau April 1, 2000 Census


Little Colorado RiverFour rivers lie in the forest, including the Black, Little Colorado, the Blue and the San Francisco. Elevations in the forest range from 3,500' to the 11,590' summit of Mt. Baldy on the White Mountain Apache Indian Reservation. There are Prehistoric Cliff Dwellings, Scenic Meadows, Ghost Towns, Mining Communities and Scenic Mountain Drives. Sunrise Ski & Recreation Park, owned by the White Mountain Apache Tribe, is located 20 miles southwest of Eagar. It offers skiing, sledding, and sight seeing activities for year round recreation. Alpine and Greer, each approximately 20 miles south of Eagar, have three supervised cross-country ski trails of varying difficulty.

U.S. Highway 180-191 has been officially designated "Coronado Trail." The historic and scenic qualities of this route will enhance any motorist's enjoyment of the area. The Little Colorado River originates in Greer 14 miles west and flows through Eagar on its way north and west to the Grand Canyon. Along the river are deer, antelope, small game, and birds. It is considered one of the better duck hunting areas in the state.

The shortest and most scenic route from Phoenix to Albuquerque is through St. Johns, which is surrounded by tourist and visitor destinations. There are many archaeological sites in the area. Of particular interest, are the Prehistoric Dwellings, Petroglyph Trails and Archaeological Programs for excavation opportunities. Recently an archaeological corridor was completed. The Blue Hills, about three miles north of St. Johns, have interesting formations (layers) of blue, red and white painted desert clay. Agate beds and dinosaur teeth have been found in the vicinity.

Community Facilities

Round Valley areaIn Apache County, a broad range of community facilities including museums, Olympic-size pools, tennis and racquetball courts, parks, libraries, and athletic facilities are at the school/community gym. Football/Baseball fields, and several parks are available in any of the towns.

In Eagar, an $11 million multi-purpose domed facility, with 5,000 fixed seats and up to 10,000 movable seats, was completed in 1992 and is the scene for numerous activities including high school sports, concerts, etc. The Cushman Art Collection, Lighted Tennis Courts, Downtown Mini Park, City Parks including the Historic Park are offered in this county.

Becker Lake ( two miles) has a long history as one of the southwest's best Trout producers. Lyman Lake State Park (17 miles northwest on U.S. 180) offers fishing, swimming, boating, water skiing, camping, buffalo, Indian Petroglyphs, and picnic facilities. Nearby recreational areas include Concho Lake and Annual events include Buffalo Daze, San Juan Fiesta, Fourth of July Celebrations, and Pioneer Days.

Springerville offers a variety of accommodations (motels, cabins, trailer parks and campgrounds) to suit visitors needs. Complete shopping and professional services are also available. Springerville is the nearest full-service community to the Apache Sunrise Ski Resort, that is owned and operated by the White Mountain Apache Tribe (26 miles southwest). Sunrise offers ski programs for all ages and more than 60 trails at an elevation of up to 11,000-feet.

The communities of Alpine (20 miles southeast) and Greer (17 miles southwest) offers Cross Country Ski Trails, along with Sledding, Snowmobiling, and other winter recreation. Apache County's proximity to the Blue Range Wilderness Area, three Indian Reservations, Petrified Forest, Gila National Forest, Indian Petroglyphs, and Volcanic Formations offer a myriad of day-trip possibilities form nearby towns.


In addition to the communication resources from the rest of the state, Springerville, Eagar, and St. Johns have local area Bi-weekly newspapers, local radio stations and stations received from all around the area. Several television stations are received (some are via cable) and there is usually access to cable/satellite reception.


Dine (formerly Navajo Community College) : Chinle, Ganado, Tsaile, Window Rock

Northland Pioneer College: Springerville, St. Johns


Major Hospitals:

Sage Memorial Hospital, Ganado
White Mountains Community Hospital, Springerville

Employment by Sector:

Manufacturing 625
Construction 550
Transportation, Communication & Utilities 1,850
Trade 1,700
Finance, Insurance & Real Estate 775
Other Private Service-Providing 3,800
Services & Miscellaneous 2,975
Government 12,975

Major Employers:

  • Ft. Defiance Hospital, Ft. Defiance. (health services)
  • Indian Health Services, Chinle/Ft. Defiance. (health services)
  • Navajo Communications Co., Window Rock (telephone communications)
  • Navajo Nation, Window Rock (governmental)
  • Navajo Tribal Utility Authority, Navajo Nation (utility)
  • P&M Coal Co, Window Rock (mining)
  • Packard-Hughes Interconnect, Ft. Defiance (electric equipment & supplies
  • Sage Memorial Hospital, Ganado (health services)
  • Salt River Project Coronado Generating Station (power)
  • Tucson Electric Power, Springerville (power)
  • White Mountain Community Hospital, Springerville (health services)


Electric Service

Natural Gas

Water & Sewer

Navajo Tribal Utility Authority
Navopache Electric Cooperative, Inc.
Ferrell Propane
Graves Propane
Sierra Propane
Navajo Tribal Utility Authority

Navajo Tribal Utility Authority.


Interstate 40, U.S. 60, U.S. 160, U.S. 180, U.S. 191, state Highway 61, state Highway 180A, state Highway 260, state Highway 261, state Highway 262, state Highway 264, state Highway 273, Indian Route 7, Indian Route 12, Indian Route 54, Indian Route 59, Indian Route 63.

Bus Lines: include Greyhound Bus Lines, Navajo Transit System, White Mountain Passenger Lines.

Rail Service: Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway

Trucking Service: Alpine Trucking Inc. and JC Trucking.

Air Service: Navajo Air Transportation (use - public), Springerville Airport (use - public), St. Johns Airpark (use - public)


Chinle: There is one 30-acre industrial park with electricity, gas, water, sewer and transportation services available. Eighteen of those 30 acres are available for lease. Contact the Industrial Development Unit- Project Development at (928) 871-6968

Springerville/Eagar: Springerville has developed an industrial airpark, adjoining the Springerville Municipal Airport. There are also 221.67 acres available with some utilities. For more information, contact the Apache County Economic Security Corporation (ACES) at (928) 337-2644 or the Round Valley Chamber of Commerce (928) 333-2123.

New Lands: The New Lands is a planned community administered by the Office of Navajo-Hopi Indian Relocation. For more information call (928) 688-2413.

St. Johns: Adjoining the airport, an 80-acre industrial park has available sites to suit commercial/industrial purposes. Existing infrastructure includes utilities and paved streets. For more information, contact the Economic Development for Apache County Corporation (EDAC) at (928) 337-2644.

Window Rock/Fort Defiance The Fort Defiance Industrial Site, one of seven industrial sites on the Navajo nation is located at the intersection of Navajo Route 12 and Navajo Route 54, 30 miles north of I-40. It has 28 acres with utilities and a paved access road. Contact the Navajo Nation Project Development at (928) 871-6544.

Commercial Banks

Bank One, First Interstate Bank, Frontier State Bank, National Bank of Arizona, Norwest Bank, Wells Fargo Bank.


Corporate Income Tax
Effective January 1, 2001, the corporate income tax rate is 6.968 percent or $50, whichever is greater.

Payroll Tax
Payroll taxes in Arizona are computed based on federal filing by employers and employees. Generally, withholding for state payroll taxes is between 10 and 32 percent of federal withholding based on employees' income.

Sales Tax
Effective July 1, 2001, the state imposes a 5.6 percent transaction privilege (sales) tax on most business activities. Apache County has a ½ cent general sales tax. St. Johns has a 2 percent sales tax. Springerville and Eagar have a 3 percent sales tax and an additional 1 percent and 3 percent tax respectively on hotel and motel stays.

The Navajo Nation does not have income or Sales Taxes yet. However, the Nation does impose tax on the sale of Tobacco and also on the sale of Gasoline. These taxes are collected by the state of Arizona and then transferred to the Navajo Nation.

Property Tax

Community School District Total Outside City City/Fire Total
Eagar 4.0700 N/A N/A N/A
St. Johns 4.5400 N/A 0.0000 7.3300
Springerville 4.0700 N/A 0.0000 6.8600
Source: Arizona Tax Research Foundation, 2000 (Rate is per $100 of assessed value). Note: Property tax in Arizona is based on assessed valuation which is 10 percent of market value for residential property.

For further information, contact:
City of St. Johns (928) 337-4517, www.stjohnsaz.com
Dineh Cooperatives, Inc. (928) 674-3411
Economic Development for Apache County Corporation (EDAC) (928) 337-2644
Town of Eagar (928) 333-4128
The Navajo Nation, Division of Economic Development (928) 871-6544
Office of Navajo & Hopi Relocation - New Lands Office (928) 688-2413
Town of Springerville (928) 333-2656
St. Johns Regional Chamber of Commerce (928) 337-2000
Round Valley Chamber of Commerce (928) 333-2123

All information courtesy Arizona Department of Commerce. Updated December 7, 2001

| Cities & Towns | Scenic Attractions |