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  1. #1
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    Best living location in AZ

    I'm either blind or this thread doesn't exist, so posting this anyway. If someone finds a similar thread, I'll take this down.

    Up for debate: What's the best place (for any reason) to live in, in Arizona?

    Currently living in Boulder, CO, and not liking it much. Came to Northern AZ, seems like it could be a nice place to live. Fun rides, awesome people, lower cost than where I'm at now. What do you like the most about which areas?
    Last edited by sctbke; 12-28-2017 at 08:33 AM. Reason: Switched town to a more generic term

  2. #2
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    What are your main "wants" for a new town? Trails, population (restaurants, clubs, etc), cost of living... Phoenix has some cool trails ranging from beginner mellow to super technical stuff. It's a fairly large population area with all the stuff that comes with that, tons of places to eat/drink and tons of traffic to go with it. It's also kinda warm in the summer...Prescott is a really cool town with lots of trails and a milder climate, not too spendy (yet) and a decent selection of amenities plus its a relatively short drive to Phoenix/Sedona when you need to branch out a bit. Flagstaff used to be THE place for summer riding but Prescott has really stepped up with new trails and improvements to existing ones so it's my summer spot now.
    Desert Sunset Calls/Upward, Pain, Perseverance/Welcome Solitude

  3. #3
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    Agreed, need more details on your end. What are your requirements and we can go from there.

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  4. #4
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    Salida, CO??

  5. #5
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    Superior or Guadalupe.
    "It's only when you stand over it, you know, when you physically stand over the bike, that then you say 'hey, I don't have much stand over height', you know"-T. Ellsworth

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  6. #6
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    Kingman, AZ FTW...
    Make Flagstaff RAD Again.

  7. #7
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    Thereís not all that much I need in a town, I donít get out much
    Biggest things would be a cooler climate, as I like the Colorado climate, and easy access to trails. Where Iím at now the nearest trail is a 30min drive, anything less than that is an improvement!

  8. #8
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    The population of a city is between 100,000 and 300,000 people. Large town Ė a large town has a population of 20,000 to 100,000. Town Ė a town has a population of 1,000 to 20,000. Village Ė a village is a human settlement or community that is larger than a hamlet but, smaller than a town.

    Hope this helps...

  9. #9
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    Iíve lived in populations from 60k to 1mil and liked both, so thatís not a decision factor for me. This thread is just to hear why others like which area the best - doesnít have to be about finding me the perfect place.
    Last edited by sctbke; 12-28-2017 at 08:34 AM. Reason: As broncbuster noted: switched town to area to fit the topic

  10. #10
    Meatbomb
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    Prescott.... Anything is better than Boulder. That place is a sh!t hole.

  11. #11
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    I vote Prescott. Elevation is around 5,000 ft. It's affordable and they have all the amenities and best of all a ton of trails you can ride your bike to and not have to drive. You can ride comfortably year round in Prescott as well. Your between Flagstaff and Phoenix so it's a quick drive North or South for a large plethora of different terrain to ride in addition to Sedona just around the corner as well.

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  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by kenbentit View Post
    What are your main "wants" for a new town? Trails, population (restaurants, clubs, etc), cost of living... Phoenix has some cool trails ranging from beginner mellow to super technical stuff. It's a fairly large population area with all the stuff that comes with that, tons of places to eat/drink and tons of traffic to go with it. It's also kinda warm in the summer...Prescott is a really cool town with lots of trails and a milder climate, not too spendy (yet) and a decent selection of amenities plus its a relatively short drive to Phoenix/Sedona when you need to branch out a bit. Flagstaff used to be THE place for summer riding but Prescott has really stepped up with new trails and improvements to existing ones so it's my summer spot now.
    ^^^^^
    This. Need to know what you're looking for in a town. Riding is a given. But how 'bout job?schools?affordability?housing?medical?climate? etc?

    I live in the Prescott area and like it quite a bit for the reasons kenbentit states. Traffic is bad for a small town, though. And bound to get worse as a couple of new big subdivisions get built over the next 10-20 years. There are several barriers to improving transportation infrastrucure significantly.
    Veni vidi velo!

  13. #13
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    As stated already, it depends on what your requirements are. I recently moved to the Verde Valley for the central location, tolerable year round climate and lower cost of living. Iím an hour from Prescott, Flagstaff and the northern outskirts of Phoenix. Elevation is 3400ft so no snow and the temperatures are 10-15 degrees lower than Phoenix. For riding, Iím 15-20 mintues from the Sedona trails.

    Edit: Forgot to add this. The area (Cottonwood/Cornville/Camp Verde) is far less congested than Prescott or Sedona. Not as many Snow Birds either.
    "Without the ability to make moral distinctions based on motive, consequences, the ethical constructs of various parties, everything is equal, and you end up with people like Woody Allen: a tiny speck of compacted narcissism, revolving around the dead sun in an empty universe." - James Lileks

  14. #14
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    Prescott does have a vast and amazing trail network. It's also a nice place. Weather is mild.

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    Sounds like most areas up north are where its at! To answer some of more specific questions, I don't have a preference for population, but like places that have a bit of a busier feel.
    Being from Colorado, I do like snow and don't mind the cold weather.
    Working through an engineering degree currently so some college or university is a must, and as long as the living is cheaper than Boulder that shouldn't be an issue, as I made that work. (Not well, but I made it )
    Social scene isn't all that important, good eats and places to hang around is definitely a plus though. I meet most friends on the trail anyway...

    Seems like the greater opinion is the second I leave Boulder I'll be better off in general, I'll keep that one in mind

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by chiva View Post
    Prescott does have a vast and amazing trail network. It's also a nice place. Weather is mild.
    As far as weather and mt biking go, Prescott is the best choice... Prescott traffic kinda sucks... but not too bad...

    Best access and amount of trails goes to the Phx metro area... but the summers suck and last too long... but you would want to spend your winter in the phx area for sure..

  17. #17
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    Evidently climate change has ruined Flagstaff forevermore. Don't come here unless you're dragging a freshly harvested Antarctic iceberg behind your 2018 Prius.

    #thewinterthatwasnt
    "May your trails be winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view." - Ed Abbey
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  18. #18
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    Prescott for sure! I've lived here since 2004 and in the last 13 years over 100 miles of trails have been built with 70 more miles just approved by the Forest Service and probably 20 more in the City itself. No matter where you live in town it's a 10 minute drive (or easy ride) to a trailhead. No matter what people say about the traffic, it's not a problem. Just spend an hour in rush traffic in Phoenix and you'll laugh about the 15 minutes it takes to drive across town. A bit of snow in the winter, mostly higher up, so in the lower elevations you can ride almost anytime. If it's a big storm, it's 45 minutes to the Black Canyon Trail and 1.5 hours to Phoenix. Doesn't get too hot in summer either.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by kenbentit View Post
    What are your main "wants" for a new town? Trails, population (restaurants, clubs, etc), cost of living... Phoenix has some cool trails ranging from beginner mellow to super technical stuff. It's a fairly large population area with all the stuff that comes with that, tons of places to eat/drink and tons of traffic to go with it. It's also kinda warm in the summer...Prescott is a really cool town with lots of trails and a milder climate, not too spendy (yet) and a decent selection of amenities plus its a relatively short drive to Phoenix/Sedona when you need to branch out a bit. Flagstaff used to be THE place for summer riding but Prescott has really stepped up with new trails and improvements to existing ones so it's my summer spot now.
    So true. Prescott has moved ahead full force with new trails and we have been just sitting here in Flag waiting for the FS to let us do something. Next year we should start to see some progress, hopefully.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by rockychrysler View Post
    Evidently climate change has ruined Flagstaff forevermore. Don't come here unless you're dragging a freshly harvested Antarctic iceberg behind your 2018 Prius.

    #thewinterthatwasnt
    That and our trail system is trapped in a clapped out and poorly planned 1997 vortex.

  21. #21
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    Flagstaff is pretty sweet. It's got cons, for sure, but from a riding and outdoors perspective, it's very appealing. Also, the Coconino NF is far superior to the Prescott NF.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by fitzhenry View Post
    Also, the Coconino NF is far superior to the Prescott NF.
    I am personally quite well acquainted with both national forests, and thus find myself inclined to take issue with your otherwise unsupported statement. Public open spaces don't need to be compared (in fairness, how could they possibly be?), they should simply be enjoyed.

    While admittedly dubious in its attribution (often to Theodore Roosevelt), the truth of the following aphorism is nevertheless valid, I think:

    Best living location in AZ-comparisonisthe.jpg
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  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by rockychrysler View Post
    I am personally quite well acquainted with both national forests, and thus find myself inclined to take issue with your otherwise unsupported statement. Public open spaces don't need to be compared (in fairness, how could they possibly be?), they should simply be enjoyed.

    While admittedly dubious in its attribution (often to Theodore Roosevelt), the truth of the following aphorism is nevertheless valid, I think:

    Click image for larger version. 

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    I dunno. When I pass another rider on a hill climb because I am, comparatively, faster; I feel something akin to joy. Perhaps because it happens so rarely.

    Just kidding. Mostly I am joyful that I can ride at all, let alone on the beautiful, quiet, relatively uncrowded trails of the PNF right outside my door.
    Veni vidi velo!

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by fitzhenry View Post
    Flagstaff is pretty sweet. It's got cons, for sure, but from a riding and outdoors perspective, it's very appealing. Also, the Coconino NF is far superior to the Prescott NF.
    Each has their benefits. Prescott has the benefit of being "in between" Phoenix and Flagstaff climate-wise, so it splits the difference, not so hard to ride in the Summer, and IF it snows, it usually clears out in a matter of hours due to sublimation and low pressure (altitude). In Flagstaff, you are more locked into winter-type riding, for a few months, but of course Sedona is closeby. What Prescott has is hundreds of miles of trails around the city on 3 sides, you can ride around the entire city on a 65 mile loop or put epic miles and vertical in distinctly different areas, or link those areas, or go deep back into the Bradsaws when it's hot down lower, or go out to the desert-y Granite Basin when it's kind of cooler, and so on. What it lacks is the technical/epic/flow types of trails like you'll find in locations like Flagstaff with their advanced skills trails. Plenty of vertical, but not much for the technical or enduro/all-mtn/downhill style, few opportunities for air/jumps, etc. There are a few pockets, and there's the technical playground of the Dells, that's not the same as ripping down Wasabi or hitting Private Reserve. Those kind of experiences are special and blast the riding possibilities in Flag to a level that Prescott is not willing to embrace. Still, with so many miles of trails and great rides, it's hard to get real bored in Prescott and some of these diversions like Sedona, Williams, Flagstaff, Mingus Mtn, Black Canyon, are not far away, so you get a lot of the best of both worlds without having to deal with the more extreme compromises like Flag or Phoenix.

    I like Flagstaff, I find the riding is fairly "constrained" though, kind of all crammed into one area, there are a good amount of other trails, but most don't have the bigger-mountain experience like the ones on Elden and Shultz, but Prescott has many more of these bigger ups and downs IMO and covers more riding area, if not necessarily as interesting riding. Hard to go wrong with either.
    "It's only when you stand over it, you know, when you physically stand over the bike, that then you say 'hey, I don't have much stand over height', you know"-T. Ellsworth

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  25. #25
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    Prescott is almost as windy as Flag .

  26. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by Phillbo View Post
    Prescott is almost as windy as Flag .
    With so many riding options, though, and planning you can always find a place to ride where wind is not a significant factor. Granite Basin, for instance, is so sheltered you can always ride there. Less experience riding in Flag so not sure how they compare. My wind meter was calibrated on the Bering Sea coast, though, so take that fwiw.
    Veni vidi velo!

  27. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by Phillbo View Post
    Prescott is almost as windy as Flag .
    Quote Originally Posted by veloborealis View Post
    My wind meter was calibrated on the Bering Sea coast, though, so take that fwiw.
    I keep a tiny Windoo anemometer in my pack at all times in order to be always at the ready to quantify truthfully and with great precision exactly how badly the wind can suck (or does it blow?) in FLG. No kidding.

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    "May your trails be winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view." - Ed Abbey
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  28. #28
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    I can vouch for the veracity of rockyC's weather acumen having run into him on the trail with his anemometer measuring wind speed. The things you see on trails!

  29. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by rockman View Post
    I can vouch for the veracity of rockyC's weather acumen having run into him on the trail with his anemometer measuring wind speed. The things you see on trails!
    Collecting this data manually in the field also gives me a chance to try and factor the windchill in my head by accurately recalling and applying the standard algorithm from rote memory:
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    (in Fahrenheit units, natch)
    "May your trails be winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view." - Ed Abbey
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  30. #30
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    Why donít you just subtract wind speed from the temperature? Plus or minus.


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  31. #31
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    All I know is the wind sucks... and blows at the same time

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