Many people believe that Arizona has two time zones.
When so many other states have small parts that are in a different time zone from the rest of the state it is easy to see why people may believe that.
But is that also true of Arizona?
What time zone is Arizona?
The timezone in Arizona is actually Mountain Standard Time for the entire state.
The Arizona time zone confusion is not due to it falling within two time zones, as some other states do, but due to daylight savings. Arizona state does not observe DST (daylight savings time) as all other US states do (except Hawaii). Arizona stays on Mountain Standard Time all year round.
Yet, for around 8 months of the year, some parts of Arizona are one hour ahead of the rest.
How can that be if they are in the same time zone?
This happens because the Navajo Nation does observe daylight saving. So their territory is on a different time than the rest of Arizona.
To make things even more confusing, the Hopi Reservation, which falls within the Navajo Nation, does not observe daylight savings either.
The result is that there are five separate areas of Arizona that have different times during the summer (March to November):
- Most of Arizona – Mountain Time
- Navajo Nation – Mountain Time minus 1 hour
- Hopi Reservation (largest area) – Mountain Time
- Hopi Reservation (Moenkopi small area) – Mountain Time
- A small area of Navajo land inside the Hopi Reservation at Jeddito – Mountain Time minus 1 hour
This means that if you were to drive east from the Grand Canyon National Park into New Mexico along Route 264 you would have to adjust your watch 7 times before leaving Arizona. This is because the 264 passes through parts of all the 5 areas shown above.
I first experienced this time difference when I took my son on a road trip in Arizona and Nevada for his 16th birthday. We started in Phoenix and covered Monument Valley, the Grand Canyon, Hoover Dam and Las Vegas.
When we were in the Monument Valley area we stopped for something to eat and I noticed that the clock in the place we stopped was an hour different from my watch. I mentioned it to the waitress who informed me about the Navajo Nation being on daylight saving.
Why doesn’t Arizona observe daylight savings?
Due to the warm climate in Arizona, it was felt that observing daylight saving was completely unnecessary. It was believed that most people would rather have lighter mornings before it got too hot to get things done.
So in 1968 Arizona decided to stay on Mountain Time year-round.
But the Navajo Nation decided to follow daylight savings time, which gives the time difference. One of the reasons they chose to do this is that the Navajo Nation actually extends into both Utah and New Mexico (which follow daylight savings time) so being on the same time as those states made more sense.
This means that, for example, from November to March Arizona is 2 hours behind Eastern Standard Time (EST) but from March to November it is 3 hours behind.
It also means that the time difference between Arizona and California is 1 hour in the winter but the same time during the summer.
How many states have two time zones?
Although Arizona is not actually in two time zones, with the US falling into 6 different time zones, it is not surprising that the time zone lines pass through some of the states.
The time zone boundaries actually pass through 14 other states giving putting parts of them on a different time to the rest of the state. Sometimes this only applies to a few counties in the extreme west or east of the state.
The states that are affected by split time zones are:
|STATE||MAIN TIME ZONE||SECOND TIME ZONE|
What time zone is Flagstaff Arizona?
Flagstaff is always in the Mountain Time Zone as, unlike other states, Arizona does not follow daylight savings time during the summer. So the time does not alter year round.
What time zone is Tucson Arizona?
Tucson is always in the Mountain Time Zone as, unlike other states, Arizona does not follow daylight savings time during the summer. So the time does not alter year round.
What time zone is Grand Canyon?
The Grand Canyon is always in the Mountain Time Zone as, unlike other states, Arizona does not follow daylight savings time during the summer. So the time does not alter year round.
Time zone of Scottsdale AZ?
Scottsdale is always in the Mountain Time Zone as, unlike other states, Arizona does not follow daylight savings time during the summer. So the time does not alter at all during the year.
Arizona is on what time zone?
Arizona is always in the Mountain Time Zone as, unlike other states, Arizona does not follow daylight savings time during the summer. But the Navajo Nation does follow daylight savings time so that part of Arizona is one hour ahead from March to November.
I have been traveling around the world by air since the early 70s and living overseas too. I worked for British Airways for a number of years and I am also a private pilot.