Topography & Climate

Skull Valley is located in the North central part of Arizona, about 100 miles northwest of the State Capitol in Phoenix, and 10 miles west-southwest of Prescott, twice former Territorial Capitol, and now our county seat. The valley elevation at the Skull Valley Store is 4260 feet, with the valley bottom sloping gently to the South. We are surrounded by rolling hills, then higher Mountains.  The elevation goes as high as 7693 feet (Spruce Mountain) to the East; which supports the growth of Ponderosa Pine.

The hills are covered with low­ growing oak and manzanita. Mesquite, cottonwood, and desert willow trees are plentiful on the valley floor, and there are Emory and white oak trees along the creek beds. Pinon and juniper trees grow at higher elevations. Fruit trees do well in Skull Valley, and there are still remnants of old orchards, as well as many newer ones.

Pine and Douglas fir forest. Martin Mountain, to the West, is 6433 feet , and has a somewhat scattered stand of Alligator Junipers on or near the top. The lowest hills are covered with low-growing Turbinella Oak brush, Desert Cenothus, Cat claw, Screwbean, Manzanita and a few patches of Crucifixion thorn. At slightly higher elevations Pinon pine and Utah juniper are found.

Prickly pear and Cholla Cactus abound on drier sites.

The deeper soiled valley bottom supports growths of Mesquite, Wolfberry, Mulberry, Cottonwood, Desert Willow, and occasionally Arizona Ash. Hackberry, Gooding’s Willow. Native Walnut Emory Oak and California Buckthorn trees are found along creek drainages. The Skull Valley Wash carries runoff out of the valley and into Kirkland Creek, which drains into the Santa Maria River, West of Hillside.

There was a record flood in September 1983, with quite a bit of property damage. A record Snowfall of 36 inches occurred in December 1961. This is considered a semiarid climate with annual rainfall of 12 to 14 inches. Most winter storms only leave a few inches of snow in the valley bottom that soon melts off. Though rare, there has been snow in May. Heavier rains generally occur during July & August.

Pioneers reported a moister climate in the late 100’s. Temperature extremes run from 5 below to 107 degrees above. May & June can get hot, but it moderates when the rains begin in July. Winter low temperatures seldom go below 5 above zero. Summer temperatures are frequently 95 or above.

Many of the homeowners have planted fruit trees of apple, peach, pear, plum and some cherry and apricot. Some have strawberry and raspberry patches and a few have grape vines. Figs, palm granites and persimmons are marginal here. Average rainfall is 12 inches

Several skiffs of snow are enjoyed during the winter, but rarely do they exceed three or four inches at a time and it does not stay long. Night-time temperatures drop to 20 degrees or lower, but below-zero temperatures are rare. Summertime temperatures average in the 90s, reaching 100 degrees some days.

Vegetable gardens are planted by many. Wells are mostly 150 feet or less in depth in most of the valley. There is said to be a low subsurface volcanic dam across the lower end of this valley that helps retain water in this valley basin. At times there are strong winds and often have a gentle breeze; and the nights cool off nicely in the summer. Spring frosts often get the earlier blooming fruit, apples & Pears in most years are plentiful.

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