Colorado City is located against the Utah border in the Arizona BLM Strip (that large chunk of land in Arizona north of the Grand Canyon and the Colorado River). Colorado City has been somewhat famous since the days of the Short Creek Raid (when Arizona Governor John Howard Pyle sent National Guard troops into the settlement then known as "Short Creek" in 1953 to stop the practice of plural marriage among members of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints). In the aftermath of the Short Creek Raid a 2-year legal battle began between the church and the state, and that public relations disaster eventually led to a hands-off attitude toward the town by Arizona state government.

Colorado City came into the national limelight again in 2004 when local religious leader Warren Jeffs expelled a group of 20 men (including the town's mayor) from the community and "gave" their wives and children to other male members of the sect. The Utah Attorney General's office says that between 2001 and 2006, Jeffs expelled as many as 400 young men from the community for not following his dictates. As all these men had lived lives almost totally sheltered from the rest of the modern world, some folks have come to refer to them as "the lost boys." On September 25, 2007, Warren Jeffs was sentenced to 10 years to life in prison after being convicted of 2 counts of being an accomplice to rape. Most of the private property in Colorado City was owned by the United Effort Plan, the FLDS' financial arm, however, the state dismantled that church ownership in 2007.

Colorado City and Hildale, Utah, are essentially twin cities, each on the other side of the Utah-Arizona state line from each other. This area has the world's highest incidence of an extremely rare genetic disorder (fumarase deficiency) that causes severe mental retardation. As at least half the residents of Colorado City and Hildale are descendants of John Y. Barlow and/or Joseph Smith Jessop (early founders of the town and of the splinter church group), geneticists attribute the problem to the extremely high level of inbreeding.

Just east of town is the Cottonwood Point Wilderness Area near the Vermilion Cliffs. To the south is the Mount Trumbull Wilderness, the Mount Logan Wilderness and the Grand Canyon-Parashant National Monument. Southeast is Pipe Spring National Monument.

Colorado City, Arizona
The Vermilion Cliffs rise above Colorado City