The Gila Valley Arizona Temple is located in Central, Arizona along US Route 70 in a rural community. This was the third temple to be built in Arizona. Thatcher is the closest town, only minutes away. Thatcher is famous for the area where Spencer W. Kimball, 12th President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, grew up. Kimball was born in SLC, but was raised in Thatcher and held many jobs in the area. The Mormon Battalion passed through Arizona in 1846 and camped at the mouth of Gila River before entering California. There were several attempts at colonization and proselytizing in this area after that, but the saints were driven out numerous times. In March of 1873 there was a larger colonization effort that took hold and in 1878 the first stake was established. This colonization was due to pioneers' strong will, dedication, hardships and sacrifices.
This is a small town and somewhat isolated. You're not going to find any five-star restaurants here and the choices are pretty limited. There's a pizza place, R & R Pizza Express, that has decent pizza with the usual topping choices. Kainoa's Hawaiian Grill is a good choice for Kalua Pork or wraps. La Casita Cafe is a small family-run Mexican cafe known for their burritos. There are a few more fast food and chain restaurants in town. For a few more choices, drive southeast to Safford for Chinese at Super Wok or a more extensive Mexican menu at Casa Manana.
Because of the isolated area, there are plenty of choices for outdoor adventures. Those that are birdwatchers, hikers and nature lovers will have a myriad of opportunities. Aravaipa Canyon Preserve is nice for driving the winding roads or hiking to see mountain cliffs and panoramic vistas. Gila Box RNCA - Bonita Creek is a National Conservation Area which is known for birdwatching, complete with a treetop level platform. For amateur geologists, the Black Hills Rockhound Area is a digging site for volcanic pumice, minerals and fire agate. For a splurge and to see the most powerful telescope that currently exists, take a day tour of Mount Graham International Observatory.