Boyce Thompson Arboretum

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Lotion

A sign in the Hummingbird Garden at Boyce Thompson ArboretumBoyce Thompson Arboretum is almost a zoo or refuge for plants.  Over 3,000 species of plants are grown on the 300+ acre grounds.  They vary from the common southwest plants found on the desert themed trails to greenhouses stuffed with exotic cactii to towering Australian Eucalyptus trees in the picnic area. 

A cactus garden There are unique sights and objects of interest scattered everywhere in the garden;  a catsclaw maze; petrified wood; an old stone house built into a cliff wall; an Australian outback camp; an herb garden; hummingbird and butterfly gardens, and much more.  Many, though not all, of the plants are labeled and some having information on growing, harvesting, and using the plant.

An agaveA Joshua treePomegranate hedges line a trailPetrified wood

The Arboretum is huge.  The main trail alone is 1.5 miles in length and there are various side trails as well.  You can opt to traverse the entire garden, which will take you most of a day, or just explore a few trails.  The trails are mostly wide gravel trails, but there are narrow rocky strips and a few places with ups and downs.  

A divide in the trail


One of the main trails

Two trails at the Arboretum.  Some of the trails are narrower and rockier.

Wear sensible shoes.  There are restrooms and water fountains, but they are few and far between, so you will want to carry water.  It is well worth it to take a camera.  Boyce Thompson Arboretum is tucked under a towering mountain and besides the plants, there are gorgeous rock formations and lots of desert creatures in the garden. 

There are lots of presentation and special events.  It is well worth checking their website to see what is happening when you plan for visit.  For example, you can take a guided tour, learn about lizards, or sample edible plants.  There are also bird walks, plant sales, and gardening workshops.

The lake with mountains in the background
The lake at the Arboretum.

Boyce Thomspon Arboretum is located east of Phoenix, at milepost #223 on Highway 60.  Plan on an hour to a two hour drive, depending on if you start in the East Valley or the West Valley.  The arboretum is near Superior, Arizona, a small mining town.  There is a handful of restaurants in Superior if you want to have lunch or dinner and some of them offer discounts if you've just come from your visit to the Arboretum.  There is no restaurant in the garden itself, though there is a large picnic area.

A picnic area
The picnic area at Boyce Thompson Arboretum

In the summer (May, June, July, and August) the Arboretum is open from 6 am until 3 pm, with the last admittance at 2 pm.  Winter hours are 8 am to 5 pm, with last admittance at 4 pm.  The cost is $10 per person.

Boyce Thompson Arboretum
http://ag.a