I headed out of Phoenix early to visit the Boyce Thompson Arboretum State Park on Highway 60 just 3 miles outside of Superior, AZ. From Phoneix, it is a 67-mile drive…. an easy hour drive. With temperatures already reaching 90-100 degrees during mid-day I wanted to get there early when it was going to be cooler. Two years ago when I was in and around Phoneix in February the cacti were not in bloom, so now that I am in Phoenix for a while I wanted to be sure I got a chance to see them. I had heard and read about the arboretum and wanted to make a visit here and thought it would be a great opportunity to see and experience all kinds of different plant life and blooming cacti as well as a little trail hiking. Boyce Arboretum did not disappoint me.
Entrance fees are reasonable $12.50 for adults 13 or older, $5.00 for children 5-12 and children 4 and under are free. The arboretum hours from October to April are 8 am – 5 pm with no entry after 4 pm. May to September hours are 6 am to 3 pm with no entry after 2 pm.
Boyce Thompson Arboretum is the largest and oldest botanical garden in Arizona. It was founded in 1924 as a desert plant research facility and “living museum” by William Boyce Thompson, a mining engineer who made his fortune in the mining industry. Boyce was fascinated with the landscape around Superior, so he built a winter home overlooking Queen Creek and beneath the towering volcanic remnant……Picketpost Mountain located in the Sonoran Desert on 323 acres.
Upon my arrival at the Boyce Thompson Arboretum, you pay at the window just inside the doorway and given a map of the grounds. In this entrance area, you will find a gift store, the restrooms, as well as plants to buy. You are then free to wander the grounds how and where you want at your own leisure. I followed the 1.5-mile main loop which took me a couple of hours as I took some short side trails, checked out so many of the cactus and various plants and vegetation, took pictures, stopped to rest, relax and just enjoy.
Here are some things I saw on my trail walk……Flowers
Gila Monsters, Twisted trees, Ayer Lake, Eucalyptus Trees, Mountains, and Trails
The Clevenger House…….a stone and mortar building was home for a family of 5 in the early 1900s. Robert Clevenger and his family were homesteaders who made their living by truck farming along Queen Creek. They left this area in the early 1920s. This building was purchased along with the surrounding land by William Boyce Thompson. It was remodeled as a playhouse for his grandchildren. Today it is used for drying and displaying herbs as well as a cool respite from the summer heat.
By the time I had finished up the loop, it was getting midday and the temperatures were really starting to warm up. It was a great day, really enjoyed this place. Now off to Ray Mine.