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Boyce Thompson Arboretum

Home > Phoenix > Gardens | Places of Interest | Walks
by Judy Karnia (subscribe)
I am a travel writer, life coach and forest therapy guide living in Scottsdale, AZ. Visit my website at
Published September 18th 2021
The beauty of the desert accessible to all
For an incredible place to experience the desert, visit the Boyce Thompson Arboretum Located about an hour east of downtown Phoenix, the Arboretum showcases desert plants from around the world. The multiple trails offer a variety of experiences for all fitness levels.

The Main Trail leads you past Ayer Lake and along Queen Creek while providing spectacular views of Picketpost Mountain and the Superstition Mountains. This trail is wide and flat for the most part but has some steep parts past the lake.

Smaller trails branch off from the main trail leading to various gardens. The Curandero Trail has multiple signs educating about local plants and their traditional medicinal uses.

Curandero Trail
Curandero Trail

The Cactus and Succulents Garden has many winding trails that showcase all the beauty of desert plants and cacti. Small, secluded trails meander off toward the mountain. On the day, I was there, butterflies were swarming among the vibrant flowers.

Cactus and Succulents Garden
Cactus and Succulents Garden

Many of the gardens display plants from arid lands around the world, such as Asian Deserts Exhibit, South African Deserts Exhibit, South American Deserts Exhibit, and Australian Deserts Exhibit. The lushness and diversity bring the desert alive.

There are multiple other areas to explore including the Children's Garden, Pine Loop, Palm Grove and Heritage Rose Garden. Don't miss the Berber Suspension Bridge over Queen Creek leading to the High Trail.

Suspension Bridge
Berber Suspension Bridge

The Boyce Thompson Arboretum is worth the drive out from Phoenix. You can appreciate the beauty and diversity of the desert without worrying about getting lost out there.

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When: 6am to 3pm summer, 8am to 5pm winter
Phone: 520-689-2723
Where: One hour east of Phoenix in Superior, AZ
Cost: $15 adults, $5 children
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