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Southwestern USA Hiking Trails including Scottsdale, Phoenix, Northern Arizona


Boyce Thompson Arboretum Trail, Superior, AZ

Directions: Following these directions from Fountain Hills, Arizona

  1. Drive 4.7 miles on AZ 87-S, turning left onto N. Gilbert Rd;

  2. travel 3.8 miles turning left onto AZ-202 Loop E ;

  3. drive 45 miles on AZ-202 E/US-60E;

  4. take a right onto Arboretum Way Rd to the garden - 37615 US Hwy 60, Superior, AZ 85713

About the hike: The Boyce Arboretum Main trail is a 1.5-mile loop trail with an elevation gain of 151 feet. This trail has hidden surprises along the way for kids of all sizes. The 1.5-mile loop starts at the Visitor Center and connects to the High trail before returning back to the Main trail.

While adventuring and trekking about on a sunny spring day, I discovered the Boyce Thompson Arboretum, an Arizona gem. I was in search of a couple of Ocotillos for my garden that led me to the Arboretum.

I started on the main trail with camera in hand and quickly came upon beautiful aloes in bloom.

The Arboretum sits upon 323 acres. The garden is the largest and oldest botanical garden in Arizona. I came upon a steep staircase to climb up through boulders to a great place overlooking the garden. The Queen Creek stream meandered between the boulders and the garden below.

Phew, those were some steep stairs but worth this view.

This part of the main trail is also known as the high-trail weaving through the Upper Sonoran Natural area for 0.45-miles.

Up these stairs is a shady cove to sit and soak in the view.

A quick jaunt along the trail, and you arrive at the suspension bridge leading you back into the garden.

More fun awaits across the suspension bridge. An arbor tunnel is off to your right. On the other side of the tunnel, I found a comfortable bench to rest and eat a snack.

The main trail led me through some beautiful scenery as we slowly climbed towards Picket Post House, also known as "Castle on the Rocks."

In 1920, Colonel William B Thompson built his mansion, serving as his winter home.

He started planning for the Arboretum even before completing his home.

IA gazebo sits overlooking the creek. Inside you will find information about the Colonel and the history of the Arboretum.

Feeling well educated on the history of the Arboretum, we continued on our hike.

Shortly up the trail, we encountered a scary sign warning about rattlesnakes.

Over the hill sits a small desert lake providing water to the desert fowl who frequent the area.

Shoreline grasses sway in the wind, sheltering the wildlife and adding beauty to the scenery.

Three hundred different species of cacti call the Arboretum their home. I snapped a few pictures of my favorites. Ending our hike, we headed back towards the Visitor's center. Now it was time to pick out my two ocotillos for my garden at home.

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