2019 is shaping up to be a banner year for wildflowers in Arizona. Consistent fall and winter rains combined with mild temperatures have created optimal conditions for an amazing display of color all over the state.
Here are some places in and around the Phoenix / Scottsdale metro area that are worth exploring.
Head north of Phoenix 48 miles to Bartlett Lake.. to paved roads and picnic areas where you can hike and take a picnic – and see wildflowers bloom from March to mid-May.
PICACHO PEAK STATE PARK
Between Phoenix and Tucson this is usually a must stop area, and a beautiful view especially in March. Off 1-10, on exit 219, pay $7.00 per vehicle to enter the state park. There are several picnic areas and easy trails (Nature Trail and Calloway Trail).
LOST DUTCHMAN STATE PARK
Head out to Apache Junction to visit the Lost Dutchman State Park – in fact, make a day out of it and visit Goldfield Ghost Town, grab a bite to eat at Tortilla Flats, and then take the long drive past Roosevelt Lake and Tonto National Monument for a FUN filled day.
LAKE PLEASANT PARK
Out in the West Valley, Lake Pleasant Regional Park is a must ~ if you head towards the state park (which is on 41835 N. Castle Hot Spring sRoad in Morristown) you’ll pay $6 per vehicle and enjoy some beautiful views of Poppies and desert hyacinth through end March.
USERY MOUNTAIN PARK
Head out East towards Mesa to the Usery Mountain Regional Park, on 3939 N. Usery Pass in Mesa… although Markle Trail is a relatively easy stroll, you can take on a more difficult hike on Pass Mountain Loop (7 miles of scenery!)
ESTRELLA MOUNTAIN PARK
If you are in the West Valley, head to 14805 W. Vineyard Avenue Goodyear to hike just over 4 miles in the Rainbow Valley Trail of Estrella Mountain Regional Park.
SOUTH MOUNTAIN PARK /PRESERVE
The park can be accessed through Central Avenue – which leads to the Gila Valley Overlook – lots of wildflowers growing!
You can also head to the Pima Canyon and Beverly Canyon (also known as the Javelina Trail) entrance. To access the Central Ave. entrance head to 10919 s. Central Ave., in Phoenix.
MCDOWELL SONORAN PRESERVE
Head to Scottsdale, to 18333 N. Thompson Peak Parkway to jump on the Gateway Trailhead of the Sonoran Preserve. You can see sightings of wildflowers on Horseshoe Loop and Gateway Trail Loop.
You can also check out the Lost Wash Trailhead at 12601 N. 124th Ae. in Scottsdale for more views of blooms.
This is a huge hump of land that blooms through late March – you’ll want to head on U.S. 60 East to Globe, then go East on U.S. 70 to the reservation – pass mile marker 268, hang a left on a dirty road by a cattle guard and (2) white H-Shaped Poles.
A tribal permit is required – and you can pick one up at a gas station in Globe, or at Bashas right there on the reservation.
Piestewa Peak has several trails with slopes accessible from the park rec area. If you head out to 32nd Street and Lincoln Drive you can jump on the trailhead (look for the Northeast Corner) known as the Quartz Ridge Trail.
SPUR CROSS RANCH
This conservation area is HUGE, and located up in Cave Creek – you can see a good variety of blooms. To find the trailhead head to N. Spur Cross Road in Cave Creek.
PHOENIX SONORAN PRESERVE
Find yellow, marigold, and orange-red blooms on the Apache Wash Trailhead, located on 1600 E. Sonoran Desert Drive in Phoenix. Or, visit the slopes on the trails from the parking area at Desert Visa – which is on W. Desert Vista Trail in Phoenix.
BOYCE THOMPSON ARBORETUM
If you head out on East U.S. 60 in Mesa towards Globe, the Arboretum sits past Mile Marker 223. It’s the state’s largest and oldest botanical garden – 323 acres created JUST to study Arizona’s plants. Admission is $10 for adult sand $5 for ages 5-12.