Boyce Thompson Arboretum

Boyce Thompson Arboretum State Park is located 55 miles east of Phoenix, in the Arizona Upland division of the Sonoran Desert. The Arboretum lies along Queen Creek, an intermittent desert stream which flows through a picturesque canyon. The Arboretum is nestled against the base of the 4400-foot-high Picketpost Mountain.

The Arboretum was created from 1923-1929 as a museum of living plants to help instill in humanity an appreciation of plants. The chief attraction at the Arboretum is the system of native trails, with over two miles of combined length that weave through the botanical gardens. These gardens represent the “living museum” of plants capable of living in the Sonoran Desert of southern Arizona. A series of Interpretive Ramadas are located along the Main Loop Trail to provide information to Arboretum visitors.

The founder, William Boyce Thompson, was born at Virginia City, Montana on May 13, 1869. He attended the School of Mines a Columbia University, becoming a mining engineer. He created a fortune by studying mines and selecting the most promising for development and investment. He was the founder and first president of Inspiration Consolidated Copper Company at Globe-Miami, Arizona and Magma Copper Company at Superior, Arizona. He died on June 27, 1930. The Arizona Legislature stated that it was “profoundly appreciative” of the Boyce Thompson Southwestern Arboretum as a “scientific institution for the purpose of experimentation and research in the matter of native vegetation of the state and the Southwest.”

As you approach the Arboretum you are greeted by volunteers who will provide a map of the walking trails. On you way out you can purchase many, many, varieties of the plants you will see on the trails, if you like.


Just inside the Arboretum is a gift shop with a nice selection of southwestern items. Holly and I were not interested in shopping, we were anxious to get out on the walking trails…


I will share with you a sample of what you will see and experience at the Arboretum.

Like breathtaking views.


There are lots, and lots, of little side attractions where you can learn about native birds, plants etc.


And information stations where you can read about native southwestern history.


There is a children’s learning section that houses everything you can imagine to help children learn about native plants and animals.


This colorful sun has a rainbow at the bottom and interaction information to help children learn about the importance of the sun, water, and the weather, in keeping plants, animals, and humans alive.


Beautiful flowering plants are everywhere, and more butterflies than I’ve ever seen in one place.


Lovely waterfalls beckon you to come, and sit a spell.


Ayer Lake is a storage reservoir designed to hold 3,680,000 gallons (10-acre feet) of water for irrigation and was constructed in 1925.


So much beautiful desert scenery to enjoy.


But be careful, and pay attention to the signs…


Spectacular rock formations.


And shady areas all along the mountain side. There are even picnic areas with picnic tables and grills available for use. Who could ask for more?


Benches tucked into rock caves to sit, rest, and relax.


Just know that not all areas will be accessible to everyone. Like this ridge that takes you along the mountain side on the main trail loop is not wheelchair accessible.


Why there is even a suspended, shaky bridge, that will take you across the Queen Creek. That was fun… 🙂


We were told the entire main loop trail takes about an 1 1/2 hours to walk. But if your with your “sister” or BFF, or anyone you enjoy being with, or even just out enjoying the walk alone… I’m sure you will find yourself stopping to take in the views and just relaxing and enjoying your time together, or alone, in the beautiful, beautiful, surrounding of the Boyce Thompson Arboretum. If you’ve never been there you owe it to yourself to go, and if your like me, you will love it so much you will want to return again and again…

Hope you enjoyed the tour, I know I did, and it was another beautiful, fun-filled, “Holly day” with my sister, Holly. Thanks Holly! XoXo

Stay Tuned!

5 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Ellen Kaufman
    Nov 04, 2013 @ 00:41:17

    A Beautiful place to visit and walk…..Thanks for the tour!!!


  2. katsbynp
    Nov 04, 2013 @ 04:13:37

    What a great place to walk! Looks beautiful. Thanks for sharing both in words and pictures


  3. gotham girl
    Nov 08, 2013 @ 02:18:30

    Love that Bella shot! 🙂 Glad you two had a wonderful visit together! xoxo Big time!


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