Rating: 4.0 out of 5 stars
Recommended supplies and information:
- Bring at least 40 ounces (about 1 liter) of water
- Small First Aid Kit (in spring possible bee sting)
- Camera with a Macro Lens
Approximate Trekking information:
Distance Round Trip: 2 miles (3.2 km)
Total Hiking Time: 1.5 hours
Elevation at base 2,431 ft to 2,530 ft: 99 ft Ascension Climb
Elevation at base Metrics: 740 meters to 771 meters: 31 meters Ascension Climb
Temperature for November 14, 2015: 84.9 F to 87.6 F / 29.3 C to 30.8 C
The last time I trekked Boyce Thompson Arboretum there was an entrance parking fee of about 6 dollars. This time, on 14 November, 2015 no fee was required. Call in advance to check seasonal rates. There is ample parking and an additional token parking entrance that leads into the picnic area.
An Environmentalists’ Dream Come True
Whether you’re a native of Arizona or just passing through our great state, Boyce Thompson Arboretum should be a must see visit on your to-do list of short treks. The rich foliage, exotic plant life and wild creatures crawl on mostly every square meter of this lush and wonderfully cared for environment. Created within a cliffy desert terrain just west of Superior, AZ about 90 years ago, Boyce Thompson Arboretum is an excellent example of an environmentalists’ dream come true all wrapped up in an educational delight for all ages.
The Trail: Fun Off Shoot Trails with Much to Offer
The trail is divided up into two main trails: A lower elevation trail and the upper elevation sight seeing trail. Years ago I ventured up onto the upper trail that gives an incredible view of the thickly settled trees and foliage below. This time I opted for the lower main trail to take advantage of the multiple side trails and shade. Each off shoot trail exhibited its own special array of exotic plants, trees and ground vegetation.
I would highly recommend taking a camera with you that has the ability of capturing close-up macro images. You will not be disappointed.
During my trek, unexpected colorful butterflies popped-up out of nowhere to make for an even more intriguing hike. Apparently, there is a butterfly exhibit area somewhere on the grounds over near the westside picnic area.
Bridges and Walkways
One great example of Boyce Thompson trail is having the opportunity to walk across several bridges that meander across sections of low lying streams. One such structure is a suspension bridge (image above) that links you to the upper trail. Half way across you can feel the bouncing and swaying of the bridge. A standard wooden walk path bridge structure can be seen in the photo below. Also notice the dried up stream under the bridge. In the springtime months and during the monsoon season of summer, these dried up rock creeks are overflowing with a plentiful water supply.
During the trek, I happened across several families enjoying the scenic trails while walking their dogs. All pets were on a leash. Avoid allowing them to run off into the woods on their own since the area has a heavy concentration of cactus barbs outside the trail perimeter. Throughout the entire trail, several trash receptacles are conveniently located to dispose of debris left by your pet. Please keep an honest effort to clean up after your pet, although several coyote dropping were observed along the way.
Shaded Rest Stops
The Boyce Thompson lower main trail has about four or five shaded rest pavilions along the way. Each pavilion is located strategically to take full advantage of a photo opportunity. Not only are the views great, but environmental information and placards are posted to educate the public of local wildlife and landscape.
Patrons hiking the trails throughout the arboretum were friendly and exhibited great respect for nature and one another. The staff at the main entrance, photo gallery and store locations were very helpful and knowledgable regarding the surroundings. In the past, I had the opportunity to converse at length with one the environmentalists. His vast knowledge and experience concerning the region was greatly appreciated.
Final Thoughts: A Great Few Hour Get-A-Way
I love Boyce Thompson Arboretum! As an experienced hiker, I appreciate well cared for trails and an environment that is inviting and fun. Plus, with an abundance of foliage, wildlife and amazing scenery all wrapped up into one small package, my face was grinning from cheek to cheek.
Absolutely take your young children here to enjoy the sights, sounds, and aroma of the environment. There are areas to have lunch and relax by a water fountain. Plus, on occasions, live musical bands entertain near the western side main entrance. All sorts of potted exotic plants, cacti, bushes and trees can be purchased at Boyce Thompson.
View all images of the trail:
View Complete Trekking Analysis One Way
View GPS Map and photo locations:
From Phoenix, head east on Route US 60 for about 53 miles (85 km). Park entrance is on the right with a well posted sign.