Boyce-Thompson Arboretum

Following our Sunday morning ritual of eating breakfast at the Good Egg we began the drive to Boyce-Thompson Arboretum.

The arboretum is a few miles over 100 from the restaurant and takes just short of two hours.  However, the drive up Oracle to State Highway 79 and then State Highway 60 is a beautiful desert drive in the fall.  No trees with leaves changing color but still very scenic for a desert lover.

The Boyce-Thompson Arboretum is a state park and the oldest arboretum in the state of Arizona.  The arboretum does have a very small greenhouse but the remainder of the plants are spread out over 300 acres of mountains, canyons, around a small lake, and several speciality gardens.

After paying the entrance fee and buying bottle water, we forgot to bring water, we started out on the main trail.  The main trail is only 1.5 miles in length but I am estimating we walked about three miles before retuning to the entrance.  It was a beautiful morning/early afternoon, sunny and in the low 80’s.  A great day to walk the various offshoots of the main trail, leave the main trail and cross over the stream to the cliff side trail, and then back to various speciality gardens.  We spent three hours or so walking, looking, and exploring the arboretum.  We obviously were in no hurry taking three hours to walk maybe three miles.

Rock garden at Boyce Thompson Arboretum, AZ

Rock garden at Boyce Thompson Arboretum, AZ

With over 800 different cactus for me to look at Nancy was constantly out ahead of me on the trail.  However, the beginning of the trail had a rock garden with desert plants that we both spent ten minutes looking and discussing “could we do the same in our yard?”.

Anytime we are visiting a desert oriented arboretum, garden, etc. I am always looking to see which plants are on a drip system and always wondering why the plants are not being devoured my rabbits, javelina, rats, mice and other vegetarian loving animal.

The arboretum is not just about cactus.  Beside the cactus there are thousands of arid environment plants from all continents but the Antartic.  The canyon has native trees and palms. Also I kept looking at the bushes and more importantly what was growing next or under the  bushes.  Our yard will never have too many plants.

Bad news — our walk required more food.  We stopped in Superior, AZ at a locally owned Mexican restaurant.  Good news — the food was great, the portions too large for anyone trying to lose weight, and the price was a 1990’s price in my estimation.

We took State Highway 77 completing a loop back to Tucson.  Again, I thought the drive was beautiful including the open pit copper mines.  Not that the open pit mines are scenic but they are very interesting to look at.  All in all a very enjoyable Sunday drive, walk, and drive with food stops.

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