Spring Is The Perfect Time To Savor The Beauty
My Favorite Places For Wildflowers
Wildflower season has started early this year and we had such great winter rains the show ought to be particularly gorgeous this spring. Because the wildflowers bloom later as the altitude increases, you can actually see great swaths of wildflowers clear through summer.
Arizona State Parks
Arizona’s State Parks are great places to see flowers. Picacho Peak between Phoenix and Tucson is famous for amazing wildflower displays with bright colors carpeting the mountain some years. It is easy to get to — just head south from Phoenix or north from Tucson. It’s a little over an hour from Phoenix.
Lost Dutchman, Alamo, Catalina, Red Rock
The State Parks website says they are predicting a phenomenal wildflower season this year at lost dutchman state park as well. Alamo Lake State Park and Catalina are also good for flowers, and if you miss the early spring blossoms, you can head to Red Rock State Park near Sedona where the bloom usually starts around May.
Saguaro National Park
It looked like there was a thick yellow carpet over the ground, and there were also lots of cactus blossoms and flowering trees.
I usually look for the Palo Verde trees to start blooming in April and they are spectacular no matter where you are.
Cactus blossoms are some of my favorites, and you can see those all over the place, even in town. Prickly pear blossoms can be yellow, peach, red – you name it, and hedgehog blossoms are sometimes almost bigger than the cactus itself and always brilliantly colored. Keep an eye out for cacti in blossom wherever you go. Later on, you can even eat the fruit of the prickly pears. They make yummy jelly.
Bartlett, Lake Pleasant
Bartlett Lake has wonderful wildflowers as well – I wish I knew the names of all of them – all I can tell you is that in addition to the pink and red fairy dusters and the yellow palo verde trees, you can also see purple, orange, and pink flowers all over the place. If you have a boat, try going across the lake from the marina and check out the backs of the coves. Gorgeous! Lake Pleasant sometimes has a lot of gorgeous wildflowers as well, and there are plenty of roads to drive around on near the lake.
Hummingbird Springs Wilderness
In a year like this one where we’ve had so much rain, you’re going to be able to find unexpected swaths of wildflowers all over the desert. Hummingbird Springs Wilderness Area near Tonopah had lots of flowers last year, and I bet it will be even better this year. In particular we saw a lot of showy yellow flowers and the most intensely pink hedgehog cactus flowers out there. It was gorgeous. You’ll need a 4WD or a UTV to get out there, but it’s worth it. We also saw a flock of ibis at a waterhole out towards there.
Up north the flowers bloom a little later. Flagstaff always has huge fields of sunflowers, and up on the mountains and in the meadows there are lots of colorful wildflowers. Buffalo Park is a favorite of ours, and in the summer there are a lot of beautiful flowers, especially in the meadow areas. But up on the mountain is where we really see a lot of blooms.
Kachina Trail has open meadows along the beginning of the trail, and if you get there at the right time of year, they will be filled with purple blossoms that remind me of snapdragons. There are also tons of smaller flowers, big yellow sunflower-like blossoms, and all kinds of pretty white flowers of various sizes.
Aspen Nature Loop
Another trail for flowers is the Aspen Nature Loop trail. This trail isn’t one where we’ve seen huge masses of flowers, but there are incredibly beautiful ones scattered all over. We just love it there.
Cave Creek Area
A nice hike with flowers near Phoenix is The Dragonfly Trail near Cave Creek in the Jewel of the Creek Preserve. Spur Cross and Cave Creek Regional Park also often have incredible amounts of flowering shrubs and wildflowers. One year we hiked Cave Creek Regional Park and the flowers absolutely crowded the trails. It was so beautiful!
A Perfect Time
Actually, you can find flowers almost anywhere in the spring. Some are vivid carpets that are impossible to miss and others are carpets of tiny blossoms that you have to get close to before you notice them. Often there will be just a few making a colorful splash in a corner of the desert. But they all have this in common – you have to get outside and look around for them. This is the perfect time of year to do that!