Arizona weekend Adventure #4 - a trip for every weekend of the year for those who have moved to the Phoenix metro area!
We have clients that move to the area and don't realize what Phoenix or Arizona has to offer. So we are giving you something to do for every weekend of the year. This week I must mention the Arizona desert in bloom! Most people coming from other areas of the country don't have any idea of the beautiful spectacle this can be! Whether you like to hike or just go for a drive, this is the time of year to do it! The best time to enjoy the desert in bloom will be toward the end of March through mid April. This is when the wildflowers are seen in their splendor! Although you can find color in the desert during other times such as some of the cacti blooming in May, this time of year is when you will find areas in the desert that are so filled with wildflowers that they make the desert look like someone has painted the desert with color!
I could literally spend a whole year giving you places to go hike so that you can see spectacular sites and views, but I will make this short and sweet and give you some ideas to get you started. You can stay close to home or go further for a longer weekend adventure whichever you have time for! The options are almost endless! To maximize your wildflower viewing experience, monitor the "Ranger Cam" on the Arizona State Parks website. Parks from across the state send pictures and keep the information up to date as they find the desert in bloom!
One concern this year is that we haven't had as much rain as needed to create a masterpiece of color in the desert, but there will be areas that should still put on a colorful show! But if you find that the sites you want to see don't have the blooms yet, then make a trip to Boyce Thompson Arboretum, where they have a secret weapon to induce wildflowers. They irrigate and when necessary, they provide the water needed so even if everything around them is sparse, they almost always have a beautiful display of wildflowers. The Arboretum is located at Highway 60 Milepost #223 near the historic copper mining town of Superior, about one hour's drive due east of Phoenix on the Superstition Freeway.
Other areas to go to get away and give you that "ahhh" moment include Bartlett Lake, Lake Pleasant, Dragoon Mountains, Black Mesa in Mazatzal Mountains, and White Tank Mountain. You can stay close to home and go to the Desert Botanical Gardens, or hike at Usery Mountain Regional Park which offers over 29 miles of trails for hiking, mountain biking, and horseback riding. Trails at Usery Mountain Park range in length from 0.2 mils to over 7 mile and range in difficulty from easy to difficult. The Merkle Trail is easy and if someone is in a wheelchair they still can enjoy it.
Superstition Mountain is another popular place to hike. When someone says the Superstitions, they can refer to just the 4000 to 5000 foot range running from Lost Dutchman State Park to Peralta Trailhead next to Apache Junction, the area around Superstition Mountain, the entire official wilderness, or the entire area bounded by roads 60, 88, and 188. If someone asks you to go hiking in the Superstition Mountains, make sure you know what they mean. And make sure you are prepared! Hiking in the desert is inherently dangerous at any time of the year and is very different from hiking in other locales. It's especially dangerous when the high temperature during your hike is above 90°. Don't leave the parking lot unless you have a map of the area (hopefully a GPS too) and plenty of water. Never let children take off on their own if you are at any of these parks, once you get out away from everything you cannot always tell where you are! Many experienced hikers have gotten lost or seriously hurt on hikes!
One more thing, don't play with the wildlife or pick up rocks... you may not like what you find!
If you haven't found your home in the desert yet, be sure to give us a call... we can take that hike together!