Boyce Thompson Arboretum RV & Campground Guide
Founded in 1924 by mining magnate William Boyce Thompson, the Boyce Thompson Arboretum is dedicated to educating the public about the importance of desert ecosystems and their plant and animal life. The arboretum showcases plants from all over the world, including Mexico, Australia, the Middle East, Africa, and China. You may be amazed to learn that the gardens are home to over 19,000 plants spread over 135 acres. The park also offers nearly five miles of hiking trails in a dramatic Sonoran Desert habitat with spectacular views of Picket-post Mountain. Seasonal programs, guided tours, bird-watching tours, and stargazing evenings provide a special event for every interest. While in the area, you can check out the nearby town of Superior, AZ, which offers top-notch hiking opportunities, annual festivals, and a thriving culinary and art scene. Nearby Cities: • Superior, AZ • Florence, AZ • Apache Junction, AZ • Mesa, AZ
RV Resorts & Campsites in Boyce Thompson Arboretum
Boyce Thompson Arboretum does not have any on-site campgrounds. However, Bureau of Land Management camping in the nearby Tonto National Forest is popular. There are also plenty of full-service RV campgrounds in nearby communities.
RV Rentals Near Boyce Thompson Arboretum
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What to Do at
Boyce Thompson Arboretum
The Boyce Thompson Arboretum is the perfect place to experience desert flora and presents twelve distinct gardens. Each is dedicated to a different aspect of the environment or type of flora. You can use the trails to explore the gardens or picnic in the shade of desert trees and cacti. If you have children in your group, you can take them to the Children's Garden or let them run around in the nearby maze.
Inside Boyce Thompson Arboretum
You can explore the 3-acre cactus garden from its winding path, go hiking on the Chihuahua Trail or one of its spur trails, smell the fragrant plants in the herb garden and see roses in the heritage rose garden. Many times throughout the year, this state park hosts experts who teach about medicinal plants and how to use them. You may also want to sit for a spell at Ayer Lake, wander through the eucalyptus forest containing the largest red gum eucalyptus trees in the United States and see the reptiles that call Magma Ridge Riparian Area home. Feel free to bring a picnic lunch along and shop for desert plants at the arboretum store after learning more about them in the demonstration garden.
Due to the park's remote location, the night sky near the arboretum is much darker than most visitors have experienced. The arboretum staff regularly schedule after-hours events, such as Walk on the Wild Side: Attractions of the Night Sky, for those interested in astronomy.
Flora and Fauna
The park attracts over 300 species of birds and wildlife. Inhabitants of the park include foxes, coyotes, javelina, and bobcats. Additionally, you may catch a glimpse of elusive coatimundis. These endangered animals look like a mix between a raccoon, lemur, and raccoon and use their long snouts to help them forage for insects and fruit. In the mornings and evenings, you may spot several kinds of lizards and snakes on the move because they tend to be more active in cooler conditions.
Birders may want to schedule a visit between October and May when guided Bird Walk tours are available. The tours are free with admission, and if you don't bring your own, you can borrow binoculars. Unique birds found at the park include the iconic roadrunner and over 60 bird species with special conservation status. In addition, the park's pond attracts migratory birds like trogons, warblers, and hummingbirds. Boyce Thompson Arboretum has three nationally accredited plant collections: Southwestern oaks, desert legumes, and eucalyptus trees. The park's gardens include several rare and endangered trees, cacti, and succulents. Gardeners who live in arid climates will be particularly interested in the Demonstration Garden. It was built to show how drought-tolerant plants can create beautiful landscaping in residential settings. If you visit between November and April, you can join an Edible & Medicinal Plant Tour. During this experience, you will learn how Sonora Desert plants, such as prickly pears and jojobas, have been eaten and used for healing for more than 1,000 years.
The 4.7 miles of trails at Boyce Thompson Arboretum are well-maintained, designed to navigate between the 12 gardens, and feature exhibits along the way. They are also wheelchair, stroller, and kid-friendly. The longest is 1.4 miles and takes you through the Wallace Desert Garden, by a small creek, and to an outlook where you can enjoy a birds-eye view of the arboretum.
How to Get to
Boyce Thompson Arboretum
The park is located on the south side of US Hwy 60. It is 60 miles east of downtown Phoenix and six miles west of Superior.
Entering Boyce Thompson Arboretum
The parking lot has ample space for cars, trucks, and smaller RVs. Limited spaces for larger rigs and RVs that are towing trailers make parking challenging on busy weekends.
Boyce Thompson Arboretum State Park General Admission : $24.95
Boyce Thompson Arboretum State Park Children's Admission (5-12) : $10.0
Frequently Asked Questions About Boyce Thompson Arboretum
Many people feel that visiting the arboretum in the spring is best because the flowers bloom, and butterflies and hummingbirds arrive in the area. If you want to see the fall colors, peak foliage at the park happens within the three weeks between mid-November and early December.
During your visit, you may see Javelinas, coyotes, and foxes. Sightings of over 250 varieties of birds and raptors have been recorded within the park. A variety of reptiles and snakes also call the park home.
There is no overnighting or camping at Boyce Thompson Arboretum. However, there is BLM camping available nearby in the area. You can also find campgrounds with full hookups and other amenities in the communities surrounding the arboretum.
The towns of Florence, Superior, and Apache Junction offer full-service RV campgrounds. Reservations, especially during tourist season, are recommended. Once you choose one, you can check the campground's website for the reservation fee.
Pets are welcome at Boyce Thompson Arboretum. You are expected to keep them on a leash no longer than six feet in length and clean up after your four-legged family members.
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