Like No Other

Mary Preston on bridge

Mary Preston on bridge

Mary Preston

Are you up for a new adventure that will take you out of your COVID-19 routine, but don’t want to drive too far? My husband and I discovered Boyce Thompson Arboretum and State Park located in Superior a year after we arrived in Arizona. We knew that Arizona has the most varied landscapes and ecosystems of any state in the union, and that fact was validated once again when we stumbled upon Boyce Thompson Arboretum.

After you enter the 392-acre park and meander through the outdoor nursery and pass the gift shop, you will step into a world that looks and feels very different from all other arboretums in Arizona. You’ll marvel at the soaring cliffs cut out from volcanic rock looming high above you. The cool waters of Queen Creek run through the park and are lined with shade trees, shrubs, wild flowers, and the occasional bench to rest and soak in the beauty of this unique landscape. The park boasts a variety of plants from around the world and multiple groves of trees and gardens.

The park has varied hiking trails, a gift shop, bathrooms, indoor exhibits, but no food service. When we go, we bring a lunch and picnic towards the end of our hike, under a grove of shade trees. Don’t forget to bring your mask, lots of water, and wear comfortable walking shoes. Oh, and you can bring Fido on the trails only, just make sure he is always on a leash no longer than six feet, and please clean up after him. Be ready to take lots of pictures to share with all those naysayers that go on and on about how Arizona is only a desert with lots of cacti!

During non-COVID-19 times, there are many outdoor/indoor exhibits and classes offered as well as guided tours. Bird watching is a huge draw! Of course, you will want to view all of this by choosing one of the two main hiking trails (no bikes allowed and many parts of the trails are not wheelchair accessible). The trail we found to be most comfortable while allowing us to view all of the beauty of the park is the Main Trail, a 1.25-mile loop on tree-lined paths. It will take you past a man-made lake, wildflowers, groves of trees, and a mountainous desert landscape. There is a more strenuous hike called the High Trail that would be great to attempt if you are a more seasoned hiker. We have yet to try that one, but it sure looks inviting!

So, if you are looking for a unique experience, especially during these “stay at home times.” Take the short drive to Boyce Thompson Arboretum and State Park. You can get more detailed information, including the history of the park, location, and pricing/hours online at