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Boyce Thompson Arboretum State Park - Pinal County

         While the Boyce Thompson Arboretum State Park came into being in 1976, it has existed since the mid-1920's as the Southwestern Arboretum. It was the brainchild of copper magnate, financier and philanthropist William Boyce Thompson. One of the main attractions at the Arboretum is its system of nature trails. There are over two miles meandering through the botanical gardens and adjacent Queen Creek Canyon. The arboretum consists of a collection of native and introduced plant species capable of living in the Sonoran Desert of southern Arizona. A series of shady interpretive ramadas are located along the Main Loop Trail to provide a place to relax, get out of the sun, and learn about the Arboretumís plants, animals, natural and human history.
Boyce Thompson Arboretum State Park
Boyce Thompson Arboretum State Park

         This site has nearly everything you could wish for. It has plenty of parking, a great visitor center and bookstore and offers native desert plants for sale. It has beautiful grounds with a wonderful variety of plantings: flowers to attract hummingbirds (as well as several feeders for them), nearly every variety of desert plants found in the Sonoran Desert, as well as treed areas providing shelter and shade. A picnic area near the parking lot provides a great spot to have lunch where you can still watch birds. Trails lead through the arboretum and surrounding hills. The scenic beauty will stun you at nearly every new corner.
Hummingbird visiting Flowers near Visitor Center - April 6, 2010 Plantings along Trail - April 6, 2010
Photo on the right by Antoinette Neily.
Hummingbird visiting Flowers near Visitor Center - and - Plantings along Trail - April 6, 2010

Arboretum Trail - April 6, 2010 Broad-billed (left) and Anna's Hummingbirds at Feeder - April 6, 2010
Photo on the left by Antoinette Neily.
Arboretum Trail - and - Broad-billed (left) and Anna's Hummingbirds at Feeder - April 6, 2010

         The original Boyce Thompson mansion can be viewed from the trail, where it commands a fantastic view of the often dry river valley and cliffs that tower over it.
The Boyce Thompson Mansion - December 26, 2010 View from the Trail below the Mansion - December 26, 2010
Photos by Antoinette Neily.
The Boyce Thompson Mansion - and - View from the Trail below the Mansion - December 26, 2010

         Holes in the cliff below the mansion provide shelter for a Great Horned Owl. The trail winds along the cliff faces on both sides of the river, giving plenty of opportunity to hear and even see both Rock and Canyon Wrens. Vegetation along the riverbed supports a number of species including Black Phoebes.
Great Horned Owl - December 26, 2010 Cliffs over Riverbed - December 26, 2010
Photos by Antoinette Neily.
Great Horned Owl - and - Cliffs over Riverbed - December 26, 2010

         The desert landscape surrounding the trails is fascinating and has good variety of birds as well. Some of the more obvious residents are Gila Woodpecker, Phainopepla and Gambel's Quail. Common winter species are White-crowned Sparrow. The Lake provides a body of water large enough to attract waterbirds and enough cattail marsh on its margins to bring in a few species of marsh birds (like Marsh Wren and Sora).
Desert Vegetation along Trail - December 26, 2010 Lake - April 6, 2010
Photos by Antoinette Neily.
Desert Vegetation along Trail - December 26, 2010 - and - Lake - April 6, 2010

         Come take a peek.
Peaceful Spot to Rest - April 6, 2010
Photo by Antoinette Neily.
Peaceful Spot to Rest - April 6, 2010


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Last update:  March 23, 2011