Boyce Thompson Arboretum


Boyce Thompson Arboretum is located in the heart of the Arizona Upland Division of the Sonoran Desert, just one hour east of Phoenix. Three miles of trails wind through 392 acres of plant exhibits and natural areas that integrate seamlessly within the striking volcanic 

rock formations that form the bones and backdrop of the Arboretum’s topography. Over 2,600 different taxa in 122 plant families are represented, with major plant exhibits that mimic plant communities from Australia, North and South America, southern Africa, Asia, the Mediterranean, and other arid land regions of the world.

Founded in 1924 as the first 501(c)(3) in Arizona and opened to the public in 1929, Boyce Thompson Arboretum is the oldest and largest botanical garden in the state. Its mission is to instill in people an appreciation of plants through the fostering of educational, recreational, research, and conservation opportunities associated with arid land plants. With its Desert Legume Program, the Arboretum is one of three US organizations to have its seed bank conserved at the Global Seed Vault in Svalbard, Norway. The Arboretum has a well-stocked bookstore and gift shop, year-round plant sales, and a vibrant membership program. A wide range of educational workshops, tours, walks, and classes serve to bolster the admiration and understanding of desert plants and the natural world in which they grow. The unparalleled location at the foot of Picket Post Mountain attracts plant lovers, photographers, birders, and a wide range of nature enthusiasts who enjoy the Arboretum’s extensive arid land plant collections, without sacrificing a profound and ever-present feeling of wildness.

Boyce Thompson Arboretum is a place where the frantic pace of the world can be forgotten. There are wonders for the senses to experience throughout the year: the new life, color, and fragrances of spring; saguaro cactus blooms and yellow puddles of wind-blown palo verde flowers in May; the warm stillness of summertime; and the spectacular leaves of autumn. The Arboretum changes by the minute, and every minute is worth experiencing.