March 8, 2013
Caption:Wildflowers in the Sonoran Preserve
Plentiful rain has brought waves of spring color to the vast Phoenix Desert Preserve system, meaning Valley residents can see spectacular spring wildflower blooms close to home. This year’s wildflower displays are expected to be the best the Valley has seen in many years. To make wildflower viewing easy, the Phoenix Parks and Recreation Department has created an online guide to good locations to catch spring blooms. The online guide is viewable in the Trails and Preserves link at phoenix.gov/parks. The release below also lists preserve areas that traditionally have boasted dense spring wildflower growth.
The City of Phoenix also is asking residents and visitors to e-mail their favorite photos of this year’s wildflowers to email@example.com. The photos may be featured on the City of Phoenix and Parks and Recreation Department Facebook pages (facebook.com/cityofphoenix and facebook.com/phoenixparks) and the top photos may be selected for the city's Facebook cover photo.
The Wildflower Viewing Guide is viewable online on the Trails and Desert Preserves link and on the homepage of the Parks and Recreation Department website at phoenix.gov/parks. In addition to the areas listed, a good general rule is to look for wildflowers in preserve areas that face north, away from direct early spring sun that dries out rainfall.
Wildflowers typically are at their peak through late March. Those that do head out to enjoy the spring growth should stay on established, signed trails at all times and refrain from picking flowers.
In addition to popular varieties such as lupine and Mexican gold poppy are out in large numbers, many other species such as brittlebush (yellow), desert globemallow (orange), scorpionweed (purple) fiddleneck, desert bluebell, white tackstem and goldeneye are blooming in many areas.
- South Mountain Park (Visit website)
Areas in the preserve with good wildflower displays include the Bajada, Las Lomitas, Ranger, Kiwanis accessible from the Central Avenue entrance; and the Pima Canyon, and Beverly Canyon areas located in the eastern end of the park. The roadway leading to the Gila Valley overlook (Central Avenue entrance) also offers good wildflower growth. North facing slopes in the Pima Canyon and Beverly Canyon (Javelina Trail) entrances of the park also are a great spot for wildflowers.
- Sonoran Preserve (Visit website)
The Desert Tortoise and Verde trails, both accessible from the Desert Vista Trail trailhead parking area offer impressive wildflower blooms.
- Piestewa Peak Area (Visit website)
Trail 8, the Quartz Ridge Trail, typically runs through impressive blooms. The trailhead is at 40th Street south of Shea Boulevard. Several trails around Piestewa Peak that are accessible from the Phoenix Mountains Park and Recreation Area also are good spots for wildflower viewing.
- Dreamy Draw (Visit website)
Hillsides and washes surrounding Trail 100 out of the Dreamy Draw trailhead at Northern Avenue and Highway 51 often are covered in blooms.