From the blooms on a stately saguaro to the multi-color buds on a prickly pear, there’s something magical and mysterious about desert wildflowers, which flourish despite scorching days, frigid nights, and months without rain.
In the Spring issue of Via magazine, AAA shares the best places to spy wildflowers. Here are the Arizona destinations that made the list:
Catalina State Park
Higher elevations and snowmelt from the Santa Catalina Mountains bring cooler temperatures and a later wildflower season to this park, which is just north of Tucson. In late March and early April, look for purple lupines and golden Mexican poppies along Sutherland Trail.
Lost Dutchman State Park
The Superstition Mountains provide the perfect backdrop for orange globe mallows, red chuparosas, and yellow brittlebushes from mid-February to late March. In April and May, the park's giant saguaros unfurl their white bouquets at dusk.
Picacho Peak State Park
Located 40 miles from Tucson, Picacho Peak rises 1,500 feet above spring swaths of desert marigolds, pink penstemons, and white desert chicory through April.
Saguaro National Park
This park lures botanists to Tucson with pink fairy dusters, violet-blue lupines, yellow brittle bushes, and other blooms during its flowering peak in mid- to late March. You can also catch strawberry hedgehogs, teddy bear chollas, and other flowering succulents in early April.
Wildflower viewing tips
Wildflowers may be fickle about making appearances, so before you go, check the park's website or dedicated hotline for current conditions, which change day to day.
Read more about these and other wildflower viewing in the Spring issue of Via magazine or online at ViaMagazine.com. Share your travel adventures with Via on social media by using #ViaAdventure.