Boyce Thompson Arboretum State Park

Quick Facts

Boyce Thompson Arboretum State Park


(520) 689-2811

Map Directions

Things To Do


Boyce Thompson Arboretum State Park is the place to discover the intricate beauty and many faces of Arizona's oldest and largest botanical garden. Featured are plants from the world's deserts, towering trees, captivating cacti, sheer mountain cliffs, a streamside forest, panoramic vistas, many natural habitats with varied wildlife, a desert lake, a hidden canyon, specialty gardens and more.

The Arboretum was founded in the 1920s by mining magnate Col. William Boyce Thompson. In 1917 Col. Thompson served as co-leader of a Red Cross mercy mission to Russia, where he came to understand the importance of plants as the ultimate source of a large portion of mankind's food, clothing, and shelter. It was then, that he determined to use his great wealth to improve the use of plant resources. The Arboretum is one of his legacies.

Encompassing 323 acres, the Arboretum is Arizona's oldest and largest botanical garden. It was the first purely botanical institution in the inter-mountain states.

The Arizona State Parks Board entered into agreement with the Boyce Thompson Arboretum Board and the University of Arizona in 1976 to cooperatively manage the Arboretum.

Map of Boyce Thompson Arboretum (AZ)

Latitude, Longitude: 33.271973, -111.189788



  • Bird Watching

    In 2007 the Arboretum was designated as an important bird area. More than 250 species have been recorded in the "birds of the Arboretum checklist". Gambel's Quail, Canyon Wren, Curved-Billed Thrashers, and Black Throated Sparrows are among the most abundant species. Bird lists are available at the Visitor Center.

  • Hiking

    There are several short walking and hiking trails. Some wind through the gardens, while others are more rugged.

  • Historic Sites

    Unique garden areas at the Arboretum provide fascinating themed experiences.

    Children's Garden: Get lost in the maze, dig for buried treasure and enjoy the sites, sounds and smells. This garden has something for all ages.

    Taylor Legume Garden: This garden showcases some of the many members from the very important Pea Family of plants.

    Cactus & Succulent Garden: 300 species of cacti and succulents call our Cactus Garden home.

    Herb Garden: You will find this garden to be an aromatic and culinary delight. Also located within the Herb Garden is the historic Clevenger House.

    Australian Desert: Find yourself surrounded by trees and shrubs from the Land Down Under on this Australian Walkabout.

    Demonstration Garden: This garden will give you design and plant selection ideas for your home landscape.

    The Gift Shop located inside the Visitor Center offers books, gifts, drinks, snacks and sandwiches. There is also a small Art Gallery that display art on a rotating basis. Additionally, many unique desert plant and cactus specimens are for sale from the Arboretum. Tours depart from the patio area located behind the Visitor Center.

  • Picnicking

    The Arboretum has a large picnic area with 30 tables and several barbeque grills. The area is first come, first served. A limited number of parking spaces are available adjacent to the picnic grounds. Once full, visitors using the picnic area are asked to park in the main lot.

  • Wildlife Watching

    The Arboretum's irrigated gardens and protected grounds are a magnet for birds and animals. Over 300 species of mammals, birds, reptiles and amphibians call the Arboretum home. While often unseen, Mule Deer, Javalina, Fox, Raccoon, Skunk, Squirrel and Rabbits (just to name a few) call the Arboretum home.


HOURS during hot months of May, June, July and August are 6:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. daily, with the day's last admission accepted and last visitors admitted at 2:00 p.m. so they have an hour to enjoy the trails. From September 1 though the end of April admission is taken daily from 8:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m., then the Arboretum closes promptly at 5:00 p.m.



The arboretum is located near milepost #223 on US Highway 60, a one-hour drive due east of Phoenix or about 90 minutes from the North side of Tucson via Oracle Road to highway 79 North past Florence to the crossroads with highway 60 -- then another 12 miles East on highway 60.


Pheonix and Tucson are the closest airports.

Phone Numbers


(520) 689-2811