After many years of talking about it, we finally made the trek (with the dog) out to Boyce Thompson. It is about 60 miles east on Hwy 60, just before you get to the town of Superior. There is a loop trail (a little over a mile) which runs around the arboretum, which takes you through the cactus gardens, rose garden, herb garden, and what I thought to be most unusual, the Eucalyptus garden, which has 80 year old (i.e. really big) trees for the middle of the desert.
Fortunately, you gain a bit of elevation over Phoenix, so it’s a few degrees cooler, which was really nice yesterday since it was 95F yesterday (and the end of October… if this sounded like a whine, well, it was). There were a few things blooming, but I think the really nice time to visit would be March. There would likely be some water running in Queen Creek, there are bunches of irises as well as other bulbs you might catch in bloom, maybe even the start of the roses. Its nestled in a bit of canyon, so its protected from the wind. I think it would especially cool to hit at the very tail end of a storm. The first part of the trail is pretty standard botanical garden (and not too far from Hwy 60), but once you get to the end and circle back, its much more interesting. At one end it the Picketpost house, up much higher than the park. It used to belong to Boyce Thompson. The walk back has two options, the main trail or the high trail. The main trail follows the creek, going through a small canyon, I really liked the rock walls. Also, back near the visitor center, there is a demonstration garden, a great place for ideas for landscaping your own yard.
Its probably worth a trip back, but only with the right weather conditions. The dog's new nickname is Dusty.