The Desert Blooms Beauty
March 1, 2021
From Arizona State Parks
Check out our extensive Arizona wildflower list at the bottom of the page, complete with vibrant photos and bloom information! How many will you see in 2021?
February showers make March wildflowers in the desert parks and create yet another reason to explore this beautiful state! During years of average and above average precipitation, it seems every direction you look there are beautiful yellow, red, white, orange, blue, or purple flowers blanketing the landscape. Try not to be discouraged during the dry years...The desert is resilient and will do its best to impress while propagating the species.
Parks at higher elevations see flowers later in the year, around May, and the blooms last well into the summer. There's typically more rainfall up north, which equates to even more beautiful northern Arizona wildflowers. The contrast of vibrant flowers against the backdrop of green is a sight to behold, so get your camera, comfortable outdoor shoes, and plenty of water and enjoy the rich colors across the state.
Picacho Peak State Park
Picacho Peak is arguably one of the best spots to see blooming wildflowers and cactus in Arizona, with bushels of incredible golden blooms throughout the park. The desert wildflowers here offer a unique and beautiful contrast to the green and brown hues of this Sonoran Desert destination. Experience the trails as they wind through a colorful sea of yellow, orange, purple, and red wildflowers, each step exposes new beautiful along the way.
Plants, shrubs, and cacti all blooming, seemingly for your pleasure...Extend your trip and enjoy a stay in the campgrounds to get the most out of Arizona's wildflower season. Springtime weather is perfect for a desert camping experience, book a trip and expose yourself to the beauty Arizona so selflessly shares with you.
Wildflower Update 02/08/2021
The poppies are starting to bloom in very small areas, and we expect the brittlebush and lupine are not far behind but have yet to see any significant growth. A very dry winter season with very little rain between October and January means that most seeds did not have a chance to germinate and wildflowers will be few this year. But the desert is resilient and the occasional Mexican Gold Poppy can be spotted in areas where moisture retention is increased, such as underneath shrubs and trees.
Lost Dutchman State Park
Lost Dutchman had a great showing in 2017; in fact, wildflower conditions were nearly optimal. The 2018 season slowed a bit with a lack of timely rainfall and early high temperatures that killed off young plants, and the 2019 season was hampered by the late-season freezes, although the brittlebush did fairly well. Flowers at this park usually start a couple weeks after Picacho Peak, and little bursts of brittlebush and poppies are starting to show.
Flowering plants in this park may include, but are not limited to: chuparosas, poppies, fiddle necks, globe mallow, chuparosa, brittle bush, desert evening primrose, blue dicks, lupine, ocotillo, chicory, scorpion weed, skeleton weed, jojoba, Mormon tea, phacelia, bluebell, and more!
Preview some of the blooms that are on display during the spring on the Lost Dutchman State Park Facebook page.
Catalina State Park
Catalina is already starting to see splashes of color along the Sutherland Trail. This Sonoran Desert dominated park is fed by snow melt through two large washes, which brings cooler temperatures, and beautiful blooms that last a bit longer. This is actually quite convenient for visitors hoping to extend their wildflower season by visiting this southern Arizona destination after seeing the beauty of other parks across the state!
With such a large variety of flowering plants, shrubs, and cacti, this park is really a sight to behold when the bloom is taking place. Springtime brings beautiful sights and aromatic appreciation to park visitors, combine these with a hike through the desert for an absolutely unforgettable experience.
The Catalina State Park Facebook page posts wildflower updates during the spring season. Follow along and visit the park when your favorite plants are blooming!
Alamo Lake State Park
Alamo Lake isn't just for world-class fishing and off-roading! The park has so much more to offer, like amazing blooms that blanket the landscape in late March and early April. The high desert getaway is covered in brittlebush flowers and blooming palo verde trees along the shores and hills surrounding the lake, which makes for amazing views on your hikes through the Sonoran desert.
The juxtaposition of bright yellow starbursts among desert landscapes is a bucket list item begging to be checked off! Reserve a cabin or campsite to take advantage of all Alamo Lake has to offer, and to see the blooms as they hit their peak of Arizona wildflower season!
Red Rock State Park
Red Rock rests at a higher elevation, so their wildflower season usually begins in May and continues through mid-June, as long as moisture levels remain high. Due to above average winter precipitation and temperatures, many early spring annual plants may sprout early. Take a peek at what's sprouting on the Red Rock State Park Facebook page.
Native Arizona Wildflowers
Arizona's flowering plants bloom at various times of year, although the spring wildflower season is generally the best time to view unforgettably vibrant fields of color. Provided there has been ample late winter/early spring rains, Arizona's deserts absolutely come alive from late February through April and draw in visitors from around the world to admire the splendor.
Many of these flowering desert plants attract hummingbirds as well to truly accentuate a colorful springtime park experience! Check out the following list of wildflowers you can find in Arizona's State Parks and then visit https://azstateparks.com/wildflowers to see photos of each.
• Marsh Aster Aster pauciflorus
• Brittlebush Encelia farinosa
• Bluedicks Dichelostemma capitatum
• Chuparosa Beloperone californica
• Coulter's Lupine Lupinus sparsiflorus
• Desert Chia Salvia columbariae
• Desert Chicory Rafinesquia neomexicana
• Desert marigold Baileya multiradiata
• Desert Primrose Oenothera primiveris
• Desertstar Daisy Monoptilon bellidiforme
• California poppy Eschscholzia californica
• Gravel Ghost Atrichoseris platyphylla
• Fairy duster Calliandra californica
• Fiddleneck Amsinckia intermedia
• Lyreleaf Jewelflower Streptanthus arixonicus
• New Mexico Thistle Cirsium neomexicanum
• Purple Mat Nama demissum
• Purple Owl's Clover Castilleja exserta
• Rock Daisy Perityle emoryi
• Scorpion weed Phacelia distans
• Yellow Cups Camissonia brevipes
You can always contact the parks by phone to see what blooms have made their appearance! February is the earliest wildflowers will start to bloom, and often they wait until March. The season depends on precipitation and temperature, so you never know what you'll see!
Always remember to treat the landscape and blooms with respect, and be careful not to pick or trample the flowers! Help us keep the parks beautiful for all visitors to Arizona State Parks!