Wildflowers and More at Picacho Peak State Park. Have you ever seen a super bloom? According to the National Park Service (NPS), it can be decades between each super bloom. It takes just the right conditions for the rain to reach a layer of dormant seeds, resulting in epic displays of blooms!
We recently traveled to see the 2023 super bloom at Picacho Peak State Park, located about 40 minutes north of Tucson (about an hour south of Phoenix).
Upon arriving at the park we were surprised to find there was a line of cars waiting to get into the park. So many people were excited to see the super bloom! During wildflower season, it is recommended that you arrive early on a weekday to avoid heavier traffic. At the gate, we paid $7 to enter ($3 for pedestrians or bicycles) and were given a park map.
Be sure to ask for a Junior Ranger booklet for each child. Arizona State Parks and Trails offers the Junior Ranger program for kids ages 6-12 and it’s an awesome way for kids to learn about our beautiful state parks. The Junior Ranger booklet has fun activities and information specific to park preservation and wildlife that lives in the area. Once you’ve completed the booklet, be sure to stop by the visitor’s center on your way out and show it to a Park Ranger to get a cool button!
We first drove around the park to get the lay of the land. The main road winds around the picturesque peak past the campground (reservations required) as well as numerous ramadas and picnic areas located throughout the park. There are multiple restrooms available at many of the ramadas and even some of the trailheads.
We saw yellowish-orange Mexican poppies and purple lupine beautifully blanketing the hills and roadsides of the unique landscape. There are various hiking trails, ranging from an easy-going nature trail to a strenuous hike to the peak. While the weather was beautiful during mid-March, there’s not much shade other than the ramadas, so you’ll definitely want to bring sunscreen and plenty of drinking water.
Wildflowers and More at Picacho Peak State Park
We chose the Children’s Cave hike, a short and easy hike of 0.2 miles. Along the short walk on a dirt path, we stopped to check out the interpretive signs about wildlife in the area and to take photos with the flowers in the background. Nearing the end of the out-and-back-hike is a hill that culminates with an awesome cave-like formation. The kids’ imaginations were booming as they climbed around the rocks and looked out over the picturesque vistas.
On the walk back to the car we stopped by the park’s playground, a blast from the past with old metal pump swings and a climbing dome.
Before leaving the park we stopped by the Visitor’s Center to turn in our Junior Ranger booklets and to check out the exhibits and park store. The small store is equipped with souvenirs, snacks, and drinks. Restrooms are also located in the visitor’s center, making for a convenient pit stop before the drive home.
Picacho Peak State Park is located at 15520 Picacho Peak Rd, Picacho, AZ 85141. While the Visitor’s Center/Park Store hours vary, Picacho Peak State Park is open year-round (closed Christmas day) from 5:00 AM to 10:00 PM daily, with the trails open from sunrise to sunset. Be sure to read the park rules on the map handed out at the entry point. You can check on the current wildflower status and learn more on their website!
More great things to do around Tucson can be found here!