Make your way to Phoenix’s Papago Park to find one of the largest and most unique collections of desert plant life in the world. Stretching over 140 acres (57 hectares), the Desert Botanical Garden is home to hundreds of rare and endangered plant species from around the globe.
Several trails wind through the Desert Botanical Garden. Walk the Sonoran Desert Nature Loop Trail to check out local flora and fauna with stellar views of the surrounding mountains. The Desert Wildflower Loop Trail proves that the desert can be a colorful place, while the Plants & People of the Sonoran Desert Loop Trail offers insight into how native people used desert plants for food, medicine, and building materials.
Things to Know Before You Go
- Take your water bottle—you can refill it at hydration stations throughout the garden.
- Most of the garden is accessible to wheelchairs and strollers.
- General admission doesn’t include special events and exhibitions.
How to Get There
About a 10-minute drive from the airport, the Desert Botanical Garden is located in Papago Park near the Phoenix Zoo. The easiest way to get there is by car. Alternatively, take the light rail to Priest/Washington, then transfer to bus 56, which stops outside the garden.
When to Get There
The garden is typically open daily, and members enjoy early access every Wednesday and Sunday. For the best trail-exploring weather, go between November and April. If you’re in town in the summer, get to the garden early to beat the extreme midday heat.
Cacti in Danger
The cactus family is one of the most endangered groups of organisms on the planet. The Desert Botanical Garden’s team of scientists and conservationists works to protect cacti by establishing projects in arid regions around the world. Among these projects is the garden’s own living collection—more than 25,000 individual plants representing about 4,200 taxa and 100 plant families.