The Boyce Thompson Arboretum is a 320-acre living classroom located off of Highway 60 just east of Gold Canyon. It is a location where the motto is to take only pictures and leave only footprints.
Their mission is “to instill in people an appreciation of plants through the fostering of educational, recreational, research and conservation opportunities associated with arid land plants.”
There are ongoing classes, lectures, group tours, special events — there is always something going on and some days in the winter season, many things are going on during any given day. Check with the Arboretum for their calendar of events. Additionally there are opportunities for school groups and other youth or interest groups to put together special tours at the Arboretum. Check with them for details.
The Arboretum is located about 20 minutes east of Gold Canyon near milepost #223 on US Highway 60. This location is about a one-hour drive due east of the Phoenix Sky Harbor airport 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.
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.
Picnic tables and grills are available for visitors to use. Pets are welcome – provided they remain leashed at all times and are well-behaved.
Here is a link to a map of their location.