The Desert Botanical Garden is just 15 minutes out of Scottsdale or Downtown Phoenix and is one of the top-rated things to do while visiting central Arizona. In this post I’ll share why you should explore the fascinating beauty that makes up the 140 acres of garden trails, wildflowers and blooming cacti.
Desert Botanical Garden
Inside the Desert Botanical Garden visitors can stroll through 5 thematic trails to explore the towering cacti and alluring succulents of the Sonoran Desert. Each trail offers a unique perspective with beautiful glowing rocks and the perfect frame for a beautiful Arizona photo.
Sonoran Desert Nature Loop Trail
For an ultimate view of the Phoenix Mountains, hike to the top of the Sonoran Desert Nature Loop Trail. It’s 1/4 mile, well-groomed and stroller-friendly!
Center For Desert Living Trail
One of the more colorful and fragrant trails, the Center for Desert Living Trail allows you to discover the tranquil vibrancy that makes up the region while sharing efficient, sustainable and harmonious ways to work with nature in the desert environment.
Desert Discovery Loop Trail
The Desert Discovery Loop Trail is a 1/3 mile stroll past the Agave Yucca Forest and the Cactus and Succulent Galleries.
Desert Wildflower Loop Trail
The 1/3 mile Desert Wildflower Loop Trail offers beautiful blooming cactus, and desert wildflowers among the Bee, Hummingbird, Butterfly, Shade and Boulder Gardens.
Plants & People of the Sonoran Desert Loop Trail
One of the largest exhibits of its kind, the Plants & People of the Sonoran Desert Loop Trail shares how native people use the Sonoran Desert plants for food, medicine and building materials. It includes an Apache Household, Spanish Gardens, an Akimel O’Odham Household, Native Crop Garden and a Saguaro Harvesting Ramada.
The Desert Botanical Garden Schilling Library offers a collection of botanical resources, plant guides, and desert landscaping books. Over 9,000 to be exact. If you’re wanting to learn more about adding the essence of the desert to your own backyard, it’s a great place for inspiration.
Desert Botanical Garden Restaurant
The Desert Botanical Garden features an amazing farm and pasture to plate experience though their restaurant, Gertrude’s. Open for brunch, lunch, dinner or cocktails, you can enjoy a menu that has been awarded the Diners’ Choice Award for good reason. Also, they have a kids menu!
The Garden Shop inside the Desert Botanical Garden offers a curated collection of gifts. Including watercolor cactus, prickly pear syrups, tea, jelly, etc., and Letterpress Print tees and hats. A thoughtful way to bring the desert home with you.
The Desert Botanical Garden hosts events year-round including yoga, ballet, dueling pianos, as well as, workshops like photography, gardening and astronomy. One of the annual highlights is the Electric Desert, an evening light and sound experience that runs from October 12 – May 12. Something to plan your next Phoenix itinerary around.
Desert Landscaping Classes
The Desert Botanical Garden also includes a Desert Landscape School, a signature credentialing program, offering professionals, homeowners and gardeners an opportunity to learn from experts about all aspects of desert landscaping and earn a credential upon class completion. Most of the programs consist of 20 hours with completion usually within 11-12 weeks. This is a great opportunity for the snowbird with an extended Phoenix stay.
Whether you’re looking for a beautiful backdrop for that perfect Instagram photo or want to learn more about the gorgeous cacti, succulents, trees and flowers that make Arizona unforgettable, the Desert Botanical Garden is a unique experience for all ages and worth the visit.
FAQ About The Desert Botanical Garden
What hours is the Desert Botanical Garden open?
Open daily from 7 a.m. – 8 p.m. (last admission at 4 p.m.).
How much does admission cost?
Tickets start out at $24.95 for adults, and are free for kids 3 and under and active military. *General Admission does not include special events or exhibitions. The Garden hosts Community Day the second Tuesday of every month, where admission is complimentary.
Are dogs allowed?
Are the trails stroller and wheelchair accessible?
The Garden is fully accessible via wheelchair, and most trails are stroller friendly. You can also rent strollers, electric scooters, wheelchairs and umbrellas at Admissions.
How long should you plan to visit the Desert Botanical Garden?
Give yourself anywhere from 2 hours to an entire day to stroll through the Garden.
What hours is the restaurant open?
What should you bring?
Sunscreen, hat, sunglasses, water bottle (hydration stations are available throughout the garden), camera, and comfortable shoes.
The desert plants nestled amid the red rocks of the papago buttes offers a true representation of the majestic Arizona landscape. Continuously rated a ‘must-see’ on travel lists, the Desert Botanical Garden is an obvious gem in the heart of the Southwest.
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*Photos by Aneliia Miller
Disclosure: This post was written in collaboration with Visit Phoenix and the Desert Botanical Garden.