After two months of no rain in the Arizona Desert. The Perennials like Brittlebush, Agave and Cactus blooms are now the dominant wildflowers. Most of the 13 Central Locations (pages 98-135) are showing good brittle bush blooms along with locations 57 & 58. If you truly would like to get the most variety of blooms go to locations: 27, 35, 54 & 55. they will have the best blooms for the next 2 weeks. 

 

Looking like the best poppy location is Peridot Mesa (Location 48 in the book). The upcoming rains may give this area a longer blooming period. Also poppy reports from locations 24 – 27 and location 45. Lake Mohave has a few patches on the beaches and dunes. Location 14 is not looking good but will have a Beavertail bloom in a few weeks. The Joshua Trees are at peak for location 15. Also Date Creek. Not much in #22 but will show a cactus bloom later this month. Also hearing and seeing images from locations 53-55.

Most Arizona canyons are past peak for fall color. Still some color in Arnett Canyon but the normal northern entrance is closed for highway construction so you will need to come in the East or West ends of the canyon. Some images from Aravaipa and Hell Hole Canyons last week. Still some color along the Colorado River from Lake Havasu to Yuma for the next few weeks. Wildflower update: We had great rains so far this year for the 2016 bloom then dried out for almost a month. This rain we had this week was needed and should help. The brittle bush is growing very well and should have a great showing next year. The cactus are all fat and look good. We should know how the wildflower bloom will look early next year so keep an eye on this blog and don’t forget the NEW, Wild in Arizona – Photographing Arizona’s Wildflowers makes a great Christmas gift. Happy Holidays everyone and heres to a great wildflower year in 2016.

East Aravaipa Canyon

Deer Creek

The Huachuca Mountains has just hit peak color this week. Ramsey canyon is having a great  year for fall foliage and should last 1 more week. Miller Canyon has some leaf damage from insects and is just past peak. Huachuca Canyon is at peak last weekend. Garden Canyon was still mostly green and looks a bit damaged. San Pedro river has just a little color left on the northern sections. The road into Cave Creek in the Chirichuas is reportedly closed with flood damage to Maple Camp. Ash Canyon in the Galiuro Mountains is having a banner year with peak just past. Madera Canyon in the Santa Ritas is also just pass peak with a week left.

Ramsey Canyon Autumn

Miller Canyon
Huachuca Canyon

San Pedro

Most of the fall color on top the Mogollon Rim is past with small pockets of maples in Barbershop and Turkey Creek. Most of the maples have not peaked in Horton, Christopher Creek, and Mingus mountain. West Fork is showing but just not a great year so far for fall color in Arizona. Hope to have some southern Arizona fall color reports in the next few weeks.

Turkey Creek Maples

Mingus Mt. Fall 2

Turkey-Creek-Maples 2

Mingus Mt. Fall

Arizona_Vermilion Cliffs_00102_c

Happy Earth Day, everyone!  As Ralph Waldo Emerson once said, “Earth laughs in flowers.”  Based on what I saw up in Marble Canyon last week, the planet must be in hysterics!

Following a tip-off last from my good friends, Terry and Wendy Gunn of Cliff Dwellers Lodge, I visited the Marble Canyon area last Wednesday through Monday to chase what they had referred to as a “bloom of a decade.”  They were spot on!  Although the weather was a bit unsettled last week (stormy and windy), the flowers absolutely did not disappoint!

Extensive fields of full desert globemallow and prickly pear cactus are peaking right now south of Highway 89A near the Soap Creek and Badger Creek overlooks (several gates into BLM land provide access – 2WD high-clearance recommended for these roads).  New flowers like Prince’s plume, sego lilies, banana yuccas, and scorpionweed are starting to pop up as well in varying quantities.  With a little dab of rain, even more flowers will start to show in the next week or so.  Although I didn’t have time to scout, the locals suggested the bloom could extend as far west as House Rock Valley Road.

We also meandered upstream along the Paria River from the Lees Ferry area in the Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, where we spotted multiple species of prickly pear in full bloom (with ample buds still waiting to pop), globemallow, banana yucca, and more during our easy hike.

As we celebrate Earth Day, it’s a great time to remind everyone to practice “Leave No Trace” principles as you’re out enjoying the wildflowers.  Please watch you step out there so that others can enjoy the blooms as well.

Happy wildflower hunting!
Colleen

Albino white poppy at Bartlett Lake

Albino white poppy at Bartlett Lake on Sunday, March 15, 2015

I had heard mixed feedback on what was happening out at Bartlett Lake for wildflowers, so I decided to take a quick spin up there yesterday morning to see for myself and to form my own.

Brittlebush at Bartlett Lake on Sunday, March 15, 2015

Brittlebush at Bartlett Lake on Sunday, March 15, 2015

How good the bloom is up there depends on your perspective.  If you’ve never seen wildflowers before in the desert, you’ll likely be impressed. If you experience the 2005 or the 2009 bloom you might be slightly underwhelmed.  Regardless, enough flowers are blooming to make it worth a visit now and within the next two weeks.

Along Bartlett Dam Road, keep your eyes open for nice patches of smaller Mexican gold poppies dotting the hillsides starting around milepost 8 to milepost 11 on the north side of the street.  After milepost 10 (but before milepost 11, near the Tonto National Forest sign), a vibrant patch of sizable poppies is already peaking.  In this same area, the flanks of the cliffs are starting to show blankets of yellow.

Because a fair number of these poppy fields face east, you might not spot them as you drive in (but will be blatantly obvious on the drive out).  So either bring a driver to free you up to scout or glance over your shoulder occasionally as you come into this area so as to not miss some great photographic opportunities.

Perennials like brittlebush, chuparosa, and fairy duster are out in force, but it looks as if there’s even more to come in the weeks ahead.  A nice patch of lupine appears along Bartlett Dam Road near the turnoff for Forest Service Road 459 on the shoulder as well as along FSR 459 near the Rattlesnake Cove turnoff.  A handful of chia, cream cups, filaree, and desert marigolds round out the showing.

Multiple blooms on strawberry hedgehog cactus in South Mountain Park on Sunday

Multiple blooms on strawberry hedgehog cactus in South Mountain Park on Sunday

If poppies are what you seek, I’d recommend heading that way within the next week. Perennials making a good start and will look great (if not better) over the next two weeks. For more information about Bartlett Lake, check out page 96 in our first edition of the “Wild in Arizona: Photographing Arizona’s Wildflowers” book (the second edition should start shipping on Monday, March 23!).

I also hiked the Telegraph Pass Trail in South Mountain Park and Preserve on Sunday afternoon.  Overall the desert landscape presented few flowers on the ground, but on the lower elevations of this trail, the strawberry hedgehog and cholla cacti displayed impressive color.  Some strawberry hedgehog cacti showcased 8-12 beautiful blooms!  Probably have about a week left to see these splashes of color there.

Happy wildflower hunting,
Colleen

Closeup of Strawberry Hedgehog Cactus along Telegraph Pass Trail on Sunday

Closeup of Strawberry Hedgehog Cactus along Telegraph Pass Trail on Sunday

Poppies and Beavertail

Wildflowers are showing in the Warm Springs Wilderness. Wild in Arizona book, location 14, page 64. Poppies, Lupine, and Beavertail Cactus are in bloom now. Brittlebush about two weeks away. The flowers are on the north west slopes in three canyons. (see map in book) road is high clearance now, and 4×4 is a good idea. Organ Pipe is not having a good bloom yet, report back when the brittle bush starts. Buckskin and Gibraltar have a few wildflowers with Cactus coming on strong in the next few weeks.

Warm Springs Wilderness

The rains last week have given already blooming areas like the Peridot Mesa a second wind. There is also a good bladderpod carpets between Safford and Clifton. You will need to jump barbwire fences and hike to the hillsides if you want the poppies. There is a nice carpet of poppies on the south side of 70 around San Jose but will need to jump fences which I don’t suggest not knowing who owns that land.

The Black Hills Byway also has some wildflowers now and the Rockhound area off 191 is good for bladderpod.

Some quick midday wildflower scouting images. Picacho Peak is now showing good groupings of poppies around the Sunset Vista trail and Children’s Cave Trail. The brittle bush, lupine and globemallow is starting on the upper peaks and roadsides.

Sunset Trail, Picacho Peak

With this rain It should be an excellent bloom in the next few weeks. (See page 178 of the 1st edition). If you don’t want to deal with the crowds there is a good bloom starting along the Sasco Road heading into Ironwood Forest National Monument. (page 180, 1st edition) the hillsides have poppies and the low areas are covered with carpets of globmallow.

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