Boyce Thompson Arboretum
This venerable "Arizona oasis" has nearly three miles of paths and trails winding through colorful gardens, woodlands and native riparian habitat. Founded in 1924 and dedicated to instilling in people an appreciation for desert plants, the Arboretum is about 45 minutes' drive due east of Mesa, near highway 60 milepost #223 as you approach the historic copper-mining town of Superior. Plants from arid land regions around the world thrive alongside native Sonoran Desert plants. Short trails lead through Sonoran and Chihuahuan desert areas, a cactus garden, riparian areas, an Australian forest, and herb and rose gardens. Maps and handouts offer information on the other trails and gardens, and much of the trail system is wheelchair-accessible. The enormous Picketpost Mountain serves as a backdrop as you approach the Arboretum. Once inside, don't miss the Cactus Garden featuring bizarre shapes in cacti, or relax under shaded trees in Queen Creek Canyon.