Southern Arizona gets colorful when spring has sprung.
Follow a Sonoran Desert hiking trail in March or April, and discover a painter's palette of wildflowers. The wondrous springtime display varies from year to year, depending on late autumn rainfall. But even in drier years, colorful blooms can be found on hillsides and along roadsides, bursting with gold, vermilion, pink, lavender, purple, blue, red, and more. Look for California and Mexican gold poppies, desert globemallow, owl's clover, desert bluebells, paper flowers, penstemon, desert marigold, Indian blanket, and more.
In town, visit Tohono Chul, Tucson Botanical Gardens, Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum, and Colossal Cave Mountain Park.
Not far from town, check out Saguaro National Park West and East, Catalina State Park, Oracle State Park, Patagonia State Park, Kitt Peak National Observatory, Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument, Tubac Presidio State Historic Park, and Picacho Peak State Park.
Come back in early summer (April-June) to see Sonoran Desert cacti -- saguaro, ocotillo, barrel, prickly pear, cholla, and others -- blooming in living color.
When hiking any time of year, stay on the tails (if you must go off the trail, avoid tall grass or bushes), wear a hat and sunscreen, and carry drinking water.
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