Peridot Mesa is part of a volcanic field in the San Carlos Apache Tribe Reservation. While it is noted for it’s unique geology as a result of the volcanic activity, each spring it becomes a wildflower oasis.
The weather community seems to have found new terms for old occurrences and then over use them, one being ‘superbloom’. I am not sure if this qualifies as a superbloom, but it was fantastic.
When you look closely you can see the poppies mixed in next to the volcanic rocks.
As you make your way up to the top of the mesa, there are spectacular views for 360 degrees.
Once you crest the top you get a view to the east showing the transition from poppies to desert chicory.
It should be noted that the entire mesa is on Apache land so you must pay a $10 per person permit fee before entering. Once you do you are welcome to roam throughout though.
Well worth the $10.
The roads, while dirt, are passable by cars.
It is also open range grazing for the animals.
Peridot Mesa is an amazing place to see wildflowers. It’s remoteness means it is far less crowded than Picacho Peak, and the others.
Nature’s reward for a cool, rainy winter in the desert.
With the abundant rain and snow that has occurred throughout the desert southwest in the 2022-2023 winter it is expected that the wildflower season will be spectacular.
The first show for the Tucson area is at Picacho Peak.
Picacho Peak is about 1/2 between Tucson and Phoenix. For more than 100 years the main forms of transportation have rolled past this uniquely shaped mountain.
The first road was a wagon trail, followed later by the railroad. On this day the railroad served as a backdrop for a great patch of poppies. In the far right center are the tops of the snow covered Catalina Mountains.
As the automobile came into existence Arizona Highway 84 was paved past Picacho Peak. In the 1960s it was replaced by the now 6 lane Interstate 10, yet the poppies continue to thrive.
Because it is directly along the major freeway between the two cities, and is the first in the area to bloom, the crowds were quite large. We opted not to sit in the huge line to get into the park, rather found a space outside the park and walked in.
It was well worth the short walk.
In addition to the poppies the ground cover has a verdant green look.
But it is the poppies that everyone comes for.
The beautiful colors, along with the impressive geological features of Picacho Peak, make the visit a must. Just plan ahead, be patient and enjoy.